Judith Miller discusses the odd culture of America’s Cool Grey City of Love as San Francisco commemorates the 1967 origin of the Counter-Culture which today dominates the city.
It is San Franciscoâ€™s smug self-satisfaction that so enrages critics like Michael Anton, the San Francisco native who now works for the Trump White House in national-security communications. In a blistering 2015 critique in the Claremont Review of Books, Anton asserted that â€œSan Francisco valuesâ€ had come to reflect little more than a â€œconfluence of hippie leftism and filthy lucre,â€ a marriage of convenience between â€œold-time materialism and hippie â€˜morality.â€™ â€ What kept the Summer of Love veneer going for so long, he asserted, is the implicit deal between the high-tech oligarchs and the hippie rank-and-file. â€œThe latter not only decline to use their considerable propaganda skills to vilify the former, but cheerfully glorify and whitewash them,â€ he wrote. â€œThe oligarchs in turn subsidize the lefties through nonprofits and make-work jobsâ€ and, more important, â€œtake their cues from them on matters of politics not directly contrary to their economic interests.â€ Both groups benefit from what he called this â€œsocio-intellectual money laundering.â€ The resulting policies have done little to create opportunities for an aspiring middle class that is neither elite nor bohemian.
Anton is not wrong about the less savory aspects of the counterculture. A notable omission in the cityâ€™s much touted tradition of â€œtolerance,â€ for instance, is that it rarely extends to politics. There is no welcome mat out for Republicans, especially conservatives. Student mobs at Berkeley boast about preventing conservative scholars from speaking on campus. Socially liberal but fiscally conservative activists like David Crane, who worked as Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggerâ€™s finance director, struggle to raise funds for candidates willing to question the pension burdens being imposed on future generations by San Francisco liberals in the name of â€œworkersâ€™ rights.â€ Several Republican city residents confided that they would never display a Trump/Pence sticker on their car or home window for fear of vandalism.