July 9

Ep. 0067: The New Counterculture?

Is there a New Counterculture movement?  If so, what is it?  Can we define it, or at least describe it?  Might you be a part of it, even if in a small way, even if you don’t realize it?

Join Prof CJ as he discusses:

  • Why cultural, artistic, and/or intellectual movements are often hard to identify without hindsight (either after they’ve fizzled out entirely, or at least jumped the shark)
  • What the Old Counterculture was, and its problems
  • Defining what the New Counterculture is (as CJ sees it) by describing a nonexistent, archetypal New Counterculturalist individual in terms of his or her age, religiosity, career, political views, lifestyle, etc.
  • CJ’s take on the degree to which he himself (at least somewhat) fits the mold
  • Reasons why the New Counterculture has more potential to achieve lasting, positive change

(image Revolt Submit Switch Stock Photo courtesy Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net)

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Posted July 9, 2015 by profcj in category "Concepts and Theories", "Podcasts


  1. By markl32 on

    I would like to add the concept of “opting out” to your definition of the new counter culture. While you certainly embodied it in your description, I never heard you use the term. I submit its conscience choice and part of the part of the phenomenon you are describing.

    I find myself opting out of many things. And by opting out I mean deliberately avoiding the thing I am opting out of and seeking suitable alternatives. The top of the list is TV. I opted out of TV about 15 years ago. When I was courting my wife all those years ago we had a jaw dropping moment on our second date when we discovered neither of us even owned a TV. Early in our marriage we lived in town house (we saved up for a down payment on the town house by having an austere wedding and purchasing a $60 engagement ring). We would go for walks around the surrounding single family home neighbor hoods after dinner. The vast majority of houses would have that eerie blue glow emanating from the living room windows. It was creepy and Orwellian that all the citizens were reporting in for their nightly programming. Programming. They even call it Programming.

    We began to opt out of big Ag food. This was mandatory for our health. I’ll forgo the litany of problems my wife and I were suffering (her more than me), but we have solved nearly all them with food and diet. We started in the organic isle and over 15 years we have come to raising our own pork and buying half a grass fed cow each year from a neighbor up the road. This aspect has been a huge journey. My single biggest focus outside of work and family is learning permaculture from the modern day greats and doing permaculture on our land.

    We have opted out of government education for our kids. We found that “home schooling” with private tutors is cheaper than private school and the results are far better than I had even imagined possible. We have banded together with other like minded families to share costs.

    We have opted out of many other things too like debt, consumerism, politics and voting. I think the term “opt out” belongs in your definition of the new counter culture.

    Thanks for the great show!

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Very well said, Mark. Thanks for sharing all that. I definitely think opting out is a part of it. You’re right, I kind of talked around the idea without quite hitting the nail on the head. Another way to put it might be individual and family secession, at least from the most dysfunctional parts of society. You sound like you’re more seceded in practice than I am, but my situation is sort of a work-in-progress.

      1. By Chris on

        This was one of my favourite shows so far CJ, great job.

        I agree with Mark, this movement isn’t so much as reacting against something as it is just turning away from the mainstream.

        I do wonder though whether this movement is really a notable movement at all. Since the internet has smashed the stranglehold of the old collectives (like the state and media) this is just a tiny part of the global fallout.

        Because the internet allows the whole world to reach out across time and space there are millions of “movements” that are coagulating right now. I just don’t know whether this counter-culture movement you speak of in the episode is going to be a growing trend or not. It just might seem like it to us because we’re interested in it, but we don’t pay attention to all the other movements that are happening. I wonder if it will just be lost in the noise of everything else that is happening.

        Either way, very interesting stuff and I’ll check out your recommended books.

        1. By profcj (Post author) on

          Glad you liked this episode.

          I think you make a good point that plenty of other identifiable movements currently exist or are forming. While I think that’s always been the case since the beginning of civilization, I think that the innovations in communications technology the last few decades have really kicked it into overdrive.

          I think this new counterculture is different from other contemporary social movements in that (at its best anyway) it combines ideas, ideals, and philosophy with practical approaches to the problems of everyday life in the modern world. And also (again, at its best) it acknowledges that individuals are unique and that one particular lifestyle or career or other path is not equally suitable for all. Also, I think this movement is making the best use out of all these new communications technologies out of any group so far.

          I think you’re probably correct that most people are oblivious to this movement, but I think that’s fine. If it ever became truly mainstream, I’d be concerned that it was losing its principles.

