I feel I must return, once again, to my analysis of American culture and its underlying belief. I've approached this problem many times, and I may sound like I am repeating myself, but no matter what angle I get, I feel I still haven't nailed down the problem quite precisely.
By this time, we all know the metanarrative. Our culture has fragmented a little bit since then, and has now recombined into the post-postmodern swirl of crosscultural concepts epitomized by the internet, but behind that lies the basic story of the 1960's: culture was a regimented, repressive monolith in denial of basic human nature, when a cadre of free thinkers simultaneously ended racism, sexism and war; all while enjoying themselves and totally boogieing. Careful historical research doesn't bear this story out: the people who rode the buses down into Mississippi in 1962 weren't the same people, by and large, who were dropping LSD in 1966, who weren't the same people who disrupted the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968. There was many different movements going on at the time, as there always are, and only the most rah rah rah Us vs. Them worldview would try to describe the 1960's as the battle between the loving Reichian libido and the armored musculature of whiteskinned facism.
The truth is, for all the many people who made great sacrifices during the 60's, there was the same amount who learned from the decade that the meaning of life is to please yourself. The problem, I suppose, is metaphysical, and still is. American metaphysics is based on Anglo-Saxon metaphysics, which says that reality is basically atoms in the void, that the world consists of independent agents bouncing around in a neutral world space. As metaphysically and experientally questionable this is, it is disastrous when applied to politics. Traditionally, identity was constructed as relating to a teleological process where every inividual was made an individual by their place in the scheme of things. Perhaps this scheme had to eventually be replaced, but instead of being replaced by a Kantian scheme of people being ends in themselves, it was taken downward, by the idea that people are loose atoms out to fulfill whatever momentary hedonistic urges crosses their minds. Social space, as such, didn't exist, besides as an epiphenomena. William of Ockham said "Don't multiply entities", and it was decided that Society with a Capital-S was just another made up entity, and it should only exist as much as it was needed to help people fulfill their desires. The perfect society would be a transparent society, existing only so much as it helped people satisfy their urges.
Which brings us back to the real legacy of the 60's: not the idealistic students, marching for civil rights; not even the flower child, hazily dreaming of a world of looooove, man. If you want to look at a good example of a real child of the 60's, take a look at George W Bush. Not just a selfish person, but a person that believes that they have a "natural right" to be selfish, and that pursuit of self-interest isn't just the only logical choice, but that no real alternative exists.
I hear people complain about the Christian Right and how they put the republicans in power. From my observations, the Christian Right doesn't make up a large majority of the Republicans I see. The average Republican is not a killjoy: just like their leader, they are rich, party boys who like to fuck and drink. Of course, not all of them are cokeheads, but it wouldn't be out of character.
Take a look at what the real legacy of the 1960's was: along with the few who became idealistic, and the many who became more open minded and gentle; their was just as many who got the idea that life was all about pleasing yourself, and added, on top of a natural selfishness, the idea that Society as such didn't exist, and that the only society that existed was a transparent system for equally selfish people to act out their fantasies.