Monday, January 14, 2008

How happy are you??

Did any of you see the special on 20/20 about happiness?

It was really interesting. America ranked a measely #23 on the happiness scale. I have to say, I'm a bit surprised it wasn't lower. And the country that ranked #1. Denmark.
Free healthcare, free education and hardly any system of status. People are choosing occupations based on their desire to do them, not as motivation for a paycheck. They have a choice based on interest, instead of income.
They have security that their government is taking care of them, and in turn; they're healthier and happier.

Wouldn't you say half of you stress, bad eating habits, general unahppiness is related to your place of work? Work takes up 80% of your lives and yet here in America we allow ourselves to associate "work" with negativity; because so many people are unhappy in their work place. We say, "Oh I have work tomorrow." the same way you'd say, "Oh, I'm getting a root canal tomorrow." There is something incredibly wrong with this logic.

What I hate even more is when people say, "Well that's why it's called work." You mean we've come leaps and bounds in technology, we're driving Hybrid cars, we have a woman and a black man running for president, and we can't come up with a better way to spend 80% of our LIVES? We're willing to give up that easy and say, "WELL. THATS WORK FOR YA." Fuck that. Everyone keeps saying work doesn't define you, but you should be PROUD to let your work define who you are.

When you meet someone new they say, "What do you do?" They don't ask, "How would you define yourself?" Our society defines people by their work, so we better be a bit more fiesty when it comes down to fighting for the ability to CHOOSE our occupations based on desire.

We stray from choosing based on desire, because if we don't want our WORK to define us, we may as well let our; car, house, wardrobe, fancy vacations, and bank account do the talking.

The level of status based on things is so stressed that we're aren't allowed the luxury of following a career path based upon happiness if the career path doesn't have a pot of gold at the end.

If someone told you tomorrow that you could be a doctor or a teacher? A lawyer or an artist? A coach or a carpenter? And you'd make the same amount of money doing any of them- I'm sure many would choose a bit differently.

What are Denmarks secerets (other than they can attend college for free= no stress and they know if they fall ill= no stress): Trust, "Jante-Love" meaning, "You're not better than anybody else.", Friendship- a sense of community (nearly 90% belong to some sort of singing or dancing CLUB....I don't even know where to FIND that kind of CLUB.), and less emphasis on "stuff." It's just not that important.

They way they live their lives, is where their value lies, not in the plaques on the wall, the Lexus, or the promotion. And many of us are just STRIVING to even get to that, very few ever buy the Lexus- receive the accolades- "make it" and we're stuck in a rat race of discontenment, shitty jobs and future thinking for things that may never come.

SO NATURALLY- The Professor and I had to debate this. Cause, that's how we do.

The Professor: Every person who lives in a cave is content with their cave, just as long as they don't see the river out front
Chelsea Talks Smack: I think they live perfectly good lives, why wouldn't they be living a good life? They're safe, they're taken care of, they're choosing occupations based on their interest in them not on the income.
TP: yes and no
TP: It's a question of where your values are
TP: I don't think its a bad lifestyle
TP: to each his own
TP: but thats precisely my point, they can't leave to get a better job, to make more money, and they cant CHOOSE
CTS: what is it you think they SHOULD be valueing that they may not be.
TP: freedoms
CTS: They don't have anything they want to be FREE of, cause their government takes care of them
TP: but you have to see that thats giving up essential freedoms, even if that risks a worse lifestyle, I think its a valuable thing
CTS: I would choose happiness.
TP: one of my favorite people ever was Ben Franklin
TP: brilliant man
TP: "any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both"

He makes an interesting point....What do you think...?


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. I think it's all time to move to Denmark!

On a completly the grass is greener random side, it's the same concept as the girl who has straight hair wanting curly hair and vice versa.

"You can't always get what you want."

Now that song will be stuck in my head all night!

Sister Libby said...

I'm going off to Sweden for a year...are they way up there on the happy scale? I hope so. I love your writing, by the way.

Flair said...

I didn't see this, but I heard about it. Interesting stuff. Thanks for visiting my blog!

B said...

I have a general problem with affluenza.

Plus, I live right outside our nation's capital where everything is politicized and most people work for the government. So? Everyone pushes me to do the same and when I refuse, they get all hypersensitive to it. It's not your life, douche.. and I have no interest in working for the government. Not ever.

