PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Happiness of Others

For Americans, admitting that people in other parts of the world have and want different things from what they have and want can, in its subtle way, be devastating to their view of the world.

Chinese Lantern Festival at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, Canada. (ConstantineD, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News

George Burchett, an excellent painter and publisher of the People’s Information Bureau from his home base in Hanoi, sent me an interesting item the other day.

It was a piece by Alex Lo, the iconoclastic columnist at the South China Morning Post, under the headline, “Contrary to Western myth, the Chinese are a rather jolly bunch.”

Lo cites two recent surveys indicating that, as his editors put it in the headline, Westerners have it all wrong when they assume, on the basis of official propaganda and incessant media reports, that the People’s Republic is a nation of 1.4 billion miserable, suffering, suppressed and repressed people under the authoritarian leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the dictatorial Xi Jinping.

I am natively suspicious of statistical surveys conducted by incurable technocrats who purport to measure in columns of numbers matters that are far too subjective to be measured. But setting this aside, Lo and Burchett (offspring of Wilfred Burchett, the celebrated correspondent of the Cold War decades) are onto something.

It is highly important that we in the West understand the Chinese to be unhappy. It follows that surveys indicating otherwise are correspondingly significant.

When he who controls “the narrative” has the power to control entire populations, perception management becomes the blackest of all the black arts. How jarring it is even to suspect that the Chinese may by and large be happy — or contented, a more enduring state.

One of the surveys Lo cites was completed just last month by Ipsos, a prominent market research firm with head offices in Paris. Ipsos conducted Global Happiness 2023 in 32 countries, a good spread across continents, levels of development, forms of government and so on. It includes enough bar charts, line graphs, and numbers, numbers, numbers to make the most bloodless of technocrats happy all by himself or herself.

And what do you know? China comes in with a top rating of 91 percent in the overall happiness index. To choose a few other nations by way of comparison, Mexico scores 81 percent, the U.S. 76 percent, Japan and Poland register 60 percent and 58 percent respectively.

What is more, a chronological chart indicates that China’s score has increased by 12 percentage points since 2011, despite a downward blip during the Covid–19 pandemic.

“Anyone who has ever lived in or visited China for an extended period — except during the pandemic lockdowns — would not be at all surprised,” Lo writes. “But if you are a stay-at-home kind of person and read only The Wall Street Journal and watch the BBC to get your news, you must think that’s all state-controlled propaganda.”

People practicing T’ai Chi in Haikou People’s Park, Haikou City, Hainan Province, China, 2012.  (Anna Frodesiak, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

Usefully enough, Edelman, the Chicago public relations firm, has just produced another such report. Its 2023 Trust Barometer surveyed 28 nations last November and came up with roughly similar results by way of China’s scores relative to others.

Here’s something interesting to ponder: Respondents in 24 of the 28 nations surveyed scored record lows in response to the statement, “My family and I will be better off in five years.” China was the only one to show an uptick in expectations since the previous survey, a modest 1 percent gain.  

Case of Global Gloom 

Unlike the Ipsos survey, which presents its data without a great deal of interpolation, the Edelman report presents a case of global gloom. To give you a taste of the thing, sections are headed, “4 Forces that Lead to Polarization,” “Economic Optimism Collapses,” “Facing Economic Fears without a Trust Safety Net” and “Personal Anxieties on Par with Existential Fears.”

I wonder about these section headings. What kind of societies suffer these sorts of uncertainties, and why does China appear to be, in relative terms, immune to them?

It is the season of happiness surveys, it seems.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network has just released its World Happiness Report 2023. This is a big banana, a global survey with all sorts of plug-ins and mechanisms to let you make an infinite number of comparisons, one nation to another or to the whole. It is timed to the General Assembly’s Resolution 66/281, which deems March 20 International Day of Happiness.

Have we all lost our minds to some obsession with human happiness? Do we propose to pin it down as if it were a butterfly? Do we all want to move to Bhutan, with its famous Gross National Happiness measure? Does this preoccupation — my strong suspicion —actually reflect widespread unhappiness among many populations? Maybe we should ask Britain’s Minister of Loneliness.  

These technocrats should read their Tennessee Williams, who understood in the course of his anguished life, as we all should, that happiness is fleeting and cannot be captured. “I have been very happy lately,” he once wrote in his journal, “knowing it will not last very long…. We must have long fingers and catch at whatever we can while it is passing near us.”

