The argument over truth vs happiness generates considerable debate amongst philosophers. Nietzsche argued that for the Übermensch ('superman': something higher and better than a man, as a man is superior to an ape), happiness is the pursuit of truth. Truth in a state causes chaos and beauty to emerge, but this in itself is dangerous, as it causes a lack of stability. This, then, makes the state prone to destruction and disaster: 'What's the point of truth and beauty when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you?'
Finally, then, society will long for peace and tranquility, so happiness becomes the core pursuit, and truth is forgotten.
An example of this comes in the novel Of Mice and Men, which is based on the Great Depression in 1930s America. The Great Depression resulted from a severe stock market crash that began in the USA and spread throughout the world. In Of Mice and Men, the two main characters set out to achieve the American Dream: the pursuit of happiness. During the Great Depression, the majority (if not everyone) had no care for truth and beauty because in such hard times happiness was all they longed for.