Julie Q said...

Denmark might have been #1 on the happy list, but if you implanted Heidi & Spencer there for 1 full year, I think that number would fall down to US Standards.

On a serious note, I'd be a lot happier if I even knew WHAT my ideal career is. Gotta love the quarter life crisis..

Britt said...

Free Education? I'm all for it. I'd owe a lot less money and be a lot less stressed if that were true. I personally would rather give up the 'freedom' to work myself to the ground in order to be 'richer than other people' than do what i want to do freely and not have to worry about funding my pension or my (future) children's education.

Let's all move to denmark :)

Vanessa said...

I've studied Denmark and love it! I would love to live there because they value what is important. So many of the stress inducing life factors we deal with on a daily basis could be avoided by better safety nets for all, ie: education and health care. The solution seems so simple yet, sad that we fail to embrace it on a larger level.

Jess said...

I totally agree that the attitude we take toward work is sad. Also the attitude that we take toward vacation (i.e., most people get two weeks). It would probably be a lot easier to like work if we weren't expected to be there quite so often, and for quite such long hours.

brooke said...

I think Denmark sounds lovely. It seems only natural that the government should work for the people, especially when they hijack so much of our money to feed to their too-big-for-the-house-now debt pet.

nicole antoinette said...

I've thought about this a lot, and I think that a good chunk of our unhappiness has to do with the obsession with finding "happiness." Like it's something that magazines and self help books can lead us to etc. I bet a lot less people in Denmark are so fixated on figuring out what it means to be happy. People need to just... be.

Nilsa S. said...

Great debate! Long ago, I gave up a career path that would make me double what I make now. The flip side is I'd work more than play. Travel (not always to great places) and be out of town more than at home.

Now, I have the freedom to leave work at work and not work nights or weekends. I take vacation when I want. And I work from home when I want. Sure, my lifestyle has restrictions, but I have the freedom to choose those things.

However, which side of the debate I fall. I'll have to think on that...

JUST ME said...

I tell people I'm doing exactly what I've always wanted to do: be a writer.

They pray for me.
...and for my next rent check.

stacy said...

Well let me just say, after watching Sicko I do worry about my dear neighbors to the south.

It is my belief that by eliminating stress, worry and the desire for THINGS will certainly get you on the right path.

I also believe happiness is a choice.

ANA said...

Either do what you love or love what you do...that's the secret, yes, Buddha told me so (I think).

Wonderful post,

B2G said...

I have always said that Denmark's where it's at. Seriously. The Danish people are freaking cool. I always chose Denmark for school reports on countries. I want to go there so bad! :)

Anonymous said...

Great post as always Chels. While Denmark is definitely tempting along with many other countries I don't think I would leave the US. There are a lot of ties here such as family and friends.

Also, I find a lot of the pressure/stress in life can be attributed to our own actions. Maybe those actions are a result of the environment we grow up in but I do believe we are in control.

I live a very happy life and love my work, but I also have no kids and very few obligations. It is definitely worth examining your life and minimizing the things that place stress on you.


La Belette Rouge said...

First, let me say, I am LOVING your blog. Now to the random thoughts your blog made me think:

If you do what you love you never have to work a day in your life---or so goes the cliche'. I am happy I don't "work" and that I instead do what I love.

I think the professor has been reading him some Plato.

Question: Are there caves in Denmark?

Maxie said...

I'm moving. that's it. denmark here I come!

Princess Pointful said...

Great post.
I find it so messed up that we live in (and, yes, I subscribe to it, too) a society where stress is a status symbol, more than relaxation and happiness.

Jen of MadeByGirl said...

Hi there....this is a great post i enjoyed reading it!!

Jen Ramos
'100% Recycled DESIGNER Cards'

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

lspoon- Yeah I suppose that could be true...I think Ill have to find out for myself if the grass is indeed greener.

Sister Libby-I havea lot of friends form Sweden and theyre amazing people and love their country, theres also a GREAT music scene. and thank you ;)

lady n-Thanks for coming by mine!

Deutlich-I understand.

Julie Q- exactly, I think our media has a lot to do with the screwed up standards.

Britt- Yeah , can you imagine if EVERYONE in America could go to college......

Vanessa- Its good to hear from someone who has lived there and to hear them speak of it so fondly. It solidifys my point.

