Hippies American Values

  • Author(s): Author Timothy S. Miller
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1991-09-30
  • Status: Out of Print Cancel

“The sixties’ political agenda may have been ground down to ambiguity at best, but moral and spiritual America will never again be quite what it was before the coming of the hippies, and Miller has shown how and why.”—Robert S. Ellwood, University of Southern California

The hippies of the late 1960s were cultural dissenters who, among other things, advocated drastic rethinking of certain traditional American values and standards.  In this lucid, lively survey, Timothy Miller traces the movement’s ethical innovations and analyzes the impact of its ideas on subsequent American culture.

Dedicated to such tenets as the primacy of love, trust in intuition and direct experience, the rejection of meaningless work, and a disdain for money and materialism, the hippies advocated dropping out of the dominant culture, and proposed new and more permissive ethics in several areas.  They argued that, while some drugs were indeed harmful, others provided useful insights and experiences and therefore should be freely available and widely used.  They endorsed a liberal ethics of sex, in which no sexual act between or among consenting adults would be banned.  They developed an ethics of rock-and-roll music, arguing that rock was the language of a generation and that it helped promote new ways of thinking and living.  They also revived the venerable American tradition of communal living.In contrast to most available literature on the 1960s, this book deals with the cultural revolutionaries and not the political radicals of the New Left.  And instead of relying on later interviews with persons who were active in the 1960s, Miller draws mainly on underground newspapers of the day, the most important literary creation of the hippies themselves.  The result is a historical encounter of rare immediacy.

Timothy Miller is assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas.