A couple of years ago I deleted lots of posts on my blog here dealing with true crime. One was my section on comparing the current antiestablishment movement with the immortalized original of the 1960s. What I concentrated on was the effect the original antiestablishment movement had on crime. Some of that is still relevant, so I am putting up a series again exploring what may lay ahead in the future.
The original antiestablishment movement was not one homogenous whole. Antiestablishment was Berkeley 1964 and Sproul Plaza, free speech, anti-Vietnam, the New Left. Counterculture was ashrams, Timothy Leary’s Drugology, Flower Children, hippies. To divide them easily, one was politics, one was lifestyle.
As the tumultuous times progressed, Brown Power, Black Power, all sorts of movements came into being. Cops were “pigs.” LBJ was the devil. There were riots by the antiestablishment, bombs set off by the New Left. The campuses of the country were a breeding ground of radical ideas.
When the body is diseased little abscesses develop. Such as? Such as The Manson Family. It was a strange combination of all of the above. Another was The Zodiac Killer. Eventually, as the movements began to disintegrate it got worse.
In 1970, both the counterculture and the antiestablishment movement collapsed. The New Left set off too many bombs, finally killing a lab student. Disillusioned that this was not the way to peace, the youth dropped out of it, leaving it to become nothing but pockets of outright terrorists like Weather Underground.
A series of disasters disenchanted the counter culture. In December 1969, there were two horrid revelations– the Manson Family, a set of licentious counterculture hippies, had been the butchers in Hollywood the August before. Then there was the Altamont. Finally, in 1970 the festival on the Isle of Wight ended nasty. Counterculture realized that drugs was not the way to world peace. The inner journey to peace through drugs ended.
Drugs continued to be taken, even more than before. But it wasn’t for ideological reasons. It was a trip for a trip’s sake. The demand created by the ideology of the counterculture also created a supply line that now turned capitalistic. The drug culture of the 1970s was now made possible, along with the crimes and murders that would come from the cartels that developed to meet the new but purposeless demand.
Now firmly in the throes of upheaval, the nation had to deal with the after affects of lawlessness and bizarre cults. There were the Zebra Murders. There was the Symbionese Liberation Army, chic militant urban guerillas wearing leather jackets and tams.
Most of all society had to deal with the apathy that overcame the baby boomers, so central to both movements. Francis Schafer, a noted Christian theologian and philosopher, observed that the Boomers had come full circle in their attempts to defeat a wholly materialistic culture and ended up even more dissolute and materialistic than their parents.
The 1980s became the counter revolution to the 1960s. It gave us Yuppies and a hyper establishment, materialistic society based once again on the superficiality of impressing the Jones and the new status quo. It is amazing that these were the same baby boomers of the 1960s. They were now the 30-somethings of Reaganomics.
Like their former hippie selves they were known by their image. It was one of double breasted suits, ostentatious haircuts and hairdos, showcase-like glasses, expensive cars, even coats of arms with some rampant beast. They had been the Hippies and the Yippies, now they were the up and coming 30-somethings. Some journalist, whoever it was, hit the nail on the head with “Yuppies.”
Movies like Wall Street typified the Yuppie attitude. Greed is good. Own. Do not create. The screenwriter of the film has lamented in interviews how so many people (Yuppies) came up to him and expressed their admiration for Gekko, the bad guy of the film. He couldn’t believe it. No generation ever swang, and was aloud to swing, so far one way on the pendulum and so far the other as the Baby Boomers.
In the 2000s, it is this materialistic culture, now in their 50s and 60s, who spent vast amounts of money getting butt-lift operations so they could look like their younger and spry Yuppie selves. Bankers didn’t know how to balance their bottom lines, and the banks crashed. Real estate gave bad loans and housing collapsed. The Great Recession ensued. Kids who were 10 years old then were deeply affected by losing their homes. They looked about and saw parents who didn’t know how to take out loans properly, politicians who didn’t understand how to legislate, and bankers who didn’t know the basics of math.
These kids are now on the campuses. Just from Youtube they can see the culture of the last 60 years and they think it is full of sh . . .
