"Get a Wash Hippy" (or something to that effect) was the cover headline of an early FARANG magazine issue. It's a perfect expression of the mainstream's contempt for freedom and non-conformity... even,... no, especially, among that group of "latte-liberals" who fashion themselves as "progressive" or "trendy".
As Nicholson's character points out in Easy Rider, everybody is all for talking about freedom; but as soon as you actually live it- you become an object of fear, scorn, envy, and hatred. Americans, and much of the world, are like that. Freedom is great, as long as its only a theory.
We're taught, from an early age, that we live in the "Land of the Free". We go to war to "ensure freedom". But its all a lie. Americans, for the most part, are slaves. Slaves to companies. Slaves to their jobs. They obey their Masters 40, 50, 60 hours a week. They show up when they are told to show up. They do what they are told to do. They dress as they are told to dress. The eat when told they can eat and shit when told they can shit. They go home only when given permission. They are slaves to bosses. Slaves to the clock.
I've been there. I know. Everyone lies to themselves about work, to make it bearable: we are "being responsible", "providing for our families", "contribuiting to society". We tell ourselves "Everybody has to work". But deep down, we know this is horse-shit. The brain and mouth say one thing, but the heart knows the degrading awful truth.
That's why hippies, and hoboes, and writers, and artists, and "the homeless" are so despised. They aren't just talking about freedom, they are living it. Those people are a terrible shock. Goddam them for exposing our lies: apparently, "Everybody" does not have to work. Somewhere deep inside, in the subconscious, these people stir something... perhaps vague feelings of "They are doing it, why aren't I?" They question the hypocrisy on which our lives are built. Their existence,... their presence... is a nagging accusatory finger-- pointing out our slave existence.
I've noticed a similar reaction when someone learns I am a vegetarian. I mention it only when needed (when invited to dinner, for example), and NEVER argue to convince anyone to follow my choice. Yet the majority will launch into irritated defenses of their meat eating habits... or apologetic excuses for it. I don't say a thing... just the fact that I made a choice somehow stirs feelings of guilt. Most don't want to examine what's happening in their own head, so they get angry & lash out.
Therefore mellow, peace-loving hippies are subjected to angry tirades.... and contemptuous insults. Homeless people are vilified by the media and by individuals-- and blamed for a host of social ills (ills which are perpetuated by the corporations those good-citizen, latte-liberals work for). Artists and writers and freelancers are scorned as lazy, irresponsible, and strange.
Hell hath no fury like a wage-slave exposed. If only these folks would pause to examine the source of their rage & contempt. Maybe they'd stop talking about freedom, and actually give it a try.