A happy man in Nanjing, China, 2017? (Kristoffer Trolle, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Put this thought against the preface of the U.N. report. “There is a growing consensus about how happiness should be measured,” it states with bold, number-crunching confidence. “This consensus means that national happiness can now become an operational objective for governments.”

These people are either blind or asleep or they work on too-high a floor at the U.N. Secretariat and suffer from altitude sickness.

Do the authors of this report seriously think, amid America’s thrashing efforts to defend its imperium by dividing the world into blocs, with power the one and only preoccupation and neoliberal market fundamentalism the imperative, that someone such as President Joe Biden — just to choose a name at random — is going to make the happiness of Americans a higher priority than sending Abrams M–1 battle tanks to Ukraine or provoking the Chinese into open conflict?

Happiness Metrics 

River rafting on Li River in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. (scott1346, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

I’m starting to wonder whether happiness is about to be “weaponized,” a word I detest but there it is, so as to deploy it as another arrow in the quivers of Western propagandists. And I am starting to wonder whether all these statistics indicate that those nations concerned not with power put with an orderly world are by and large happier than those for which the pursuit of power is the driving force.

I do not trust the U.N. anymore in the same way I no longer have any regard for the European Union. I got off the E.U. bus when Frankfurt and Brussels screwed Greece in the name of bond investors back in 2015, after the Greeks rejected neoliberal austerity and said, yes, if this means leaving the euro we vote to do so.

The U.N., similarly, lost all track of its founding ideals who can say how many decades ago. Certainly, by the time I covered it for various third world magazines for a time back in the 1970s the U.S. had made a mess of it.

I bring this distrust to the World Happiness Report’s determinations of who is happy and who not. The Finns win the prize for the jolliest people on earth, as measured in the Average Life Evaluation section of Chapter 2. The Nordics, indeed, do well all around: Denmark is No. 2, Iceland No. 3, and Sweden and Norway Nos. 6 and 7. The U.S. is ranked the 15th happiest nation on earth, and no, thanks, I’m not in the market for bridges to Brooklyn.  

What of China, you are wondering. It comes in 64th in this ranking. This compares with Taiwan’s ranking at 27, and this is a telling breach: The U.N. has no business ranking Taiwan at all as it is not recognized as an independent nation.

I am no statistician and no demographer or any such expert, but I do find it remarkable that of the happiest nations by the U.N.’s reckoning the first several dozen are either Western or client states of the West or former Soviet republics or not very nice places that have abundant reserves of oil. You have to get to No. 40, Nicaragua, to find a nation on Washington’s enemies list that gets any kind of smile emoji from the U.N.

Reading these rankings, I am reminded of good old Freedom House, that Cold War dinosaur that used to rank the world’s nations by way of how free they were, and lo and behold America’s friends and allies always turned out to be free while its chosen adversaries always turned out to be unfree. And a nation could go from free to unfree, or the other way around, depending on year-to-year political events.

The Yangtze River Bridge, 2014. (Felix Wong, CC by 4.0)

I detect a whiff of the same ideological determinism. The Ipsos and Edelman surveys, with which the World Happiness Report is at odds, have one virtue it is worth noting. These two firms serve corporations greatly interested in marketing things around the world. You don’t have to think about ideology when reading their reports, and you cannot say the same about the U.N.’s.

From the Cold War onward — or maybe onward from the Wilson administration in the early 20thcentury — Americans have been unable to register the happiness of any nation that does not live according to our ideology, our “values” — another word on my shit list — and altogether “the American way.” The impediment here is our belief in Wilsonian universalism: What we have everyone must want, and if they say they don’t want what we have we must teach them they are wrong and they will learn to want what we have.

Universalism, the pernicious cousin of exceptionalism, has never served America well. It is better to say we got away with it so long as our primacy remained unchallenged. Now it is challenged. Now people with different histories, cultures, and political traditions —none of which have Americans ever understood or respected — are emergent as powers in their own right. Now they come to say, often in remarkably explicit terms, “No, we don’t want what you have because we want what we have.”

If there are two things the 21st century demands of those who live during it, they are to see and hear others not as anyone else wants them to be but as they are and as they speak. While I cannot vouch for the dead-on accuracy of any of these surveys, to be seen and heard in this way is to my mind all the Chinese are asking of us.      

This is the problem with surveys such as Ipsos’s and Edelman’s — about which you are very unlikely to read anything unless you read publications such as the People’s Information Bureau (which is privately circulated) or columnists such as Alex Lo. Admitting that people who do not want what we have or to live as we live can be happy is in its subtle way devastating to our view of the world.

