At first glance, one might be tempted to, with the wave of a hand, dismiss the newly released United Nations "World Happiness Report" as merely an aggregation of selectively chosen data spun by an organizing body with a checkered history and a bevy of controversial "leaders." After all, the analysis, headed by none other than the director of Columbia University's "Earth Institute," uncovers fairly predictable "findings" -- namely that European socialist countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway yield a happier general populace than does the United States.
Plainly put, the exhaustive 150-page report was likely generated to serve as supporting material for the U.N.'s various agendas, as well as leftists' claims that socialism equals "Gross National Happiness."
Glenn Beck took note of this disturbing fact on Tuesday evening when he quipped that the United Nations is "here to save the day" and make us "happy again."
It is also worth noting that professor Jeffrey Sachs, the economist and Columbia faculty member who spearheaded the initiative, was, according to Beck, once hand-picked by George Soros to aid Russia in its transition from Communism to capitalism. Sachs is considered a leading "sustainable development" advocate, who has vowed to obliterate world poverty, and is a member of the Spanish Socialist Party's think-tank, Fundación IDEAS.
Beck added that one of Sachs "biggest supporters" is George Soros, who "donated $50 million to his [Sachs'] 'Millennium Villages project." Millennium Villages' aim is to "end extreme poverty."
When asked why he donated such a vast sum of money to the organization, Soros reportedly said, "as a humanitarian action, it was a good investment on its own, but if it succeeded, then of course you would get a reward that would be way out of proportion to the investment made."
Beck mocked what the goal could possibly be beside the "humanitarian action" aspect of the contribution.
The report's contradictions and oddities
What is perhaps most noteworthy about the study is, as American Thinker's Daren Jonescu points out, it never actually defines happiness. Rather, the statistics used to measure the happiness of nations "are derived from survey respondents' subjective evaluations of their level of 'happiness,' or 'life-satisfaction,' without reference to any explicit standard or stipulated definition of the study's key term," he observed.
"We live in an age of stark contradictions," begins the U.N. report. "The world enjoys technologies of unimaginable sophistication; yet has at least one billion people without enough to eat each day."
This section may highlight Sachs' crusade against world hunger and poverty.
"The world economy is propelled to soaring new heights of productivity through ongoing technological and organizational advance; yet is relentlessly destroying the natural environment in the process." This passage, of course, is a tip of the hat to environmentalists.
The study's editors continue by explaining that while countries achieve what is "conventionally" considered great economic development, new "crises" arise including "obesity, smoking, diabetes, depression, and other ills of modern life."
Perhaps a nod of approval to the Nanny State?
Sachs then appears to condescend, suggesting only wise "progressives" can see such obvious truths: "These contradictions would not come as a shock to the greatest sages of humanity, including Aristotle and the Buddha."
The report continues:
The sages taught humanity, time and again, that material gain alone will not fulfill our deepest needs. Material life must be harnessed to meet these human needs, most importantly to promote the end of suffering, social justice, and the attainment of happiness. The challenge is real for all parts of the world.
"In both the United States and Europe, increases in inequality have (other things equal) produced reductions in happiness," the study states. In this statement, Sachs asserts that those who make less money are categorically less happy. One wonders if this is a reference to the "99%."
"The effect has been stronger in Europe than in the U.S.," the report adds. Sachs then suggests the difference "reflects ideological differences" between Europeans and Americans.
The U.N. report deduces that roughly 70 percent of Americans "believe that the poor have a chance of escaping poverty," while only 40 percent of Europeans believe an individual can change his or her position in life.
The caveat -- the most poignant "finding" of the report, however, is in its conclusion that regardless of actual facts, the truth of the matter is completely found in the reverse scenario: "There is more intergenerational social mobility in Europe than the U.S. and there is more mobility where there is greater income equality."
Beck translated the above findings, saying they suggest Americans are foolish for continuing to believe in the American dream and in their potential to experience upward mobility. Apparently, in reality, it's the "socialist utopia" of Europe that provides the most "mobility" and therefore, the most "happiness."
Here is where the study seems to contradict itself. If you recall, the primary remarks of the U.N. report openly state that money and "material gain alone will not fulfill our deepest needs," but then it goes on to assert that "upward mobility" directly increases happiness-levels. Thus, Sachs and his team of "researchers" are in fact admitting that money is the key to happiness.
Not surprisingly, the report recommends government play a significant role in attempting to make citizens happy through policies that will bridge the "income inequality" gap. Of course, this can only be achieved through government redistribution of wealth -- just like it is done in Europe.
"Have you ever been to Greece?" Beck asked incredulously. "Where people are taking their own lives in the streets?"
If there were any doubts about Sachs' affinity for Soros, consider the following segment in which the economist was slammed for embracing a double-standard where the Left's financier is concerned:
Emphasis added by The Blaze.