. . . “Tune in, turn out, drop out,” LSD guru Timothy Leary had told young people, and there was a naïve optimism in the idea that young people could skip the rat-race materialism and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses materialism of their parents’ generation. The nightmares of war in Vietnam and riots in urban ghettos had exposed the spiritual bankruptcy at the heart of LBJ’s “Great Society.” Meanwhile, the Sexual Revolution was running in high gear, accompanied by a rock-and-roll soundtrack, and in 1967, young would-be revolutionaries headed to San Francisco for the so-called “Summer of Love.”Read the whole thing. Being slightly older, and much closer to the site of the murders (66 and living in California, splitting time between Los Angeles and Arcata), my perspective is different. The sixties were made to die. That sort of fervor can't be sustained, and will never be passed down to another generation, because they will instinctively rebel. Too bad it led to disco.
Coincidentally, that same year, a lifelong criminal was paroled from federal prison. Manson was 32 when he was paroled in 1967. He had learned to play guitar in prison and grown his hair long, and he showed up on the streets of San Francisco that summer looking like a hippie Jesus. A former pimp, Manson had a keen eye for vulnerable young women, of whom they were many among the hippie horde who thronged the Haight-Ashbury district. Manson gathered a harem of female followers, which at one point included as many as 18 women, some of them teenage runaways. He and his core followers, the so-called “Manson Family” departed San Francisco in an old school bus, roaming up and down the West Coast before settling into the Spahn Ranch, a rundown former site for cowboy movies in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles. It was there, in a drug-induced mania inspired by lyrics of a Beatles album, that Manson became obsessed with the idea of an apocalyptic race war that he and his disciples were destined to inaugurate. . .
The shocking thing is how the flower children of the 60s infiltrated the institutions of academia and the government, and became the old scolds they are today.