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Norway Edges Denmark in 2017 Magic Dirt Rankings
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From Reuters:

Happy?

Norway unseats Denmark as world’s happiest country: report

By Patricia Reaney
March 19, 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.

The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2012.

Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, said in an interview.

The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.

Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top ten countries.

A.K.A., the Blue-Eyed Utopias.

Of course, these are just about the least happy-go-lucky countries on earth. Having a lot of worry-warts unsurprisingly contributes to Magic Dirt.

South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the bottom.

Germany was ranked 16, followed by the United Kingdom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.

Rankings aren’t based on actual happiness, but instead on what Jeffrey Sachs thinks ought to contribute to happiness:

The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

According to a more authoritative source than Dr. Sachs, Modern Drunkard magazine, sub-Saharan Africans are pretty darn happy:

At first blush, this place seems gripped in pandemic suffering. A closer look reveals the true nature of southern Africa: It is a drinker’s paradise. Hundreds of miles of beaches with names like Monkey Bay and Candy Beach line the eastern coast of Mozambique and the enormous Lake Malawi, providing the perfect setting for canoeing, fishing, and drinking the hot days away. Homemade liquors and bottled beers are available at almost every roadside shack, some conveniently attached to rest houses where one can sleep off a particularly frightening bender in a cheap, clean bed. Pocket change will buy a round for the entire bar and, of course, the police have never, and I mean never, heard of a Breathalyzer.

Women do almost all the daily work in southern Africa: cooking, finding food, raising children, and tidying up around the hut, which leaves men free to spend the day pursuing more amiable interests, like drinking until they can barely stand or form sentences.

And because the possibility of finding a job is laughable and property ownership largely hereditary, there is no expectation that the people of this region become clock-punching cubicle drones or slaves to a mortgage. While they lack the amenities we Westerners couldn’t imagine living without—such as hot, clean water, electricity, or a life expectancy greater than 35 years—they do have the luxury of being able to relax with good friends and a few dozen drinks every single day of the year.

And, boy, do they drink. From the rooster’s first call to the hour when night descends—or until they collapse from drinking in the sun, which in that part of the world can burn like a death ray—Africa’s heaviest drinkers have it pretty good in both lifestyle and beverage selection…

 
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  1. I thought suicides were high in many of those countries, which would indicate that they are not actually that happy, but suicides are apparently not as high as I had thought.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack Highlands
    Suicide rates are theoretically the ultimate infallible happiness index for those of us who live by 'watch what people do, not what they say.' And sure enough, and ironically enough, they are inversely correlated with subjective dissatisfaction with life (unhappiness?), at least by the data at the following link. This suggests humans are indeed very good at lying to themselves as a means of self-preservation:

    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/oecd-factbook-2010/suicide-rates-and-per-capita-gdp_factbook-2010-graph260-en

    The same page shows only a minor correlation with per cap GDP, but is limited to developed and a few semi-developed countries. A big problem is collecting accurate suicide data of course.

    Important in trying to connect suicide and unhappiness is that successful suicide by percentage is done most by decisive men, who tend to be the very people that can be happy most of their lives and then end it all quickly when things go south. Women, OTOH, tend to inflict their unhappiness on the world for decades without ever ending it themselves, making lots of suicide gestures instead. Indecisive men, the feminized state the mental health system implictly aims to achieve for all our sex, would be somewhere in between.

    Thanks Steve BTW, for helping to confirm what I have long suspected, that these rankings aren’t based on actual happiness, but what globalist experts tell us ought to contribute to happiness. Of coursh, they have no agenda.

    , @Romanian
    They're not actually happy, it's the composite of a series of indicators like GDP/capita that some economists thought would be a useful overall stand-in for happiness. I think a happy country would be simple or even primitive, with a strong hierarchy and a strong religion. It may use technology, but not the sort it developed on its own. It would have the sort of population that features low levels of neuroticism and little opportunity for whatever there is of it to manifest. Plenty of African countries would have been like this, had they not been placed in a hellish rat race.
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  2. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Anglo and Scandy nations made progress through criticism and self-criticism.
    So, being critical and mindful of criticism are part of what made them successful.
    So, criticism is good for society.
    But PC threw a monkey wrench into this arrangement by saying white folks cannot criticize non-white folks. Some non-whites are pretty useless and worthless. I don’t think those Somalis will ever amount to much.
    But I think some people from Middle East can become much better if they took some much needed criticism. But Anglo, Scandy, and Germanic nations are not allowed to do with non-whites what they do with whites. It’s like California. No one’s supposed to tell Mexicans to stop throwing trash all over the place. If you tell white folks that, it’s considered necessary criticism. If it’s directed at Mexers, it’s ‘racism’.

    PC undermines necessary criticism for those who need it most.
    No pressure for them to be a credit to their race.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Frau Katze
    I read a memoir written by an Iranian woman born in the 1920s. She was the daughter of a man from formerly high-ranking family. Her mother wasn't a high status woman like his first wife (he was polygamous as permitted), but rather low class.

    The first wife had independent income and her own quarters while the succeeding wives had more modest accommodations.

    Be that as it may, the oldest son of the first wife got himself into serious trouble, he was unknowingly offending the new leader (after a coup).

    She tried to explain why the son was doomed. Their father, if he had been a Westerner, would have tactfully explained the situation and given him a few pointers on how to stay alive.

    But it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society. The memoirist said it was unthinkable for the father to do that, because he would be criticizing his son. The best he could do was make vague statements and hope the son got the message.

    Unfortunately the son didn't get the message and ended up arrested and executed.

    In our society, a father who failed to make clear to his son of the danger would be considered positively negligent.

    I was astounded to read this.

    There were lots of other examples, but mostly they just resulted in minor irritation. For example, a servant who shopped for fruit was always picking bad melons. But it was unthinkable that anyone give him some tips on picking good melons. That would be criticism.

    It makes you realize just how different the West is.
    , @Citizen of a Silly Country
    But I think some people from Middle East can become much better if they took some much needed criticism.

    Probably, but why should they change to become more like us, and why do we care if they become more like us. We're different races/ethnicities. Why do whites so desperately want to change the world into our image? Why can't we live the way that we want - in our own borders - and let other people live the way that they want in their own borders.

    Of course, that's all shot to hell now because we opened our borders, but the concept is still the same. We keep trying to change other races/ethnicities into NW Europeans and then get upset when either they don't try or fail.

    We keep getting mad at blacks for acting black, or Arabs acting Arab, etc. There is a hubris in us whites that needs to get knocked out.
  3. Take away the gigantic sovereign wealth fund from that North Sea oil and the blue-eyed Arabs would be a lot less happy. Billions go farther when you have a population of only 5.25 million. Will that happiness survive more migrants and social cohesion breakdown?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Oleaginous Outrager
    Funny how that works out, isn't? Although it's hardly surprising, given that Sach's first criterion is "per capita gross domestic product".

    Wait, I just read the linked article. Sachs is a monumental moron: "Sachs would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness." The UAE? He seriously holding up the UAE as model for increasing happiness.
  4. Being part Danish myself, I would love to believe that the people of Denmark have created some sort of utopia, but my various sojourns there, totaling probably three months, weren’t particularly joyful. This was back in the 90s, when the immigration issue was much less pronounced. Denmark was a place which I always felt I should like (hence the fact that I returned several times), but which always disappointed me when I was actually there. Aside from the gloomy weather in winter, there was nothing glaringly bad about the place, but I never found myself wanting to stay. Everything runs well, the people are educated and thoughtful, nobody is homeless except by choice, and the women are attractive and “congenial”, but somehow the pleasant parts don’t quite equal the happy whole you would expect. Norway actually seemed worse, but I only spent a week there. A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor. Wry and somewhat sardonic. This darkish undercurrent to their character is probably helping to save them from the collective societal suicide which the Swedes are currently engaged in. The Danes are able to see things more clearly than their pollyannish neighbors to the north.
    It may be that I’m just not that much of a fan of Protestant northern Europe. I’ll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile. It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians. Indian-Fijians were much more glum. As far as the Western world goes, I found the Australians to be the happiest. People like to talk about how wonderful New Zealand is, but I thought it was a much more miserable place than Australia or America. That might pertain just to Auckland, though. I’ve heard much better things about the South Island. I don’t know if I could say any place in Europe struck me as especially happy, but I found the Latin countries to at least be more easy-going.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marina
    I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which is by an English guy who married a Danish woman and lived there for a number of years. The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn't naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It's a very conformist culture. Etc.
    , @unpc downunder
    New Zealanders and Australians were pretty happy in the 1960s, but since then the neo-liberal right has decided that everyone must become a mortgage slave and the liberal-left has decided that no one is allowed to have any fun. This all happened pretty quickly through a liberal pincer movement in the mid 1980s.
    , @Daniel Chieh
    According to Dr. Gregory Bern's Satisfaction, the neuroscientist visits Denmark as the "happiest place on Earth" and does indeed find something of satisfaction there in the land. But it does feel very uniquely Danish, and as liberals might put it, "non-inclusive." The aspects that proved surprisingly satisfying were very un-modern:

    * Being regaled by family histories - a simple conversation with a hostel manager drifted off into an epic retelling of how her ancestry includes villainness from the Poetic Edda.

    * The oddly consistent belief in magic and "elves" which seemed to maintain a sense of wonder and enchantment in the people.

    * The sheer beauty and isolation of the land, including an early morning quest that someone insisted that he do in order to "prove" the existence of the mystical. He was bundled out and rushed up to witness the rise of the sun from atop the mountain, right as the foggy snow would drift and seem to vanish. It seemed a transcendent experience.

    It did seem amazing, but it certainly did not feel like it could be transported whole to the modernity, with our skepticism, our rootlessness, and isolated, beautiful spaces.
    , @Twinkie

    A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor.
     
    Being next to Germany will do that.

    I’ll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile.
     
    For some reason, I had the opposite response from the locals. In Denmark, people seemed a bit excited about me (being Asian), but then seemed less so once they found out I was an American, but in Germany it was the opposite. People seemed a bit stiff when they thought I was an Asian, but then warmed up a bit once they realized I was an American.

    It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians.
     
    I've been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I've found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.
  5. ‘… And because the possibility of finding a job is laughable and property ownership largely hereditary, there is no expectation that the people of this region become clock-punching cubicle drones or slaves to a mortgage…’

    Read More
  6. @Janus
    Being part Danish myself, I would love to believe that the people of Denmark have created some sort of utopia, but my various sojourns there, totaling probably three months, weren't particularly joyful. This was back in the 90s, when the immigration issue was much less pronounced. Denmark was a place which I always felt I should like (hence the fact that I returned several times), but which always disappointed me when I was actually there. Aside from the gloomy weather in winter, there was nothing glaringly bad about the place, but I never found myself wanting to stay. Everything runs well, the people are educated and thoughtful, nobody is homeless except by choice, and the women are attractive and "congenial", but somehow the pleasant parts don't quite equal the happy whole you would expect. Norway actually seemed worse, but I only spent a week there. A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor. Wry and somewhat sardonic. This darkish undercurrent to their character is probably helping to save them from the collective societal suicide which the Swedes are currently engaged in. The Danes are able to see things more clearly than their pollyannish neighbors to the north.
    It may be that I'm just not that much of a fan of Protestant northern Europe. I'll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile. It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians. Indian-Fijians were much more glum. As far as the Western world goes, I found the Australians to be the happiest. People like to talk about how wonderful New Zealand is, but I thought it was a much more miserable place than Australia or America. That might pertain just to Auckland, though. I've heard much better things about the South Island. I don't know if I could say any place in Europe struck me as especially happy, but I found the Latin countries to at least be more easy-going.

    I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which is by an English guy who married a Danish woman and lived there for a number of years. The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn’t naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I’m not talking about race here. I’m talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It’s a very conformist culture. Etc.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Fredrik
    There's some truth to that. I know it's hard even for Germans or Anglos to adjust to our way of life.

    You can imagine how easy it is for peasants from the really backwards places.

    I've said it before but this lack of diversity(in all areas) is a huge part of why Sweden has been so welcoming. Many well meaning people just can't wrap their head around the fact that other people are different and have different ways of seeing things.
    , @Chriscom
    I read that book too. A bit too breezy for me but I enjoyed it for doing a decent 30,000-ft. job of explaining the differences between the Scandi countries. The book was written (inspired I gather) by the surveys that were then showing Denmark as the happiest country, and credit to the Danes who told the author yeah we're probably not *that* happy.
    , @TheJester
    My wife and I camped through Europe years ago. We got a slightly different perspective from a Danish couple with respect to Danish conformity ... the Danish "magic dirt" that might lead to a happy society. I suspect the perspective would apply to the Norwegians as well.

