The hippie movement of the 1960s sprang on the scene during my childhood. As a girl in grammar school and high school, I was only able to imagine what it would be like to be a hippie as I viewed it from afar. It was easy to gravitate towards the movement because adults had disdain for it. During this time, there were heated conversations about many issues including the Vietnam War. Therefore, being labeled a hippie was either a compliment or an insult depending on who was talking. Hindsight gives perspective to the attitudes of my youth and provides insight into the effects of the “hippie movement” in our day and the culture it has helped shape.
Recently I was going through the following essay, How to Produce a Hippie by R.J. Rushdoony, with my high school students at a missionary school in Mexico during our weekly Skype class. I was surprised that they knew who the hippies were.
If you are interested in rearing up a generation of hippies and super-hippies, there are a few simple directions to follow.
First of all, abolish all teaching about God, the Bible, and God’s moral law from the schools. The child will then grow up believing that these things are really not important and that religion is really a private matter and a question of taste.
Second, emphasize the individual and his rights, not the claims of God and His law. Make sure that the child has a strong and intense passion for his rights, and no concern about his moral responsibilities. Then you can be sure that he will be irresponsible and yet very demanding.
Third, make sure that the child feels entitled to the best of everything and feels cheated if he is denied instant paradise. Then the child will be sure to demand everything and riot if denied it.
Fourth, convince the child that man’s real problem is not his sin but a bad environment. Teach him that his problems are due to the evils of big business, warmongers, big labor, profiteering farmers, politicians, and the like. Never let him suspect that all men are sinners, including, and, maybe, especially himself, and that their real need is for regeneration in Jesus Christ. Then the child will grow up with a revolutionary rage at everybody instead of looking to God for regeneration.
Add all this up, and what do you have? Our public schools are an amazingly efficient and economical machine for producing hippies. Then too our indulgent homes are wonderful breeding places for hippies, and our churches are clearly in favor of the whole business.
The world today must love hippies: it does such a good job of producing them. We are getting what we asked and paid for; if you want to complain to the management, look in the mirror. If you want better management, look to God, before it is too late. Meanwhile, remember, we are getting what we paid for, and if we want something else, we are going to have to pay for it, in work, sweat, and sacrifice.
I had read this essay before, but it struck an unexpected chord in light of all the recent demands of American college students to have their loans forgiven, be given free higher education, and have the minimum wage raised to $15 an hour. What is evident is that the hippies of the 1960s grew up, had children, and transmitted a world and life view that reflects their misunderstanding that they can live life free of responsibility to God and His law. Removing God and the Word of God from the public sphere results in the “bad news” we hear about on a daily basis.
The better news is that there is a generation of people whose sinful lives collided with the risen Savior. These Christians have, by grace, turned their previous worldview upside down and embraced their calling under God to love Him and keep His commandments throughout all areas of their lives. I am in touch with many such committed believers on a weekly basis and am encouraged that they understand the sacrifice that is required to build a godly society. These parents and families are seeking to produce faithful followers of Jesus Christ. In addition, they are motivated by the reality that since God is for them in this pursuit, nothing can prevent His consummate will.