Let it be so: There is so very much about our worldview that must be devastated if we are to get anywhere in the 21st century worth getting to.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His new bookJournalists and Their Shadows, is forthcoming from Clarity Press. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.  His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

40 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Happiness of Others

  1. April 6, 2023 at 13:40

    A very original, insightfuland and welcome article that typifies all of Patrick’s work. I look forward to more.

  2. David Lewis
    April 6, 2023 at 00:29

    Of course the UN is pro-US. It is based in the US, was created by the US for the US. it has an ultimate veto power.

  3. Dave Hett
    April 5, 2023 at 19:55

    Individuals were allowed to travel individually in China in November of 1981. Inarrived in April of 82. We were allowed to visit five cities then had to reapply for another 5. At that time there were a total of 332 independent travellers in China. I visited a huge market in Shanghai and every stall had nothing but turnips.

    People had to be careful when speaking to us. It was, back then, pre internet, post Mao, not what I would call a happy place.

    In the south, things like Levis were being smuggled in from Hong Kong. That became the tip of the iceberg, those Levis.

    Once the stench of Mao was truly flushed, things got better.

    Five years ago we met a gynaecologist who was volunteering in Morocco. We spent four ir five days visiting the blue city with her. She had to be careful talking to us, but she remembered things about the sixties when people were starving to death and nobody could talk about it.

    So if by 91%, the study means that 91% of the Chinese are happy, then I would have to disagree that this is the case.

  4. Thoughtful
    April 5, 2023 at 15:34

    This is an informative article that raises important questions about differences among the cultures of the world. One is reminded of Dostoevsky’s statement that happiness in a human being is defined by equal parts of joy and sorrow. This does not mean that each person’s experience is the same, but that both joy and sorrow are undeniable components of every human life. Values, faith traditions, and governments of countries may differ, but what constitutes human emotion may be pretty much the same for all peoples.

  5. lester
    April 5, 2023 at 15:27

    The frequency of mass shootings in the USA means something. It doesn’t imply mass happiness.

  6. lester
    April 5, 2023 at 14:24

    I taught English in PR China for decades. My students and fellow teachers got their ideas about US life from TV shows like “Vampire Diaries” and “Gossip Girls” or movies like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Ghost”. “Enemy of the State” proved the infallibility of the US Deep State and it’s technology at the time of the Belgrade Embassy bomning.

    Where do Americans get their misinformation about China? Cold War political education/brainwashing is clearly still powerful. But where else? Charlie Chan movies? Fu Manchu novels? Certainly the assumption that Chinese people are stupid and uncreative, unable to invent only copy is strong but deeply wrong.

    Does anyone read history? The Cam;bride History of China? Science and Civilisation in China? I suppose not. We don’t know our own history, let alone anyone else’s.

    “I am for peace but they are for war,” as the psalmist says. :-(

  7. Cynic
    April 5, 2023 at 00:04

    USA relies on maintaining the illusion of “USA is the best! Everyone is envious of us and want to be like us!” in order to even keep the American society from falling apart at the seams. While every country has its problems, the problems within USA is definitely more widespread and acute than the problems the Chinese face within China. And over the years the Chinese has seen great improvements in many areas in China while Americans has seen the opposite in USA. Therefore the lies are being stretched even further till breaking point. Now it has reached the stage where if Americans go to China to see for themselves, they would be flabbergasted and those scales will fall from their eyes. Therefore the elites in USA are very desperate to keep Americans from finding out the truth.

  8. Juan Luchador
    April 4, 2023 at 22:41

    “Admitting that people who do not want what we have or to live as we live can be happy is in its subtle way devastating to our view of the world.” From my POV / values rejecting the American Dream is the opposite of devastating, it is very encouraging and rather sensible and may foster a deeper contentment.

  9. James G
    April 4, 2023 at 21:39

    Universal order or harmony can neither be attained through violent conquest nor through the preaching and imposition of values to change ‘the other’ into ‘self’, but rather by recognising the autonomy of ‘the other’ – Yao Zhongqiu

  10. Leonie Nampijinpa
    April 4, 2023 at 21:16

    That happy Chinese man appears to be carrying two bottles of alcohol on his way home after a hard day’s work. Interesting article

  11. Geoffrey Dunbar
    April 4, 2023 at 19:55

    Why don’t these pundits realize that exactly the same thing applies to the Western portrayal of RUSSIA and RUSSIANS?

    • Helga I. Fellay
      April 5, 2023 at 14:03

      Why do you assume it must be alcohol? Couldn’t it be some other refreshing drink?

