I'm indebted once again to that rightside-up Aussie, Tim Blair, for another gem (two in a row!): "Mining tax row 'reflects changed values'". It's short but it's very sweet, and works on so many levels, as Homer would say. The reporter here has dug up a "professor of public ethics", no less, who's unhappy that the Aussie government is abandoning a proposed "super-profits tax", a proposal that was one of the reasons for a surge of support for the center-right just a short time before an election that nearly cost the young Labour government its life. Speaking to a -- get this -- Happiness and Wellbeing at Work conference, he says that "the controversy is indicative of a belief among Australians that people's circumstances are a result of their own efforts, and that rich people deserve to be rich". I mean, can you imagine!? How could Australians ever have sunk so low! And where could they have got such notions?? Do the octopus arms of Beck-Palin-Limbaugh (and now maybe O'Donnell, and not the Rosy one) reach all the way to the other side of the world?!
Well, I wouldn't doubt that last. But the good professor has a more limited, if less satisfying, explanation: "'we are much more tolerant of inequality than we used to be'", apparently. "But societies that were more equal were happier, he said". Sure is a head-scratcher. Maybe Australians are happier being unhappy, or something.
Or, of course, maybe they, like the Tea Party in America, and similar popular movements everywhere, are seeing the bovine stupidity and moral obtuseness that have long characterized the culturati for what they are, and are finally just blowing them off. Which would certainly give the elite, at least, a real reason to be unhappy.