To repeat, if slightly alter, a Rod Liddle joke

Norway, the happiest country in the world? I’m not so sure
Daniel Simonsen

Yes, yes, they are. Because despite appearances, proximity and similarity they are also absolutely sure that they are not Swedish.

10 thoughts on “To repeat, if slightly alter, a Rod Liddle joke”

  1. And strangely enough, all the Swedes I know are perfectly happy that they’re not Norwegian.

  2. Old joke: Norwegian, Dane and Swede shopwrecked together. By the end of the week, Dane has formed a coop, Norwegian built a boat and the Swede is still waiting to be introduced.

  3. I really doubt about the usefulness of happiness figures, surely if people are so happy in Denmark,Norway etc, then why do they need to drink so much? Happiness is very subjective and it could be that they just think they are happier rather than they live in wonderful country. (Or we would be that happy if we drank more).
    I know a lot of Colombians and it is no surprise that they are often the happiest country – they look on the bright side of things a lot – not that they have the best country in the world.

  4. A conversation some years ago.

    Norwegian: you Englishmen have done some great work.

    Me: we are not English, we are both Scots.

    Him: after all these years why do you still make the distinction?

    Me: all you Swedes say that.

  5. > surely if people are so happy in Denmark, Norway etc, then why do they need to drink so much?

    Perhaps it’s reverse causality: they are happy because they drink so much?

    Steve Sailer covered it neatly though:

    Norway Edges Denmark in 2017 Magic Dirt Rankings
    Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top ten countries.

    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.

    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.

    He goes on to cite an article in Modern Drunkard magazine, which compares drink culture in sub-Saharan Africa with that in the west:

    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. …

    There’s plenty to interest regular commenters at both links.

  6. “Rankings aren’t based on actual happiness, but instead on what Jeffrey Sachs thinks ought to contribute to happiness”

    Haha. That part always gets buried down in the depths of the articles, long after most have moved onto their next piece of clickbait.

  7. Except the Richard Layard (ie, UN) ones aren’t. They’re on Gallup polls about self-reported happiness.

  8. Tim – “Except the Richard Layard (ie, UN) ones aren’t. They’re on Gallup polls about self-reported happiness.”

    Which, of course, isn’t necessarily the same as actual happiness.
    There are some guilt-ridden societies where it is seen as bad form or shaming to admit unhappiness, especially if you appear to have advantages others don’t and so ought to be happy or at least satisfied with your lot.
    As an extreme example, see those Scandinavian and German women who have been raped by immigrants but feel disinclined to blame the rapists because they have supposedly had such a hard time in comparison to their own lives.

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