23 October, 2008


Could it be real? Could there truly be such a perfect escape route?

Imagine the unimaginable: Todd Palin picking out curtain patterns for the vice-presidential mansion. In such an eventuality, whither shall we flee?

Four years ago, Democrats made a lot of noise about Canada, but as political statements go, there's not much sting to "I'm so mad at America I'm going to move a few degrees of latitude northward." Tina Fey has suggested we leave Earth altogether, but at the risk of reviving a discredited rubric, I'd like to propose a "third way." Actually, I'll let sociologist Phil Zuckerman propose it. In "Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment," he tells of a magical land where life expectancy is high and infant mortality low, where wealth is spread and genders live in equity, where happy, fish-fed citizens score high in every quality-of-life index: economic competitiveness, healthcare, environmental protection, lack of corruption, educational investment, technological literacy ... well, you get the idea.

To a certain jaded sensibility, what makes Scandinavia particularly magical is what it lacks. "There is no national anti-gay rights movement," writes Zuckerman, "there are no 'Jesus fish' imprinted on advertisements in the yellow pages, there are no school boards or school administrators who publicly doubt the evidence for human evolution ... there are no religiously inspired 'abstinence only' sex education curricula ... there are no parental groups lobbying schools and city councils to remove Harry Potter books from school and public libraries ... there are no restaurants that include Bible verses on their menus and placemats, there are no 'Faith Nights' at national sporting events ..."

It's... it's utopia. It sounds too good to be true! It sounds like... paradise.

If McCain somehow steals this election, I am so there!


Atheist Chaplain said...

SO I take it the fold out bed can stay put for a while :-)

Paco said...

Um, it's cold and dark there! If the Dems don't win, I'll stay in Texas with the real (liberal) non-quitting Mavericks.