Hey, I think I started an idea! Or, at least, got ahead of the curve a little!
(And I gotta give a shout-out to my colleague, DJ Drummond, who commented: Oh poot. I’m just old enough to remember Nixon desperately trying to seem relevant, and so he showed up on popular liberal shows like “Laugh In”.
In today’s context, that means Barack will be pushing for face time on Hannity, NASCAR on Fox, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader the President?
How about “Mythbusters?”)
Well, apparently a couple other people I regard as good thinkers and solid observers of culture — Zombie and Bill Whittle, who I wanna write like when I grow up — have come to a similar conclusion, but with considerably more intellectual heft. And while I constrained my theorizing to the contemporary, traditional political definitions, they’ve found a way to demonstrate that yeah, in a lot of ways, Tea Party values aren’t that different from hippie values. And I think their argument makes a lot of sense.
The differences I saw were largely cosmetic, and based on stereotypes. The hippies were for free love, the Tea Partiers for free markets — in both cases, a demand for personal freedom and an implicit acceptance of the consequences of each. The hippies were considered smelly and unemployed; Tea Partiers tend to have jobs and bathe regularly (there is probably a connection there), but that’s literally cosmetic.
How about the individuals? Are many older Tea Partiers actually former hippies who grew up, grew old, and kept their fundamental principles while the details evolved with the times?
I don’t know. And I don’t know if it’s that relevant — in both cases, the movement isn’t about individuals, but individualism — a seeming paradox that actually makes perfect sense. The movement is about allowing individuals to be themselves; groups that have powerful, dominant leaders tend to have followers all too eager to subsume their individuality to the movement and identify more with the leader or leaders than the ideals.
There are dangers to this, however. Assuming the mantle of the hippie movement could lead to a conflict with those who’ve long considered themselves the hippies’ heirs, the left. For decades, they’ve pretty much taken that for granted, and they might not take well to the idea that we’re trying to take that away from them. It’s a major part of their political identity, and they won’t give it up easily.
Far more frightening, though, is that there are those who really don’t like hippies, and have made a habit of going after them. I like FrankJ and agree with him on most points, and I really don’t want him to punch me in the face…