In RUSH, I warn of politicians, psychologists and economists trying to twist GDP measures to include “happiness.” Now comes an index ranking North Korea #2, and China #1. Where does the U.S. rank? Well, if you look under “American Empire,” the U.S. shows up in 203rd place. I guess that explains all those refugees on leaky boats fleeing San Francisco to get to Pyongyang.
Of course, this index was compiled by North Korea, but take a look at something called the Happy Planet Index, which ranks countries based, not on GDP but on whether the people are happy and healthy. For 2009, Costa Rica ranked highest. I’ve recently been to Costa Rica, and loved the lush landscapes and banana plantations. Now look a few spots down the list. Jamaica ranks third, which fits nicely with the ubiquitous Reggae beat in “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” But Jamaica’s got a lot to worry about, including one of the world’s highest murder rates. Tourists enjoy its turquoise Caribbean waters, but see them from behind locked gates in all-inclusive compounds.
On the Happy Planet Index, Cuba ranked seventh and, in an astounding finding, people under the Palestinian Authority are apparently happier and healthier than Israeli citizens! Now, if a pro-Zionist spokesman argued that the Palestinians are happier and healthier, he’d be laughed at. Or stoned. Of course, the U.S. shows up number 114, safely ahead of Zimbabwe. If Cuba clobbers the U.S. and most of western Europe, ask yourself this: When was the last time you heard of an American, a Brit, or a German trying to fake a passport and sneak into Cuba in order to raise a happy family? Which way were those leaky rafts headed, anyway? There’s no point in quibbling over such a ranking system. The point is that Utopians have a hard time resisting the temptation to try to make people happier by making them less free.
Read more in RUSH: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race