Written by Auntie Matter

Saturday, 1 January 2011


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image for The Secret of Happiness? Happy kids in Solacia.

It's official. The happiest people on earth are in the small independent province of Paxovia in Russia. It is so safe there that doors are left unlocked, car keys can be left in the ignition and if you lose your wallet or purse it will be returned to you within hours or still be in the place you left it.

I went there to find out for myself. As soon as I arrived in Solacia the capital, I was amazed by the friendliness and happiness of the people. They worked hard and played hard and didn't seem to have a care in the world. Streets and parks were impeccably clean, not a scrap of litter to be seen anywhere. The ethos was very clearly family oriented and what it joy it was to see! I called in at the council offices to find our more.

"It is very simple," said Mayor Kaminski. "You treat people with respect and they live up to who they are. In our schools we teach that it is more important to be than to have. "Know thyself" is our motto. Meditation is very much a part of our schools' regime. We have collective prayer but no churches or religion. Hence, there is no need to enforce dogma. We look on God as our Heavenly Father. It really is Utopia, as all of us live very much in the present even as we plan for the future. We do not watch the adult fantasies you call movies that focus on the worst that is in all of us but manifest only in a few. We listen to a lot of music, all of which is positive and uplifting. Life, we teach, is a creative enterprise and is what you make it. Our government is devoted entirely to helping people do just that. What the West has yet to understand is that without freedom there can be no happiness and all the self-help books in the world will not supply it. Respect for oneself and others is the bedrock of our educational and social systems. Thus domestic disputes and domestic violence do not exist here. The phenomenon of self-hatred so prevalent in the West is an impossibility here for that reason. Only unhappy, hopeless, abused people can commit self-harm or feel impelled to dump their misery on another, which is what violence is."

The mayor took me on a visit to schools, factories and hospitals. Everywhere it was the same - smiling, happy, friendly people who seemed very much at peace with themselves and each other. However, I found out later what the real secret of this happiness was - apart from the superb social system enjoyed by the Paxovians.

Years ago Paxovia was like any other province or country in the world. It had high crime figures and its jails were crowded with thousands of offenders. Until, General Kutuzov took over the government in a coup in 1966. Immediately, he instituted laws against criminals. Children and their parents who showed violent or anti-social behavior were rounded up and sent to army boot camps whence they came back reformed. His methods of reform included neither rigorous training nor abuse of any kind.

In less than a decade, crime had vanished completely from the streets and homes of Solacia and every other town and village in the province. At that point, his mission fulfilled, General Kutuzov allowed a freely elected government. From all the universities he assembled a think tank to advise the government on matters beyond its knowledge or expertise. Before his death he forbade any statue or memorial to be erected in his honour. "No man is any better than another, whatever his capacities or achievements," he said.

Thus a new education system came into being and a new way of life for Paxovians. To us, in the West, Paxovia's laws against crime may seem draconian and harsh but they rarely have to be implemented and are extremely effective as deterrents. Some of them are as follows;

• A rapist gets five years in jail mandatory and all his possessions are impounded, if he has any. If not, the possessions of his next of kin are impounded. Also, proceeds from his work in jail are given to the victim. If he re-offends on release he is rendered impotent and incapable of any form of sexual activity for life. Abuse of this law to defraud the state means life imprisonment for all involved or exile to Siberia.

• A thief or burglar has all his possessions impounded and given to the victim. If he has no possessions he must stay in jail and work for five years mandatory. His earnings go to his victim. If he re-offends he is sent into exile to Siberia. If he is an under-age offender the entire possessions of his family or guardian are impounded by the state and sold off and the proceeds given to the victim. Conspiracies to defraud others by abuse of this law means life imprisonment for all those involved or exile to Siberia.

• Lawyers have no legal power over the media whatsoever, either to protect a client's 'character' or 'reputation' or to suppress information that might be deemed pernicious to a client. The state takes the view that 'character' or 'reputation' are mere fictions and so are not entitled to protection by the state. This is not difficult to enforce as slander and defamation do not exist in Paxovia's media as no one has the right to succeed at the expense of another. No man or woman is allowed to have more than the equivalent of one hundred million dollars. This is considered by the state to be more than enough for any one individual. Anyone not happy with the earnings cap is sent for psychiatric evaluation. Lawyers' legal powers are confined to court matters and court proceedings entirely. Any lawyer found to exceed his legal powers by threatening another is sent to prison for a minimum of five years and his possessions impounded.

• A murderer, if convicted, has all his possessions impounded and given to the relatives of his victim. Or, if he has none, the possessions of his next of kin are impounded. Then he is jailed for life, in the course of which, he must work for the victim's family.

• Anyone who assaults another citizen seriously in an unprovoked attack will get five years in jail mandatory in the course of which he will work for the victim or their family. If there are two people involved in the attack the sentence is increased to ten years each. If there are three, the sentence is thirty years; and if there are four or more the sentence is life without parole. Life meaning life. The state takes the view that no man should be rewarded in jail or outside of jail for behaving like a decent human being.

• Willful plagiarism of another's creative works in whatever art form for profit, if conclusively proven, means death by firing squad. The state holds that spiritual violence is every bit as punishable as physical violence or violence against property.

Result of all this? Happy people who feel secure and safe and free: whose heads are not full of shit. And who can sleep at night... peacefully.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: happiness, Russia
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