Why Canadians are much happier than Americans
: Are you happy?
Are you happy? This question can be asked in English. It can also be translated into German, but it cannot be presented to the Germans. Are you happy? This is how the famous American pollster Gallup asked Canadians. In Germany you don't ask something like that. One can ask: do you still have potatoes? Do you still have coal? Are you still healthy? Do you have news from the prison camp? The Germans are used to many questions, and since they are, as the American writer-doctor Heiser said, the most patient people on earth, they answer all of them, but no institute for researching public opinion asks them whether they are happy. It would be a question from another world.
In that other world, in Canada, 13 percent answered no, everyone else said yes. So of the twelve million people in Canada, more than ten are happy. Truly a happy land! The freest referendum that can be imagined would produce no other result in Germany than Hitler's most fudge-baked referendum, with the only difference that ninety-nine point would answer so many percent no instead of yes to the Canadian question. It is not so much that was part of our humble happiness. A couple of saucepans, a solid roof, a warm stove, work, then the minimum of calories determined by the old League of Nations: and a considerable part of the votes would already crumble from the no-block. How different are people's ideas of happiness! The Canadians, placed in such improved German conditions, unquestionably voted ninety-nine percent or more with no. What made us happy would make them unhappy. What can it be that makes those thirteen percent unhappy in this country? Illness, death, unhappy love, unemployment, family quarrels, unfulfilled ambitions. A percentage of unhappiness which even the happiest people can digest and which can no longer be reduced significantly.
However, Canadians also have their concerns. One of the most important: the emptiness of the country, the surface of which is larger than that of the USA and which nevertheless has fewer inhabitants than the state of New York alone. If the immigrant from Europe, the most unhappy and densely packed people, fulfilled the necessary requirements: wanting to go to the country and not into the city, to have learned a profession, to have some money, to be neither a fascist nor a communist, then perhaps he failed, after all what he experienced about the important requirement to be healthy. And if he had stayed healthy, he wouldn't jump over the most important obstacle: he is a German.
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