    The Danish couple owned a small hotel. The cost of firing an employee was so financially prohibitive that their employees effectively "owned" their jobs. Hence, their challenge, as they described it, was to create such a wholesome working atmosphere that their employees were motivated to come to work in the morning. Work had to be "fun". The Danish couple considered themselves cheerleaders and motivational experts rather than hotel owners. They must have been good at these jobs because the hotel was still in business.

    It is clear how importing people from diverse, Third-World cultures might impact this Germanic "happiness", regardless of the country, and affect their survey numbers. In liberal social welfare states, how do you deal with people who are not motivated to work because it's "fun"?

    Again, another positive marker for creating and sustaining homogeneous rather than diverse societies.
    , @Twinkie

    The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn’t naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I’m not talking about race here. I’m talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It’s a very conformist culture. Etc.
     

    Some folks around these parts think that East Asians are all drones while Northern Europeans* are all adventure-seeking, individualists. It's clear they have not been to East Asia or Scandinavia. I have a close college friend who is Swedish. When I was younger I visited her many times. And your observation is right on the mark, particularly for the older Scandinavians. People forget that before the North Sea oil (Norway) and the economic liberalization (Sweden), Scandinavia was generally very socially conformist and economically staid and that, for much of modern European history, Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe), save for a few moments of greatness under the likes of Gustavus Adolphus). And even 20 years ago, individualism was much deprecated and ostracized in Scandinavia.

    *The real individualists in Europe are the Celto (or British)-Anglo-Saxons. They are the ones with insatiable taste for possessing their own lands (and multiplying), so much so that they were willing cut ties with their parents and ancestral lands and colonize-settle distant parts of the world readily. Every man a king in his own castle seemed (and seems) to be their motto.

  7. Interesting comments. Many similar things can be said about the Scandinavian-German settled states in the Upper Midwest.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Yep. Minnesota has its own vibe that grew straight out of the Scandinavian and German settlers. Minnesotans are a very polite and kind people but very hard to truly get to know. Cold isn't the right word, just reticent. (Oddly, people from Milwaukee were somewhat the other way around.)

    A business professor once told me that the Japanese liked doing business with companies in Minnesota in part because Minnesotans had a similar way of dealing with people as the Japanese, i.e. very polite and very worried about offending someone. (I'm sure the Japanese also like dealing with companies in a very white part of the country, though that seems to be changing these days.)

    Of course, Minnesotan also display the same suicidal progressivism of the Scandinavian countries.
  8. @Anon
    Anglo and Scandy nations made progress through criticism and self-criticism.
    So, being critical and mindful of criticism are part of what made them successful.
    So, criticism is good for society.
    But PC threw a monkey wrench into this arrangement by saying white folks cannot criticize non-white folks. Some non-whites are pretty useless and worthless. I don't think those Somalis will ever amount to much.
    But I think some people from Middle East can become much better if they took some much needed criticism. But Anglo, Scandy, and Germanic nations are not allowed to do with non-whites what they do with whites. It's like California. No one's supposed to tell Mexicans to stop throwing trash all over the place. If you tell white folks that, it's considered necessary criticism. If it's directed at Mexers, it's 'racism'.

    PC undermines necessary criticism for those who need it most.
    No pressure for them to be a credit to their race.

    I read a memoir written by an Iranian woman born in the 1920s. She was the daughter of a man from formerly high-ranking family. Her mother wasn’t a high status woman like his first wife (he was polygamous as permitted), but rather low class.

    The first wife had independent income and her own quarters while the succeeding wives had more modest accommodations.

    Be that as it may, the oldest son of the first wife got himself into serious trouble, he was unknowingly offending the new leader (after a coup).

    She tried to explain why the son was doomed. Their father, if he had been a Westerner, would have tactfully explained the situation and given him a few pointers on how to stay alive.

    But it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society. The memoirist said it was unthinkable for the father to do that, because he would be criticizing his son. The best he could do was make vague statements and hope the son got the message.

    Unfortunately the son didn’t get the message and ended up arrested and executed.

    In our society, a father who failed to make clear to his son of the danger would be considered positively negligent.

    I was astounded to read this.

    There were lots of other examples, but mostly they just resulted in minor irritation. For example, a servant who shopped for fruit was always picking bad melons. But it was unthinkable that anyone give him some tips on picking good melons. That would be criticism.

    It makes you realize just how different the West is.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jonathan Silber
    ...it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society.

    That might explain why it's been years since Iran has been only months from building themselves the Bomb.

    , @Olorin

    In our society, a father who failed to make clear to his son of the danger would be considered positively negligent.
     
    "The Talk."
  9. Aren’t about half of those top ten happiest countries alleged to be having big problems with immigrants? Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Kyle McKenna

    Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.
     
    You may have missed this part:

    The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.
     
    It'll take a little while for the flood of third-world immigration to collapse all of those metrics, but the 'happy' part is: once they're collapsed, it'll be forever.
    , @fitzGetty
    The dubious happiness index provocatively omits an Immigration criterion ... increasingly needed as the tide washes in ...
    , @Daniel Chieh
    The Swedish I know don't seem very happy about what's going on at all.
    , @Citizen of a Silly Country
    The joys of diversity take a little time to seep into the criteria used in this index. Give it time.
  10. @Janus
    Being part Danish myself, I would love to believe that the people of Denmark have created some sort of utopia, but my various sojourns there, totaling probably three months, weren't particularly joyful. This was back in the 90s, when the immigration issue was much less pronounced. Denmark was a place which I always felt I should like (hence the fact that I returned several times), but which always disappointed me when I was actually there. Aside from the gloomy weather in winter, there was nothing glaringly bad about the place, but I never found myself wanting to stay. Everything runs well, the people are educated and thoughtful, nobody is homeless except by choice, and the women are attractive and "congenial", but somehow the pleasant parts don't quite equal the happy whole you would expect. Norway actually seemed worse, but I only spent a week there. A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor. Wry and somewhat sardonic. This darkish undercurrent to their character is probably helping to save them from the collective societal suicide which the Swedes are currently engaged in. The Danes are able to see things more clearly than their pollyannish neighbors to the north.
    It may be that I'm just not that much of a fan of Protestant northern Europe. I'll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile. It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians. Indian-Fijians were much more glum. As far as the Western world goes, I found the Australians to be the happiest. People like to talk about how wonderful New Zealand is, but I thought it was a much more miserable place than Australia or America. That might pertain just to Auckland, though. I've heard much better things about the South Island. I don't know if I could say any place in Europe struck me as especially happy, but I found the Latin countries to at least be more easy-going.

    New Zealanders and Australians were pretty happy in the 1960s, but since then the neo-liberal right has decided that everyone must become a mortgage slave and the liberal-left has decided that no one is allowed to have any fun. This all happened pretty quickly through a liberal pincer movement in the mid 1980s.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dfordoom

    New Zealanders and Australians were pretty happy in the 1960s, but since then the neo-liberal right has decided that everyone must become a mortgage slave and the liberal-left has decided that no one is allowed to have any fun.
     
    Australia is definitely a much less happy place than it was in the 60s.

    And don't believe the "Australia doesn't have an immigration problem" line. Where I live now was entirely white twenty years ago. Now it's becoming m,ore and more culturally enriched. The part of Sydney in which I grew up in the 60s was entirely white. Now it's entirely non-white.

    We're not going down the toilet as quickly as Britain or Sweden but we are going down the toilet.

    As for freedom of speech, that's just a memory.
  11. @Kirt
    Aren't about half of those top ten happiest countries alleged to be having big problems with immigrants? Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.

    Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.

    You may have missed this part:

    The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

    It’ll take a little while for the flood of third-world immigration to collapse all of those metrics, but the ‘happy’ part is: once they’re collapsed, it’ll be forever.

    Read More
  12. @Marina
    I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which is by an English guy who married a Danish woman and lived there for a number of years. The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn't naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It's a very conformist culture. Etc.

    There’s some truth to that. I know it’s hard even for Germans or Anglos to adjust to our way of life.

    You can imagine how easy it is for peasants from the really backwards places.

    I’ve said it before but this lack of diversity(in all areas) is a huge part of why Sweden has been so welcoming. Many well meaning people just can’t wrap their head around the fact that other people are different and have different ways of seeing things.

    Read More
  13. I’ve made several extended trips to Norway over the past decade.

    The wealth of Norway is obvious. Norway’s elaborate road tunnels blasted through countless miles of rock are mind-blowing engineering achievements. And for a city of such modest size, Oslo has a magnificent metro system. The city’s natural setting is spectacular, even though it is arguably in the least scenic part of the country.

    But Oslo is less pleasant every time I go there. One of the disadvantages of a compact city with all of its corners connected by efficient public transportation is that troublesome elements become unavoidable. There are beggars everywhere in the city center (and beyond), and they camp in the once-pristine forests just outside of the city. The immigrant population seems to be growing exponentially.

    Being outside of the European Union, Norway has more control over its borders than other European countries, but Norway has not chosen to exercise that control. If anything, the 2011 shooting massacre made Norwegians more eager to prove their commitment to multiculturalism.

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    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Norway is the smartest of the oil-rich countries, and was very parsimonious about spending its new-found wealth. It's trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund is the world's largest, with savings of about $200,000 for every Norwegian man, woman, and child. I was talking to a thirty-something engineer from Norway who said that life was good-the government has been good at promoting policies to preserve employment, a luxury they can afford.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21707435-norways-global-fund-its-tough-small-democracy-run-worlds-biggest
    , @fitzGetty
    Yes indeed ... all so true ... yet Norway is always somehow *tiresome* in the extreme ...
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante

    may be of some relevance here.

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    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    The Australians have something similar, called the Tall Poppy syndrome, though it seems to be less of a thing with the coming of lots of new money thanks to a commodities driven boom.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome
  15. @Grumpy
    I've made several extended trips to Norway over the past decade.

    The wealth of Norway is obvious. Norway's elaborate road tunnels blasted through countless miles of rock are mind-blowing engineering achievements. And for a city of such modest size, Oslo has a magnificent metro system. The city's natural setting is spectacular, even though it is arguably in the least scenic part of the country.

    But Oslo is less pleasant every time I go there. One of the disadvantages of a compact city with all of its corners connected by efficient public transportation is that troublesome elements become unavoidable. There are beggars everywhere in the city center (and beyond), and they camp in the once-pristine forests just outside of the city. The immigrant population seems to be growing exponentially.

    Being outside of the European Union, Norway has more control over its borders than other European countries, but Norway has not chosen to exercise that control. If anything, the 2011 shooting massacre made Norwegians more eager to prove their commitment to multiculturalism.

    Norway is the smartest of the oil-rich countries, and was very parsimonious about spending its new-found wealth. It’s trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund is the world’s largest, with savings of about $200,000 for every Norwegian man, woman, and child. I was talking to a thirty-something engineer from Norway who said that life was good-the government has been good at promoting policies to preserve employment, a luxury they can afford.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21707435-norways-global-fund-its-tough-small-democracy-run-worlds-biggest

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    • Replies: @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Norway was also smart enough to eschew high cost management fees and hedge funds with its sovereign wealth fund. The Norway Model has become more and more popular with pension funds over time - and for good reason.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-investors-can-learn-from-norway/
    , @Romanian
    And, yet, they were drawing down from that fund to cover government deficits.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-07/norway-announces-massive-2017-withdrawals-sovereign-wealth-fund-cover-deficits

    https://www.thelocal.no/20151030/norway-to-tap-oil-fund-for-refugeees

    http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21707435-norways-global-fund-its-tough-small-democracy-run-worlds-biggest
  16. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante
    may be of some relevance here.

    The Australians have something similar, called the Tall Poppy syndrome, though it seems to be less of a thing with the coming of lots of new money thanks to a commodities driven boom.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tall_poppy_syndrome

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  17. http://www.drunkard.com/10-04-soused-africa/

    I have been looking for “Soused Africa” for two years. I thought it was on Vice. A fun read blast from the past 2004 that I thought PC had been able to boot off the internet. Going to send to a few friends.

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  18. The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.

    I’m surprised places like Dubai don’t rank above the usual nordic countries. Maybe the arbitrary factors like “generosity” and “social support” are worth a lot more than the measurable ones in the total. But those Gulf Arabs sure don’t seem unhappy to me.