Jess- I agree, most European countries have WAY more vacation time. I think France has 3 months?

Seven- Absolutely.

Nicoleantoinette- I do agree with you, I think there is a neverending need to FIND or search for happiness, and I think the reason it's hard to BE is because so many people around you are not "just being."

Nilsa- Then you made a good choice.

Just me- I know the same people you know, when I tell them i'm an "artist" in every sense of the word, they worry.

Stacy- I agreee, and Sicko was a great movie.

Ana- Thats is why Buddha was enlightened.

Captain backfire- I would love to go there as well.

jzbruno- I'm so happy you love you work, you're very lucky. and you're also incredibly smart so that helps. AND HEY. if you go, I'll go. We'd all go. I think our family should buy a compoud in Italy. yeah?

la belette- Thank you so much! I need to research caves in Denmark, It doesn't seem like a "cave-y" place. And yes, I believe if you LOVE what youre doing it doesn't feel like work at all.

Maxie- Lets do it!

Princess Pointful- Thanks! Stress is a status symbol, that is so sad.

christine said...

that is a great debate, and of course I don't actually have anything of substance to add. I do love Denmark, though, and I'm not surprised they're the happiest nation. Is Iceland high on the list? They are usually the top of every list like this, haha.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I'm not sure about Iceland.....I should look it up. They're cold and happy? Weird. lol.

Anonymous said...

For the record, Denmark is a wonderful place. I had a positive experience in the brief time I spent there - but really, anywhere in Scandanavia gets my thumbs up.

Next: Props to the professor for employing the analogy of the cave by Plato. I rarely see people use this fundamental and important metaphor!

Nextlier: I am with Stacy on the idea that happiness is a choice. I live in Los Angeles, and by all rights I should be miserable in my crappy apartment, small car, and low wages. But I'm good at my job so I love it - I only need a car to get places so I don't complain - and who needs stuff to be happy? Haven't enough Christmas specials taught us that happiness is not in money?

I can play the guitar and sing a song - and this is enough to keep me happier than people who make 5x the money I make. Maybe we should teach America to sing?

Nextliest: Holy damn, you are a blog rockstar, miss Chelsea. 23 Comments in one day? How do you keep up with that?

Jenny DeMilo said...

unfortunately people are defined by what they do for a living. If you don't believe me try telling someone you're a escort sometime and watch their reaction.

I constantly struggle with the concept that i am NOT my job.

My job doesn't make me happy, my job makes other people happy. My job gives me the ability to make a living so that i can try to be happy doing other things besides work and the time to pursue those things.

Alya said...

I agree with u actually.

When everything that stresses u in life (work, money, education, etc) is taken care of, you ultimately have time on your hands to do what u LOVE!

But this doesn't work all the time. I live in Kuwait, where education (including uni), healthcare, electricity andn water are FREE. But Society is still not happy. In fact, happiness is probably at an all-time LOW due to our lousy politics.

Alexis said...

Actually, our government itself...was based on the idea that you have to give up certain freedoms in order to partake in a society where you gain some kind of safety and help for giving them up. For instance if a man on his farm belongs to no nation and he gets robbed or something else terrible happens to him, he has no one that will help him because he is on his own. But when he gives up his freedom to do absolutely everything he wants to join a state or nation he gains that protection of law and order. Most of what America was supposed to be is based on the stuff that came out of John Locke's head. Um...I studied History/Politics before I changed my major to English.

I think you're right about Denmark. In America we're told we need all the fancy things, more money, and a hot partner to share it with. And we buy into that and think it's the only way to be happy, so we pursue the jobs that pay the most even if our heart is in the arts that pay nothing. It's funny if you go to poor countries and talk to the poor people that are actually really happy. They're usually happy because they have something special like family, and things like that. American's pursuit of happiness seems to be, "what we tell you is happiness." The people I respect the most are the ones that don't buy into that mentality...because I'm often susceptible to it.

I think it's why so many of the people just coming out of college, the twenty-somethings, are kind of wandering and struggling to figure things out.

I'm sorry, did I go off on that tangent? Excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Great post, it's true that America is overworking itself, part of the reason why I would rather just live here in my current spot in Europe rather than go back.

But your professor makes and excellent point. I think the fact that a doctor and a trashman would be making the same amount of money - well, it comes off a bit communist to me to tell you the truth.

