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The Hippies Became Conservatives


Assistant Village Idiot considers himself to have a skeptical nature:

Progressives, freethinkers, 60's liberals, granolas, and alternative medicine adherents think they agree with me on this skeptical approach, seeing themselves as the ones willing to challenge received wisdom. (There is overlap among those groups, but folks usually tend to specialise in one skepticism.)

In fact, the opposite is true. The members of those groups - in general, mind you, not universally - tend very much to question their own beliefs very little. They see the conventional wisdom as being what their parents believed, or their childhood church, or their fifth-grade history book, and they are very proud of not believing that, proving how fearless they are. To be sure, there are many people who still do believe those older conventional wisdoms who deserve to have their ideas challenged. They live and move among us.

But the milk-and-water skeptics who reject those things have a new set of conventional wisdoms they adhere to. Not very new, either, just newer than the 1950's. They reveal themselves at the spot where they are challenged.

One marker of youth and vitality is an open and nimble mind. The world has changed so much in the most recent fifty years. But the hippies haven’t noticed.

They miss both the proven shortcomings of their ideology and the magnificent successes they have achieved. Like most armies, the hippies are still fighting the last war. The flower children are now as petrified as their idols.