In many ways, the transformation makes perfect sense. The hippies of yesteryear and today’s conservatives and libertarians have more in common than most care to imagine. Distrust of government’s motives, a lust for individual freedom, and a foundational belief in freedom of expression all bind the rebellion of the past and the rebellion of the present.
But they are not the same. Conservatism comes with plenty of economic and social principles wholly antithetical to the indoctrination of many of today’s young people. But the more radical the modern left becomes, the more today’s youth–who instinctively seek freedom–will explore other philosophies.
Counterculture icon Timothy Leary once advised his admirers to “think for yourself and question authority.” These days, such a suggestion falls wholly on the shoulders of conservatives, a development that no one, including Leary and his fellow malcontents, could have ever imagined. It’s far out for sure.