Happy Father’s Day!
I’ve never been to Sweden. And no, I’m not half Swedish either. So, why say Happy Father’s Day in Swedish? Well, we all have the same amount of days in a year, and we all have fathers, but the Swedish are allegedly the happiest people on earth. And, as our hobbies include history and geography, and as Napoleon was a father who spoke multiple languages (even though he wasn’t Swedish), I thought, why not say it in Swedish.
Sweden also has Waterloo. While Waterloo may be based in Belgium, and Napoleon might be a Frenchman from Corsica, and Waterloo might be a town in Canada and a tube stup in London, Abba, a Swedish band, sang about it.
They have Abba! Maybe that’s why the Swedes are so happy. Or, are they?
If you ask people “are you happy?” who’s more likely to say yes, a free man, or a prisoner? If you live under tyranny, you’re more likely to hide your unhappiness, for fear of retribution. So, asking someone “are you happy” is nonsense. It’s the worst possible way of gauging happiness.
Now, here’s some reasons I think Sweden is actually miserable.
1) Swedes are more likely to vote for extremist politicians than the average country.
2) Sweden has a higher suicide rate than the average country.
(Sweden’s suicide rate is higher than that of the United States.) While some Buddhist and former Eastern bloc countries have higher suicide rates, Sweden has one of the highest suicide rates in the developed Western world. (Belgium doesn’t really count because of the legal suicide. Belgium has a phenomenon of suicide tourism, where people come from other countries to Belgium to die.)
3) Sweden has a high emigration rate.
That’s right, emigration, not immigration. Sure, a lot of people from the developing world come to Sweden for opportunity, and we hear about the “immigration crisis”, but we don’t hear about all the people leaving. Tens of thousands of Swedes leave every year, and you don’t normally leave your home country unless you’re unhappy in some way. Considering the small size of Sweden’s population, the departure level is even more significant.
So, what’s all this mean?
Well, if you live in Sweden, you can continue to be happy that you have Abba. If you don’t, you can be happy that you don’t live in Sweden! Happy Father’s Day, Glad Fars Dag.