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  19. Never would I be one to beat a dead horse, but Steve King’s home district in NW Iowa is a pretty happy place.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... a rigorous birth control programme is needed most across the entire Afric continent ... now ...
    , @Random Dude on the Internet
    Even though it's not Scandinavian, the NW Iowa area has a lot of Dutch people. That area has a lot of hardworking families, low crime, high trust, prosperous, etc. I think Steve has written a few entries about the success that Sioux County, Iowa is experiencing.
  20. @Marina
    I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which is by an English guy who married a Danish woman and lived there for a number of years. The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn't naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It's a very conformist culture. Etc.

    I read that book too. A bit too breezy for me but I enjoyed it for doing a decent 30,000-ft. job of explaining the differences between the Scandi countries. The book was written (inspired I gather) by the surveys that were then showing Denmark as the happiest country, and credit to the Danes who told the author yeah we’re probably not *that* happy.

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  21. Yeah, Denmark, the utopia that ranks number one among Continental European nations in anti-depressant usage according to the OECD. Followed immediately by Sweden. Finland and Norway are not far behind, though oddly enough Belgium is higher on the list. But they all come in significantly behind the USA … We’re Number 1!

    Bottom of the list? That racist nation, Korea. Didn’t see where Japan fell, however.

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    • Replies: @Formerly CARealist
    Well Korea probably needs to take more happy pills then. They have a huge suicide rate.

    http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-suicides-in-the-world.html
  22. @Grumpy
    I've made several extended trips to Norway over the past decade.

    The wealth of Norway is obvious. Norway's elaborate road tunnels blasted through countless miles of rock are mind-blowing engineering achievements. And for a city of such modest size, Oslo has a magnificent metro system. The city's natural setting is spectacular, even though it is arguably in the least scenic part of the country.

    But Oslo is less pleasant every time I go there. One of the disadvantages of a compact city with all of its corners connected by efficient public transportation is that troublesome elements become unavoidable. There are beggars everywhere in the city center (and beyond), and they camp in the once-pristine forests just outside of the city. The immigrant population seems to be growing exponentially.

    Being outside of the European Union, Norway has more control over its borders than other European countries, but Norway has not chosen to exercise that control. If anything, the 2011 shooting massacre made Norwegians more eager to prove their commitment to multiculturalism.

    Yes indeed … all so true … yet Norway is always somehow *tiresome* in the extreme …

    Read More
  23. @Kirt
    Aren't about half of those top ten happiest countries alleged to be having big problems with immigrants? Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.

    The dubious happiness index provocatively omits an Immigration criterion … increasingly needed as the tide washes in …

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  24. @Buck Turgidson
    Never would I be one to beat a dead horse, but Steve King's home district in NW Iowa is a pretty happy place.

    … a rigorous birth control programme is needed most across the entire Afric continent … now …

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  25. Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN

    Isn’t this one of the guys of the “Harvard mafia” responsible for selling happiness to the former Soviet Union in the form of “shock therapy”? And who later promised “The end of poverty” by 2025?

    How come these scammers NEVER lose credibility?

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    • Replies: @Buck Turgidson
    Well geez, you are being kind of critical! C'mon Sachs is at Columbia. Columbia!! I am pretty sure that is Ivy League. He went to Harvard! He is an "expert"! and a renowned one at that. I am sure he gives a heckuva greenie one-world stemwinder, and these guys never are held to account for outcomes unless they pan out (I notice they usually don't). If they worked in the private sector, they would have been canned long ago for their lunacy and detachment from the real world and results. I'll bet Sachs has a full-paid subscription to the NYT and The Economist.
  26. Bhutan measure Gross National Happiness. They also restrict the annual number of tourists allowed to visit their mountain paradise.

    Their king seems benevolent

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    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    I think it costs $250 a day just to set foot in Bhutan ($200 in winter) - for that you get basic accommodation, any necessary transport, and a guide, which is compulsory. You can't just swan in and head for the hills with a tent. I'd like to go, but it's very expensive compared to trekking in Nepal or India.

    http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/minimum-daily-package
  27. @Frau Katze
    I read a memoir written by an Iranian woman born in the 1920s. She was the daughter of a man from formerly high-ranking family. Her mother wasn't a high status woman like his first wife (he was polygamous as permitted), but rather low class.

    The first wife had independent income and her own quarters while the succeeding wives had more modest accommodations.

    Be that as it may, the oldest son of the first wife got himself into serious trouble, he was unknowingly offending the new leader (after a coup).

    She tried to explain why the son was doomed. Their father, if he had been a Westerner, would have tactfully explained the situation and given him a few pointers on how to stay alive.

    But it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society. The memoirist said it was unthinkable for the father to do that, because he would be criticizing his son. The best he could do was make vague statements and hope the son got the message.

    Unfortunately the son didn't get the message and ended up arrested and executed.

    In our society, a father who failed to make clear to his son of the danger would be considered positively negligent.

    I was astounded to read this.

    There were lots of other examples, but mostly they just resulted in minor irritation. For example, a servant who shopped for fruit was always picking bad melons. But it was unthinkable that anyone give him some tips on picking good melons. That would be criticism.

    It makes you realize just how different the West is.

    …it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society.

    That might explain why it’s been years since Iran has been only months from building themselves the Bomb.

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  28. @Dumbo

    Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN

     

    Isn't this one of the guys of the "Harvard mafia" responsible for selling happiness to the former Soviet Union in the form of "shock therapy"? And who later promised "The end of poverty" by 2025?

    How come these scammers NEVER lose credibility?

    Well geez, you are being kind of critical! C’mon Sachs is at Columbia. Columbia!! I am pretty sure that is Ivy League. He went to Harvard! He is an “expert”! and a renowned one at that. I am sure he gives a heckuva greenie one-world stemwinder, and these guys never are held to account for outcomes unless they pan out (I notice they usually don’t). If they worked in the private sector, they would have been canned long ago for their lunacy and detachment from the real world and results. I’ll bet Sachs has a full-paid subscription to the NYT and The Economist.

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  29. My son’s Norwegian mother-in-law has lived in the same small Norwegian city for her entire life. For the first time, ever, she is afraid to go downtown after dark due to the previously non-existent crime happening there. Said crime being almost exclusively committed by the diverse “New Norwegians”. too bad, it was a pretty nice place before. Now it may as well be one of those rural Minnesota towns they dropped a zillion Somalis in. Not all that “happy” anymore.

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  30. @Marina
    I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which is by an English guy who married a Danish woman and lived there for a number of years. The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn't naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It's a very conformist culture. Etc.

    My wife and I camped through Europe years ago. We got a slightly different perspective from a Danish couple with respect to Danish conformity … the Danish “magic dirt” that might lead to a happy society. I suspect the perspective would apply to the Norwegians as well.

    The Danish couple owned a small hotel. The cost of firing an employee was so financially prohibitive that their employees effectively “owned” their jobs. Hence, their challenge, as they described it, was to create such a wholesome working atmosphere that their employees were motivated to come to work in the morning. Work had to be “fun”. The Danish couple considered themselves cheerleaders and motivational experts rather than hotel owners. They must have been good at these jobs because the hotel was still in business.

    It is clear how importing people from diverse, Third-World cultures might impact this Germanic “happiness”, regardless of the country, and affect their survey numbers. In liberal social welfare states, how do you deal with people who are not motivated to work because it’s “fun”?

    Again, another positive marker for creating and sustaining homogeneous rather than diverse societies.

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    • Replies: @Thea
    I can't recommend enough this blog series on how "Fun" grew like a malignant tumor to replace the deeper meanings of life:

    https://theanadromist.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/sacred-cows-3/

    Anyhow, your post reminds me that people need something in addition to an ethnostate. We could call it abisaya, I think. But there needs to be some ideological or religious unity of higher purpose beyond ephemeral pleasure.
  31. @Anon
    Anglo and Scandy nations made progress through criticism and self-criticism.
    So, being critical and mindful of criticism are part of what made them successful.
    So, criticism is good for society.
    But PC threw a monkey wrench into this arrangement by saying white folks cannot criticize non-white folks. Some non-whites are pretty useless and worthless. I don't think those Somalis will ever amount to much.
    But I think some people from Middle East can become much better if they took some much needed criticism. But Anglo, Scandy, and Germanic nations are not allowed to do with non-whites what they do with whites. It's like California. No one's supposed to tell Mexicans to stop throwing trash all over the place. If you tell white folks that, it's considered necessary criticism. If it's directed at Mexers, it's 'racism'.

    PC undermines necessary criticism for those who need it most.
    No pressure for them to be a credit to their race.

    But I think some people from Middle East can become much better if they took some much needed criticism.

    Probably, but why should they change to become more like us, and why do we care if they become more like us. We’re different races/ethnicities. Why do whites so desperately want to change the world into our image? Why can’t we live the way that we want – in our own borders – and let other people live the way that they want in their own borders.

    Of course, that’s all shot to hell now because we opened our borders, but the concept is still the same. We keep trying to change other races/ethnicities into NW Europeans and then get upset when either they don’t try or fail.

    We keep getting mad at blacks for acting black, or Arabs acting Arab, etc. There is a hubris in us whites that needs to get knocked out.

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  32. @Janus
    Being part Danish myself, I would love to believe that the people of Denmark have created some sort of utopia, but my various sojourns there, totaling probably three months, weren't particularly joyful. This was back in the 90s, when the immigration issue was much less pronounced. Denmark was a place which I always felt I should like (hence the fact that I returned several times), but which always disappointed me when I was actually there. Aside from the gloomy weather in winter, there was nothing glaringly bad about the place, but I never found myself wanting to stay. Everything runs well, the people are educated and thoughtful, nobody is homeless except by choice, and the women are attractive and "congenial", but somehow the pleasant parts don't quite equal the happy whole you would expect. Norway actually seemed worse, but I only spent a week there. A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor. Wry and somewhat sardonic. This darkish undercurrent to their character is probably helping to save them from the collective societal suicide which the Swedes are currently engaged in. The Danes are able to see things more clearly than their pollyannish neighbors to the north.
    It may be that I'm just not that much of a fan of Protestant northern Europe. I'll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile. It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians. Indian-Fijians were much more glum. As far as the Western world goes, I found the Australians to be the happiest. People like to talk about how wonderful New Zealand is, but I thought it was a much more miserable place than Australia or America. That might pertain just to Auckland, though. I've heard much better things about the South Island. I don't know if I could say any place in Europe struck me as especially happy, but I found the Latin countries to at least be more easy-going.

    According to Dr. Gregory Bern’s Satisfaction, the neuroscientist visits Denmark as the “happiest place on Earth” and does indeed find something of satisfaction there in the land. But it does feel very uniquely Danish, and as liberals might put it, “non-inclusive.” The aspects that proved surprisingly satisfying were very un-modern:

    * Being regaled by family histories – a simple conversation with a hostel manager drifted off into an epic retelling of how her ancestry includes villainness from the Poetic Edda.

    * The oddly consistent belief in magic and “elves” which seemed to maintain a sense of wonder and enchantment in the people.

    * The sheer beauty and isolation of the land, including an early morning quest that someone insisted that he do in order to “prove” the existence of the mystical. He was bundled out and rushed up to witness the rise of the sun from atop the mountain, right as the foggy snow would drift and seem to vanish. It seemed a transcendent experience.

    It did seem amazing, but it certainly did not feel like it could be transported whole to the modernity, with our skepticism, our rootlessness, and isolated, beautiful spaces.

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    • Replies: @Pericles
    No mountains in Denmark though. Himmelbjerget, "sky mountain", is 482 ft.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himmelbjerget

    Highest point: 561 ft.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B8lleh%C3%B8j
    , @Janus
    I think you're talking about Iceland, or possibly Norway. The landscape in Denmark is neither particularly beautiful nor isolated, and the highest "mountain" is 561 ft. Although I recall encountering some genetic throwbacks whose aggressive Viking ancestry was surprisingly evident, no one I met ever mentioned any elves or Norse mythology. Their big thing was being "hyggelig" or cozy, especially during the dark, dreary winter.
    , @German_reader
    Are you sure you're referring to Denmark? Sounds more like Iceland to me.
  33. @Kirt
    Aren't about half of those top ten happiest countries alleged to be having big problems with immigrants? Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.

    The Swedish I know don’t seem very happy about what’s going on at all.

