History

The Traditionalist Counterculture

Can the hippie and the conservative be friends?

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In the web journal First Principles, reason managing editor Jesse Walker takes a look at "crunchy cons," National Review conservatives, the Summer of Love, and "the libertarian and traditionalist wings of the hippie movement."

Read all about it here.

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  1. If I were trapped on an island with a hippie and a conservative, I’d poison myself so that neither of them could eat my corpse.

  2. Er, didn’t Crunchy Cons come out a few years ago? And he’s just getting around to writing a review now?

  3. Well at least you now have the option of picking a combination of the khaki pleats crowd and the self-righteous birkenstock wearing crowd. Can I pick none of the above?

  4. But can the hippie and the libertarian get along? On the other thread about the guy trying to live out a “money free” culture, I argued that maybe it’s an interesting alternative rather than something just to sneer at. Who says libertarians can’t be hippies? As long as someone’s not trying to force us to live like they do, maybe a little more tolerance (even celebration of) for alternative lifestyles is in order

  5. free wheelin’ Ginsburg:
    I’ve often said the same thing. I’m glad that voluntary “intentional communities” exist. The more different lifestyles that people lead the better, as long as they don’t force others to be tied into their restrictions. A little free love next door never hurt anyone.

    “The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends”

  6. Was there some recent infusion of hippies I was unaware of?

    Or are we expanding hippy to include, basically, “liberals” again?

    Because last I checked, the number of actual hippies in the US was — for all practical concerns — so small as to be ignorable.

    There’s a few idiots running around, especially on the west coast, but we’re talking folks who spend most of their time stoned or complaining bitterly about capitalism while attempting to buy weed.

    It’s not the 60s. Hippies don’t matter any more than, well…I’d like to say libertarians, but there’s actually a lot more libertarians.

    So why the hippy kick all of a sudden?

  7. When I read Crunchy Cons (yes, a few years ago, so what?) I drew parallels to the punk rock movement. In the same vein, you had a bunch of kids rebelling against something, and that rebellion is what united them.

    The fact that both the hippies and the punks spanned the political spectrum is probably what made both movements so important. Both were about something more than political ideology.

  8. i think the core difference between the left/punks/hippies and libertarians is that the former may hate the government as much as the ladder but they hate businessmen more.

  9. Libertarians/conservatives have made hippies far too relevant for far too long.

  10. t. j. | March 2, 2008, 12:02pm | #
    i think the core difference between the left/punks/hippies and libertarians is that the former may hate the government as much as the ladder but they hate businessmen more.

    Hate the ladder – No way man. Ever been on a ladder? You can get high on a ladder. Ladders are way cool.

    (jes’ pullin’ yer leg – in your post it should read “latter”)

  11. That article was apparently written in a code to which I do not have the key.

  12. Because last I checked, the number of actual hippies in the US was — for all practical concerns — so small as to be ignorable.

    Morat20,

    Well I now know you don’t live in Asheville NC.We can rule out Boone NC as well.
    I’d bet hippies outnumber the population of bears in mountainous regions of the USA.

  13. Hippies don’t matter any more than, well…I’d like to say libertarians, but there’s actually a lot more libertarians.

    If hippie women don’t outnumber libertarian women by greater than 100 to 1 I’ve met a really skewed sample of the population.

  14. “I’d bet hippies outnumber the population of bears in mountainous regions of the USA.”

    That’s because the hunters keep the bear population down. Try and get a license to hunt hippies!

  15. What hippies lack in numbers they make up for in strength of odor.

  16. Because last I checked, the number of actual hippies in the US was — for all practical concerns — so small as to be ignorable.

    You’ve obviously never been to Seattle or Portland, Ore.

  17. Talking to several people who where active in the era, I was surprised to hear that hippies and the student activists of the times where pretty homogeneous. I always thought those taking to the streets in protest and those smoking pot at Woodstock where one and the same.

    i think the core difference between the left/punks/hippies and libertarians is that the former may hate the government as much as the ladder but they hate businessmen more.
    Didn’t, in the start, punks hate hippies? What happened?

