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 in favour of a radically free society in which everyone had a live and let live philosophy. Boy was I wrong.
We succumbed to the temptation of impatience by wanting our new found freedom to be achieved sooner via legislation. Notions of equality between the races, the sexes, the haves and have-nots were thought to be so desirable, 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.
The moment we turned from do your own thing, live and let live, to forcing these changes via state power, we gave up the vision. We adopted collectivized notions of equality via coercion and lost our freedom loving souls. Remember Richie Havens at Woodstock? That was the last time we chanted “freedom”!