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    • Replies: @Citizen of a Silly Country
    So are all the liberals that I know. Of course, they are all wealthy enough to avoid the joy of diversity in their own lives.
  34. Didn’t I read that they actually asked people “the ladder question (imagine a ladder with 10 rungs. Top is your best possible life, bottom is worst. Where are u on the ladser?) and that sack’s stuff is just looking at the variables that indicate how high a countey is on the ladder.

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  35. @eD
    Interesting comments. Many similar things can be said about the Scandinavian-German settled states in the Upper Midwest.

    Yep. Minnesota has its own vibe that grew straight out of the Scandinavian and German settlers. Minnesotans are a very polite and kind people but very hard to truly get to know. Cold isn’t the right word, just reticent. (Oddly, people from Milwaukee were somewhat the other way around.)

    A business professor once told me that the Japanese liked doing business with companies in Minnesota in part because Minnesotans had a similar way of dealing with people as the Japanese, i.e. very polite and very worried about offending someone. (I’m sure the Japanese also like dealing with companies in a very white part of the country, though that seems to be changing these days.)

    Of course, Minnesotan also display the same suicidal progressivism of the Scandinavian countries.

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  36. @PiltdownMan
    Norway is the smartest of the oil-rich countries, and was very parsimonious about spending its new-found wealth. It's trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund is the world's largest, with savings of about $200,000 for every Norwegian man, woman, and child. I was talking to a thirty-something engineer from Norway who said that life was good-the government has been good at promoting policies to preserve employment, a luxury they can afford.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21707435-norways-global-fund-its-tough-small-democracy-run-worlds-biggest

    Norway was also smart enough to eschew high cost management fees and hedge funds with its sovereign wealth fund. The Norway Model has become more and more popular with pension funds over time – and for good reason.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-investors-can-learn-from-norway/

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  37. @Daniel Chieh
    The Swedish I know don't seem very happy about what's going on at all.

    So are all the liberals that I know. Of course, they are all wealthy enough to avoid the joy of diversity in their own lives.

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  38. @Kirt
    Aren't about half of those top ten happiest countries alleged to be having big problems with immigrants? Either they are not as happy as claimed or immigration is not nearly as big a negative as claimed.

    The joys of diversity take a little time to seep into the criteria used in this index. Give it time.

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  39. @Daniel Chieh
    According to Dr. Gregory Bern's Satisfaction, the neuroscientist visits Denmark as the "happiest place on Earth" and does indeed find something of satisfaction there in the land. But it does feel very uniquely Danish, and as liberals might put it, "non-inclusive." The aspects that proved surprisingly satisfying were very un-modern:

    * Being regaled by family histories - a simple conversation with a hostel manager drifted off into an epic retelling of how her ancestry includes villainness from the Poetic Edda.

    * The oddly consistent belief in magic and "elves" which seemed to maintain a sense of wonder and enchantment in the people.

    * The sheer beauty and isolation of the land, including an early morning quest that someone insisted that he do in order to "prove" the existence of the mystical. He was bundled out and rushed up to witness the rise of the sun from atop the mountain, right as the foggy snow would drift and seem to vanish. It seemed a transcendent experience.

    It did seem amazing, but it certainly did not feel like it could be transported whole to the modernity, with our skepticism, our rootlessness, and isolated, beautiful spaces.

    No mountains in Denmark though. Himmelbjerget, “sky mountain”, is 482 ft.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himmelbjerget

    Highest point: 561 ft.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B8lleh%C3%B8j

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  40. @The Alarmist
    Yeah, Denmark, the utopia that ranks number one among Continental European nations in anti-depressant usage according to the OECD. Followed immediately by Sweden. Finland and Norway are not far behind, though oddly enough Belgium is higher on the list. But they all come in significantly behind the USA ... We're Number 1!

    Bottom of the list? That racist nation, Korea. Didn't see where Japan fell, however.

    Well Korea probably needs to take more happy pills then. They have a huge suicide rate.

    http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-suicides-in-the-world.html

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  41. @Daniel Chieh
    According to Dr. Gregory Bern's Satisfaction, the neuroscientist visits Denmark as the "happiest place on Earth" and does indeed find something of satisfaction there in the land. But it does feel very uniquely Danish, and as liberals might put it, "non-inclusive." The aspects that proved surprisingly satisfying were very un-modern:

    * Being regaled by family histories - a simple conversation with a hostel manager drifted off into an epic retelling of how her ancestry includes villainness from the Poetic Edda.

    * The oddly consistent belief in magic and "elves" which seemed to maintain a sense of wonder and enchantment in the people.

    * The sheer beauty and isolation of the land, including an early morning quest that someone insisted that he do in order to "prove" the existence of the mystical. He was bundled out and rushed up to witness the rise of the sun from atop the mountain, right as the foggy snow would drift and seem to vanish. It seemed a transcendent experience.

    It did seem amazing, but it certainly did not feel like it could be transported whole to the modernity, with our skepticism, our rootlessness, and isolated, beautiful spaces.

    I think you’re talking about Iceland, or possibly Norway. The landscape in Denmark is neither particularly beautiful nor isolated, and the highest “mountain” is 561 ft. Although I recall encountering some genetic throwbacks whose aggressive Viking ancestry was surprisingly evident, no one I met ever mentioned any elves or Norse mythology. Their big thing was being “hyggelig” or cozy, especially during the dark, dreary winter.

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  42. Only slightly OT:

    the city I live in now (San Francisco) is just starting to notice that it is impossible to have a family unless you are really wealthy or poor:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/When-families-are-priced-out-the-whole-city-pays-11015542.php?t=796b22dca2&cmpid=sfc_em_topstories

    The irony is that a woman who worked with the city to help bums find housing is leaving because there is no room for her family of three kids.

    Running the Sailer Test (ctrl+f, “imm”), no mention, of course, of the “i” word.

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  43. I’ve been watching a lot of Norwegian movies over the last couple years, and it’s pretty amazing what Norwegians can get away with in terms of violating western PC norms. Characters regularly say things that would get people arrested across the border in Sweden, and blacklisted here in the US. Denmark is also significantly more free than Sweden. Because standard Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are all pretty much mutually intelligible, this freedom appears to be giving Norway and Denmark an artistic edge over Sweden in the Scandinavian film industry.

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  44. @Steve and completely OT but something you may find interesting- The Netherlands played Puerto Rico in the world baseball semi finals lat night. A good game but what struck me was the racial makeup of the two teams. The Puerto Rican team was whiter in appearance that the team for the Netherlands and the team from the Netherlands had almost exclusively black players. Dutch Caribbean notwithstanding, I figured the Dutch, who I believe are the tallest nation in the world, could at least run out a couple of white lanky pitchers out there or a slugger or two like Kris Bryant. Maybe they’re too busy speed skating and swimming nowadays.

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    • Replies: @sb
    The average Dutch sports fan knows nothing of baseball .

    It just happens that the Netherlands Caribbean islands are officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ( ie unlike the US territories like Puerto Rico which have their own international sporting identity ) and baseball is a popular sport there.
    I should add that plenty of these black Dutchmen have moved on to the " Mother Country " but their baseball culture is overwhelmingly from the West Indies

    I see Team Israel also plays in this peculiar baseball competition .
    Wonder how many days the entire "Israel " team has actually physically spent in Israel .
    I'd say less than 100

  45. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Isn’t Sachs one of the people who helped Russia become a rather unhappy place back in the day? Now he’s a happiness expert? Yeah, let’s all listen to what Sachs has to say.

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    • Replies: @Buck Turgidson
    I don't think one even needs to listen to Sachs or his fellow world traveler new world economists to know what he would say. Green green green wind solar carbon-neutral mass transit think globally act locally, local, global sustainable local markets micro-finance incentives sustainability. Awesome, eh, now fork over Sachs $10K speaking fee. Actually met Sachs years ago at some meeting on something damned important, nice enough guy in person but I'm not into his one world sustainable open borders green BS dreaming. Sachs and his fellow Economist readers live in a parallel reality with only passing familiarity with the real world.
  46. @wren
    I thought suicides were high in many of those countries, which would indicate that they are not actually that happy, but suicides are apparently not as high as I had thought.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    Suicide rates are theoretically the ultimate infallible happiness index for those of us who live by ‘watch what people do, not what they say.’ And sure enough, and ironically enough, they are inversely correlated with subjective dissatisfaction with life (unhappiness?), at least by the data at the following link. This suggests humans are indeed very good at lying to themselves as a means of self-preservation:

    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/oecd-factbook-2010/suicide-rates-and-per-capita-gdp_factbook-2010-graph260-en

    The same page shows only a minor correlation with per cap GDP, but is limited to developed and a few semi-developed countries. A big problem is collecting accurate suicide data of course.

    Important in trying to connect suicide and unhappiness is that successful suicide by percentage is done most by decisive men, who tend to be the very people that can be happy most of their lives and then end it all quickly when things go south. Women, OTOH, tend to inflict their unhappiness on the world for decades without ever ending it themselves, making lots of suicide gestures instead. Indecisive men, the feminized state the mental health system implictly aims to achieve for all our sex, would be somewhere in between.

    Thanks Steve BTW, for helping to confirm what I have long suspected, that these rankings aren’t based on actual happiness, but what globalist experts tell us ought to contribute to happiness. Of coursh, they have no agenda.

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  47. @Frau Katze
    I read a memoir written by an Iranian woman born in the 1920s. She was the daughter of a man from formerly high-ranking family. Her mother wasn't a high status woman like his first wife (he was polygamous as permitted), but rather low class.

    The first wife had independent income and her own quarters while the succeeding wives had more modest accommodations.

    Be that as it may, the oldest son of the first wife got himself into serious trouble, he was unknowingly offending the new leader (after a coup).

    She tried to explain why the son was doomed. Their father, if he had been a Westerner, would have tactfully explained the situation and given him a few pointers on how to stay alive.

    But it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society. The memoirist said it was unthinkable for the father to do that, because he would be criticizing his son. The best he could do was make vague statements and hope the son got the message.

    Unfortunately the son didn't get the message and ended up arrested and executed.

    In our society, a father who failed to make clear to his son of the danger would be considered positively negligent.

    I was astounded to read this.

    There were lots of other examples, but mostly they just resulted in minor irritation. For example, a servant who shopped for fruit was always picking bad melons. But it was unthinkable that anyone give him some tips on picking good melons. That would be criticism.

    It makes you realize just how different the West is.

    In our society, a father who failed to make clear to his son of the danger would be considered positively negligent.

    “The Talk.”

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  48. @Thea
    Bhutan measure Gross National Happiness. They also restrict the annual number of tourists allowed to visit their mountain paradise.

    Their king seems benevolent

    I think it costs $250 a day just to set foot in Bhutan ($200 in winter) – for that you get basic accommodation, any necessary transport, and a guide, which is compulsory. You can’t just swan in and head for the hills with a tent. I’d like to go, but it’s very expensive compared to trekking in Nepal or India.

    http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/minimum-daily-package

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  49. @Ivy
    Take away the gigantic sovereign wealth fund from that North Sea oil and the blue-eyed Arabs would be a lot less happy. Billions go farther when you have a population of only 5.25 million. Will that happiness survive more migrants and social cohesion breakdown?

    Funny how that works out, isn’t? Although it’s hardly surprising, given that Sach’s first criterion is “per capita gross domestic product”.

    Wait, I just read the linked article. Sachs is a monumental moron: “Sachs would like nations to follow United Arab Emirates and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.” The UAE? He seriously holding up the UAE as model for increasing happiness.

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  50. @wren
    I thought suicides were high in many of those countries, which would indicate that they are not actually that happy, but suicides are apparently not as high as I had thought.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

    They’re not actually happy, it’s the composite of a series of indicators like GDP/capita that some economists thought would be a useful overall stand-in for happiness. I think a happy country would be simple or even primitive, with a strong hierarchy and a strong religion. It may use technology, but not the sort it developed on its own. It would have the sort of population that features low levels of neuroticism and little opportunity for whatever there is of it to manifest. Plenty of African countries would have been like this, had they not been placed in a hellish rat race.

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  51. @PiltdownMan
    Norway is the smartest of the oil-rich countries, and was very parsimonious about spending its new-found wealth. It's trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund is the world's largest, with savings of about $200,000 for every Norwegian man, woman, and child. I was talking to a thirty-something engineer from Norway who said that life was good-the government has been good at promoting policies to preserve employment, a luxury they can afford.

    http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21707435-norways-global-fund-its-tough-small-democracy-run-worlds-biggest
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  52. would be a useful overall stand-in for happiness

    Which leads one to wonder: why is happiness an important metric?

