I remember the hippies as dirty, drugged-out, pathetic human beings lying on the streets in the Haight Ashbury. Their continuing legacy is one of drugs, sexual self-indulgence, and mindless statism wrapped up in equally mindless slogans of “love” and “fairness,” as if a government is capable of giving love or imposing fairness from above.
However, the bells and whistles with which the hippies dressed up their drugs, sex, and Leftist fantasies were often quite lovely. One of my favorite childhood memories is of a rainbow themed art exhibition at the de Young Museum (this one, not this one), an exhibition that would never have happened but for Flower Child imagery.
Likewise, there was something charming, albeit manifestly naive, about the notion of universal brotherhood. I thought as a child, and still think now, that one of the prettiest, most harmonious, expressions of that naive belief was The Seeker’s I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing:
And for those of you who remember the Coke commercial:
(And don’t you just love the all-Americanism of a vapid hippie philosophy being co-opted by Madison Avenue and a multinational corporation to market a caffeinated sugar drink?)