Immigration and Synthesis
The problems that the children of hippies experienced have been blamed on the supposed bad parenting of them by the hippies. This is wrong. The root of the problem is that the parents lived by one set of values while living in a society that ran by another. The exact same problems have existed in other similar situations - Hindu children who were raised in America; children of the people with American sympathies who were raised in the Communist countries; children of Mexican or black people who were raised in racist societies; children of liberals who were raised in conservative parts of America. And given dynamics involved such problems are inevitable.
What is loved at home, is hated outside the home. What is loved outside the home, is hated at home. The child either tries to please both at once, or goes entirely one way in either one or the other direction. Both tug, pull, make all kinds of demands. And neither home nor outside the home will completely accept, as the two worlds hate each other and, when they are at war, both demand complete loyalty - against the other world.
So the blame-the-hippies people got it all wrong. It's not the problem with the hippies; it's the problem of living by one way in a society that lives by another. And this is going to happen all over the world, and all over America, by people on any side of any divide, for as long as the forces are not understood and not dealt with in an intelligent and rightful way.
Banking on the illusion of world war II generation being right, a speaker at Republican convention in 1992 said that right and wrong is "what your grandmother taught you." Let's see. That would mean, for the boomers, the flapper generation; for my children, the boomer generation; and for me, my Stalinist grandmother. Then there was the "back-to-the-basics" or "back-to-the-roots" movement. So that means, you want me to "go back to my roots." Really? You want me to become a Stalinist? One word for such attitudes: Idiocy. Two words: Complete idiocy.
These one-size-fits-all solutions are wrong because one size does not fit all at all. And far greater knowledge, wisdom and understanding is achieved by people using their minds proactively and arriving at their own solutions than is achieved by having one ill-fitting mold imposed by one or another band of thugs.
When raised among conflicting worldviews, systems and beliefs, the person has claims laid on him or her by everyone. The home wants complete loyalty and claims betrayal if one goes with what's outside the home. What's outside the home wants complete loyalty and claims betrayal (of country, "values", whatever) if one goes with the home. Then there's more idiots who claim that such people "lack integrity" or "are at sea." There is a good reason for that. We are dealing with people who've been raised in many worldviews and who therefore cannot have single mind about things unless their minds are completely locked. Someone who's experienced many worldviews will have all sorts of conflict among these given influences and will have to do a lot of work of reconciliation among them. Which, in many ways, is a process that leads to far greater knowledge and understanding than does static integrity of sticking with whatever either the home or the country demands.
The intercultural flux accomplishes this: expose people to different mindsets. That means that people are removed from false comforting myths of one or another worldview and must use their brains. That is for the better. The more people have to use intelligence, the stronger it gets, the greater the knowledge and intelligence of the population. And the greater its capacity of making truly responsible choices that actually have a chance of being informed enough to create worthwhile outcomes.
On the way, are found all kinds of dangers. One woman I've known about had been a respected professional in the Soviet Union. In America, she was nothing, and she kept saying such things as "I used to be a person once." An older writer who had been vice-president of the Soviet Union Writer's Guild was reduced to going to restaurants in his Soviet-style suit and glasses selling people his book. His input: "We are Russian, and that's all we will ever be." In both cases, immigration was most likely the wrong decision - another evidence against one-size-fits-all solutions, whatever the ideology of the day may be.
To be completely Country A is to betray Country B. To be completely Country B is to betray Country A. But to see the right and the wrong in both, and to combine the rights while eliminating the wrongs - that, is a way to serve, embody, and improve both at the same time.
The mindsets can be combined in all kinds of ways, from optimal to worst to all between. One negative combination can be seen in my UVA classmate and fellow Russian immigrant Sam Vaknin, author of book on "Narcissistic personality disorder," who is using the Soviet tactic of pathologizing dissent to pathologize all potential sources of dissent from the party line of his profession - and in the process pathologize also all potential sources of innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship, drive, passion, creative thinking, and risk-taking to which America owes all it has. All this, even though the Narcissistic Personality Disorder is no longer a part of the DSM manual. Another negative combination is found in those who've brought to America the Russian social authoritarianism and are using Russian-style dogmatism to empower oppressive agendas like Christian Right. Seeking a sustainably positive state of affairs, I am taking a different path of integration, and using American can-do spirit, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial mentality to bring into America the Russian passion, poetry, romanticism and intellectual thought.
Too many in America have no value for the poetic, the romantic, the intellectual and the philosophical. With people lacking value for these, those naturally inclined toward such pursuits run into all kinds of nastiness, which leads many people to see the wrong attitudes responsible for such affects as rightful. They are not. The Soviet Union (and many in Russia before that) equated capitalism with evil and business with crime. The people naturally entrepreneurial became criminals - black marketeers, "speculators" (illegal resellers), "prohodimets's" (system manupulators), and later bandit capitalists. This likewise led many to believe the attitudes responsible for these affects as rightful. They are not. The problem is not with poetry, romanticism, arts or philosophical thinking any more than it is with business. The problem is with societies that have no value for these legitimate, worthwhile endeavors, and thus not only injure and criminalize those capable of these things, but also fail to tap into the potential of these people and employ it for the benefit of the country and its people.
Russia will benefit from seeing the value of entrepreneurship and giving legitimacy to the process, allowing it to be done in legitimate ways and raise Russian material standards of living. America will benefit from seeing the value of passion, poetry, and conceptual thinking, and using these things to enrich people's minds, selves, relationships, and experience of life and one another. There is no unfixable flaw with either Russia or America. The problem is with wrong attitudes traditionally held by both populations. Replace those false limiting traditional attitudes with attitudes that see and apply instead of hindering human potential, and both places will bloom.