Of Hippies and Hillbillies

The 1960s hippie culture has in large part won the heart of the nation. That culture was mostly one of inversion of good and evil, hyper-sexuality, anti-authority complexes, idiotic pacifism in foreign affairs mixed with intellectual violence in all else, moral and other forms relativism, ironic sarcasm, exhibitionism, ultra-effeminate attitudinal postures, and hyperbole  – all of these a reaction to the mores prior to them of absolutism, masculinity, decorum, etc.. And thus, since they were victorious, we can observe these phenomena everywhere today, making society seem like a madhouse, for after all most of those traits are often the bullet-points to diagnose insanity.

Written By Dillon Freed

To adduce, in a stream of consciousness way, consider that potent drugs are not ridiculed as much as beer commercials and cigarettes. Lasciviousness has increased at once with belligerent anti-war paroxysms (this was especially true in the Bush years), and one can see the hippy slogan “make love, not war” take flesh. The paternal and masculine part of our nation has nearly been eliminated (most men nowadays seem to have even lost the bass in their voice), and single mother households are this era’s heroes. (We have come to worship not people who succeed, but people who are by and large part failing.)There is not only confusion about whether or not the United States is better than any other nation, but if actually, there is such a concept as better. Anyone with authority today is met with preemptive bitterness: from security guards, to teachers, to elders. Subjective, spiritual, artistic views of the world trump the objective, material, and rational: students with no effort, lack of attendance and poor performance expect good grades to protect their self-image; people with zero talent (it is usually sickeningly – I mean I actually feel nauseated watching – obvious) are genuinely shocked when booted off of television ranking shows; “laws of attraction” erode the idea of a Protestant work ethic or any work ethic – mere desiring is the new iron will. More yet, empathizing has become a new form of aggression – one empathizes with criminals, terrorists, and other deviants in order to assault the old order. The wise dictum “do no harm” has been replaced by hyperbolic and narcissistic “do all good” – cost analysis for future generations is considered immoral. Inversion and relativism often take on their own absolutism: e.g. today war is when a richer or bigger nation attacks a poorer; revolution is its reverse.

Meanwhile, in reaction to the hippie triumph over our national miens, in the past twenty years or so, conservatism – after being rejected on the coast and in the intellectual centers of the world – has returned to the South, or at least a “Southern” state of mind. Now, when one thinks of the conservative principles, strong foreign policy, small government, the New Testament, the Founding Fathers, the American Flag and low taxes one also thinks of Sean Hannity, confederate flags, NASCAR, country music, President George Bush with a chainsaw, Todd Akin, country draws, and mostly the ethos of bumpkins. (It’s hard to win independents with those Pavlov bells ringing in the minds of the public each time you reference the founding of our nation, and also, let’s not forget the ever-present connotations of racism with above) The Daily Show and South Park have made a living off the “twang” of this form of the conservative party and in the process converted many young people into liberals because no one wishing to be hip, or even taken seriously, would associate with these pick-up driving, apparently sexless, Bible-thumping “Southerners.”

One sees the hippie/hillbilly frames play out everywhere in how the media characterizes events. Democratic Presidents are suave and cool (Clinton and Obama), the last Republican a “cowboy” and “country” (GWB), the two before that clueless and dumb (GHWB and Reagan). And of course, Beyoncé plays for the Democrats, Lee Greenwood for Republicans. The current President is from Chicago (one epicenter of the hippie movement), the former – whether originally or not – Texas. (One of my theories that Mitt Romney and John McCain lost is that, while both could win independents, neither could rev up the rednecks to go out and vote like George Bush could.) Only today could a Sarah Palin, the gun-toting Alaskan, gain a foothold in country conservatism, and only today, can the “stoned” acting Joseph Biden be Vice President. And of course, the two national parties now – that’s what the hippies and hicks are – take mass movement forms as well: Woodstock reappears as Occupy Wall Street, and county fairgoers take national stage as Tea Partiers.

Proof in the negative is to note the cognitive dissonance when the narratives don’t map onto to the reality: e.g. when it is found that President Bush, the un-smooth talking hick, was an avid reader; or that Barack Obama seems to get a tingle up his leg when it is time to separate a terrorist’s soul from his or her body.

Look: I have a many a redneck I call friends (used to live in South Carolina and Florida) and a plenty of hippy and hipster friends (current address, Manhattan), and individually, they aren’t too bad, rather bright creatures. But as soon as they are mixed amongst kindred spirits, it seems their thinking stalls, as their respective group coagulates thought flow.

Thus for those who don’t feel particularly bohemian or bucolic, it is hard to find someone to vote for as every candidate melts him or herself, as it were, and then pours his or her personalities into those respective molds. Support the war on terror or speak out against Islamic imperialism, you have lost many intellectual friends and branded yourself a redneck. Support gay marriage and rednecks act as if you have relieved yourself on the Bible and, somehow, the Constitution. Love the American Flag and hippies bemoan your nationalism and slap you with A People’s History of the United States they haven’t read (only looked up after watching Goodwill Hunting); be thoughtful about certain economic safety nets and rednecks slap you with the Atlas Shrugged they haven’t read. Appreciate Christ as well as Buddhism as well as Atheism and you have utterly banished yourself from any group.

At times it is not just hard to find someone to pull the lever for; sometimes it is hard to even care anymore. The fact is neither the hippies nor the hillbillies seem to have a jot of an idea of what America means or stands for, and when they do, it is apparently by accident or feigned.

I want to at least feel someone or something represents an optimistic, classic, America-with-gravitas. I want to be able to wave the American flag without feeling like I’m representing a crowd at a country music concert or feeling as if I am somehow recreating Nazi Germany by doing so. Too much to ask? Probably.

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