    I suppose it could be important to the individual, perhaps, though modern life seems to indicate it is a poor, even dangerous, one, especially those around you (happiness may be a zero-sum game). How it matters at the national level seems to be not only unanswered, but even unasked. It’s apparently just assumed that happier is better.

    An observation: the most populous of the happy nations is Canada (38th in the world). Next is Australia (53rd), then the Netherlands (66th), and the rest or 90th or lower. All of them have smaller populations than California, and Iceland is barely larger than the city of Stockton. Someone bolder than I might say that, irrespective of all other factors, the best bet for a “happy” nation is a relatively small population and and a abundance of natural resources (or finance-friendly laws, as in der Schwiez). Hardly a model that can be exported in any way.

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  53. Despair is the disease of the intellectually above average. Purposeful self destruction as opposed to reckless behavior needs a foundation that lower intelligence has a hard time creating.
    You can bypass the survival instinct say in suicide bombers but they do not really believe they are going to be destroyed. Completely different from the unhappy Nordic atheist blowing their brains out.

    Also judging by suicide rates an earlier commenters mention of Fijian Fijians is spot on also look for Tongans and people from New Caledonia.

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  54. @anony-mouse
    '... And because the possibility of finding a job is laughable and property ownership largely hereditary, there is no expectation that the people of this region become clock-punching cubicle drones or slaves to a mortgage...'

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEyDNTLlRgU

    Haha you read my mind

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  55. “Blue-Eyed Utopias”

    Is anyone surprised that the 10 ‘happiest’ nations are all AngloGermanic? And the very happiest of all are from the blue-eyed Nordic core of Germandom, Scandinavia? Not that they’re necessarily ‘happier’ than anyone else (whatever that’s supposed to mean), but they always top these kinds of lists.

    All 17 AngloGermanic nations are in the top 19 on that list, with the outliers being #11 Israel and #12 Costa Rica. None of the many high IQ nations in Southern and Eastern Europe or East Asia managed to crack the NW Euro monopoly of the happy 19. Sad.

    MG Miles has compiled the ultimate evidence-based case for Teutonic world domination (at least in the world of lists) here:

    http://thosewhocansee.blogspot.ca/2014/11/theres-something-about-teutonics.html

    The same 17 nations (or 18 including Liechtenstein) tend to finish in the top 20 or 25 in all kinds of positive national attributes, and they cluster together when it comes to negative traits too, like pathological altruism.

    The Anglo Nordic Teutonic nations are generally the world’s smartest, richest, healthiest, safest and happiest. But they feel more guilt than pride about their many achievements. It wasn’t always this way, but it sure is now.

    So they’ve decided to replace themselves with the dumb, the poor, the sickly, the violent and the sad. Because they’re also the world’s fairest and most moral nations, even to a suicidal degree.

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  56. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    low inequality

    One way for these happy countries to keep inequality low is to discourage poor economic refugees.

    Same goes with trust. And lack of corruption.

    I’m buying the magic dirt concept. I just want to keep it clean.

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  57. @Daniel Chieh
    According to Dr. Gregory Bern's Satisfaction, the neuroscientist visits Denmark as the "happiest place on Earth" and does indeed find something of satisfaction there in the land. But it does feel very uniquely Danish, and as liberals might put it, "non-inclusive." The aspects that proved surprisingly satisfying were very un-modern:

    * Being regaled by family histories - a simple conversation with a hostel manager drifted off into an epic retelling of how her ancestry includes villainness from the Poetic Edda.

    * The oddly consistent belief in magic and "elves" which seemed to maintain a sense of wonder and enchantment in the people.

    * The sheer beauty and isolation of the land, including an early morning quest that someone insisted that he do in order to "prove" the existence of the mystical. He was bundled out and rushed up to witness the rise of the sun from atop the mountain, right as the foggy snow would drift and seem to vanish. It seemed a transcendent experience.

    It did seem amazing, but it certainly did not feel like it could be transported whole to the modernity, with our skepticism, our rootlessness, and isolated, beautiful spaces.

    Are you sure you’re referring to Denmark? Sounds more like Iceland to me.

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    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    My apologies, misremembered the country from the book
  58. anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    World War T enters its mopping-up phase: https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/34720066/kiwi-transgender-weightlifter-laurel-hubbards-win-causes-stir-among-female-aussie-competitors/#page1

    That’s not a woman–pronouns notwithstanding–but a literal embodiment of Dalrymple’s observations on propaganda.

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  59. In America, the quality of life peaked back in the 1970s. It’s been declining since then. If you want to understand this issue better, I reccomend watching this video by Professor (now Senator) Elizabeth Warren.

    One of the few politicians who I respect. Similar to Bernie Sanders.

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  60. Another good proxy for happiness might be how many citizens leave the country in search for greater happiness.

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  61. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    When illegals break into the US, don’t just say they violated the law.

    Say that they violated the Rule of Law.

    It matters.

    If you say someone violated a law, it is a detail.

    If you say someone violated the rule of law, it is a principle.

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    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    When someone cross the border illegally they have simply violated the law.

    When they have committed violent or drug crimes and some smug hacks governing a "sanctuary city" won't cooperate with immigration, that is the violation of the Rule of Law.
  62. @Jonathan Silber
    ...it seems that criticism is extremely undesirable in Iranian society.

    That might explain why it's been years since Iran has been only months from building themselves the Bomb.

    It no doubt is a great handicap.

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  63. @TWalsh2
    @Steve and completely OT but something you may find interesting- The Netherlands played Puerto Rico in the world baseball semi finals lat night. A good game but what struck me was the racial makeup of the two teams. The Puerto Rican team was whiter in appearance that the team for the Netherlands and the team from the Netherlands had almost exclusively black players. Dutch Caribbean notwithstanding, I figured the Dutch, who I believe are the tallest nation in the world, could at least run out a couple of white lanky pitchers out there or a slugger or two like Kris Bryant. Maybe they're too busy speed skating and swimming nowadays.

    The average Dutch sports fan knows nothing of baseball .

    It just happens that the Netherlands Caribbean islands are officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands ( ie unlike the US territories like Puerto Rico which have their own international sporting identity ) and baseball is a popular sport there.
    I should add that plenty of these black Dutchmen have moved on to the ” Mother Country ” but their baseball culture is overwhelmingly from the West Indies

    I see Team Israel also plays in this peculiar baseball competition .
    Wonder how many days the entire “Israel ” team has actually physically spent in Israel .
    I’d say less than 100

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  64. @Anon
    When illegals break into the US, don't just say they violated the law.

    Say that they violated the Rule of Law.

    It matters.

    If you say someone violated a law, it is a detail.

    If you say someone violated the rule of law, it is a principle.

    When someone cross the border illegally they have simply violated the law.

    When they have committed violent or drug crimes and some smug hacks governing a “sanctuary city” won’t cooperate with immigration, that is the violation of the Rule of Law.

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  65. @Buck Turgidson
    Never would I be one to beat a dead horse, but Steve King's home district in NW Iowa is a pretty happy place.

    Even though it’s not Scandinavian, the NW Iowa area has a lot of Dutch people. That area has a lot of hardworking families, low crime, high trust, prosperous, etc. I think Steve has written a few entries about the success that Sioux County, Iowa is experiencing.

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    • Replies: @Buck Turgidson
    That area has serious 'magic dirt' as Steve likes to say. If you are landowner in those parts, you are fat and happy. Some of the world's most productive farmland. Much of it today is tile drained and worth.... my guess ... $20K an acre? Dirt in those parts becomes more magical with tile drainage, and that technology has advanced and gone down in price. Corn subsidies, too, have been very, very good to the Hawkeye State. 30 years ago the $$ was in town and the farmers were poor -- remember the farm crisis? -- today, small towns are drying up and the farmers are high on the hog. Cities like Sioux City are doing great. They haven't been diversified much, either. Des Moines, yikes, oh it's been diversified. Don't move there -- but no need to change your vacation plans, I am sure iSteve readers spend their summers there hanging out at Adventureland and the Iowa St Fair. Dubuque getting a little diversified in spots as the nice people from Chicago come over spreading love, and maybe to enjoy the nice weather as Jeb has told us.
  66. @unpc downunder
    New Zealanders and Australians were pretty happy in the 1960s, but since then the neo-liberal right has decided that everyone must become a mortgage slave and the liberal-left has decided that no one is allowed to have any fun. This all happened pretty quickly through a liberal pincer movement in the mid 1980s.

    New Zealanders and Australians were pretty happy in the 1960s, but since then the neo-liberal right has decided that everyone must become a mortgage slave and the liberal-left has decided that no one is allowed to have any fun.

    Australia is definitely a much less happy place than it was in the 60s.

    And don’t believe the “Australia doesn’t have an immigration problem” line. Where I live now was entirely white twenty years ago. Now it’s becoming m,ore and more culturally enriched. The part of Sydney in which I grew up in the 60s was entirely white. Now it’s entirely non-white.

    We’re not going down the toilet as quickly as Britain or Sweden but we are going down the toilet.

    As for freedom of speech, that’s just a memory.

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  67. @anonymous
    Isn't Sachs one of the people who helped Russia become a rather unhappy place back in the day? Now he's a happiness expert? Yeah, let's all listen to what Sachs has to say.

    I don’t think one even needs to listen to Sachs or his fellow world traveler new world economists to know what he would say. Green green green wind solar carbon-neutral mass transit think globally act locally, local, global sustainable local markets micro-finance incentives sustainability. Awesome, eh, now fork over Sachs $10K speaking fee. Actually met Sachs years ago at some meeting on something damned important, nice enough guy in person but I’m not into his one world sustainable open borders green BS dreaming. Sachs and his fellow Economist readers live in a parallel reality with only passing familiarity with the real world.

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  68. @Random Dude on the Internet
    Even though it's not Scandinavian, the NW Iowa area has a lot of Dutch people. That area has a lot of hardworking families, low crime, high trust, prosperous, etc. I think Steve has written a few entries about the success that Sioux County, Iowa is experiencing.

    That area has serious ‘magic dirt’ as Steve likes to say. If you are landowner in those parts, you are fat and happy. Some of the world’s most productive farmland. Much of it today is tile drained and worth…. my guess … $20K an acre? Dirt in those parts becomes more magical with tile drainage, and that technology has advanced and gone down in price. Corn subsidies, too, have been very, very good to the Hawkeye State. 30 years ago the $$ was in town and the farmers were poor — remember the farm crisis? — today, small towns are drying up and the farmers are high on the hog. Cities like Sioux City are doing great. They haven’t been diversified much, either. Des Moines, yikes, oh it’s been diversified. Don’t move there — but no need to change your vacation plans, I am sure iSteve readers spend their summers there hanging out at Adventureland and the Iowa St Fair. Dubuque getting a little diversified in spots as the nice people from Chicago come over spreading love, and maybe to enjoy the nice weather as Jeb has told us.

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  69. @German_reader
    Are you sure you're referring to Denmark? Sounds more like Iceland to me.

    My apologies, misremembered the country from the book

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  70. @Janus
    Being part Danish myself, I would love to believe that the people of Denmark have created some sort of utopia, but my various sojourns there, totaling probably three months, weren't particularly joyful. This was back in the 90s, when the immigration issue was much less pronounced. Denmark was a place which I always felt I should like (hence the fact that I returned several times), but which always disappointed me when I was actually there. Aside from the gloomy weather in winter, there was nothing glaringly bad about the place, but I never found myself wanting to stay. Everything runs well, the people are educated and thoughtful, nobody is homeless except by choice, and the women are attractive and "congenial", but somehow the pleasant parts don't quite equal the happy whole you would expect. Norway actually seemed worse, but I only spent a week there. A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor. Wry and somewhat sardonic. This darkish undercurrent to their character is probably helping to save them from the collective societal suicide which the Swedes are currently engaged in. The Danes are able to see things more clearly than their pollyannish neighbors to the north.
    It may be that I'm just not that much of a fan of Protestant northern Europe. I'll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile. It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians. Indian-Fijians were much more glum. As far as the Western world goes, I found the Australians to be the happiest. People like to talk about how wonderful New Zealand is, but I thought it was a much more miserable place than Australia or America. That might pertain just to Auckland, though. I've heard much better things about the South Island. I don't know if I could say any place in Europe struck me as especially happy, but I found the Latin countries to at least be more easy-going.