  18. If anyone has a list of core hippie beliefs, I’d like to hear it. “Turn on, tune in, drop out”* doesn’t even make sense to me. Tuning in and dropping out seem to be almost opposites. The movement did affect my thinking on environmental, freedom, and distrust of authority issues, so it wasn’t all bad. The socialist baggage is, of cource, nonsense.

  19. I’d bet hippies outnumber the population of bears

    Like you could really tell them apart.

  20. J sub,

    “Tuning in” referred to one’s inner voice, inner light, inner (putative) reality, whose vibrancy and brilliance, mystically detected, should trump any incentives held by the societal rat-race out of which the illuminati were enjoined to drop.

  21. “I’ve often said the same thing. I’m glad that voluntary “intentional communities” exist. The more different lifestyles that people lead the better, as long as they don’t force others to be tied into their restrictions. A little free love next door never hurt anyone.”

    right. that’s why the supposedly “tolerant” left is so full of rubbish. for example, southern baptists VOLUNTARILY when they marry implicitly accept the whole man is the ruler of the house, and the woman must submit to his authority thang. but you will find very very very few on the left who will concede that as long as people enter that arrangement willingly, that it’s their choice, their alternative lifestyle to be respected.

  22. “Tuning in” referred to one’s inner voice, inner light, inner (putative) reality, whose vibrancy and brilliance, mystically detected, should trump any incentives held by the societal rat-race out of which the illuminati were enjoined to drop.

    So it’s bullshit then. I was around then too. Obviously I didn’t pay enough attention, possibly due to my obsession with sex, drugs and rock & roll.

  23. J sub, maybe 70% BS, imho.

  24. hippies and punks hate anything “corporate”, they differ in aesthetic sensiblity and tastes plus hippies have a pacifist thing that punk was rebeling against.

    i don’t understand why punk is considered leftwing though. sure it’s not rightwing but left? i missed the sex pistols song about socialized medicine. i mean, if you’re john edwards or his ilk and you think the government should be taking care of people thats fine but if you consider yourself punk or some kind of anti authority anti government anarchist and you vote democrat you’re an idiot. there’s absolutely nothing punk rock about the democratic party. jimmy carter, the clintons, al gore, john kerry and barack obama are just as unpunk as nixon, reagan and the bushes. if the punk movement would get over it’s hate of business and money in the right way, it be at home with libertarians which would great for them so that libertarians could get out of it’s nerd core of sci fi geeks, rush fans and bloggers. south park, ron paul, penn and teller and nick gillispie’s wardrobe aren’t enough to make them cool thanks to the left’s strangehold on hipster/punk/college/art/music etc etc etc….

  25. sorry for the poor writing….lazy today

  26. you will find very very very few on the left who will concede that as long as people enter that arrangement willingly, that it’s their choice, their alternative lifestyle to be respected.

    Similarly, whit, you’ll find very few on the right who will concede that gay unions are OK as long as they’re entered into willingly. And those who do think that it’s OK are often derided as Cosmotarians or libertines or whatever the current conservative slam on libertarians is.

  27. i don’t understand why punk is considered leftwing though. sure it’s not rightwing but left? i missed the sex pistols song about socialized medicine. i mean, if you’re john edwards or his ilk and you think the government should be taking care of people thats fine but if you consider yourself punk or some kind of anti authority anti government anarchist and you vote democrat you’re an idiot. there’s absolutely nothing punk rock about the democratic party. jimmy carter, the clintons, al gore, john kerry and barack obama are just as unpunk as nixon, reagan and the bushes. if the punk movement would get over it’s hate of business and money in the right way, it be at home with libertarians which would great for them so that libertarians could get out of it’s nerd core of sci fi geeks, rush fans and bloggers. south park, ron paul, penn and teller and nick gillispie’s wardrobe aren’t enough to make them cool thanks to the left’s strangehold on hipster/punk/college/art/music etc etc etc….

    Initially, punk wasn’t left-leaning, but the current incarnation of punk (at least folk-punk and arnco-punk) is heavily populated with left-leaning…hippies. Against Me! and Rise Against are the two best examples I can think of right now.

  28. t. j.: I remember there being a huge anti-Reagan element to the whole thing. There was also the anti-corporate message. There were songs against “Suburban Homes”, songs about the lack of “Career Opportunities”, songs criticizing our presence in “Viet Nam” (was this our policy? 10 long years!) and so many others.