OenoLogical said...

Self-awareness has to be the critical factor in happiness. If someone believes, as my brother does, that expensive clothes and a job title are major factors in happiness, he has an absolute right to pursue those things.

Personally, I believe that the smile of someone I've helped or a glancing view of a beautiful sunset are more important, and I want to enjoy what I do every day, so I do a badly paid job that I love.

My brother has earned more in a year than I've earned in my life. I know that if I go under the proverbial bus today I'll die happy with what I've got and what I've achieved. I'm not sure he could say the same.

Virginia said...

It's really unfortunate that a lot of people define themselves by what they do (i.e., their jobs) yet don't like what they do. I totally agree with you--you should find something you love and then do it. With passion! Even if it involves risk.

M said...

This post completely pins the workforce of America! I'm surprised we made it to #23! This summer it hit me that I wasn't loving my job, so I'm currently back in school learning how to become a teacher!!

So, some of us are in pursuit of doing what they really love!

Moll said...

I hate when people say to me,"Just follow your passion. It will all fall into place and the money will come." F-U! I don't know what my passion is and what if it is sitting on my ass watching TV?

Anonymous said...

I say let's move to Denmark!

But oddly enough, I've recently decided to choose work based on my Interest and not a paycheck, and I think I'll take a serious paycut but that's totally okay with me! My sanity is worth more than that!

Andréa said...

I think this is a brilliant post... freedom and happiness or wealth? I'm a recruiter and I try and push get a happy job and your overall happiness will increase. However, if the money wasn't there... no one would take the job. A sick world we do live in! Who knows?

Get Me an Entertainment Job said...

Hello, Denmark!

I'm going to agree with you about your work theory. I HATED HATED HATED my job (every night I would come home complaining) and was on the verge of quitting when they went ahead and did my dirty work for me by laying me off.

Well, I've had about a month of downtime and let me tell you, my happiness level increased exponentially.

Now I'm making a complete career change. I was in media relations before, but I love to travel and I just got a job as a youth counselor on a cruise ship that's headed for South America. (even though the pay's not so good) But I'm really paying attention to my interest and reaping the benefits.

Barbara said...

I agree that the majority of stress and unhappiness is at work. I wonder why. My aunt made a good point that we need to start standing up for what we want in order to see results. Too many people are afraid of their bosses.

Kate (pereka) said...

I always find it interesting to compare job prospects between me (English major and wannabe writer) and my brother (soon to enter college as an engineer). My brother will come out of school with a $100,000 a year job; I'm praying that I'll find something to pay the rent. But we're both happy with our choices. Sure, I'd be over the moon is writing made me as much money as crunching numbers, but that's just not the way it is.

I guess I just have to hope that my rich brother will lend me money for food once and while. :)

Great post, by the way.


Camels & Chocolate said...

Great post! I lived in Denmark for eight months and the country is always high on the GINI index, which I find perplexing because it is so freakin' cold and dark most of the year! But I did find the people generally happy. The free healthcare was the great thing about moving there -- at first. I had a chipped tooth that the dentists effed up so much over three visits, that back in the States it cost me two root canals and $4800. Same goes for an eye infection and bronchitis - they were only remedied once I returned to the States and sought "real care." I find that because healthcare is free, the doctors don't have any real incentive to work hard and rise to the top like they do in America.

Another odd thing is that I lived with a handful of Swedes while over there. The Swedish seem to have a high suicide rate and history of depression, despite being DK's next-door neighbor? The various Swedes I knew were all on some sort of anti-depressant, but not the Danes. Do you find that odd, as well?

I will admit the 24 hours of daylight in summer was great (though it did make it extremely hard to get any sleep!).

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Nico- I just like that you said "nextlier" ha. I'm with you on teaching America how ot sing. Singing makes people happy...and I keep up by not sleeping ;)

Jenny- Yes people are defined by what they do. But if what you do makes you happy when you aren't doing it're doing the right thing.

Pomegranete- I'm so glad you came by my blog and it's interesting ot hear form someone that has those things and isn't benefiting form them because of their politics...and I'm glad you agree with me :)

Alexis- Thank you you for bringing an interesting point. I'm glad you went on a tangent, it was well put. And I agree I think 20somethings are struggling with the line between doing what they love and doig what the generation ahead of them is telling them to do. I think itll be interesting to see what the generation under us does in terms of jobs etc. Because the 20something are certainly changing the work place...and making it more pleasureable. But we are in the inbetween.