      • Pepe Escobar
        April 5, 2023 at 21:10

        As an extensive city-walker during my 3 years in China, I never saw one instance of a public display of alcohol, much less being drunk in public.. A very tranquil society; the happiest and healthiest to be met anywhere..
        Now, being back in the U.S. after 16 years away, I am still shocked by so many morbidly obese, stuffing themselves, and abusing the drink and drugs..

  12. Paula
    April 4, 2023 at 18:34

    Bravo! Good work, good food, friends and family, a roof over one’s head and clean water to drink. Maybe add an acre or half to grow what sustains me. I’d be happy with that. Quit watching TV many years ago. All that advertising for unneeded junk, always marketing desire to the masses. Unfortunately, several of children bought into consumerism. One just bought his daughter an $11,000 dollar bike. I can’t even afford an $11,000 car let alone bike. I worry for their future. No fun to carry the leaded weight of debt.

  13. vinnieoh
    April 4, 2023 at 18:20

    “Admitting that people who do not want what we have or to live as we live can be happy is in its subtle way devastating to our view of the world.”

    It’s called cognitive dissonance.

    As our (Western) cultural and social landscape becomes increasingly populated with untruths, obvious lies, and unsupportable claims and beliefs, the volume of the dissonance will increase, and our (Western) “happiness” will become too much to bear.

  14. shmutzoid
    April 4, 2023 at 18:02

    Stereotypical and racist attitudes about the Chinese have been around ever since workers were “Shanghaied” and brought to the US to help build the rail lines. ……….In US popular culture, the Chinese have traditionally been portrayed as ‘mysterious”. “not to be trusted” and (my favorite) “INSCRUTABLE”. ……… As massive the propaganda about Russia/US/Ukraine/NATO is, we can expect an even bigger propaganda assault about China as the US ramps up for war.

    China has lifted some 800 million people out of abject poverty in the last twenty years. (That’s a dirty little secret those in the West are not s’posed to think about). ………It’s no wonder a sense of optimism pervades life in China. Not that all is perfect there——> there are now over 1,000 billionaires in China, and, still hundreds of millions living in poverty. Social tensions will undoubtedly play over time as they do in any capitalist economy resulting in staggering inequality.

    Like the air around us we breathe, the US sense of righteousness and entitlement is ubiquitous. It goes unnoticed and unmentioned. Most American can simply not fathom the idea of other countries even having their own ‘national interests’ It doesn’t compute. Americans are the most propagandized and insular people in the world. ……..Corporate media might as well be State Media.
    From the Monroe Doctrine to the Wolfowitz Doctrine, US imperialism has been written as “you’re either with us or against us”.

    One recent propaganda episode——–> Late lest year a small number of bourgeois students in China protested against a zero covid policy that was impinging on their lifestyle. ……. This was manipulated in the West to make it seem like the WHOLE country was up in arms and revolting against their gov’t. …….. The fact is their zero covid policy was widely supported by a huge majority of the working class. (And, with over a million covid deaths in the last four months, if there was an uprising in China to have zero covid mitigation measures return, you can bet we’d never see that reported in corporate news)

    As for polling, there’s a yearly survey conducted by Reuters (?) that randomly selects tens of thousands of people around the world and asks one question: ‘Which country is the greatest threat to global stability’? ……The USA comes out on top every year.

  15. C. Parker
    April 4, 2023 at 17:46

    The availability to affordable, high quality healthcare, including dental care, must be one of the top criteria which plays into the “happiness” equation in all nations and their perspective culture. It seems to me no one could be happy, even fleetingly, if they suffer with a toothache but cannot afford the repair. This, too, includes any health matter which creates suffering.

  16. April 4, 2023 at 16:41

    On happiness: Its pursuit appears to be in the nation’s DNA, since it is cited near the top of the Declaration of Independence as a right, the securing of which is a responsibility of government.

    However, what exactly constitutes happiness, however fleeting, is a mystery: to one, a respite from poor health, to another, the acquisition of things, the ethos of a consumer society.

    Regarding the Li River: On its own, worth a trip to China. Absolutely gorgeous, flowing serenely between verdant karst mountains. Guaranteed to lower your blood pressure.

    • Tsigantes
      April 5, 2023 at 08:39

      “The pursuit of happiness” , from the point of view of a Greek who spent a few years in the United States as a child, always struck me as strange, since it implies that happiness is somehow always tantalisingly out of reach and must be chased after, fleeting and ephemeral. Or that it depends on certain conditions being met, mostly material conditions in the case of the United States , since the American Dream seems to boil down to money.

