I was lucky to grow up in the era of rapidly rising expectations and opportunities. I was born on a small farm, the son of an itinerant tenant farmer. None of the farms that my five sisters and I lived on had electricity. Daylight was extended by kerosene lamps. I barely remember the use of kerosene lamps, because, when I was four years old, we moved a small house to the outskirts of town and by the time my brother was born, when I was 5 years old, we had electricity.
And so on. Which is, at first sight, weird: he claims to have been lucky to grow up in an era so primitive that they were using kerosene lamps. Why isn’t he bemoaning how unlucky he was compared to someone growing up today, where the standard of living is so much higher?
Because, as Hobbes says:
Seeing all delight is appetite, and appetite presupposes a farther end, there can be no contentment but in proceeding: and therefore we are not to marvel, when we see, that as men attain to more riches, honors, or other power; so their appetite continually grows more and more; and when they are come to the utmost degree of one kind of power, they pursue some other, as long as in any kind they think themselves behind any other. Of those therefore that have attained to the highest degree of honor and riches, some have affected mastery in some art; as Nero in music and poetry, Commodus in the art of a gladiator. And such as affect not some such thing, must find diversion and recreation of their thoughts in the contention either of play, or business. And men justly complain as of a great grief, that they know not what to do. FELICITY, therefore (by which we mean continual delight), consists not in having prospered, but in prospering.
The alternative “because” is “because Hansen isn’t thinking very clearly”. Which can’t possibly be right, obviously. That’s from The Elements of Law Natural and Politic not Leviathan, BTW.