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Aging hippies have a penchant for recalling the 1960s as some amazing, idyllic moment in time. As Jonah Goldberg writes in Liberal Fascism, it’s “bizarre how many people remember the 1960s as a time of ‘unity’ and ‘hope’ when it was, in reality, a time of rampant domestic terrorism, campus tumult, assassinations, and riots.” Goldberg hits the nail squarely on the head when appraising why aging hippies feel that way. Their “liberal nostalgia” for the 1960s is more about a longing “for victory” than an interest in “unity.” Leftists love the 1960s for the same reason that they love the 1930s, a decade also marred by “political unrest, intense labor violence, and the fear that one totalitarianism or another lay just around the corner.” Both decades were the times when leftists believed that “we were all in it together,” writes Goldberg. The kind of “unity” that took the shape of “staid conformity” in the 1950s was undesirable for them. “In the 1930s and 1960s, the left’s popular-front approach yielded real power.” Voters, however, swiftly repudiated that era of massively growing government power and carefully fomented social unrest under LBJ’s Great Society schemes.

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