    A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor.

    Being next to Germany will do that.

    I’ll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile.

    For some reason, I had the opposite response from the locals. In Denmark, people seemed a bit excited about me (being Asian), but then seemed less so once they found out I was an American, but in Germany it was the opposite. People seemed a bit stiff when they thought I was an Asian, but then warmed up a bit once they realized I was an American.

    It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians.

    I’ve been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I’ve found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

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    • Replies: @Janus
    I'll agree that I encountered more overt anti-Americanism in Copenhagen. On a couple of occasions people flat out refused to speak to me once they found out where I was from, saying America had "nothing but Coca-Cola and McDonald's" , which was funny since there were McDonald's all over the town. The German hostility I was speaking of was more a general tenseness in the air, aimed at each other as much as anything. German's were great to have serious conversations with over some beers, but I found running daily errands to be unpleasant.

    I was never in Bali, but many people told me great things about their people.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?
    , @PiltdownMan

    I’ve been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I’ve found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

     
    Agreed and seconded. They do seem to be an unusually well balanced rural culture, surprisingly immune to having their ways perturbed or changed by modernity and mass tourism, only dozens of miles away in the tourist centers of Bali.

    In some ways, the Balinese remind of the Japanese, though the latter long ago embraced industrial culture and life yet hung on to much of their traditional non-Western mindset and core culture.
  71. @Marina
    I read The Almost Nearly Perfect People, which is by an English guy who married a Danish woman and lived there for a number of years. The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn't naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I'm not talking about race here. I'm talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It's a very conformist culture. Etc.

    The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn’t naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I’m not talking about race here. I’m talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It’s a very conformist culture. Etc.

    Some folks around these parts think that East Asians are all drones while Northern Europeans* are all adventure-seeking, individualists. It’s clear they have not been to East Asia or Scandinavia. I have a close college friend who is Swedish. When I was younger I visited her many times. And your observation is right on the mark, particularly for the older Scandinavians. People forget that before the North Sea oil (Norway) and the economic liberalization (Sweden), Scandinavia was generally very socially conformist and economically staid and that, for much of modern European history, Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe), save for a few moments of greatness under the likes of Gustavus Adolphus). And even 20 years ago, individualism was much deprecated and ostracized in Scandinavia.

    *The real individualists in Europe are the Celto (or British)-Anglo-Saxons. They are the ones with insatiable taste for possessing their own lands (and multiplying), so much so that they were willing cut ties with their parents and ancestral lands and colonize-settle distant parts of the world readily. Every man a king in his own castle seemed (and seems) to be their motto.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    "Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe),"

    Eh, what's now Sweden, Norway and Finland are the distinctive corner of Europe that never had serfdom. Scandinavia had the highest rate independent farmers ie men who were actually kings of their own castle instead of tenant farmers or serfs. Those men looking for land in America moved there because they wanted to live like Scandinavians. (That of course includes the Scandinavians who moved there during the population boom when the excess population needed either new lands or a new lifestyle.)

    Scandinavia was never really poor by Western European standards (Finland was but that's a whole different story). Some British aristocrats running a world empire may have not been impressed by the Norwegian royals living in a small palace without spectacular diamonds for their crown but as the average man you'd be better off born in Norway for the past thousand years.
  72. @Twinkie

    A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor.
     
    Being next to Germany will do that.

    I’ll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile.
     
    For some reason, I had the opposite response from the locals. In Denmark, people seemed a bit excited about me (being Asian), but then seemed less so once they found out I was an American, but in Germany it was the opposite. People seemed a bit stiff when they thought I was an Asian, but then warmed up a bit once they realized I was an American.

    It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians.
     
    I've been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I've found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

    I’ll agree that I encountered more overt anti-Americanism in Copenhagen. On a couple of occasions people flat out refused to speak to me once they found out where I was from, saying America had “nothing but Coca-Cola and McDonald’s” , which was funny since there were McDonald’s all over the town. The German hostility I was speaking of was more a general tenseness in the air, aimed at each other as much as anything. German’s were great to have serious conversations with over some beers, but I found running daily errands to be unpleasant.

    I was never in Bali, but many people told me great things about their people.

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  73. @Twinkie

    A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor.
     
    Being next to Germany will do that.

    I’ll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile.
     
    For some reason, I had the opposite response from the locals. In Denmark, people seemed a bit excited about me (being Asian), but then seemed less so once they found out I was an American, but in Germany it was the opposite. People seemed a bit stiff when they thought I was an Asian, but then warmed up a bit once they realized I was an American.

    It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians.
     
    I've been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I've found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?

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    • Replies: @Foreign Expert
    Many of the smaller eastern islands of Indonesia are predominantly Christian and appear to be fairly happy in spite of the fact that they have no apparent source of income.
    , @PiltdownMan

    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?
     
    Not really. Thailand and Cambodia have been Buddhist for several centuries, though there is a cultural substrate that is identifiable as Hindu, especially in bits and pieces of Sanskrit language.

    Java, which was evenly split between Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms converted to Islam relatively recently, with the last Hindu kingdom converting after AD 1500. But it is almost completely Muslim now, mostly quietist and pacifist, albeit with the usual modern ailment of humorless Saudi funded and inspired fundamentalism seducing some younger adherents.

    At the level of folk culture, the Javanese still celebrate Hindu mythological stories in the form of drama and dance. I was startled to see a large modern statue of the Hindu god Krishna in the square outside their parliament when I first visited in the 1990s.

    The spread of Islam in Java is poorly understood and the historical record is quite fragmentary. It appears to have been peaceful and gradual, spread by traders, in contrast to much of the rest of the Muslim world, and especially in contrast to the history of Islam in Hindu India.

    , @sb
    While there is a clearly a Hindu undercurrent in Java I've only seen obvious Hinduism among Balinese internal immigrants to other islands ( of which there are quite a few - Bali is an overcrowded island and the Balinese are smarter than the average Indonesian ) .

    Not an expert on Indonesia but baring in mind that Indonesia is over 90% Muslim it has always seemed noteworthy to me that many of the most popular ( or agreeable ) places for visitors ( well for me anyway ) are decidedly non Islamic in tone .

    As well as Bali there is also Flores ,the TanaToraja region in Sulawesi , Lake Toba region in Sumatra , Ambon and the Banda islands in Melaku . Other popular regions like Jogjakarta in Java while clearly a Muslim region clearly show signs of it's pre Islamic Hindu past

    I was a frequent visitor to the Archipeligo when younger and the only place which seemed heavily Muslim MENA style was Banda Aceh in North Sumatra
    , @Twinkie

    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?
     
    There are Hindus scattered all across the area, but they are small minorities. But as others pointed out, one can sense the Hindu cultural substrate in the whole region.

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?
     
    Indonesians are generally mellow*, though there is the occasional "ninja"/sorcerer hunting/decapitation in rural Java. We tend to romanticize the pre-Islamic traditions of the region, but much of it is just backward ignorance. But they tend to be less dogmatic and more practical than the Salafi-influenced (and as another commenter pointed out, Saudi-funded) Islamists.

    *The Timorese, of course, would dispute that description quite justifiably.

    The Balinese are somewhat unique in that they have managed to keep some of the more salutary elements of their traditional culture while benefitting from the contacts with Western/East Asian tourists. And of course Islamic terrorists just had to mess that up for the rest of us. It's like these assholes just can't leave well alone people who are happy with their own lives.
  74. @Steve Sailer
    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?

    Many of the smaller eastern islands of Indonesia are predominantly Christian and appear to be fairly happy in spite of the fact that they have no apparent source of income.

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  75. @Twinkie

    A saving grace of the Danes compared to their fellow Scandinavians is that, in my opinion, they have a better sense of humor.
     
    Being next to Germany will do that.

    I’ll take Denmark over Germany any day as a place to live. Germans can be all right in intimate social settings, but public interactions in Germany always felt awkward and even hostile.
     
    For some reason, I had the opposite response from the locals. In Denmark, people seemed a bit excited about me (being Asian), but then seemed less so once they found out I was an American, but in Germany it was the opposite. People seemed a bit stiff when they thought I was an Asian, but then warmed up a bit once they realized I was an American.

    It seems to me that the most genuinely happy people I met travelling the world were the native Fijians.
     
    I've been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I've found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

    I’ve been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I’ve found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

    Agreed and seconded. They do seem to be an unusually well balanced rural culture, surprisingly immune to having their ways perturbed or changed by modernity and mass tourism, only dozens of miles away in the tourist centers of Bali.

    In some ways, the Balinese remind of the Japanese, though the latter long ago embraced industrial culture and life yet hung on to much of their traditional non-Western mindset and core culture.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    In some ways, the Balinese remind of the Japanese, though the latter long ago embraced industrial culture and life yet hung on to much of their traditional non-Western mindset and core culture.
     
    I've never thought of that. I am not sure I agree. As Jared Taylor once said, the Japanese are rather obsessive about their own "uniqueness." Contrary to being too Westernized, I think the Japanese have managed to keep the core of their culture intact better than the Koreans and the Chinese. But perhaps that's because they were occupied by a foreign power only once in the past thousand years or so, and oh-so benevolently and briefly at that. And the Japanese are not nearly as welcoming to foreigners as the Balinese are. I've found the highland rural Balinese peasants to be far more welcoming* to foreigners than the most urban of the Japanese. And the former are far more relaxed than the latter. I am originally from East Asia, and East Asians are just much more uptight, anxious, and competitive than the Balinese who are mellow and communal. Frankly, it's a better way to live (but for the fact that this kind of relaxed attitude leads to stagnation, and opens the community to more developed and avaricious invaders).

    *And I don't mean the very popular (on this site) "invade the world, invite world" here by "welcoming." What I mean is that true hospitality to guests.
  76. @Steve Sailer
    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?

    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Not really. Thailand and Cambodia have been Buddhist for several centuries, though there is a cultural substrate that is identifiable as Hindu, especially in bits and pieces of Sanskrit language.

    Java, which was evenly split between Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms converted to Islam relatively recently, with the last Hindu kingdom converting after AD 1500. But it is almost completely Muslim now, mostly quietist and pacifist, albeit with the usual modern ailment of humorless Saudi funded and inspired fundamentalism seducing some younger adherents.

    At the level of folk culture, the Javanese still celebrate Hindu mythological stories in the form of drama and dance. I was startled to see a large modern statue of the Hindu god Krishna in the square outside their parliament when I first visited in the 1990s.

    The spread of Islam in Java is poorly understood and the historical record is quite fragmentary. It appears to have been peaceful and gradual, spread by traders, in contrast to much of the rest of the Muslim world, and especially in contrast to the history of Islam in Hindu India.

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  77. @Steve Sailer
    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?

    While there is a clearly a Hindu undercurrent in Java I’ve only seen obvious Hinduism among Balinese internal immigrants to other islands ( of which there are quite a few – Bali is an overcrowded island and the Balinese are smarter than the average Indonesian ) .

    Not an expert on Indonesia but baring in mind that Indonesia is over 90% Muslim it has always seemed noteworthy to me that many of the most popular ( or agreeable ) places for visitors ( well for me anyway ) are decidedly non Islamic in tone .

    As well as Bali there is also Flores ,the TanaToraja region in Sulawesi , Lake Toba region in Sumatra , Ambon and the Banda islands in Melaku . Other popular regions like Jogjakarta in Java while clearly a Muslim region clearly show signs of it’s pre Islamic Hindu past

    I was a frequent visitor to the Archipeligo when younger and the only place which seemed heavily Muslim MENA style was Banda Aceh in North Sumatra

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    I was a frequent visitor to the Archipeligo when younger and the only place which seemed heavily Muslim MENA style was Banda Aceh in North Sumatra
     
    Yup. They have the real deal Shariah law there. I found it an unpleasant place.
  78. @Twinkie

    The impression I got was that the Nordic countries were pretty nice places to be Nordic, but if you didn’t naturally fall into that very narrow Scandinavian personality type, they were pretty grim places. Very cold, very dark, very, very homogeneous* and the tiny hyper similar populations mean very limited consumer choices.

    *I’m not talking about race here. I’m talking in terms of things like personality, food, fashion choices, home styles, hobbies, lifestyles and everything else. The is One Way people raise kids and everyone does it. Everyone lives in the same kind of house. Everyone has a similar level of ambition. It’s a very conformist culture. Etc.
     