Emmaenlightened- ahhh you live in Europe. Interesting...and interesting point about coming off somewhat

Wine Geek- I love your name. And I agree with you, i think often people with those kind of jobs don't have time to even notice the sunset.

Virginia- Yes, risks are worth it.

m- one of my best friends is going to be a teacher and people always say to her, "WELLL you aren't going ot make alot of money." But she finds so much fulfillment in having a postivie role in childrens lives, and that is priceless.

Rebecca-I think a lot of people don't know what their passion is.

Tiff- amen for sanity!

Andrea- Thank you! True the money has to be there if it isn't a job you'd enjoy...but If I were making enough to be a writer, but living very modestly...struggling, I would still take it.

Stephanie- Congratulations! Getting layed off was the best thing that could've happened to you.

Barbara- I agree with you. Most people are willing to just accept things as they are, from the fear that they won't be able to change them.

Kate- Well maybe that can be the "way it is"....someday :) And thank you!

Camels and chocolate- HEY! I love your blog. I think that it's incredible that you lived there, and have experienced it for yourself. Interesting what you said about the Swedes, because I actually have a few friends from Sweden (I dated one of them) and they're all immensely happy...So maybe this is proof that it doesn't have to do with the country but the individual...

"I find that because healthcare is free, the doctors don't have any real incentive to work hard and rise to the top like they do in America."
Ah...I wonder if it's the same in the rest of the European countries. Thank you for your input, very interesting!

Shanti said...

the professor's response sounds like something my dad would say. granted, i love my father, but our terms of thinking are very different.
I'm not going to add anything to debate, since this topic can be discussed for days and would send me into some sort of tizzy. but the majority of the time that i get into grass is greener conversations with people and start ranting about america's flaws and things we could learn from other countries etc. I am just really thankful that I live in a country where I can speak openly about stuff like that and not have to worry about getting killed for doing so.

haha omg, i sound like an after school special or a public service announcement.

molly said...

hmm that reminds me of the movie "sicko"
where the american government tried to talk the people out of having universal healthcare by saying "oh, but then you couldnt control your healthcare plan, you wouldnt want that would you?"
here in canada, health care isnt even an issue, its free, we dont worry about it. ive never heard anyone complain that they dont control their own healthcare
anyway, i dont know/understand a lot about politics so i apologize if that observation was fantastically off base or i misunderstood somehow.
anyway i love your blog

p.s. oh and if youre really interested, courtney brooke is available to be hired to photograph people, though i doubt you live in the same state haha

Jessie Cacciola said...

i did see this the other night -- very interesting stuff, it's great to see someone blogging about it...great blog as well!
- Jessie -

alexgirl said...

I've always wanted to go to Denmark. But what if I go and I'm not happy? Does that mean 20/20 lied?!

Anonymous said...

I hate my job and would love to do a job that I loved. Problem being that I have no idea what I would love to do.

I think that is one reason why I love blogs. I get all excited when I see a blog over in the blogroll that I have too. It's such an easy way to identify a kindred spirit.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Shanti- You're right, that wasnt a public service announcement at all. We are allowed to spek out and say how we feel about things. Freely. But, what if we had nothing to complain about? :)

Molly- Thank you ;) I maybe need to come to Canada.

Jessie- I'm glad you saw it! 20/20 is my favorite.

Alexgirl- You should go and find out.

raven- I agree about the blogging and I thinkit's ver common that people don't know what it is they'd love to do...since we arent always encouraged to nurture that.

b.kiddo said...

hmmm... This is a wellthoughtout blog. It preaches a very common theme of being happy vs or IN work. But also alot of us want to live "cushy" or be able to eat at nice places so webvaliue that too. So where do you begin? the chicken or the egg. I will say the not so bf comment/discussion was a good one tho

AP said...

oooh i saw this and suddenly thought i should seriously consider moving to numero uno happiest place.

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting. I like my job. I complain about getting up to go to work because I love sleep more than anything in the world and I would like to get paid to sleep all day and read blogs. Alas, I don’t know how to rig that, just yet.

