I'll tell you whether you're happy, chump

Over at the NYT’s Freakonomics blog, Arthur Brooks is reporting on studies that suggest that conservatives are considerably happier than liberals. This is creating considerable agitá among the commentators. The most intelligent response so far has come from the person who wrote, “Who cares? They’re still wrong.” But I’m enjoying the several folks who denounce the study as dependent on “self-assessment” and “self-reporting,” that is, who think that people who say that they’re happy are not to be trusted any more than (I suppose) people who say that they’re honest or smart.

This raises an interesting question: If I cannot be trusted to determine whether I’m happy or not, who can? To whom should I turn if I want to know whether or not I’m happy? I’d really like to know.