The Counter Culture Life in America has been molded by many factors including those of the hippie movement in the Sixties. With the development of new technology, a war against Communism, and an internal war against racial injustice, a change in America was sure to happen. As the children of the baby boom became young adults, they found far more discontent with the world around them. This lead to a subculture labeled as hippies, that as time went one merged into a mass society all its own. These people were upset about a war in Vietnam, skeptical of the present government and its associated authority, and searching for a place to free themselves from society’s current norms, bringing the style they are known for today. "Eve of destruction; no satisfaction…and a third motif went rippling through the baby-boom culture: adhesive love" (Gitlin 200).
The freedom they found came with the help of drugs. Marijuana evolved from its "black and Hispanic, jazz-minded enclaves to the outlying zones of the white middle class young" (Gitlin 200). This new drug allowed a person to open their mind to new understandings and philosophies. But it wasn’t just marijuana that opened the minds of the youth; a new drug known as LSD came into existence: Depending on who was doing the talking, [LSD] is an intellectual tool to explore psychic ‘inner space,’ a new source of kicks for thrill seekers, the sacramental substance of a far-out mystical movement- or the latest and most frightening addiction to the list of mind drugs now available in the pill society being fashioned by pharmacology (Clark 59). With politicians and law enforcement officers looking on the drug as a danger to society, many expert chemists "set up underground laboratories and fabricated potent and pure LSD…kept their prices down, gave out plenty of free samples, and fancied themselves dispensers of miracles at the service of a new age" (Gitlin 214). It wasn’t just the youth in America who was using these drugs. A statistic from 1967 states that "more American troops in Vietnam were arrested for smoking marijuana than for any other major crime" (Steinbeck 97). The amazing statistic wasn’t the amount of soldiers smoking marijuana; it was the amount of soldiers America was sending over to fight a war that nobody understood.
Between 1965 and 1967, troops "doubled and redoubled and ...
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... Reagan thought of the hippies as someone who "dresses like Tarzan, has hair like Jane, and smells like Cheetah" (qtd. in Gitlin 217). But with or without such outside influences, the hippies continued to pursue their "make love not war" and "free love" attitudes. No movement in our history defines a cultural change more accurately than the hippie movement in the 60’s. They had their own laws, music, clothes, and writings. The view of what a society should be was a common one to all hippies. Their ideas were big all throughout the late Sixties and early Seventies, and there is still a large hippie population in America today.
Clark, M. "LSD and the Drugs of the Mind." Newsweek 9 May 1966: 59-64. Country Joe and the Fish. Woodstock. Saugerties, N.Y. June 1969.
Gitlin, Todd. The Sixties. New York: Bantam Books, 1987. Hendrix, Jimi. "If 6 Was 9." Axis: Bold As Love. MCA Records. 1987.
Rubin, Jerry. We Are Everywhere. New York: Harper and Row, 1971. Steinbeck, John IV. Marihuana Reconsidered. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1971.
Sutton, H. "Summer Days in Psychedelphia." Saturday Review 19 Aug. 1967: 36+. "Youth Question the War." Time 6 Jan. 1967:22.
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