Day by Day

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Michael J. Totten has an intriguing piece regarding relative happiness in Israel, the United States, and Canada.

Three different countries were recently polled, and respondents were asked whether or not they were satisfied with their lives. The three countries were Israel, the United States, and Canada.

Now. Ask yourself which of these three countries is probably the happiest, and which is the most distraught.

I would have guessed Canadians would be happiest, followed by Americans, and then Israelis. And I would have gotten it exactly backward.

In Israel 83 percent say they are happy. In the United States 64 percent say they are happy. In Canada only 45 percent say they are happy.

These three polls were administered by different people using different methodologies. Yet that doesn't change the fact that on first glance it appears that terrorism indirectly makes people feel better. Perhaps that's a classic case of the cause-correlation fallacy. But maybe there's something to it.
I think Mr. Totten is leaping here. The commentary to his post is thought-provoking, though.

I think the gentleman known as Rob is closest to truth on this - - Happiness is found only relative to expectations.

Let's say your friends set you up on a blind date. They tell you for WEEKS that there's nothing wrong with this gal; they say men are intimidated by her beauty. You walk into the bar, and Molly Ivins stands to greet you.

How ya feelin'?

Meanwhile, your other friends set you up and tell you "She's got a great personality."

What you think is **==gulp==**, right?

You walk in and you find Ashley Judd.

Life is good. You love life. Can I get a "Hey now!" ???

Me? I fully expect Howard Dean to be our next President. This way, my expectations will be exceeded not matter WHAT happens.

Michael J. Totten: The Paradox of Terror

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