What Happened to the Hippies?


The 60s. A lot was happening during the decade. The civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, and a plethora of other events. One of the most defining moments of the 60s would be the event that brought the decade to an end, Woodstock 69’. Woodstock is often regarded as “Three Days that Defined a Generation” which was pretty close to the truth. The 60s was packed full of sex, drugs and rock and roll, a generation of hippies preaching peace and acceptance amidst the war. A common phrase being “Make Love Not War”. However, that same generation who preached love, equality, peace, and LSD grew up, and as they did, they seemed to do a complete 180 from what they were like in the 60s. The generation that was in their prime youth in the 60s, baby boomers and those from the silent generation largely identify as conservative today. The progessive views they held in their youth no longer present as they aged. 

The counterculture of the 60s and 70s is well known. The world got a lot of music out of it that was both influential at the time and even today. Figures such as Jimmy Hendericks, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, the Beatles ect. were just some of the most defining, influential people/groups of the decade. All people who helped define the anti-establishment, anti-war movement of the 60s. Now, you obviously don’t group together everybody into a single category, but you can look at the overall majority. The baby boomers and silent generation lean heavily conservative as of now and have for the past several years. From protesting all war and preaching peace in their youth, to pro gun and military support. From protesting for women’s rights, to strongly siding Pro-Life. From starting to demand gay rights and the Stonewall riots, to backing the ban of gay marriage. Even if things are different now than they were many years ago, the difference in beliefs is still extremely evident. What was the cause of this change? We’re the youth in the sixties simply following pop culture? Were they just being rebellious in their young age? Who knows. 

Perhaps it is something that happens for all generations. For example, the flappers that danced, drank and partied the 20s were not the same as they were in their youth as they aged. But still, the change of the silents and the baby boomers seems a little too large. There is a large variety of opinions of why this change happened. Some saying that there weren’t actually that many “real” libral hippies of the 60s and that a fair amount of them were just following the flow of the counterculture because of course it was appealing. The flower children, the music, the acceptance, the lounging around and especially the psychedelics. Some say that the only reason these hippies were able to exist was because they were middle or upper class and their families could support their lifestyle. Another theory is that a lot of them turned to libertarianism and other similar groups. And a few people just simply say that all the hippies of the 60s are dead now due to their heavy drug use. Despite all the various speculation, there really is no defined reason that all the hippie flower children of the 60s who seemed to value drugs and love more than anything turned to far right conservatism in their later years, but it is interesting to theorize about.