Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Danes Are Here Again

                 Happy. That is how the United Nations describes the Danish. In fact, the august world body (ahem!) recently “officially” declared Denmark the happiest nation on Earth. The U.N. didn’t start measuring happiness until 2012, yet Denmark is a repeat winner, resting the happiness crown away from last year’s winner, Switzerland. (I’m sure we’re all familiar with the image of giddy Swiss bankers partying down like it was 1999). The World Happiness Report 2016 was officially presented in Rome last week. The United States came in 13th.
                An Associated Press article quoted Knud Christensen, a 39-year-old Danish social worker (imagine that) as saying “We have no worries. And if we do worry, it’s about the weather.”
                The small Scandinavian country is famous for its extensive and generous cradle-to-grave welfare programs. Most Danes believe that, if they lose their jobs or take ill, the state will support them. Kaare Christensen, a university professor in Odense, said that it doesn’t take much to satisfy Danes. “They are happy with what they get. Danes have no great expectations about what they do or what happens to them,” she stated. Well that makes things a lot easier, doesn’t it? Lose your job? Don’t care. No big goals or lofty expectations to strive for. Don’t really care what happens, frankly.
                Apparently, “1984” arrived a little late, but has been hanging around Denmark for years now. Fortunately, in 1984, Ronald Reagan was president of the United States. He stared down the Soviet Union, keeping Europe safe, and demanded that the Berlin Wall be taken down…which it eventually was, reuniting Germany.
                Denmark may remember World War II and the NAZI’s. Fortunately, the U.S. was worried enough about the fate of Europe and Europeans to send a million of its men there to fight… and thousands to die… to liberate her and them. I’m guessing Danes wouldn’t be as happy if they were still under the NAZI boot.
                 It’s easy for countries to be relatively worry-free when they declare themselves neutral- and yet can still rely on the U.S. for protection. Danes may only fret about global warming now, but perhaps they should be worried about the tidal wave of immigration and terrorism sweeping the continent. Or Vladimir Putin’s behavior. Or Hillary Clinton taking over the presidency from Barack Obama. (It doesn’t appear certain that either will step in to defend Europe in the next crisis).
                It is not that people can’t be happy under Socialism that makes the United States- alone- indispensable to liberty.

                It is the fact that they can.

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