During the late 1990s and early 2000s, when I was in the midst of some sort of mid-life crisis, I attended some weekend music festivals. These festivals were populated with old hippies whose current lives had become so meaningless that they wanted to escape into their past, when they remember being more relevant. The other attendees to these festivals were the young, modern day hippies who were so void of their own creativity that they wanted to hitch their creative wagons to a star that had long ago burned out. I attended because I enjoyed the music, camping out for the weekend, playing my guitar around a campfire and eating junk food. But I never fully bought into the hippie mentality, and there were several reasons why.
There was a decidedly anti-Capitalism present in the air and on the ground at the hippie festivals. I saw hippies, young and old, wearing tee-shirts emblazoned with slogans like, "Corporations Kill", "Corporate America is Responsible for Global Death" and the ever popular, "Ban Profit." What bothered me is the pure ignorance of a mindset that would presume there could be jobs, and therefore tax revenue to pay for the social programs for which hippies advocated, without profit from corporations and small businesses. What was more troubling was the hypocrisy exhibited by these anti-capitalist who themselves sold glass marijuana pipes, grilled cheese sandwiches, cigarette lighters and bottled water, all for a profit. What further compounded their hypocrisy is that they sold their wears without purchasing a vendors license from the event sponsor, thereby engaging in the same kind of cheating of which they accused the corporations.
The hippie hypocrisy didn't end with engaging in capitalist behavior while at the same time demonizing it, but extended to their environmental views. Once again, the tee-shirt slogans of the hippies did not match their behavior. The catchy little slogans were all about "saving the planet" and "being green", but the hippies actual goal seemed to be to turn the festival grounds into a garbage dump by the end of the weekend. Trash bins were strategically placed throughout the festival grounds, but the hippies preferred to drop their trash where ever it was they happened to be standing when it was time time to dispose of their refuse. When confronted with his slovenly behavior, I heard one hippie say, "Relax man, they have volunteers that pick up the trash." The improper disposal of litter was only one of the ways in which hippies emulated their own characterizations of corporate polluters, but I will save you from the details of their scatological behavior.
In addition to the hypocrisy I have outlined above, the peace and love of communal hippie living was less in evidence at these weekend music festivals than was child-like self-centeredness. It was a microcosm of why the Liberal creed of "Do what feels good" is a recipe for disaster, whether in the life of an individual or of a culture.
Click here to watch my latest political song parody. Posted December 2, 2012.