Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth

Having spent two years in Costa Rica, I'm not surprised to read this.

It's a hell of a country and remembers things that Americans have forgotten, or never learned.

Costa Rica provides universal health care, free education, has no standing army, and has committed itself to some of the strictest environmental laws in the world.

I complained while I lived there that in comparison to the United States or Argentina and Chile, little Costa Rica lacked culture. I said, "Nothing is happening here." But that wasn't true. Costa Rica had developed its own culture, and a great deal was happening. And the people were living well and remained close to the essential pleasures of life.

New York City or Buenos Aires represents a narrow and frankly strange genre of culture. There's a time for that genre in a person's life, certainly. But there are other vital ways of living—ways that might be more important to human health and delight over time than what we find in Manhattan or Palermo.

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