As noted, I’ve come a long way since shrugging Objectivism. As noted, I think it’s because I don’t think happiness is an achievement. Rand’s explicit position is that happiness is an achievement of one’s values and achieving your values “necessarily” makes you happy. From Rand,
But the relationship of cause to effect cannot be reversed. It is only by accepting ‘man’s life’ as one’s primary and by pursuing the rational values it requires that one can achieve happiness—not by taking “happiness” as some undefined, irreducible primary and then attempting to live by its guidance. If you achieve that which is the good by a rational standard of value, it will necessarily make you happy; but that which makes you happy, by some undefined emotional standard is not necessarily the good. To take ‘whatever makes one happy’ as a guide to action means: to be guided by nothing but one’s emotional whims. (32, emphasis mine)
“Necessarily” make you happy. Right.
I don’t agree. I don’t agree that happiness is an “achievement.” Happiness is given. It is primary, not secondary. I prefer the word “joy.” I know the default is happiness, joy, ease, and strength. Anything that takes me from that is temporary. I can snap back to it quickly. These are a launching point on which to achieve; not vice versa. Life is actually kind of easy and even a joy, even the hard parts. I kind of think people trying to take us from that, who put in us that we don’t get these things until we “earn” them, who hold out love, joy, and acceptance, until we [fill in] are kind of evil. They literally deride friends who accept us, colors we like, family we love, and vacations full of sunshine. I suspect nefarious, jealous intent.