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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Happy as a Dane

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Monday, March 20, 2017 07:30 am

CBS being CBS, naturally they are ecstatic to report on how darn happy people are in the left's favorite socialist utopia. From "CBS Sunday Morning" yesterday:

Welcome to Denmark, a small country of nearly six million people. No tropical beaches here — just rain for about 50% of the year. But despite the weather, this country still maintains a sunny disposition … so sunny, in fact, it’s been named the happiest country in the world.And just what makes it the happiest copuntry in the world?

It’s a ranking that might leave us scratching our heads. Americans love to chant, "We’re Number One!" but we aren’t always. What does Denmark have that we don’t? Free healthcare, for one. And free education. And what about maternity leave?

"I think it’s 12 months in which the parents can share," said Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Institute, located in Copenhagen. "Five weeks of paid vacation per year. It’s not bad!"

But of cousr! Free stuff from the government (which only requires Danes to fork over up to 60 percent of their income).Gede, please tell us how we can be that happy in America.

"I think it’s the welfare state," Wiking replied. "It is focusing on reducing extreme unhappiness, and investing in public goods that create quality of life for all."

And there you have it, another pitch for the U.S. to stop being so damn proud and exceptional and be more like Europe. We're more than halfway to being just like a social democracy anyway, so it's not like we have to make a great leap.

But, wait. Pretty far into the story, we learn that Danes aren't really dancing-in-the-street, howling-at-the-moon happy:

"Danish people don’t strike me as cheerful, so much as just, like, content: Everything’s fine." Salie noted.

"You can say, we are the happiest country in the world," said Wiking. "I like to say, we’re the least unhappy."

Ah, they are content. They give up 60 percent of their pay to a government that dribbles it back to them in ways to make them comfortable so they can live a life of contentment.

Two things:

1. It is not such a chore to have a government ordered zone of contentment in a country with a homogenous, relatively compact populace. It would be a little more difficult in a country with a sprawling, diverse populace and a vast and varied geography. If you think of the U.S. as many countries within  one set or borders, I suspect you'll find areas where the people are deliriously happy and others where and are miserably discontented. Trying to average us out and rank the U.S. on a happiness scale is pretty meaningless.

2. A content people, I thjink, do not create much great literature or poetry or music or figure out a way to get to the moon and then Mars. People who are unhappy with the way thing are keep trying to find out ways to make things better. Content people just hang around, contentedly.


Oops. Looks like CBS jumped the gun a little. The final votes are in (by the United Nations, naturally), and it sppears that Denmark has been pushed out of top place:

The United Nations annual World Happiness Report has named Norway as the world's happiest nation – jumping up from fourth place last year.

This year, Norway pipped fellow Scandinavians in Denmark to the title and, while doing so, leapfrogged Iceland and Switzerland. The four countries in the Nordic region consistently perform well within the UN's report, which was first produced in 2012.

That same report has a whole section on the unhappiness of Americans, which the UN is apparently very concerned about.

An entire chapter in the report – [i]Restoring American Happiness[i/] – highlights a "social quagmire" in the world's most powerful country. Finance reform, policies to reduce income and wealth inequality, improving social relations, and an increased level of multiculturalism would make the country happier the UN report says.

"Trump’s ban on travel to the United States from certain Muslim-majority countries is a continuing manifestation of the exaggerated and irrational fears that grip the nation," the report authors write.

More multiculturalism, fewer exaggerated and irrational fears! Let's get right on that, shall we?


RIP, Chuck Berry, dead at 90. It may be a slight exageration to call him the father of rock 'n' roll, but he was certainly one of a handful of seminal pioneers. I got to see him when I was at Ball State, even got to interview him briefly for the student newspaper. This was, alas, during his lame "comeback" period when "My Ding a Ling," of all songs, became his biggest hit.

But "comeback" probably isn't the right word for a legend. His influence, acknowledged by such people as the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Eriic Clapton and on and on, cannot be overstated. Without Chuck Berry, much of what we call rock 'n' roll simply would not exist.

You can look through a lot of "best rock 'n' roll songs of all times" lists (as I did) and not find much of Chuck Berry. I think you can choose any one of his five best songs, and make that No. 1 on any list, and there shouldn't be too much serious argument. Me, I think I'd choose "Johnny B. Goode," just because I so like the guitar lick. But there may be no more genius lyric in the whole rock canon than, "Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news."


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