But I’ve always taken a job that I know I’d like doing, rather than the paycheck. And that’s only to pay off my college debt and other debt. Being happy at your job is more important to me than 6 figures. I just wish I could make a little bit more to help cut my debt down.

And I agree, if you said I could do anything and make a decent wage, I’d definitely be a write and stay at home in my PJs all day. :)

Katherine said...

I'm ready to pack up and move to Denmark. I'm about to enter the "real world" and I'm completely losing it, because I'm terrified of hating my job and, therefore, my life! I've loved the past couple of years because I've spent my time doing work for classes that I truly enjoy. I worked my butt off and lost a lot of sleep, but it all felt so worth it. I'm scared of losing that...but also nervous about not being able to support myself. I wonder if Denmark'd take me...

p.s.- way to argue with the professor. I admire that.

Unknown said...

Why do you think I spend my evenings looking up other job options? ;-) All the things I would love to do, don't pay a salary I could live least in Southern California. I checked the job listings for Denmark on Craigslist - nothing.

Michelle and the City said...

can't they smoke pot in denmark too? no wonder those people are so happy! ;)

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Kristabella- SO WOULD I :)

Katherine- I think Denmark would take you, they don't seem to discriminate. lol.

Heidi B- Ok, I'm gonna have to find a job website thats' specifically for Denmark, I'll let you know when I find it so you can being your search. ;)

Michelle- If they CAN (I'm going to have to research that) true no wonder they're happy. Have you ever seen a stoned angry person? No.

Anonymous said...

I think I want to move to Denmark. Anyone want to join me?

Lisa said...

So now I'm officially the Debbie Downer commenter, BUT if we got to choose our jobs out of desire, we'd all be wine tasters and nobody would collect our trash.

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Ashley- I do!

Lisa- A lot of people don't like wine.

Corporate Jester said...

CTS - What class was this discussion in? Very interesting.

The reason education in the U.S. is not free is because educated people are very hard to rule. If you keep the people uneducated you have more power, can rule the resources more and sit up on a throne smoking a cigar guilt free.

Now I'll ponder packing my bags with Denmark in view.

molly said...

just in response to lisa's comment, i disagree
i think a lot of people wouldn't mind collecting trash
i think for any job, there is someone whod want to do it

Marcheline said...

I've got news for Lisa - it's harder to get a job collecting garbage than tasting wine - garbage men make HUGE BUCKS. Thanks, Mafia!

But back on the topic, our country's economic setup prevents us from choosing jobs simply because they make us "happy". We're forced to work crappy jobs because we have to pay the bills. We're so far in the hole, and the national wealth is so unevenly distributed (I think something like 3% of Americans have 80% of the money) that I can't even imagine what it would take for us to reach an equilibrium where people could just happily pick their job based on desire, and still afford to feed and clothe themselves.

Ideas like the ones you talked about are really great ideas... but without a plan showing how to get from here to there, it's just something nice to daydream about before we have to say "Shit, it's time to go to work" again.

- M

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

Marcheline- I agree with yu, and that is EXACTLY the problem, is that there ISN'T plan in order for us ot get out of the whole.

..."our country's economic setup prevents us from choosing jobs simply because they make us "happy""
EXACTLY. But, there are countries who are doing it- obviously, it will, or would take us a long time to get there seeing the predicament we're in, but it is possible.
It has to be.

Valley Girl said...

Just noticed your playlist--you have EXCELLENT taste in music!!!

Clever Elsie said...

A-FUCKING-MEN to that! Let me add a couple of other facts about Danish life:

--Denmark has almost no poverty.
--Denmark has few drug addicts.
--Denmark is almost completely middle/upper middle class.
--Denmark, like most other European countries, mandates over a month of vacation time annually for everyone, not just the school kids.
--Denmark has very supportive unemployment compensation and career counseling for those who lose their jobs.

Yes, the Danes are happy. Research shows that one of the primary causes of discontent is income discrepancy--the impetus to keep up with the Joneses. That's the very thing that's rampant here and almost nonexistent over there.

The problem here in the States, I think, is that our Puritan work ethic demands that anyone who is a good, worthwhile person work his or her ass off at something unpleasant. You know, hard labor is good for the soul and all that crap.

And a few words for The Professor: How exactly are Danes not free? They live in a democracy and, in fact, have more active political parties than we do. They've made their choice, and this is it.