When I came of age in the late 60s and early 70s, the big idea was “do your own thing”. I thought it was the vanguard of a new way of thinking and relating to each other.
I thought we hippies (ok, I was a hippie on the weekends) were going to do away with pushing everyone into categories, social boxes, and defined roles. We would replace these with a radically free society in which everyone had a live and let live philosophy. It was to be “do your own thing” on a world-wide scale.
Boy was I wrong.
We succumbed to the temptation of impatience by wanting to spread our newly found freedom via legislation.
Notions of equality between the races, the sexes, the haves, and have-nots were thought to be so desirable and unassailably correct, that we couldn’t wait to see them happen.
The power of the state was waiting for us to dive in and start creating government programs that would in turn create our ideal society. This is the opposite of doing your own thing. It is doing our thing.
The moment we turned from our lofty ideals to forcing social changes via state power, we gave up the vision and lost our freedom-loving souls.
Remember Richie Havens at Woodstock? That was the last time we chanted “freedom”!