The Happiness Police - Really That Bad?

Arnold Kling who usually writes about economic research writes about so called happiness research on TCS (and hosts a discussion about it on his EconLog):

I am afraid that "happiness research" amounts to nothing but a flimsy excuse for left-wing academics to claim that they should be given control over how the rest of us live.

Let me offer a final thought experiment. Suppose that you could choose to live either in our society with its current choice of lifestyles or in a society where "happiness police" tell you how many hours you can work, what kind of job you can have, and what kinds of goods and services you can buy. Which society would make you happier?

Research as a flimsy excuse? Perhaps - but they say that "it takes one to know one". Economic research itself is for some reason called the "dismal science". And from times to times it is actually used to make right-wing claims that government should withdraw from most of its current tasks. Lets carry out Arnolds thought experiment:

How bad would it really be to live in a country where the "happiness police" tells lorry drivers and airline pilots not to work until they fall asleep? Have the "happiness police" to keep people away from distributing and consuming illicit drugs? That bad really?

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