It's official, North Korea is one of the 'the happiest places' to live in the world, but only according to country's own regime.
Kim Jong-il's own television station has told the nation that there is hardly anywhere else on earth where people are so smiley.
The joy index, released yesterday, scores the extremist country's allies very highly, with China scoring a perfect 100 out of 100 for quality of life and happy residents.
North Korea comes in a close second, with a score of 98, followed by the country's pals Cuba, Iran and Venezuela who all make the top five.
The happiest countries ranked out of 100.
Here are the official rankings:
1. China - 100
2. North Korea - 98
3. Cuba - 93
4. Iran - 88
5. Venezuela - 85
152. South Korea - 18
203. United States - 3
It's nice to know that happiness doesn't depend on stupid things like freedom...or even food, in the case of North Korea.
It's interesting though that the top tier countries all share something in common: They all employ deceit, trickery and subterfuge to camoflage their real economic and social state. Leaders like Kim cannot accept reality, so must disguise it with "scienctific" polls and propaganda like the one above.
Remember when most Americans thought of the Soviet Union as "equal" in prosperity because they flaunted their weapons and space program? It wasn't until I had a chance to see the country up close and personal, that I realized it was basically a third-world country; the people united in a profound poverty, standing in line daily to get basics like bread and milk. It was dirty and grimey; and the people I met could feel their very souls slipping away.
Communism tends to do that to a person. Socialism does it slightly more slowly, but the end result is the same.
What ties the megalomaniacs of North Korea and Iran together is their obsessive shame-avoidant behavior, a cultural attribute which is the flip side of their individual malignant grandiosity. China notably is also a shame culture; and as for Cuba and Venezuela, consider them completely shameless (see my discussion of shame and shamelessness here).
For both the grandiose and shameless individual, as well as the shame-avoidant one, reality itself must be distorted in order to protect the self from feeling low self-esteem or shame.
Overweening narcissistic grandiosity that is characteristic of all the leaders of these "happy" countries; they are all tyrants and demigogues. Typical symptoms of grandiosity that can be observed in your typical autocratic ruler/megalomaniac like Kim, Castro, Chavez, or Ahmadinejad are:
• Continual claims for attention and admiration
• Cold and uncaring behavior toward others
• Other people are seen only as an extension of the self to be manipulated and/or eliminated as needed; an inability to relate to people as people or separate from oneself
• Inflated/exaggerated sense of self-importance
• Hypochondria, or an obsession with individual body parts and illness
The "magic" kingdoms they all rule are places on the globe you want to avoid; places where misery and desperation are high. The people there are far from happy--they are not even allowed to pursue their own happiness; rather, they are the property of the State.
And, if the dear leaders who run things opened up their borders to free travel for even just a day, you would witness a mass exodus on the party of the "happy" citizens there.
I dare them to prove me wrong.