By 2020 you’ll be a lot happier

February 11, 2010

Here’s something I bet you didnt know – it’s now the job of the Australian Government to “increase happiness”! Here are the government’s exact words:

By 2020, the Australian Government envisions a greater capacity ‘…to create jobs, build prosperity, save lives, eliminate disadvantage, protect our fragile planet, and increase happiness’.

It’s on the first page of a government report – ‘Inspiring Australia: A national strategy for engagement with the sciences’ – released on Tuesday. It got virtually no publicity – but the IPA decided to slog through it anyway. We found out that apparently ‘increasing happiness’ has been a government objective since May last year.  When was Kevin Rudd going to tell us? Does he (or anyone else) know what these Canberra bureaucrats write?

Here and here are reasons why politicians should stay out of the happiness business.

Monday’s Superbowl was the most-watched TV show in US history (beating the last episode of MASH). This controversial ad was shown during the game. Here’s what the Lost Angeles Times said about the ad.

And from the Nanny State files: here’s a great article from The Age on Monday on how government regulation is killing cultural events. We broke this story a couple of years ago, and Chris Berg wrote more about it last year.

Meanwhile in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston, they’re making it illegal to smoke outside!

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: Chris Berg in the Sunday Age said that the government is a bigger problem than lobbyists. In The Spectator last week, Tom Switzer explained why Kevin Rudd is like Richard Nixon, and in the Herald Sun on Saturday, Alan Moran considered Tony Abbott’s climate policy.

PS: I’ll be debating Peter Singer and Tim Costello next Tuesday at Melbourne University – if you want to come, click here.

(And thank you to the 38 people who emailed me and told me I should learn to count – last week was the 105th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s birth – not the 150th. So here’s a bonus to make up for the mistake – an interview with her.)

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