I am not voting for Trump. And I think Hillary is a liar and I’m voting for her anyway.
And, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that Trump is like a car crash and I love looking. I love watching him squirm out of every disgusting thing he does. I love watching him say he pays no taxes. I love the drama. American politics is boring, the two-party system is BS and everyone is pretty much the same candidate, and it’s fun to watch him shake things up. Part of me wants to vote for Trump because I want to see everything shaken up. After all, Robespierre had to terrorize France before we saw the benefits of the French Revolution.
I’m sick of Denmark. And Norway. And Sweden. I’m sick of all the research that says they are happy. People in those countries are always reporting how happy they are. Why can’t they be more like New Yorkers who are the most unhappy people in the world and wear that like a badge of honor?
It’s not just the grown ups. The kids score higher on tests, and they bike to school, or whatever. The research about happiness that comes out of these three countries is sickening to me because I’ve always been convinced that the happiness is a result of homogeneity.
It’s the same as in companies. When you read about how important diversity is to a company, you never read that it makes people happy. For example, corporate governance is more effective with women: companies that have female board members make more money. But you never read that corporate governance is more fun to do with a female mucking up the boys club. In fact, research shows that most startups can’t even function properly with diversity because it’s such a time suck to deal with.
So those tall blond Northern Europeans are happier because they keep their gene pool so pure. Not kidding. Homogeneity promotes happiness. I consider my move to rural America as proof of this hypothesis. Because I did all the research to discover that people in big cities are not happy and people in small communities are happy and I moved to one. And you know what? People are happy because they are all the same and have nothing to do but keep doing the same thing. It’s a microcosm of the Danes and the Swedes and the Norwegians.
Just like the Eskimos have a billion words for ice, the Danes have a billion words for happiness. Hygge (pronounced hew-geh) means something like “the art of creating intimacy” or “cosiness of the soul” or “cocoa by candlelight.” The Economist says the Danes consider this concept a quintessential element of their national character.
But Denmark, Sweden and Norway are known for something besides hygge/happiness. Exclusion. Even if they are trying hard to be inclusive, those countries are among the most difficult in the world for expatriates. Because making new friends, and adapting to new people is hard. And seeing your own culture reflected back to you in another person’s culture is especially hard – because it reveals new ways of looking at tightly held beliefs. So expatriates are excluded from the happiest communities.
If you are voting for Trump, I don’t need to tell you that. You know it intuitively. Which is why I don’t want to be like you. I want to be someone who strives to see myself in new ways and puts myself in new, difficult scenarios so that I can grow. I want to grow from doing something brave and challenging more than I want the security of homogeneity and happiness.
That said, I have a fantasy that I tell everyone I’m voting for Hillary but when I get to the poll I secretly vote for Trump. And so do enough people — because really, it’s so uncool to admit publicly that you’re voting for him — and then he gets into office and that forces the Democrats and Republicans to come together in Congress to keep Trump from doing anything, which means we will finally admit what has been true all along, that there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans, and that will open things up for other, real choices for political parties.
Maybe this is what happens when you get older: wild sex fantasies retreat to make way for wild political fantasies. But really what happens is that when you get older you get happier, and people who are more insular are happier: It’s messed up (and tricky which is why I’m doing the upcoming course on happiness).
Happiness, the way most people define it, makes you do crappy things like keep immigrants out and vote for Trump. Happiness is most powerful when it’s fueled by interestingness — diversity, unmet but engaging goals and real, meaningful choices.
That’s why I’m happy to live in a country where our schools are a mess due to the fact that we have so many different types of families. And we can’t even have cosiness with cocoa because we can’t agree on how cocoa should be made. I like the diversity. I like that it’s difficult. The easy way is not the path to happiness.