      Far from ephemeral or fleeting, happiness is something we simply decide on, it is an attitude of the soul independent of ALL external factors , poverty, loss, the death of loved ones, even in the midst of war. Everyone is born with happiness inside, to embrace it is our choice.

  17. Jim other
    April 4, 2023 at 16:33

    I think we ought to get rid of our (US) war making leaders. I would certainly be jollier if we did.

    • Frank Lambert
      April 5, 2023 at 15:43

      Washington, D.C. would look like a ghost town if we did!

  18. SH
    April 4, 2023 at 16:21

    Thank you Patrick …

  19. Lois Gagnon
    April 4, 2023 at 16:13

    Thanks Patrick. This is the message the US public most needs to hear to counter a lifetime of BS propaganda that our system is the only one anyone on earth should want. Parting with illusions is not an activity that the empire encourages, but we are fast approaching the time when it will be forced upon us.

  20. April 4, 2023 at 15:36

    I’m constantly pleased in reading Mr. Lawrence’s musings, as they reflect a deeply humanistic vision.

  21. Randal Marlin
    April 4, 2023 at 15:35

    Any poll that doesn’t give you the exact questions asked is likely BS.
    You can’t evaluate a poll adequately if you don’t have the chance to ask: “How would I have answered that question?”
    Then there’s the question of methodology: who was being polled, where and at what time of day or night?
    Were those polled self-selecting or not?
    Who paid for the poll? What interest might they have in the outcome?
    Were the questions ordered in such a way as to affect answers to later questions?
    You would need a good translator if the questions were in Chinese. You should not rely on the pollster’s translations.
    There’s a book I recommend: Lies, Damn Lies, and Opinion Polls, by Michael Wheeler.

  22. John Nicholas Manning
    April 4, 2023 at 15:32

    There is a much simpler analysis which relates to the same subject. In the last 20 years economic growth in western European countries has seen a GDP rise by about 250%. The average wage growth in these countries has been between 65 – 70%. Compare that to Russia. GDP growth 400%. Average wage 250%. China, GDP growth 900%. Average wage 2000%.

    The worlds wealth has grown significantly. Some countries are spreading that wealth around their population. Western Europe seems to have lost the knack of doing that. This is the same period in which western governments on both the left and right of politics have committed themselves to the neo-liberal financial controls which originated in the USA.

  23. Valerie
    April 4, 2023 at 15:30

    Thankyou for the laughs Mr. Lawrence. It is a rather silly report. I don’t see how happiness can be measured. It’s an individual, personal emotion, with probable degrees for each person. I think i’m lucky that i am naturally happy and laugh a lot. As for Finland being the happiest nation; not too long ago, Finland was second in the world for highest suicide rates. Maybe their happiness now is because they joined NATO today.

  24. Realist
    April 4, 2023 at 15:26

    About a year ago a reader of Caitlin Johnstone’s blog named Max424 became very interested in China and after viewing perhaps hundreds of videos depicting the landscape and everyday life throughout the People’s Republic, usually in the form of walking tours but also scenes shot inside the homes of regular folks, posted the URL’s of scores of these videos on Caitlin’s forum. Aside from the fact that so much of modern Chinese infrastructure is brand spanking new, a product of the massive industrial and economic development of the country made possible by the American oligarchy moving 90% of American industry off our shores and straight to theirs, one is impressed with the simple beauty, order and cleanliness of these urban ecosystems. With a population of 1.4 billion there seems to be a person available to do every job possibly needed to maintain the marvelous natural landscapes created around every neighborhood or park shown in the videos. Horticulture must be a national avocation. The ultra-high density old urban jungles (most densely populated places on earth) which pre-date the American jobs migration are shown too, but even they seem neat, clean and quite orderly compared to an equivalent scene from New York or Chicago. Not only was the natural and architectural beauty of these Chinese cities quite obvious, but the vivacious demeanor of the (dare I say) happy crowds was striking, especially the unending chatter of the ubiquitous kids frolicking just everywhere, unrestrained by their parents. I would never suspect, based on such observation, that any of these Chinese or their kids were any less happy than Americans are supposed to be. In fact, there was every reason to believe that they were genuinely more happy, and probably grateful for all the material improvements in their lives over the past couple of generations. I’m sure they’d thank all the now destitute Americans for their jobs, who are now appreciably less happy.

