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September 08, 2009


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Patrick S. O'Donnell

While not directly on point (blogging is fairly tolerant in this regard), the remark from Judge Craven reminded me of a portion from the syllabus for my introductory course on "world religions:"

"I do not care if you come to this class as a self-described Christian, Marxist, Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist, Scientific Humanist, Agnostic, what have you. I ask only that, whatever your worldview orientation, you come to this class with an open-mind, prepared to learn about worldviews/traditions about which you may be rather ignorant. If your motive for coming to this course involves the propagation or fortification of theological or ideological polemics you will be very disappointed, thereby helping neither yourself nor others in this important educational endeavor."

Perhaps I should add "Hippie" to the list (although it's not that they need further evidence of my age).

In any case, you've inspired me to imagine a "hippie legal theory" (in keeping with the Sixties theme, it's the countercultural complement of the New Left that brought us Critical Legal Studies, among other things), intellectually or theoretically, its roots would have to be in the more philosophical forms of anarchism (e.g., from Godwin through Proudhon and Kropotin), in the utopian socialists that influenced Marx (whatever his critique of their political programs, etc.), in the American history of religious and utopian communal endeavors (e.g., those 'communistic societies' studied by Charles Nordhoff or California's utopian colonies examined by Robert V. Hine), in '60s communal experimentation, in Beat poets like Gary Snyder....

I'm inspired to assemble a list of works representative of the philosophical, religious and cultural roots and rationale of a "hippie legal theory" (of course that's rather different from, although not unrelated to, 'hippie jurisprudence').


Yes--hippie legal theory! A foundational text might be Steal This Book.

Patrick S. O'Donnell


I'll have to disagree about Abbie Hoffman's book: after all, he was Yippie, NOT a Hippie, and the distinction is important. Yippies were irresponsible anarchists by self-definition and practice, while hippies tended in the other direction (the former wanted to destroy or at least disrupt 'the System,' the latter opt out of or ignore it, or even radically yet nonviolently, change it: cf. Keith Melville's Communes in the Counter Culture: Origins, Theories, Styles of Life [1972], and John Case and Rosemary C.R. Taylor, eds., Co-ops, Communes & Collectives: Experiments in Social Change in the 1960s and 1970s [1979]).

I think a hippie legal theory of property would be conversant with both Proudhon and Gandhi

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