    Some folks around these parts think that East Asians are all drones while Northern Europeans* are all adventure-seeking, individualists. It's clear they have not been to East Asia or Scandinavia. I have a close college friend who is Swedish. When I was younger I visited her many times. And your observation is right on the mark, particularly for the older Scandinavians. People forget that before the North Sea oil (Norway) and the economic liberalization (Sweden), Scandinavia was generally very socially conformist and economically staid and that, for much of modern European history, Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe), save for a few moments of greatness under the likes of Gustavus Adolphus). And even 20 years ago, individualism was much deprecated and ostracized in Scandinavia.

    *The real individualists in Europe are the Celto (or British)-Anglo-Saxons. They are the ones with insatiable taste for possessing their own lands (and multiplying), so much so that they were willing cut ties with their parents and ancestral lands and colonize-settle distant parts of the world readily. Every man a king in his own castle seemed (and seems) to be their motto.

    “Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe),”

    Eh, what’s now Sweden, Norway and Finland are the distinctive corner of Europe that never had serfdom. Scandinavia had the highest rate independent farmers ie men who were actually kings of their own castle instead of tenant farmers or serfs. Those men looking for land in America moved there because they wanted to live like Scandinavians. (That of course includes the Scandinavians who moved there during the population boom when the excess population needed either new lands or a new lifestyle.)

    Scandinavia was never really poor by Western European standards (Finland was but that’s a whole different story). Some British aristocrats running a world empire may have not been impressed by the Norwegian royals living in a small palace without spectacular diamonds for their crown but as the average man you’d be better off born in Norway for the past thousand years.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stavnsbånd
    , @AustinCapitalist
    Norway was one of the poorest western countries for much of European history, and even Sweden was below average into the 1900s from what I remember. Looking it up it does seem that it had below average GDP in 1913. As late as 1820 Norway had significantly lower GDP (adjusted for purchasing power even) per capita than Portugal!
  79. @Jaakko Raipala
    "Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe),"

    Eh, what's now Sweden, Norway and Finland are the distinctive corner of Europe that never had serfdom. Scandinavia had the highest rate independent farmers ie men who were actually kings of their own castle instead of tenant farmers or serfs. Those men looking for land in America moved there because they wanted to live like Scandinavians. (That of course includes the Scandinavians who moved there during the population boom when the excess population needed either new lands or a new lifestyle.)

    Scandinavia was never really poor by Western European standards (Finland was but that's a whole different story). Some British aristocrats running a world empire may have not been impressed by the Norwegian royals living in a small palace without spectacular diamonds for their crown but as the average man you'd be better off born in Norway for the past thousand years.
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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    That's only Denmark. Danes are ethnically Scandinavian but Denmark is geographically not in the Scandinavian peninsula and their history and politics has always had continental influences separate from Scandinavia proper. Serfdom is one subject where they were somewhere between the Scandinavian norm and continental European norms.

    You might notice I said "what's now Norway, Sweden and Finland" and conclude that I'm well aware of Denmark's importation of continental feudalism while nothing in your post indicates that you're aware of the difference as you talk about your Swedish friend and then talk about "late end to serfdom" having an influence on their society. Sweden is not only exceptional by Western European standards but it's exceptional by world standards in the *lack* of such institutions.

    If you really want to paint Scandinavia's relation to serfdom as "backwardness" you need to do it the other way around: point out that Scandinavia was so "backwards" by Western European standards that it never developed the elaborate system of feudal lords, vassals and fiefs that would have even motivated the elites to push for serfdom. Only Denmark developed somewhat of a feudal society and even they were late to that game and their elites never managed to push actual full bond serfdom on their population.

    Citing "late end to serfdom" as evidence of Scandinavian backwardness is a historical misstatement on the level of declaring the Americans a backwards people because they were the last people to visit the Moon.

  80. Just got an email to my spam folder, indignantly reporting that Norway is about to engage in an annual whale hunt and kill hundreds of whales. Maybe that’s the secret to their happiness.

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  81. @Twinkie
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stavnsbånd

    That’s only Denmark. Danes are ethnically Scandinavian but Denmark is geographically not in the Scandinavian peninsula and their history and politics has always had continental influences separate from Scandinavia proper. Serfdom is one subject where they were somewhere between the Scandinavian norm and continental European norms.

    You might notice I said “what’s now Norway, Sweden and Finland” and conclude that I’m well aware of Denmark’s importation of continental feudalism while nothing in your post indicates that you’re aware of the difference as you talk about your Swedish friend and then talk about “late end to serfdom” having an influence on their society. Sweden is not only exceptional by Western European standards but it’s exceptional by world standards in the *lack* of such institutions.

    If you really want to paint Scandinavia’s relation to serfdom as “backwardness” you need to do it the other way around: point out that Scandinavia was so “backwards” by Western European standards that it never developed the elaborate system of feudal lords, vassals and fiefs that would have even motivated the elites to push for serfdom. Only Denmark developed somewhat of a feudal society and even they were late to that game and their elites never managed to push actual full bond serfdom on their population.

    Citing “late end to serfdom” as evidence of Scandinavian backwardness is a historical misstatement on the level of declaring the Americans a backwards people because they were the last people to visit the Moon.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie
    Fair enough, but England emancipated serfs in the late 1500's and the Scandinavians farthest from the Continent - the Icelandics - had a serf-like institution similar to that of their Danish overlords until close to the twentieth century.
  82. @TheJester
    My wife and I camped through Europe years ago. We got a slightly different perspective from a Danish couple with respect to Danish conformity ... the Danish "magic dirt" that might lead to a happy society. I suspect the perspective would apply to the Norwegians as well.

    The Danish couple owned a small hotel. The cost of firing an employee was so financially prohibitive that their employees effectively "owned" their jobs. Hence, their challenge, as they described it, was to create such a wholesome working atmosphere that their employees were motivated to come to work in the morning. Work had to be "fun". The Danish couple considered themselves cheerleaders and motivational experts rather than hotel owners. They must have been good at these jobs because the hotel was still in business.

    It is clear how importing people from diverse, Third-World cultures might impact this Germanic "happiness", regardless of the country, and affect their survey numbers. In liberal social welfare states, how do you deal with people who are not motivated to work because it's "fun"?

    Again, another positive marker for creating and sustaining homogeneous rather than diverse societies.

    I can’t recommend enough this blog series on how “Fun” grew like a malignant tumor to replace the deeper meanings of life:

    https://theanadromist.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/sacred-cows-3/

    Anyhow, your post reminds me that people need something in addition to an ethnostate. We could call it abisaya, I think. But there needs to be some ideological or religious unity of higher purpose beyond ephemeral pleasure.

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    • Replies: @TheJester

    Anyhow, your post reminds me that people need something in addition to an ethnostate. We could call it abisaya, I think. But there needs to be some ideological or religious unity of higher purpose beyond ephemeral pleasure.
     
    Well put ... thanks :-)
  83. I won’t lie, living in Norway is pretty sweet: A small lump of fat always floating on top of history’s tossing ocean.

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  84. @Jaakko Raipala
    That's only Denmark. Danes are ethnically Scandinavian but Denmark is geographically not in the Scandinavian peninsula and their history and politics has always had continental influences separate from Scandinavia proper. Serfdom is one subject where they were somewhere between the Scandinavian norm and continental European norms.

    You might notice I said "what's now Norway, Sweden and Finland" and conclude that I'm well aware of Denmark's importation of continental feudalism while nothing in your post indicates that you're aware of the difference as you talk about your Swedish friend and then talk about "late end to serfdom" having an influence on their society. Sweden is not only exceptional by Western European standards but it's exceptional by world standards in the *lack* of such institutions.

    If you really want to paint Scandinavia's relation to serfdom as "backwardness" you need to do it the other way around: point out that Scandinavia was so "backwards" by Western European standards that it never developed the elaborate system of feudal lords, vassals and fiefs that would have even motivated the elites to push for serfdom. Only Denmark developed somewhat of a feudal society and even they were late to that game and their elites never managed to push actual full bond serfdom on their population.

    Citing "late end to serfdom" as evidence of Scandinavian backwardness is a historical misstatement on the level of declaring the Americans a backwards people because they were the last people to visit the Moon.

    Fair enough, but England emancipated serfs in the late 1500′s and the Scandinavians farthest from the Continent – the Icelandics – had a serf-like institution similar to that of their Danish overlords until close to the twentieth century.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    And see Väinö Linna's Täällä Pohjantähden alla (Here beneath Polaris) trilogy for a detailed account in fiction of how that went in Finland, in the form of extreme and brutal tenant farming under both the Swedes and Russians.

    There's a lot of romanticization of manorialism in some parts of the HBDsphere. The assumption seems to be that certain humans evolved because of it, rather than despite it.
  85. @Jaakko Raipala
    "Scandinavia was a backwater (they ended serfdom later than most of Western Europe),"

    Eh, what's now Sweden, Norway and Finland are the distinctive corner of Europe that never had serfdom. Scandinavia had the highest rate independent farmers ie men who were actually kings of their own castle instead of tenant farmers or serfs. Those men looking for land in America moved there because they wanted to live like Scandinavians. (That of course includes the Scandinavians who moved there during the population boom when the excess population needed either new lands or a new lifestyle.)

    Scandinavia was never really poor by Western European standards (Finland was but that's a whole different story). Some British aristocrats running a world empire may have not been impressed by the Norwegian royals living in a small palace without spectacular diamonds for their crown but as the average man you'd be better off born in Norway for the past thousand years.

    Norway was one of the poorest western countries for much of European history, and even Sweden was below average into the 1900s from what I remember. Looking it up it does seem that it had below average GDP in 1913. As late as 1820 Norway had significantly lower GDP (adjusted for purchasing power even) per capita than Portugal!

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    • Replies: @Ivy
    Hence the saying:

    Swedes live to eat
    Norwegians eat to live
    Danes eat to drink
    Finns drink to sweat in the sauna

    Or some variation thereon

    My neighbor's Swedish au pairs years ago were all beautiful and pleasant, a delight to have in the neighborhood and a good influence on their young charges.

  86. @Twinkie
    Fair enough, but England emancipated serfs in the late 1500's and the Scandinavians farthest from the Continent - the Icelandics - had a serf-like institution similar to that of their Danish overlords until close to the twentieth century.

    And see Väinö Linna’s Täällä Pohjantähden alla (Here beneath Polaris) trilogy for a detailed account in fiction of how that went in Finland, in the form of extreme and brutal tenant farming under both the Swedes and Russians.

    There’s a lot of romanticization of manorialism in some parts of the HBDsphere. The assumption seems to be that certain humans evolved because of it, rather than despite it.

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    • Replies: @Jaakko Raipala
    Väinö Linna was a political propagandist with a grievance against landowners.

    Painting tenant farming as Swedish and Russian oppression is silly as the vast majority of land tilled by Finnish tenant farmers was owned by Finnish landowners. Ethnic Swedish landowners mostly existed in the ethnic Swedish areas where they had ethnic Swedish tenant farmers. Russians were irrelevant as there were no Russian landowners and that was very good as they would have actually brought serfdom with them.

    Finland is also exceptional (even compared to Scandinavia) in that most landowners had small holdings with only a few tenants (there's an extreme example of the opposite just south in the Baltic states under German landowners and their giant estates). The manorialism that hbd blogs speak about does not really apply to Finns.

    There *was* something bad happening with the status of tenant farmers in Finland in the 19th century, though, as the industrial revolution let a single farmer run much larger farms and landowners had the incentive to cut the number of tenant farmers. This was in conflict with the population boom and with traditional assumptions like the idea that tenancy is inherited. They had the same issue in those parts of the British Isles where tenant farming as was as common as in Western Finland: the traditional assumptions of how things worked were shaken by new economic incentives, landowners were left with all the power in the new situation and many opted for mass evictions and the like.

    But the fact that tenant farmers were left without protections when the old agrarian society collapsed in the industrial transition doesn't make a good case against tenant farming itself - even if that transition left people like Mr Linna feeling intensely bitter over what had happened in their family.

  87. I was only in Sweden for a short time, and have never been to the other Scandinavian countries, but I have been through about 10 countries in Europe, and NEVER have I been to a European country or city that struck me as “happy.” As a matter of fact, I would go on record as saying that I have not met white people ANYWHERE who strike me as being as happy as white Americans, not to mention as warm and friendly as western and southern white Americans, with the exception of white South Africans, who seem very happy, outgoing and polite for some reason (coincidence?)

