Were the hippies wrong?
Were the hippies irresponsible, or are the oligarchs to blame for the sorry state of affairs the USA finds itself in today?
A lot has been said about the liabilities that the hippies were responsible for, in the flower-power days of the 1960’s in the Western world. There have been deeply searching recriminations in the 2010’s about the self-indulgence. It has been said that the irresponsible inaction of the counter-cultural group let the wolf get into the chicken house. We see it pretty clearly through the lens of the rising political crisis of the soon-to-be-post-Obama era.
One may well examine the burdens and benefits of the hippies, properly set in their milieu and social setting, and weigh them against the rising power of the oligarchs in the USA, and elsewhere, who are bidding for governmental control over all of Western humanity. We will examine the contributions and costs of each, in the context of the USA at the start of this power struggle, and conclude that the struggle for true freedom does not end when one’s self is satisfied, but when any reasonable man might be properly sufficed for.
Additionally, we have seen that power in and for its own sake was at issue. The holders of power have never been satisfied with controlling their own destiny in the context of the world and all it’s forces, whether fire, flood, earthquake, animal, disease or mankind. No, the powers that be…well, it’s a hackneyed cliché for a good reason!
Whatever the conflicts of men may be, civilization exists as a way of moderating the rapaciousness of the current holders of power, and spreading the benefits amongst the populace, whether ancient or modern. It was just such a balancing act, one might say conflict, others might say dialectic, which was evident in the two decades after the Hitlerian attempt at hegemony, that manifested itself in the Hippie movement.
The decades following the second world war saw the USA involved in fruitless fighting against Asian self-determinists, where there were clearly no relationships or justifications. The second of those conflicts endured for over ten years and involved tens of thousands of American casualties, with domestic financial costs and social divisions which forever altered the shape and appearance of the United Stated. The visibility of the illegality of that war, against the backdrop of the utterly contrasting global conflict for freedom and safety which had so recently been fought, made it easy for the proponents of the Vietnam War to create a confusion of pseudo-patriotic images in their attempts to gain popular support. It was against such hypocracies and abuses of power that the youthful bohemian successors to the hipster artsy beatnik crowd were working, which brought about the ‘counter culture’ sobriquet.
The illegality of the Vietnam War has been admitted by Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense to Lyndon Johnson. The criminalization of the counter culture that was organized by the Nixon administration has been admitted by John Erlichman. The needs to have positive relationships with the Asian self-determinists have been made national policy by Nixon and Reagan: the very presidents who were quite happy to demonize, criminalize and marginalize their own citizens. The ironies are enormous, particularly to those who have been directly harmed by these invidious policies. The social divisions still tear at the fabric of our nation, even after having been revealed as illegal and intentionally divisive!
It’s readily apparent that social divisions will remain in our country, as in our world, whether along ideological lines such as these, or racial, or hierarchical, or whatever people can dream up – history is a study of such differences, and of the wars which they beget. History also shows us the glory of civilizations which flourished during all-too-brief times of peace, and the outpourings of creativity, and positive innovations which were facilitated.
Creativity and cultural output was something that the hippies focused on very much, revealing the deceptive nature of the very ‘counter-culture’ identifier which was hung around their necks like a rotting albatross: hippies were not against any real culture, just against the so-called ‘war-culture’ of the USA’s oligarchically controlled military-industrial complex! Although history may be temporarily skewed by a group in control here or there, I submit that the long-term and sustaining view will be that the hippies were right on every point of their generally acknowledged cultural, social and political program.
Robert McNamara’s quote: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/1995-05-01/wrong-kind-loyalty-mcnamaras-apology-vietnam
John Erlichman’s quote: http://www.drudge.com/news/196977/ehrlichman-admits-drug-war-targeted-black