    It also would not surprise me if even the Ukrainians were a whole lot happier before the American NGO’s, political agitators and eventually special ops snipers showed up in their country to instigate a series of color revolutions until the last one finally “took” and happiness for all has been banished from that miserable land. May China live happily ever after. Ukraine deserves to live unhappily ever after and can thank Uncle Sam for that. If Sam under the “leadership” of Crazy Lord Biden doesn’t cool his jets, Americans will be left to their pursuit of happiness on a smoldering nuclear ash heap.

    • Valerie
      April 5, 2023 at 03:34

      There is a very good BBC2 series documentary entitled “the story of China” with Michael Wood. It’s absolutely fascinating, with unbelievable scenery and history going back 4000 years.

    • Frank Lambert
      April 5, 2023 at 16:13

      CGTV (China Global Television Network) has many highly informative 30 minute and 1 hour documentaries on much of what you said above, and the advances they’ve made in just about every endeavor is remarkable. I’ve seen many of them pertaining to their farms, protecting the forests and the big organically grown food movement in China and in small remote villages, how their version of a city council gets things done for the inhabitants or lobbies the government to intervene if the task is too large for the locals.

      Even their wildlife preserves are admirable and the Chinese scientific community are working hard to keep the land livable and the forests pristine as much as possible. Cleaning up the pollution in the big cities where much of our stuff is made is crucial to a healthy environment, but they are working on it too. They have a state-controlled form of capitalism compared to our laissez-faire type, where the corporations usually have the last say in the matter, after the dog and pony show with the politicians and heads of the various agencies supposedly working for the public good.

      Amen on your last paragraph! It’s one of the reason we have the most war veterans out of any country in the world!

    • Grzeg
      April 5, 2023 at 18:26

      As someone who has lived in Ukraine and Russia off and on throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s, I can confirm that Ukraine would have been a whole lot better off with no one interfering in their development, and I emphasize “no one”. They have plenty of resources to feed themselves and have lots left over to export. They had talented, hard-working people. Yes, they had corruption and crime, but the road is bumpy. They should have been allowed to work out their own problems. Mariupol, Melitopol, and particularly Kharkiv were attractive, bustling cities – with majority Russian-speaking populations – now they are rubble. My hope for the future is that they will be allowed to carve out an identity by themselves and for themselves – that is what it means to be a sovereign country with secure, internationally-recognized borders. The Chinese have called precisely for this – territorial integrity. Let everyone who is not Ukrainian leave that country alone and take their weapons home with them. Then all sides should bow their heads in apology as they send the resources to help Ukraine rebuild. What a dark moment in the history of that part of the world.

  25. Drew Hunkins
    April 4, 2023 at 15:15

    You mean other people in foreign countries don’t want to sit in an SUV in rush hour traffic for two hours every work day?

    • Cara
      April 4, 2023 at 15:34

      Understanding that this is actually a fairly accurate description of a too large segment of U.S. society, nonetheless: Thank you for the laugh!

      • Drew Hunkins
        April 5, 2023 at 00:16

        You’re very welcome.

    • Frank Lambert
      April 4, 2023 at 17:14

      I did it for umpteen years, Drew. Between 70 & 75 miles each way! Could hardly wait until I retired!

      In the so-called industrialized countries, the US probably has the worse public transportation system in the world.

      • Drew Hunkins
        April 5, 2023 at 00:18

        Congratulations on being able to bow out of the rat race. We desperately need high-speed rail like every other industrialized country.

        • Jim other
          April 5, 2023 at 10:13

          Unfortunately, Drew, even if we had a better public transportation system, people won’t use it. They “need” their expensive, highly polluting cars.

          • Frank Lambert
            April 5, 2023 at 16:29

            Unfortunately Jim, you’re absolutely right! Going 5-10 miles an hour in rush “hours” traffic breathing the motor vehicle exhaust, which they don’t mind, but find it hard to breath in cigarette smoke from somebody smoking. (I’m a non-smoker) as just weird.

            On occasion, when I worked, I used public transportation which was available at the time as an experiment. From the workplace (70 miles away) to home, it took 4 hours with light rail and bus transfers (a lot of waiting time).

            Yes, the majority of people rather drive their own vehicles and then complain about air pollution and traffic.

        • Frank Lambert
          April 5, 2023 at 16:15

          Indeed! We needed it yesterday!

      • Sharon
        April 5, 2023 at 15:15

        Public transportation includes exposure to people unlike oneself and our Government M.O. of Divide and Conquer won’t facilitate that.

        I believe the Chinese are content to wear masks, even pre-Covid, to assure community health. Americans will never get there, won’t even try.

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