We have polls for everything these days. Therefore, it's not surprising that we have a poll measuring the happiness index of different countries. This is what the poll tells us:
Norwegians have more reason than ever to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.
After ranking fourth for the last two years, Norway jumped three spots and displaced three-time winner Denmark to take the title of "world's happiest country" for the first time.
Denmark dropped to second place this year, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and Sweden (which tied for ninth place), according to the latest World Happiness Report, released Monday by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
Denmark has won the title three of the four times the report has been issued, while Switzerland has won the title just once.
The United States came in 14th place, dropping one place from last year.
It all leaves me with a lot of questions about the poll and the intent of the pollsters. In other words, we've seen massive polling failures in the U.S. and the U.K. What makes these polls any more believable than the ones showing the U.K. staying in the E.U. or Mrs. Clinton carrying 400 electoral votes?
Let me share a couple of personal observations:
First, do you see a long line of people at any of these countries' embassies of people seeking visas to move to, say, Norway or Finland? Norway and Sweden have an immigration problem, but it's not because Americans and other Westerners can't wait to move there. Furthermore, "refugees" are flooding Sweden not because they read that it is a "happy" country.
Second, most of the countries on that list have generous welfare states and do not spend much on defense. This is because #14, or the U.S., has spent the last 70 years defending most of the top 13! In fact, some of the happy countries who are part of NATO are spending less than 1%.
How happy would these countries be today if the US had pulled out years ago and left Norway and Finland to the mercy of the USSR, or now Russia? My guess is that they wouldn't be very happy. Just ask the Hungarians, Czechoslovakians, and Poles about their level of happiness when Warsaw Pact tanks were running around their cities.
So don't lose any sleep over how happy everybody is, or how 13 countries are apparently happier than Americans.