Hippies are people too. Sometimes we forget because the hippie movement fell out of favor only a decade after it began. Why? Because hippies were different, hippies are made fun of, and often financially powerless because by definition they gave up desire for those social and political constructs and aspirations. Also it is popular to say they “stink” because they often smell different due to bathing and patchouli practices. It is popular to make fun of astrology, and “new age” alchemical spiritual beliefs. It is the natural tendency to make fun of people that are different than normal standards, by birth or by choice, and to be biased against them.
So “hippy” has become a derogatory label. There was a decade when many believed and felt they were part of larger revolution, and not just a fashion taboo. Others will always believe that their idealism was flawed, and they were always just criminal bums. Those people are usually called different names by those they call hippies, to be fair.
The popular Hippie Movement during the 1960s, had evolved from the 1950s counter-culture of hipster beatniks, and embraced a revolutionary return to naturalist folk traditions. Peace was a major motivating factor for many people to become a hippy. Environmentalism, drug use, and alternative lifestyle freedoms were also very dominant aspects of the movement.
The peace symbol was developed in the UK as a logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and was embraced by U.S. anti-war protestors during the 1960s. Originally the “V” finger sign stood for Victory (a return to peace) in WWII, but ironically was adopted by hippies to remind people about the joys of peace. Hippies were mostly pacifists and many participated in non-violent political protests, such as marches and demonstrations for civil rights, liberties, and peace.
The degree of political involvement varied widely among hippies, from those who were active in non-violent demonstrations, to the more anti-authority street aggression of the Yippies (the most politically active hippie sub-group). The active yippy political rebels led to underground resistance groups like “The Weathermen”, and often operated violently as anarchists. Pacifist hippies tend to disagree with hateful tactics.
The Hippie Movement continues to the present day, but began to decline in the 1970s with the emergence of new popular movements like Disco, and later was rejected by Hip-hop breakdance, Goth, Punk, and Yuppism in the 1980s under the hyper-inflation of Reaganomics. The economic bubble of the 1980s (which revived the 1950s industrial enthusiasm) had a lot to do with the cultural supremacy of Cocaine.
The multi-culturalism of the 1990s was a peaceful integration of many colorful hippy values like celebrating ethnic diversity and environmentalism, with modern technology and the enthusiasm of the commercial 1980s. Improvements in transportation allowed these benefits of travel, including the popularity of tattoos. However, this positive zeitgeist was smothered by the Military Industrial Complex under Bush II.