I watched a documentary on Netflix about hippies who once lived at the Black Bear Commune in Northern California. There was a time when I had a neutral-to-positive reaction to hippies, but I must admit: Those days are over.
Now I can't decide if they're naive or just stupid.
Consider the Black Bear Commune. It was founded by young idealists who wanted to escape mainstream society. Their slogan was "Free land for free people." Of course, that's just a slogan, not a policy, so they had to buy some land for their commune. Being young idealist hippies, they had no money, so what did they do?
They went to Hollywood and started shaking down rock stars, telling them "you're profiting off our lifestyle, so you owe us." As absurd as this is, some rock stars actually paid up and so the hippies bought Black Bear Ranch.
As is common with Utopian settlements, the first few years were tough. They almost starved in winter, and it took some going to figure out how to live with each other. Since they were hippies, it was free love and nakedness all the time.
But being reality, there had to be rules. You couldn't sleep with the same person more than two nights in a row because it promoted couples, which if you think about it is every bit as oppressive a social convention as the one that demands monogamy. Eventually, human nature being what it is, couples form anyway.
Towards the end, they discover that their "free land for free people" mantra has holes big enough to drive a cult through it. When the Shiva Lila arrived at Black Bear, they were welcomed and allowed to stay. But apparently hanging around a bunch of acid-taking baby-worshippers was too much, and the Shiva Lila were asked to leave.
"Hey, man, I thought it was free land for free people."
"Yeah, well...fuck you."
The history of the world right there.
Black Bear Ranch still exists today, even though all the old hippies left to seek fulfillment as individuals. For me, it's on the "nice place to visit but wouldn't want to live there" list.