It All Went to Hell When the Hippies Took Over

When Peter Thiel is interviewed by Glenn Beck no good can come from it.

Eccentric billionaire Thiel said something that I’m sure conservatives will nod their heads and think, “yeah, that’s right.” But the rest of us will facepalm.

I think one of the … you know, the countercultural in the ’60s was the hippies. You know, we landed on the moon in July of 1969. Woodstock started three weeks later, and with the benefit of hindsight, that’s when progress ended, and the hippies took over the country.

Today the counterculture is to believe in science and technology. You know, our society, the dominant culture doesn’t like science. It doesn’t like technology. You just look at the science-fiction movies that come out of Hollywood — Terminator, Matrix, Avatar, Elysium. I watched the Gravity movie the other day. It’s like you would never want to go into outer space. You would just want to be back on some muddy island. And so I think we’re in a world where actually believing that a better future is possible that you can have agency and work towards a better future, that is actually radically countercultural.

Yeah, iPhones, Tesla, solar power, they don’t exist.

Furthermore, this is from people who back the party that denies science on climate and reproduction and they’re calling liberals Luddites? Just ridiculous.

BUT, here’s where it gets real:

Conservatives actually think that the 60’s counterculture did take over America when it really had about 5 minutes in the sun and then got railroaded by the Reagan Revolution.

Reading Rick Perlstein’s “The Invisible Bridge” about that time between Watergate and Reagan has helped me to put into words the frustration with that period and conservatives in general. It was right then, that moment in time when America could have woken up from its slumber and opened its eyes. Could have matured into a country ready to examine itself honestly. But the right wing backlash to Watergate, Roe v. Wade, the Pentagon Papers, the humiliation of Vietnam, etc. “shut that whole thing down” to quote the great Todd Akin. Half the country was ready to move forward: grant women equality under the ERA, take responsibility for our foreign adventures, clamp down on the excesses of our clandestine services, embrace more openness in government and private life – change the channel from Lawrence Welk to Saturday Night Live.

But no. That was too much change, too fast for some. And we’re still living with the consequences of that backlash today.

Instead the regressives took over almost immediately. Activists protested busing and school books while “law and order” politicians exploited the fear of a changing world citing the evils of crime, inflation, oil embargoes, abortion, sexual freedom. They conflated all change both good and bad, with the new permissiveness. It’s no coincidence that the 70’s brought a flurry of nostalgia for the 50s. And Republican conservative operatives and their benefactors exploited all of it to nudge the country back into the pre-Watergate/Vietnam box.

So we were cheated out of the country we could have had.

The perfect analogy for the squelching of progress in this period (and the answer for Thiel’s nonsense) is the technical and policy sob story that Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House in 1976 and Reagan tore them down. I reiterate, where would we be today if the energy policy of the Carter Administration had not been ripped out root and branch by the carbon loving dinosaurs of the Reagan Administration?

How is it possible that in 2014 women are not constitutionally equal with men?

How are we still fighting over reproductive rights?

The Hippies didn’t take anything except the culture, that which Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan could not reverse. They couldn’t make George Carlin shave his beard and put a suit back on, but they kept the pressure on so that you still can’t say the 7 words you can’t say on TV on TV. Except now we have cable and streaming.

Peter Thiel can suck it!

One thought on “It All Went to Hell When the Hippies Took Over

  1. Welcome back. I agree with your general point. There is an ongoing tension between the movement for greater social justice and the forces of regression. The religious right ,for example, will not give up on the effort to keep gays closeted and in fear. Peter Thiel’s views , however, are hard to pigeonhole as part of any movement. His is openly gay, but has a long track record of siding with conservative causes. He also is a Harvard( I think) educated lawyer who pays people to skip college.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s