In his search for the happiest place in the world he decided to check out one of the unhappiest places which turns out to be Moldova. He has some interesting thoughts on Communism and Democracy and I noted this one paragraph to share:
It's not that democracy makes people happy but rather that happy people are much more likely to establish a democracy.
The soil must be rich, culturally speaking, before democracy can take root.
The institutions are less important than the culture. And what are the cultural
ingredients needed for democracy to take root? Trust and tolerance. Not
only trust of those inside your group- family, for instance- but external trust.
Trust of strangers. Trust of your opponents, your enemies, even. That way you
feel you can gamble on other people- and what is democracy but one giant
It first made me think of Iraq, and the imposition of democracy on its people. Has there ever been one instance of a forced democracy working successfully? Can you think of one? In all the former communist countries which are now quasi-democracies, are the people measurably happier? We've lived in a few of these countries ourselves and very few people ever claim to be happier than they were before, much less do they claim to just be happy. They are some of the least happy places in the world. And they often talk about the "good old days". No doubt, one day the Iraqis will do the same.
Successful democracies are born from within. Happy, trusting people create them themselves.