    I’m not downplaying the right wing politics present in punk. I’m just pointing out the fact that the scene had both elements, just like the hippies did.

    And as Jonathan Hohensee points out, todays’ “punk” is decidedly left wing, but then again, I wouldn’t say today’s rockabilly is particularly left wing, though back in the early 1980’s, they all would have probably played the same venues. Not so much anymore.

  29. There were songs against “Suburban Homes”

    I don’t think “Suburban Home” was meant to be ironic. The name of the LP was Milo Goes to College, and what is Milo doing these daze anywaze?

  30. And as Jonathan Hohensee points out, todays’ “punk” is decidedly left wing, but then again, I wouldn’t say today’s rockabilly is particularly left wing, though back in the early 1980’s, they all would have probably played the same venues. Not so much anymore.

    I should had also point out that their has always been a faction of punk that was blissfully apolitical. I think the most overtly political thing that The Dead Milkmen advocated was was that if you don’t have Mojo Nixon, then your store could use some fixin’.

  31. I think the most overtly political thing that The Dead Milkmen advocated was was that if you don’t have Mojo Nixon, then your store could use some fixin’.

    What! They were clearly religious zealots advocating christian hegemony. Or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what I Dream of Jesus is about or something…

  32. The Crumsy Pirates are a punk rock band from ATL, and politically speaking we’ve got a liberal, a conservative, a libertarian, and an anarchist in our ranks…we don’t lean left or right, we are just mainly anti-authoritarian.

    As the primary lyricist, I can say that Reason writers (especially Balko) have probably influenced me more than any other media source. In fact, we wrote one of the the first songs around about the Kathryn Johnson case – you can see us perform it live here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFLvI0RVFIo

    Most important to this thread, however, is that one of our earliest most requested song was a ditty called Stupid Hippies…damned dirty self-righteous hippies.

  33. Initially, punk wasn’t left-leaning

    I would say, even in the beginning, there were quite a few left leaning punks…

    I am thinking The Ex, Crass, Dead Kennedys, Clash…Joey Ramone perhaps…

  34. I think you could say that the Minutemen (and later fireHose) where on the right side of the spectrum.

    *I just wanted to plug my two favorite punk bands

    **Full disclosure: I was once a dirty, muddle-brained, long haired hippy (in the late 80’s). I never was able to get used to the smell of patchouli though.

    ***Let your freak flag fly–high!

  35. pistoffnick – The Minutemen were right wing? Um… do you know the lyrics to This Ain’t No Picnic? It’s a paean to socialism. (It’s also a great song musically).

    Neu Mejican – Crass and The Clash were definitely both socialist, but the Dead Kennedys could take shots on either side. Holiday in Cambodia and California Uber Alles satirized liberals.

  36. I don’t know what his positions were in the early days, but when I say Jello Biafra give a spoken word in the early 90’s…he was, basically, a stereotypical baby-boom liberal giving the standard liberal line…complete with Democratic Party talking points and an anecdote about JFK. I would almost suspect our own joe was a Biafra sockpuppet if he weren’t from Boston.

    Biafra’s lyrics may make fun of both sides (Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan both get a version of California Uber Alles), but only as a way to take a dig at those in power…that is part of what makes liberals liberal…their distrust of those in power.

  37. I remember Jerry Garcia saying in an interview; “We’re just musicians. We don’t want to tell anybody what to do or what to think.” Sounds pretty libertarian to me!

  38. It would be quite feasible for the libertarian movement to coopt both traditional conservatives, up to a point, and liberals, up to a point.

  39. As the primary lyricist, I can say that Reason writers (especially Balko) have probably influenced me more than any other media source. In fact, we wrote one of the the first songs around about the Kathryn Johnson case – you can see us perform it live here:

    As a film student, I actualy draw a lot of inspiration primarily from Reason too.
    My application essay that I wrote that got me into the highly competitive film program drew really heavily on a lot of the ideas from either this site/magazine or people that I where exposed to thanks to Reason.

  40. When I wrote an undergrad paper on the politics of music, I was surprised and frankly impressed with Garcia’s lack of condemnation of those unlike himself.

    I long forget the quote, but when asked if the police were wrong in some matter, he essentially said that they’re cops, they do what they do, and that’s cool.

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