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Wow, how I forgot that one is beyond me, but thanks for pointing that out. I’ll put it in as the first book right now!

  2. By Halsingen on

    Awesome episode!

    Regarding future episodes about villains that you discussed, have you considered Rudolf Kjellén, the father of “the Swedish Model” (as for example Tom Woods put it, “Next to Somalia, no country is thrown in libertarians’ faces more often than Sweden. Why, Sweden has an extensive welfare state and a robust economy! Etc. “)?

    He invented the concepts of geopolitics with the idea of “the State as a Living Form” (and therefore in need of Lebensraum/living space), as well as National Socialism, and inspired Hitler, etc.

    Although he died in 1922, he is much in the news right now, because the quasi-Nazi Sweden Democrats is about to become the largest party in parliament, and they celebrate him as their ideological household god.


      1. By Halsingen on

        Super! If you just talk with the main Swedish libertarian podcasts beforehand, I think you will have a good increase of listners! 🙂

        Radio Mises (see for example their Tom Woods episode: http://www.mises.se/2015/06/30/tom-woods-lank-till-radio-mises/) is perhaps the most important, because they have the most hardcore crowd of listeners.

        Klaus Bernpaintner is the man to talk to there:


        Frihetsfaxen (http://frihetsfaxen.se/) have a big fanbase at the an-cap forum “ankeb.org”, and the guy who seems to run things there, is Kristian “Sajbear”:


        Radio Bubb.la (http://bubb.la/) have the largest listener crowd, and the main guy in charge there, is Martin Eriksson:


          1. By profcj (Post author) on

            Thanks for all that. Not sure when exactly I will get to the topic, but all those links & contacts will be a great help when I do!

          2. By Halsingen on

            @ Profcj

            Just wanted to help you out, and promote your great podcast as best as I can 🙂

  3. By Tristatefans on

    The wife and I listened to this episode in the car. With only a couple of exceptions, you nailed us to a T. We don’t live in a blue city in a red state since we don’t live in the city at all… but my wife teaches college in a blue town in a red state and at the time we were driving to the nearest “city”, Columbia, MO which most definitely is a blue city in a red state.

    The only other thing that we differed from your proposed norm is that we are early 50’s in age. Not on the far end of the curve, but not at the top of the bell either.

    We are are Alice In Chains living in a Stryper world.

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      I’ve heard from some other listeners as well who feel like they fit the New CC profile but who are, um, of more collectible vintage. And all I can say to folks like that (including you) is y’all are visionaries ahead of your time!

  4. By Beth F on

    Found myself checking off most of the boxes on your list. At 51, guess I’m one of the outliers. 🙂

    Really enjoyed this one!

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Thank you. It’s really gratifying to hear from so many people for whom this episode really resonated. I feel vindicated that I really do know my audience!

  5. By Chad on

    I look forward to buying that book! It might serve as a good mirror for those of us out here clawing our way to more peace and freedom.

    1. By profcj (Post author) on

      Thanks! All the positive feedback I’m getting about this episode is really encouraging me to get going on the book– needless to say, it’ll be a hell of a project!

  6. By 230c1de5 on

    It was really cool to hear myself described in this way. Never knew I was part of something bigger and it feels good to know it now.

  7. By Pete on

    Hey CJ-
    I really enjoyed this episode, and like other commenters, found myself “checking the box” many times as you went down the list…

    Three points:

    The New CC could be called a culture of Liberty and self-reliance. Which is not so different than the back-to-the-land movement of the late 50’s and early 60’s. That same back-to-the-land movement is often credited (not-quite-accurately, I think) as the breeding ground of the old “flower power” counter culture. Have we come full circle?
    (I hope not, and honestly, I’m not convinced this is even a worthwhile question…)

    Critical Mass: What is a counterculture? What is a Movement? How many of us are there? And how many do we need?

    You also briefly touched on DIY as a trait of the New CC. I think this has far more import than perhaps you recognize. The burgeoning “Maker Movement,” in my observation, has contributed a terrible lot to the Liberty/self reliance mindset. Whether it’s the middle aged lady making knitted tchotchkes for sale on Etsy, or the kid with a hacksaw and grinder making custom bicycle parts, once the idea that “Hey, I can build shit!” is in place, other, more insidious thoughts follow…

    Thanks, man.


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