    As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a European immigrant who has even told me otherwise. Try getting one of these beautiful Norwegian Au Pairs in New York back to Oslo, they are working for very little money and overstaying their visas by 10 years, and you would have to drag them onto the plane by their hair.

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  88. @Thea
    I can't recommend enough this blog series on how "Fun" grew like a malignant tumor to replace the deeper meanings of life:

    https://theanadromist.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/sacred-cows-3/

    Anyhow, your post reminds me that people need something in addition to an ethnostate. We could call it abisaya, I think. But there needs to be some ideological or religious unity of higher purpose beyond ephemeral pleasure.

    Anyhow, your post reminds me that people need something in addition to an ethnostate. We could call it abisaya, I think. But there needs to be some ideological or religious unity of higher purpose beyond ephemeral pleasure.

    Well put … thanks :-)

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  89. @AustinCapitalist
    Norway was one of the poorest western countries for much of European history, and even Sweden was below average into the 1900s from what I remember. Looking it up it does seem that it had below average GDP in 1913. As late as 1820 Norway had significantly lower GDP (adjusted for purchasing power even) per capita than Portugal!

    Hence the saying:

    Swedes live to eat
    Norwegians eat to live
    Danes eat to drink
    Finns drink to sweat in the sauna

    Or some variation thereon

    My neighbor’s Swedish au pairs years ago were all beautiful and pleasant, a delight to have in the neighborhood and a good influence on their young charges.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    My neighbor’s Swedish au pairs years ago were all beautiful and pleasant, a delight to have in the neighborhood and a good influence on their young charges.
     
    That was rather lucky for that neighbor. Most European au pairs have a reputation for partying and drinking excessively (while Thai and Brazilian ones have a reputation for husband-hunting). Contrary to the glossy adverts from the au pair agencies, au pairs generally have minimal to no childcare training and aren't all that interested in it. If you are lucky, you might get a nice person who is genuinely interested in traveling the U.S. on your dime during her gap year. If you are unlucky, you will get a nightmare - an overgrown, irresponsible party-lover whom you will have to parent in addition to, you know, your actual children. At least Swedish and German au pairs can drive reasonably well. Au pairs from less affluent countries have been known to crash the host family cars and even - gasp! - run over their charges.

    Before the days of Skype, the au pairs at least had to share some face time with their host families and acculturate somewhat, which helped with the bonding with host families. But now with a huge fellow au pair crowd (from the same country) in most metro areas and Skype, you will hardly ever see your au pair. But she will certainly advertise herself on Care.com or Sitter City or whatever your local equivalent is.

    It always has been a bit of a scam for the au pair agencies - selling English-learning, easy work, and a free car to the au pairs and cheap sitters for the parents all under the guise of "cultural exchange" - but things have gotten quite bad in the recent decades. I know lots of neighbors and friends who have had horrendous experiences with au pair, including, yes, with those from Sweden. The State Department ought to shut the program down or reform it seriously, but I am sure it has better things to do.
  90. @Steve Sailer
    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?

    Are there any other Hindu places within a coupe of thousand miles of Bali? It seems like an interesting test case but I worry about small sample sizes?

    There are Hindus scattered all across the area, but they are small minorities. But as others pointed out, one can sense the Hindu cultural substrate in the whole region.

    Has anybody done a look at the East Indies to see about the effects of different religions on different islands?

    Indonesians are generally mellow*, though there is the occasional “ninja”/sorcerer hunting/decapitation in rural Java. We tend to romanticize the pre-Islamic traditions of the region, but much of it is just backward ignorance. But they tend to be less dogmatic and more practical than the Salafi-influenced (and as another commenter pointed out, Saudi-funded) Islamists.

    *The Timorese, of course, would dispute that description quite justifiably.

    The Balinese are somewhat unique in that they have managed to keep some of the more salutary elements of their traditional culture while benefitting from the contacts with Western/East Asian tourists. And of course Islamic terrorists just had to mess that up for the rest of us. It’s like these assholes just can’t leave well alone people who are happy with their own lives.

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  91. @sb
    While there is a clearly a Hindu undercurrent in Java I've only seen obvious Hinduism among Balinese internal immigrants to other islands ( of which there are quite a few - Bali is an overcrowded island and the Balinese are smarter than the average Indonesian ) .

    Not an expert on Indonesia but baring in mind that Indonesia is over 90% Muslim it has always seemed noteworthy to me that many of the most popular ( or agreeable ) places for visitors ( well for me anyway ) are decidedly non Islamic in tone .

    As well as Bali there is also Flores ,the TanaToraja region in Sulawesi , Lake Toba region in Sumatra , Ambon and the Banda islands in Melaku . Other popular regions like Jogjakarta in Java while clearly a Muslim region clearly show signs of it's pre Islamic Hindu past

    I was a frequent visitor to the Archipeligo when younger and the only place which seemed heavily Muslim MENA style was Banda Aceh in North Sumatra

    I was a frequent visitor to the Archipeligo when younger and the only place which seemed heavily Muslim MENA style was Banda Aceh in North Sumatra

    Yup. They have the real deal Shariah law there. I found it an unpleasant place.

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  92. @PiltdownMan

    I’ve been to many parts of the world and worked and lived all over the world. I’ve found the Balinese to be some of the happiest people in the world. They still maintain a very traditional (Hindu), communal way of life and are exceedingly easygoing. At the same time, thanks to all the tourists, they have comparatively much more money than other rural (Muslim) Indonesians as well as enjoying contact with foreigners (which adds some spice to their otherwise very traditional lives).

    Here I am not referring to the Balinese in the tourist areas, but those who reside in the interior highlands.

     
    Agreed and seconded. They do seem to be an unusually well balanced rural culture, surprisingly immune to having their ways perturbed or changed by modernity and mass tourism, only dozens of miles away in the tourist centers of Bali.

    In some ways, the Balinese remind of the Japanese, though the latter long ago embraced industrial culture and life yet hung on to much of their traditional non-Western mindset and core culture.

    In some ways, the Balinese remind of the Japanese, though the latter long ago embraced industrial culture and life yet hung on to much of their traditional non-Western mindset and core culture.

    I’ve never thought of that. I am not sure I agree. As Jared Taylor once said, the Japanese are rather obsessive about their own “uniqueness.” Contrary to being too Westernized, I think the Japanese have managed to keep the core of their culture intact better than the Koreans and the Chinese. But perhaps that’s because they were occupied by a foreign power only once in the past thousand years or so, and oh-so benevolently and briefly at that. And the Japanese are not nearly as welcoming to foreigners as the Balinese are. I’ve found the highland rural Balinese peasants to be far more welcoming* to foreigners than the most urban of the Japanese. And the former are far more relaxed than the latter. I am originally from East Asia, and East Asians are just much more uptight, anxious, and competitive than the Balinese who are mellow and communal. Frankly, it’s a better way to live (but for the fact that this kind of relaxed attitude leads to stagnation, and opens the community to more developed and avaricious invaders).

    *And I don’t mean the very popular (on this site) “invade the world, invite world” here by “welcoming.” What I mean is that true hospitality to guests.

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  93. @Ivy
    Hence the saying:

    Swedes live to eat
    Norwegians eat to live
    Danes eat to drink
    Finns drink to sweat in the sauna

    Or some variation thereon

    My neighbor's Swedish au pairs years ago were all beautiful and pleasant, a delight to have in the neighborhood and a good influence on their young charges.

    My neighbor’s Swedish au pairs years ago were all beautiful and pleasant, a delight to have in the neighborhood and a good influence on their young charges.

    That was rather lucky for that neighbor. Most European au pairs have a reputation for partying and drinking excessively (while Thai and Brazilian ones have a reputation for husband-hunting). Contrary to the glossy adverts from the au pair agencies, au pairs generally have minimal to no childcare training and aren’t all that interested in it. If you are lucky, you might get a nice person who is genuinely interested in traveling the U.S. on your dime during her gap year. If you are unlucky, you will get a nightmare – an overgrown, irresponsible party-lover whom you will have to parent in addition to, you know, your actual children. At least Swedish and German au pairs can drive reasonably well. Au pairs from less affluent countries have been known to crash the host family cars and even – gasp! – run over their charges.

    Before the days of Skype, the au pairs at least had to share some face time with their host families and acculturate somewhat, which helped with the bonding with host families. But now with a huge fellow au pair crowd (from the same country) in most metro areas and Skype, you will hardly ever see your au pair. But she will certainly advertise herself on Care.com or Sitter City or whatever your local equivalent is.

    It always has been a bit of a scam for the au pair agencies – selling English-learning, easy work, and a free car to the au pairs and cheap sitters for the parents all under the guise of “cultural exchange” – but things have gotten quite bad in the recent decades. I know lots of neighbors and friends who have had horrendous experiences with au pair, including, yes, with those from Sweden. The State Department ought to shut the program down or reform it seriously, but I am sure it has better things to do.

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  94. @Olorin
    And see Väinö Linna's Täällä Pohjantähden alla (Here beneath Polaris) trilogy for a detailed account in fiction of how that went in Finland, in the form of extreme and brutal tenant farming under both the Swedes and Russians.

    There's a lot of romanticization of manorialism in some parts of the HBDsphere. The assumption seems to be that certain humans evolved because of it, rather than despite it.

    Väinö Linna was a political propagandist with a grievance against landowners.

    Painting tenant farming as Swedish and Russian oppression is silly as the vast majority of land tilled by Finnish tenant farmers was owned by Finnish landowners. Ethnic Swedish landowners mostly existed in the ethnic Swedish areas where they had ethnic Swedish tenant farmers. Russians were irrelevant as there were no Russian landowners and that was very good as they would have actually brought serfdom with them.

    Finland is also exceptional (even compared to Scandinavia) in that most landowners had small holdings with only a few tenants (there’s an extreme example of the opposite just south in the Baltic states under German landowners and their giant estates). The manorialism that hbd blogs speak about does not really apply to Finns.

    There *was* something bad happening with the status of tenant farmers in Finland in the 19th century, though, as the industrial revolution let a single farmer run much larger farms and landowners had the incentive to cut the number of tenant farmers. This was in conflict with the population boom and with traditional assumptions like the idea that tenancy is inherited. They had the same issue in those parts of the British Isles where tenant farming as was as common as in Western Finland: the traditional assumptions of how things worked were shaken by new economic incentives, landowners were left with all the power in the new situation and many opted for mass evictions and the like.

    But the fact that tenant farmers were left without protections when the old agrarian society collapsed in the industrial transition doesn’t make a good case against tenant farming itself – even if that transition left people like Mr Linna feeling intensely bitter over what had happened in their family.

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    • Replies: @Olorin
    So what?

    His perspective is his perspective, and it opened a path for both the sons/grandsons of Whites and the sons/grandsons of Reds in my circles here in Loggerland to come out of their family silences.

    Fiction is therapy. Linna wrote fiction.

  95. @Jaakko Raipala
    Väinö Linna was a political propagandist with a grievance against landowners.

    Painting tenant farming as Swedish and Russian oppression is silly as the vast majority of land tilled by Finnish tenant farmers was owned by Finnish landowners. Ethnic Swedish landowners mostly existed in the ethnic Swedish areas where they had ethnic Swedish tenant farmers. Russians were irrelevant as there were no Russian landowners and that was very good as they would have actually brought serfdom with them.

    Finland is also exceptional (even compared to Scandinavia) in that most landowners had small holdings with only a few tenants (there's an extreme example of the opposite just south in the Baltic states under German landowners and their giant estates). The manorialism that hbd blogs speak about does not really apply to Finns.

    There *was* something bad happening with the status of tenant farmers in Finland in the 19th century, though, as the industrial revolution let a single farmer run much larger farms and landowners had the incentive to cut the number of tenant farmers. This was in conflict with the population boom and with traditional assumptions like the idea that tenancy is inherited. They had the same issue in those parts of the British Isles where tenant farming as was as common as in Western Finland: the traditional assumptions of how things worked were shaken by new economic incentives, landowners were left with all the power in the new situation and many opted for mass evictions and the like.

    But the fact that tenant farmers were left without protections when the old agrarian society collapsed in the industrial transition doesn't make a good case against tenant farming itself - even if that transition left people like Mr Linna feeling intensely bitter over what had happened in their family.

    So what?

    His perspective is his perspective, and it opened a path for both the sons/grandsons of Whites and the sons/grandsons of Reds in my circles here in Loggerland to come out of their family silences.

    Fiction is therapy. Linna wrote fiction.

    Read More

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