The Hippie Movement of the 1960s and 70s was a time of cultural, social, and political upheaval. It left an indelible mark on society. With its emphasis on peace, love, and harmony, the counterculture movement challenged the status quo, promoting an egalitarian way of life.
Now, half a century later, many conservatives find themselves grappling with the legacy. Reconciling their beliefs with values that survived the counterculture is a mission and a struggle.
by David Stone
The Spirit of the 60s
The world has changed since the days of Woodstock and the Summer of Love.
The political landscape shifted, giving rise to a new generation of conservatives attempting to navigate within the broader cultural context. For some, this means embracing elements of the Hippie Movement, such as environmentalism, personal freedom and spirituality. But it also requires balancing that with their core conservative values.
One of the most significant aspects of the Hippie Movement was its impact on popular culture. Music, art and fashion from the era resonate today, influencing contemporary artists and designers alike.
Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, for example, remain iconic figures whose work is celebrated by fans across the political spectrum. Their message of peace and unity transcends party lines, a reminder of the power of art to bring people together.
Similarly, the fashion of the 60s and 70s has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Bohemian-inspired – Boho fashion – clothing and accessories made a comeback on runways and in street style. Renewed interest in counterculture aesthetics speaks to the enduring appeal of the era’s ideals. But few among the newly converted consider themselves “hippies” in the traditional sense.
Then, There’s Politics
On the political front, the the counterculture spirit of the 60s appears in the debate over issues such as drug policy, reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights. The Hippie Movement’s advocacy for personal freedom and individual expression paved the way for a more inclusive society.
In recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in conservative politicians embracing environmentalism – an issue historically championed by the counterculture movement. This taps into the growing awareness of climate change and its potential consequences. Recognition that conserving our natural resources is crucial for future generations.
Despite these areas of convergence, there are still significant ideological differences between conservatives and the values espoused by the Hippie Movement. For example, the counterculture’s emphasis on communal living and wealth redistribution stands in stark contrast to the conservative belief in limited government intervention and free-market capitalism.
Ultimately, the struggle for conservatives to reconcile themselves with the spirit of the 60s is emblematic of a broader cultural conversation taking place in our society.
As we grapple with the challenges of the modern world, it’s essential to remember that the values of peace, love, and understanding promoted by the counterculture movement are not inherently incompatible with conservative principles.
In fact, by recognizing the areas of common ground between these seemingly disparate ideologies, we can foster a more inclusive and compassionate society that honors the best of both worlds. By embracing the lessons of the past, conservatives can help ensure a brighter future for all.