His main distinction seems to have been the trouble the police experienced in capturing him. A question that comes to mind, however, is whether the Ned Kelly syndrome of contempt for legality and the law is still a force in modern bourgeois Australia.
There is rationale to believe that the Australia which created the Ned Kelly myth might not now be so compassionate to it. Not only does Australia have around twice the average personal throwaway income than the Britain which sent out the convicts now has, but Australians now distinguish themselves as overwhelmingly middle class. Martin elaborates facts to demonstrate that while only one-third of the British see themselves as middle class (or better), roughly two-thirds of Australians fall into the same category. Times have changed.
In spite of this, though, Laurie reports findings that imply that the Ned Kelly morality may be very much alive and kicking-- at least among our young people. In his work he found that 99% had at some time stolen and that 75% said they would give up again in at least one of a set of imaginary temptation scenarios. One of the set of scenarios was that of shoplifting. Ned Kelly would certainly feel at home today given these results. (Laurie, 67)
Nevertheless, children have not learnt the restraints and more "responsible" attitudes that are expected of adults so the problem of attitude to crime among the population in general remains an open one. It is the objective of this paper to supply data which might help expound the question either way.
Understandably, sympathy for Ned Kelly in contemporary Australia would be much less than it once was. A certain respect for the criminal is no longer characteristically Australian. Australians have become entirely bourgeois in their attitudes to crime as in their attitudes to other things. Sympathy for small crime such as shoplifting is now as indicative of estrangement from Australian society as it would be in other countries.
As observed by Laurie, the existing culture has also been valuable for the number of commonsense hypotheses about inter-group differences that they prove to be sham. (Laurie, 110)
Particularly they are at some discrepancy with the results reported by Martin (Martin, 91). This difference could barely be accounted for by age as the two samples would seem to have been very similar in this respect. It is more possibly to be accounted for by the diverse type of questions asked on the two occasions. The existing sample revealed that schoolboys disapproved of shoplifting. Martin showed that on some occasions they might engage in small crime and deceit. That attitudes and behavior may be at dissent is well-known -- the well-known "Do as I say, not as I do" syndrome. In such situations the incongruity between the present results and the Martin results is only evident.
What has been revealed is that there is very little social support for shoplifting in modern-day Australia. Mythical thinking, Laurie tells us, is a rational form of bricolage (Laurie, 89) the bricoleur is a man who makes as well as he can what is required from what he finds to hand. He casts about,