One type of article I see repeated online all the time is the ten best places in the world to live or something along those lines. These types of articles make very good clickbait. Hell, I click on them myself and they almost always feature the same countries – Northern European nations (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) and Switzerland with the prime factors being universal healthcare and education and gun control (although in the case of Switzerland it’s more like ammunition control). I can’t argue with any of these things, I support all of them but as a 50 year old childless man there are far more important details in selecting a country to live in.
Again, these are the things that are important to me. This is what I look for. Others likely feel different.
1.) I hate cold weather and snow. To me, the ideal place to live should have summer twelve months out of the year. I quite like powerful but brief tropical rain storms but I hate drizzle with pissing showers like an old man with a weak bladder.
2.) I like ethnic and cultural diversity. I like a multi-racial society. I like hearing a lot of different languages spoken and seeing a lot of cultures on display. A homogenous population isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s far less interesting and eventually you’ll have bigotry and chauvinism of some sort.
3.) Democracy is all well and good but more important is economic democracy. How do I measure this? Not by whether I can cast a meaningless vote (people can vote in Afghanistan and Iraq and it is symbolic only) but is it possible for me to start a business, better myself or is the system rigged or corrupt. Is there an entrepreneurial spirit present? Does the government allow small business to flourish? Does corruption and overregulation get in the way of this?
4.) Singapore is an okay place. I have been there number of times but I would never want to live there. A place where they give you a ticket for not flushing a public toilet or allowing standing water on your balcony is a society with too much involvement in the lives of its citizens. I want government present and functioning but not monitoring what I do or breathing down my neck. If a police car drives through your neighborhood every ten minutes, don’t pat yourself on the back for living in a country like that, instead ask the question why it is necessary for a police car to drive through your neighborhood every ten minutes.
5.) Sooner or later the way in which a country conducts itself in the world will directly affect life in that country. A violent imperialistic nation will eventually behave the same way at home. For example, I believe there is a direct connection between US actions abroad and the rise of a militarized out of control police force. “The chickens coming home to roost” as Malcolm X said. Oswald Spengler in DECLINE OF THE WEST also pointed to the link between an overextended foreign empire and the loss of liberty domestically as a sign of the decline of a civilization.
6.) Do the people of a country have the right balance between materialism and simpler ways of living? Do they work like dogs to acquire meaningless junk and how does society at large view the materialist mindset? America is so huge and overwhelming, how much influence does American type materialism have on your country of choice?
7.) Also American culture is also big and overwhelming and omnipresent. Do the citizens of a country still treasure their own traditions and ignore American dysfunctional pop culture? Are family ties still important? How do people behave in public do they have loud hissy fits if they don’t get their way or more controlled? Are the citizens of the country hedonistic, behaving like perpetual adolescents or do they sometime subvert their own needs for others? What is the divorce rate? Drug/alcohol/teen pregnancy etc.? While bad driving and not being able to stand in line properly drives me nuts I know this is because I am an American. More importantly how do people treat each other especially the ones they love? Spengler in DECLINE also noted the rise of a junk valueless culture as another sign of the death spiral of a civilization.
8.) I am an old happily married guy but if I was single that would be a consideration too. It’s a generalization to say this I realize but I prefer Asian women to Western women – On one hand, more conservative and less dysfunctional but on the other hand even though it is contradictory also more free of mind and spirit, less jaded, not necessarily more intelligent but more knowledgeable of the world and definitely more curious about it. I also like a society that has plenty of career and educational opportunities for women.
9.) Is the system of justice fair? Is it possible to get a fair trial? Are those accused treated the same despite differences in financial status and race/religion? Is punishment draconian or equal to the crime committed?
10.) I like the ocean, swimming in the ocean, the smell of the ocean, being near the ocean even though these days I don’t go to the beach all that often. I do like having the ability to go to the ocean if I want. I would not want to live somewhere that is landlocked. I don’t have to live in nature but I like being near nature say half an hour to an hour away from forest or jungle.