Is it surprising that we have a convoluted antiestablishment movement today? It started with the Occupy Wall Street, which was largely an S&M sham. Typical reaction from that culture– sales and market some response. From Occupy Wall Street it devolved into Occupy Disneyland, and while the tongue-in-cheek capitalizing went on, the ten year old kids who felt disaster lost their sense of humor. It’s the kids who have the collapse of the Great Recession indelible in their memory that want change. They aren’t a sham. They also aren’t just kids anymore. Toxic elements are everywhere.
We now have Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the closest thing to the old counterculture I suppose would be the cancel-culture– destroy any tokens of the society they hate and blame for all the ills. Cops are “pigs” again. There are riots again.
Unlike the Great Generation in the 1960s, the Baby Boomers, now in their 70s, aren’t handling it well at all. They were from insulated, prosperous times, and as such they tend to not understand cause and effect. Some, perpetually rebellious, identify with antiestablishment yet again and agree with the slogan-level intelligence that demands the police be defunded. The Yuppie element has an equally simplistic approach– monetize it and try and profit off of it.
Hippie protests in the 1960s were about peace. Sticking the stem end of a flower into the rifle barrel of a White House guard rated the cover of magazines. Every elements in the antiestablishment of today wants war. Even Cancel-culture rips down statues.
What abscesses can arise in the wake of this antiestablishment movement?
Police have not had to deal with cult murders and organized political gangs killing people. This was an outcropping of the original antiestablishment movement. The cops of that era are gone. After this antiestablishment movement burns out, Cancelculture like the Counterculture will find a different lifestyle separate from the culture it hates. But radical communists and socialists, at least the modern American indulged versions, infest them all, from Cancelculture to Antifa. In addition, Neo-Nazi type radicals also fester in toxic cells.
When the nation is perceived by any of them to start yielding (or not yielding fast enough) to a certain culture, who will use murder for the purposes of political terror? We could have individuals like the Zodiac Killer who did it for his own amusement. Then there was the complex confection that was The Manson Family. They were not just counterculture. They were a nest of vainglorious hippies under the spell of their mesmeric guru leader. They committed a bizarre spate of murders behind various motives– to get one of their own out of jail, to start the collapse of society by bringing about Helter Skelter. Their new age would ensue wherein they would raise the children whom they saved. Then there were just experimental, twisted killers using religion like The Zebra Killers. The SLA were outright bandits ennobling their bank robbery as supporting a political liberation movement.
All were different. Yet none of them batted an eye about killing. All of the above were not just criminals. They viewed themselves as having a mandate against a corrupt establishment. They all germinated in the medium of the volatile antiestablishment movement and its tumultuous and disillusioned aftermath.
There are those who say that it was drugs, especially LSD, that made the Manson Murders possible, and there is nothing out there like that today. So why should we fear some eddy like this to form in the wake of this torrential antiestablishment movement? This might be true. But this time around there is more anger and violence. There are no peace protests. There are protests for war. There is also more contempt.
The Baby Boomers rebelled against a generation and culture they viewed as giving them the horrors of imminent nuclear holocaust and the slow death of Cold War battles like Vietnam. The young of today view the Baby Boomers as self indulgent wastrels. How does moving to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury, smoking an hasheesh pipe and frolicking in a love-in do anything about Soviet arms production? Yet the Boomers said they were reacting against the Cold War. They were ennobling a spoiled upbringing, as far as youth of today can see it.
The Great Generation sent their kids (boomers) to college. At grad from High School, the boomers got some treat– a car, a Euro vacation, to Hawaii, whatever. Today, the young have a mountain of school debt and little likelihood of a job thereafter. Where did the money go? Their boomer parents or grandparents are viewed as having spent it all. Remember that Newsweek cover? The Case for Killing Granny. The Boomers would not have expressed that attitude. But today?
What hybrid cells are capable of forming out there that will take the radical ideas of today and turn themselves into champions of selective murder for political or social ideas? It may or may not be a few years off. There are enough disgruntled individuals who could gather under a twisted leader to perform anything horrific. After all, look at how many elements came together to create The Manson Family and then the Manson Murders.
In our next post, we’ll look at more similarities and differences in the antiestablishment movements.
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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.