The Hippie or Counter Culture subculture originated in the late 1960s, in rebellion to modernity and moderation, or as the Hippies put it, to "all repressive hierarchical power structures since these are adverse to the hippie goals of peace, love and freedom." Coming to the forefront of society around 1967 during the Human Be-In in San Francisco and the Monterrey Pop Festival in Monterrey, California, they also were known as flower children due to their frequent usage of flowers to symbolize peace.
Hippies were noted for their liberal stance, including psychedelic music, sexual freedom, drug use (particularly LSD and marijuana), and rejecting what they saw as the materialistic values of the society around them. The non-violent movement was largely in response to the Vietnam War and used the slogan "peace and love" and "make love not war".
Many of the elements of hippie counterculture, such as an anti-corporate ideology and the anarchic, experimental, libertarian strands, have stayed with hippies as they grew up. Many aspects of alternative lifestyles that were shocking in the 1960s have now become somewhat acceptable in liberal society and among those influenced by San Francisco values, Hollywood values, and Professor values such as recreational use of drugs and a loose attitude towards sex.
Hippies were preceded by the counter-culture beatnik movement of the 1950s and early 1960s.
"Jesus Freaks" were hippies who were born-again Christians and followed Christ's commandments regarding the importance of love and frequently eschewed the use of drugs. Many hippies experimented with alternative living arrangements such as communes, where all work and all possessions were shared.
Examples in Pop Culture
In the movie Easy Rider the protagonists visit a hippie commune in California. Conservative writer Tom Wolfe's account of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters in his book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test documented one aspect of the hippie scene.
Most famous for writing the novel "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," Ken Kesey, though a beatnik, was well known for his attributions to the hippie culture. He famously rode around on top of a technicolor school bus called "Furthur." He had a troupe of hippies with whom he lived and traveled, called the Merry Pranksters. The adventures of Kesey and the Pranksters are documented in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," by Tom Wolfe.
Dr. Timothy Leary (1920 – 1996) was a Harvard professor of psychology. He researched psychedelic drugs, including LSD—and promoted their use. He is best known for coining the phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out."
Harry Hay was founder of the Radical Faeries, a loosely affiliated international group of mostly homosexual men, hippies, neopagans, environmentalists, and eco-feminists. Hay was a radical who was accredited as the founder of the modern homosexual "rights" movement in the United States. As an octogenarian Hay was still known to dress as a hippie, as well as to dress in drag.
One particularly notorious hippie, Charles Manson, was a career criminal, wannabe singer-songwriter and cult leader who led a cult called the Manson Family. Putting the darker side of the hippie culture on display, he masterminded a plot to have his followers commit what ended up becoming infamously known as the Tate-LaBianca murders, in which they brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child and four other people during August 8-9, 1969, followed by supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary on August 10. Manson was originally sentenced to death for his part in the murders, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison after California abolished the death penalty in 1972.