Align for Freedom: Hippie/Conservative parallels on the paradox of dictating liberty

MIND READERS DICTIONARY : Mind Readers Dictionary show

Summary: After I left the world's largest hippie commune but before I cut off my long hair, it occurred to me that the two central tenets of our hippie beliefs were on a collision course with each other. We were talking out both sides of our mouths, saying opposite, irreconcilable things. On the one hand we were saying, "We are all one on this spaceship earth and must act together to save it." On the other we were saying “If it feels good do it.” For the most part, we we’re oblivious to the clash. Like the cat fancier who collects all the adorable strays without noticing the catfights escalating, most people collect any and all ideas that move them without noticing where they are at odds with each other. When the Youngblood’s sang “Come on people now, everybody get together,” we’d say “Yeah, right on.” When the Isley’s sang, “It’s your thang, do what you wanna do…” we’d say, “Yeah, right on.” To the extent we did think about how to weave together our collective and individualistic principles, to patronizingly and paradoxically teach the world to sing in perfect harmony a song of freedom, we had two basic theories: 1. Doing what’s good for the collective is really everybody’s thang: Take meat for instance. Spaceship earth couldn’t really handle all of us wanting to eat a lot of meat. It’s not in the collective interest for you to want meat, but the good news is that in your heart of potentially clogged hearts you don’t really want to eat meat anyway. Sure you might think you want a Big Mac, but you don’t really. No, you really lust for tofu. 2. That doing our various individual things would create a harmonious melting pot collective future: You could get this impression from our festivals (still can, for example this week at Burning Man). At Woodstock, for instance where the Republican farmer who leased the land marveled before the crowd that “a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!” The secret was three days. Yes, for a brief time the melting pot is harmonious, but having lived on the commune where we attempted to extend indefinitely our union in liberty it became more difficult. Lately I’ve been reading Republican scholars explain the conservative tradition. Its legs, they all agree are three: 1. Commitment to traditional values, 2. Commitment to individual liberty, and 3. Opposition to communism. Growing up I mostly associated Republicanism with anti-communism. With the Soviet’s demise and China’s embrace of capitalism, we heard less about communism for a time. These days, the anti-communist leg of Conservatism’s tripod has re-extended itself as fierce opposition to socialism. The conservatives I know use the USSR as the exemplar of socialism's failure but modern socialism is actually a mixed economy, a style with more mixed success than the USSR, which professed communism, but was actually a totalitarian dictatorship (which historically come in lots of flavors--capitalist, Islamic, communist, Christian). The other two legs of the conservative tripod—liberty and traditional values are wobbling in relation to each other these days as conservatives advocate a libertarian theocracy, a government that gets out of our way but also bans gay marriage. According to New York Times/CBS New surveys, in 14 months the number of Americans who have an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party has risen from 18 to 40 percent. Today, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups they asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats, and is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right. Commenting on the