- Politics and Social Issues
Why Former (or old) Hippies Ought To Be Conservatives
The Lay Of The Land ~
Liberals regularly like to prop-up the overly simplistic tactic of the dictionary meaning of the words 'conservative' & 'liberal' . . . and of course, who then wouldn't want to resist being conservative and delight to identify themselves liberal? The problem is this is not at all informative of what political conservatism or liberalism are. 'Conservative' & 'liberal' are words that have become specialized terms . . . like when a doctor uses the medical term 'antagonist' he isn't using it the way the general population uses it but is referring to medication that counteracts the actions and properties of another, or if a lawyer uses the term 'claim' he is speaking of a court document not a simple assertion of a fact or circumstance, etc. The words 'conservative' & 'liberal' have come to be used as political terms to identify particular political philosophies that are not at all necessarily attached to the common dictionary meaning of the words.
The notion that political conservatives are fearful of change and just wish everything would always stay the same (and that liberals are all about a bold moving into the future, and/or are forthcoming with sharing what they have with others, etc) is a ludicrous stereotype that only serves to further cloud the issues and hinder solutions. Very essentially, political conservatives believe the best way for our nation to function efficiently and on behalf of it's citizens is for it to operate under or within the mechanics (so to speak) of how it was designed. Conservatives are conservative, not that they they're fearful of change and want everything to stay the same, but are conservative in that they recognize the functional advantage of heeding the Constitution that defines our system.
Philosophy vs Fashion ~
It all has nothing to do with fear of change, or who cares for others or not, or who's smarter, etc, etc - it's a philosophic starting point wherein conservatives are interested in functionality and the successful operation of things, conservatives are rationing their water and taking sure steps while liberals are just imagining a mirage and exhausting themselves to get it . . . like, in building this house that is America conservatives want to drive a nail with a hammer, while liberals are whacking away at it with pliers. Or, conservatives are teaching men to fish - while liberals just keep handing out (other people's) fish . . . it has nothing to do with who's good or smart or mean or stupid, or fearful or bold, etc - it's simply a philosophical difference regarding functionality.
And when these philosophies are practiced, why liberals scorn businessmen and industry, yet have some bizarre trust in politicians and government, and why they are willing to permit big-brother oversight and are concordantly setting aside their own freedom, this is why it puzzles me that hippies so commonly lean to the left and abhor the right. They seem to fall for all the jargon and appearance, etc, and leap right back into the arms of the establishment, to be taken care of.
It seems to me that the reasonable and natural course for hippies of my own era (60/70s) today is to philosophically be political conservatives - the notion we grew-up with of a future big-brother government dispensing some manner of 'happiness' that diminishes personal freedom is the course that liberal America is on, while the idea of enjoying the freedom to 'do your own thing' is at the heart of contemporary conservatism . . . and so, it's puzzling to me that former or old hippies so consistently lean to the left and detest the right. I conclude that they are not really hippies after all, not thoughtfully embracing a course of peace and love and self-awareness, but are simply interested in being 'hip' . . . hence they embrace the jargon of the day and celebrate appearances, over an informed and thoughtful examination of ideas.
A Final Reflection ~
I recall the first summer I let my hair grow and gave no attention to fashion, etc . . . that was a summer of hippies, a time when there was a real and functional counter-culture. We would be hitchhiking to the shore and if we saw a VW bus coming, we started to gather our stuff because we knew we were getting a ride . . . there was a tactile community, a genuine philosophic bond - for like, one and a half summers. Pretty soon magazines and tv news were doing reports on hippies, we became a recognizable sub-group, the same guys who threatened to beat you up last year because you had long hair came to school with hair over their ears . . . when Sears started selling 'hippie' clothes I knew it was all over.
Today, it seems to me, political liberalism is just like the fringey sleeved shirts and bell-bottomed polyester slacks hanging on the racks at Sears - it's cool, it's hip, it's what all the kids are wearing now and you're simply an old fashioned pinhead if you still wear jeans & a sweatshirt . . . even if jeans & a sweatshirt are inexpensive, fit comfortably, and serve their purpose well. It's more important, more crucial, for many to be 'cool'. The dire question is, but at what eventual cost . . . we are too similar to where Greece was a few years ago to be embracing the jargon of the day and celebrating appearances.