If you think about “culture”, that ridiculous definition of a social state, there’s only one culture now – A criminal culture. Everything, including your kids and your self-respect, is all about money, getting money, and spending money. It’s about as primitive as you can get without actually getting down on all fours.
The original counterculture of the 60s included things like a Diggers San Francisco free store, which if you think about it for a second, is just efficiency at work. Stuff is given to those who need it or want it. The emphasis was on a natural, productive, positive social development.
That also applied to a world view. Other people weren’t the enemy. The old sixties joke, “Join the army, see the world, meet interesting people – And kill them” was as true for the minds of the generation of Vietnam-maimed veterans as their dead friends and relatives.
Global media, the only whore in history which is all holes, played its part in all the “debate” about the counterculture. No rational debate was ever conducted. It was all about “kids”, not “people”. The counterculture was instantly labelled “infantile”, despite a virtual army of sympathetic adults, academics, and people who certainly weren’t kids chronologically.
If you check out the studies of the counterculture, it’s all about drugs and specific subjects like free love, the “moral” antitheses of the moribund Christian culture since the Dark Ages. Media, as usual, decided what was an issue and what wasn’t. Democracy not at work.
Hippies weren’t beats. Beats were better able to handle, and avoid, the meat grinder of media, which was usually out of its depth talking to them about anything. Kerouac and others were a bit too intellectual for the average media slob to really argue with.
Mass meetings of people wearing strange clothes, however, and not backed up by fashion labels, however, were easy targets. “These guys don’t wear suits. The women don’t spend 5 hours a day to look like a TV commercial. There’s something wrong with these people” was a pretty easy message to sell.
In one of the greatest disservices to humanity since World Wars 1 and 2, also media wars, global media publicized every negative it could find. The Sharon Tate murder and Altamont were real gifts to this extremely hostile media. Every negative event was a sign that it was all over. The alternative was basically the Las Vegas culture, full of possible cash, suits, and drunks, two dimensional and entirely unreal.
The counterculture was aspirational, by definition. The Main Street culture was told that aspirations were the same thing as hallucinations. Stupidly, the mainstream culture believed that. Ironically, for the 99%, aspirations actually are now hallucinations. Particularly any aspirations about having a decent, clean world to live in.
God only knows what a 21st century America not full of guns, diseases, nuts, and criminals would look like. If it had taken hold, this would be a very different world. The whole of the West would have taken it up. It would have been unstoppable, a sort of democratically-based global enlightenment.
But – this was the culture which made sure that didn’t happen. People weren’t allowed to be sane, not kill people, and not be money grubbing little jerks. It was basically the McCarthy machinery, in effect, just working on another subject. Like now, the media targeted the illiterate, the greedy, and the perverse.
On the other side of the equation – Try creating a whole new human culture in a supermarket. Not easy. This is a machine which isn’t geared for that sort of thing. You go in to get groceries. The groceries would have to be free to make the idea take and see the bigger idea as a practical option. They weren’t.
Imagine, however, feeling threatened by a culture where the most dangerous thing likely to happen to you was a new painting, song, or some sort of performance art. Absurd, but that was the Fear Factor for those times.
Also ironically, some of the older generation, notably veterans and their families, weren’t particularly against what they understood. People not killing each other made sense. People being happy made sense. It was how it was done.
You also have to remember that the Greatest Generation was made up of people who grew up with very basic things, if any. They never really had it easy. The luxuries of the Baby Boom were their products, but they didn’t really get much of a share in those things. Their entertainment was the Depression, the war, and the howling mania of McCarthyism and Hooverism. The Vietnam vets found out first hand how much their proxy dictators cared about them.
Propaganda oozed out of every geriatric crevice in American media. Hysterical old fools, dictating to a generation and future generations. This was a secret society, a real one, and you’ll never read more than a word or two per book about what actually happened. Nixon was the teddy bear of this society. You’ll rarely see much about the actual associations, the historical and ongoing role of organized crime in US government, and other basics. Read Doctor Mary’s Monkey for a rather nauseating, but unique, high content value taste of the other side of Darth Vader’s America of the Sixties. It’s disgusting, but it’s pretty right.
The parents of the hippies, however, weren’t necessarily for or against the counterculture, more just wary. When grass and LSD became illegal, they were suspicious of the natural association with criminals. Their life experience said “watch out for scams and scum”, which turned out to be pretty right. The more educated older people could see trouble, and they got that right, too, even if they didn’t quite see how it happened.
It would take a lot more space than a blog provides, a fantastic amount of research, maybe a lot of court orders, and some pretty fabulous journalism to unmask the people who killed the counterculture. These are the people who sent humanity back to the cultural Stone Age with iPhones and absurd, impossible life options.
Forget conspiracy theories. The conspiracies were already up and fully operational decades ago; this is just the result. Forget politics; politicians are just the mailroom clerks of the real working machinery. The attack on the counterculture was primitive. It was aimed at constants like human ignorance, fear of change, and people with limited abilities to de-tangle lies and illogic.
Media, bless its gutless little pointed head, also failed to kill the counter culture. It simply stated it was dead and expected to be believed. The other myth, interestingly, is that the counterculture died. It didn’t. “Old hippies” are still pretty much the same. The real results, like feminism, consumer rights, civil rights, EEO, OHS, etc. are still going, if erratically and with a lack of focus.
The counterculture didn’t die, in practice. It’s now the Golden Age for people who weren’t there, as well as those who were. It’s a glimpse of aspirations, and that’s all people really need. A less threatening, less insane world wouldn’t be hard to sell to anyone.
The war to retake humanity has only just started. IS, Wall Street, US politics, neocons, organized crime and corruption, it’s all the same, senile, useless thing with different labels. It’s also still the enemy of a working version of humanity.
Suggestions for the current generation –
Ditch the norms, they’re meaningless.
Occupy yourself and be who you need to be; all else will follow.