Of happiness and a sustainable feast

So a week from tomorrow will be <aaaak> Friday the thirteenth. But in the Jewish/Hebrew calendar, today is the 13th of the month of Nisan in the year 5772. As it is written: י״ג בְּנִיסָן תשע״ב Be sure to read from right to left! … there’s Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew aka Ivrit … but both are written/read from right to left. And – thank goodness – to date, there’s no post-modern Hebrew.

To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing in the Torah or the Tanach which would suggest that CO2 is ever going to be a problem for the inhabitants of our planet.

On the other hand, to the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing in either which would suggest that a body such as the United Nations (UN) would be instrumental in contributing to and/or inventing so many problems that our world is doomed unless we follow and swallow their prescriptions.

And speaking of the UN’s prescriptions … you might want to take a look at Terence Corcoran’s:

Get ready for the Rio Happiness Summit

At the United Nations on Monday, they took a major step toward a global strategy to enhance your happiness status, and the happiness of everybody else in the world. It’s the new role for governments across the planet. If the UN has its way, the state’s major objective will be to boost your sense of well-being and improve how you feel about your life.
[…] under the auspices of the Kingdom of the United Nations, the high priests of economic interventionism and wealth redistribution moved one step closer to turning Gross National Happiness into a global paradigm.

They issued a report — the World Happiness Report. They staged a conference — Well-being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm. And they fashioned a declaration — Realizing a World of Sustainable Well-being and Happiness.

The declaration is in turn intended to become part of “a long-term reference framework” for the coming Rio +20 Earth Summit, a grand replay in June this year of Maurice Strong’s 1992 Rio Earth Summit.

At Rio +20, the UN activists hope to change the direction of world economic policy-making. Production goals and measures based on dollars and yen are out. Happiness measures are in — even though the concepts, happiness and “subjective well-being,” remain vacuous bits of quasi-religious sophistry.


Invoking poverty, inequality and climate disaster hasn’t worked in a world that wants growth, more energy and bigger refrigerators. The ’92 Rio Summit caused a lot of economic policy mayhem, but it is a fading source of authority. The carbon scare is out of steam, and environmental extremism has less influence.

The only emerging alternative is a new intellectual manoeuvre that may appeal to the average voter more than, say, inequality. Instead, the new message will be: Vote for massive government intervention to improve your happiness.


To no surprise, with [UN resolution] 65/309 as a mandate, the Monday meeting in New York produced a radical declaration calling for the overthrow of the “current economic paradigm” to take into account finite global resource limits and the emerging science of well-being and happiness.

What that means, aside from the same old nitty-gritty policies such as more government job creation, is nothing less than a “redesign of the world economy” and the overthrow of existing economic ideas to be replaced by the pursuit of happiness as defined by the United Nations, not [by] individuals.

It looks like Rio +20 will be a dangerous place to be this coming June.

Don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly impressed with the UN’s determination of what constitutes “happiness”. You might say that I’m more of a traditionalist when it comes to happiness – not to mention <gasp> scientific endeavours.

But speaking of tradition … tomorrow night, those of my tribe will begin celebrating a very sustainable feast: Passover.


Chag sameach Pesach to those who celebrate, and Happy Easter or Happy Stat Holiday to those who don’t.

2 thoughts on “Of happiness and a sustainable feast

  1. The much-maligned Scientology has a few interesting definitions. Here’s how it defines happiness: “The overcoming of not-unknown obstacles towards a known goal.” A process, not a state or condition. And certainly not anything the UN can disburse!!

  2. The primary finding of the World Happiness Report is that people in wealthier countries are generally happier than those in poorer countries. Logically, you’d think the emphasis would then be on helping poorer countries to become much wealthier – so if Bangladesh was as wealthy as the Netherlands, for example, the people would be generally happier (and in addition, the country would be able to afford the modern infrastructure required to cope with natural phenomena such as cyclones, storm surges and isostatic sea-level change.)

    However, the emphasis in Jeffrey Sachs’s report (from what I’ve read of it) seems to lie elsewhere. He places an emphasis on social support, the lack of corruption, personal freedom, job stability, good relationships, stable family life and good mental health. These, he insists are “more important for happiness than income”.

    But it is surely no accident that the above things will be found more often in wealthy countries than in poorer countries; wouldn’t they all, more or less, go together as a package? (I would also add property rights to the above.) If a country is desperately poor, there is surely a much greater likelihood of social upheaval, more corruption, less job stability, and all the rest. Think of Mali (way down the list) where they’ve suffered a recent military coup and Islamist insurgency – I would be surprised if the residents of Timbuktu were scoring very highly on personal freedom and good mental health at the moment. Ditto places like Guinea-Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire.

    It’s like a horse and cart. We need the horse (wealth) to pull the cart. Of course, we need the cart itself, and it’s important that the wheels and axles are sound, etc. Without the horse, however, the cart won’t move, but it’s as if Sachs is leaving the horse out of the equation, even while he’s insisting that the cart keep moving.

    Possibly I’m misrepresenting him – to find out, I’ve downloaded the report, but it’s a 158-page pdf so it’ll take a while to read!

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