That's why the recent article in the New York Post which destroys the myth of Danish happiness is so timely. A passage:
In the American liberal compass, the needle is always pointing to places like Denmark. Everything they most fervently hope for here has already happened there.I've probably copied more than is allowed by propriety, and there's more to come. Go read the whole thing. And then work to make sure that we don't end up the same.
So: Why does no one seem particularly interested in visiting Denmark? (“Honey, on our European trip, I want to see Tuscany, Paris, Berlin and . . . Jutland!”) Visitors say Danes are joyless to be around. Denmark suffers from high rates of alcoholism. In its use of antidepressants it ranks fourth in the world. (Its fellow Nordics the Icelanders are in front by a wide margin.) Some 5 percent of Danish men have had sex with an animal. Denmark’s productivity is in decline, its workers put in only 28 hours a week, and everybody you meet seems to have a government job. Oh, and as The Telegraph put it, it’s “the cancer capital of the world.”
So how happy can these drunk, depressed, lazy, tumor-ridden, pig-bonking bureaucrats really be?
...Those sky-high happiness surveys, it turns out, are mostly bunk. Asking people “Are you happy?” means different things in different cultures. In Japan, for instance, answering “Yes” seems like boasting, Booth points out. Whereas in Denmark, it’s considered “shameful to be unhappy,” newspaper editor Anne Knudsen says in the book.
Moreover, there is a group of people that believes the Danes are lying when they say they’re the happiest people on the planet. This group is known as “Danes.”
This is universally considered a feature — a glorious source of national pride in the land of humblebrag. Any rebels will be made to conform; tall poppies will be chopped down to average....An American woman told Booth how, when she excitedly mentioned at a dinner party that her kid was first in his class at school, she was met with icy silence....
So Danes operate on caveman principles — if you find it, share it, or be shunned. Once your date with Daisy the Sheep is over, you’d better make sure your friends get a turn. (Bestiality has traditionally been legal in Denmark, though a move to ban it is under way. Until recently, several “bestiality brothels” advertised their services in newspapers, generally charging clients $85 to $170 for what can only be termed a roll in the hay.)
...The flip side of the famous “social cohesion” is that outsiders are unwelcome. Xenophobic remarks are common. At gatherings, the spirit of “hygge” — loosely translated as cozy — prevails. It’s considered uncouth to try to steer the conversation toward anything anyone might conceivably disagree about. This is why even the Danes describe Danes as boring.