When YUPPIES and Hippies collide.

I’ve got enough friends from both groups – YUPPIES (Young Urban Professionals or Young Upwardly-Mobile Professionals) and Hippies (love the earth, don’t kill ’em animals) – to witness, first-hand, the relationship between the two. At first blush, it seems like YUPPIES have nothing in common with Hippies, but if you ever move to West End in Brisbane, where I used to live, which I fondly refer to as the 4101, after the local postcode, you will see a peaceful, if separate, co-existence. Well, that’s how it is for the most part anyway.

Because for all the yoga classes we take together (or rather Hippies teach and YUPPIES attend), lentil-chewing, recycling, walking and cycling everywhere  (everyone’s into the “green life” to put it simply), there remains a core of beliefs within both groups that clearly do not overlap. What is that core? To put it in a word: Economics. YUPPIES are overwhelmingly capitalist, hence their ascension up the economic and social ladder, whilst Hippies have co-opted out of capitalism, but to their continued chagrin, still find themselves caught up in it’s web, one way or another.

From reading my many posts, you probably already know which group I fall into. For my many attempts at “turning vego” (9 at last count) and my ample admiration of other people’s gardens, I have come to accept that I will never give up meat entirely or be able to grow anything that can possibly die (which rules out all plants). I love visiting farmer’s markets on the weekends and eating organic whenever the opportunity arises (I don’t go out of my way to eat organic food), can be spotted at the Salvos and Vinnies from time to time trying to score a bargain, but if you ask me what gets my fires burning, it’s progress.

It’s progress that brought me to Australia and it’s progress that’s keeping me in this part of the world when I could be anywhere else. Where I’m from, people either progress or they perish into the unforgiving straits of poverty. It’s really that simple. There isn’t a third option.

That’s why you find many migrants singing the praises of the Australian government. In Alice Pung’s memoir “Unpolished Gem”, her grandmother cannot understand why the other oldies at the welfare office look like they’ve been sucking on lemons as she, unlike them, is overjoyed to be given an allowance by “Father Government”, who, let’s remember, is funded by the tax-paying public.

Maybe it’s where I’m from, but I know there is no such thing as a free lunch in the world. If someone is giving you money, then obviously they are going to ask of something from you in return. Recently I’ve heard a murmur of dissent among my Hippie friends about the Australian government’s move to tie child immunisation with some parenting payments. One says their child has never been ill even without the immunisation while another likens it to bullying and thinks AMA and the pharmaceutical giants are behind the change in legislation. And as usual, and this often amuses me, someone postulates how nice it’d be to be exempt from the will of the people who dole out money.

There is a way out of this, good people. It’s called, “Don’t take welfare” because the people funding your welfare have the RIGHT to feel that their children will be protected from immunizable diseases.

“Yes, but my children are healthy! They don’t need jabs from the white coats!” people protest, then they assert, “Immunization only makes the pharmaceutical industry rich!”

Let me tell you: your children may be healthy but if immunization levels fall below 85%, even those jabbed will not be protected from diseases like whooping cough, chicken pox or polio. Babies, who are most at risk from whooping cough, have DIED because people refuse to immunise their children to the disease. So in effect, if you choose NOT to vaccinate your children, you are potentially MURDERING someone else’s. Think about that. Think about that carefully.

People who know me, know I’ve never praised Rudd. In fact, although my 8 year old is his biggest fan (she rips the newspapers out of my hands to read about him), I’ve had nary a good word to say about him or any of his policies until now. This move to make the parenting payment supplement worth an estimated $2100 a year to some, contingent on immunisation, gets 2 big thumbs up from me. I think that if your fellow tax payers are funding your lifestyle, you OWE it to them, to keep immunizable diseases at bay.

I wish there was a less-offensive, more politically-correct way to state the case but there isn’t. Hippies feel entitled to government handouts but do not want to be hampered by the constraints of regular society. For myself, this clash of ideals between YUPPIES and Hippies is something I came to realise when a pseudo-Hippie friend (she’s not really a Hippie but is sympathetic to their causes) brought around to my place a real hippie.

The real hippie seemed contemptuous of my supposed trappings of wealth – the product of a capitalist YUPPIE lifestyle – but was more than happy to use my pool. In response to my “friend request” on facebook, we became friends shortly after. I continued to meet her when our mutual friend organised Hippie-type gatherings but she never, ever, took it upon herself to chat with me even though as mothers, we would have something to talk about.

Soon after my move to Perth was announced, she “unfriended” me. Perhaps what  troubled her about our association is not how dissimilar to her I am but how similar. Perhaps from a distance, it’s easier too for her to believe that I am “evil” just because I live in a place with a pool, dine at restaurants and go on holidays.