The Women’s Motorcycle Contingent (WMC) lead the San Francisco Pride parade every year, with their bike engines making a big impact. They battled for three years to trademark the ”Dykes on Bikes” name, having to persuade the United States Patent and Trademark Office that ”dyke” is not an offensive word.

San Francisco – Been There

San Francisco’s philosophy of freedom still governs the Internet

Photo by Sam Kimbrel

San Francisco – Been There

San Francisco’s philosophy of freedom still governs the Internet

California’s state motto – “Eureka!” or “I found it!” – dates back to the 1849 Gold Rush. Whatever people come west for, they seem to find it.

Mark Harris
Mark Harris Travel Writer

It’s partly the cheap living in the mild California climate that attracted both the down-at-heel Beat poets and the immigrant German organic farmers whose Lebensreform (life-reform) philosophy laid the foundations for the hippie lifestyle. Or maybe it’s just that the restless spirits who made America could go no further west once they hit the Pacific coastline and their yearning to explore turned inward. “America has a westward tilt, so all the loose nuts rolled into California,” as critics say.

Today, progressive ideas from the San Francisco Bay Area are taking the world by storm much like the Dutch and the Spanish who colonized the world in the 16th and 17th century. It is a trend that stretches from the love and peace movement of the 1960s that reformed modern society, through social communities such as Facebook and Linkedin, to the sharing economy of Airbnb and Uber.

A walk through San Fransisco’s neighborhoods reveals this freedom in the air – literally in the case of the Haight-Ashbury, where the hippie philosophy was nurtured in rambling Victorian houses. Wander into The Castro for an education in gay rights at the country’s only GLBT Museum or in its bustling bars and clubs.

And glimpse the ghosts of Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums as you sip a coffee or rough red wine in the streets of North Beach. Kerouac influenced countless writers, as well as musicians such as Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison and, of course, The Beatles whose name is a tribute to his Beat Generation.

Even though Google and Apple are about big bucks, it is this philosophy of freedom born in San Francisco that still governs the internet.

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Cafe International in Haight-Ashbury is dominated by a mural of the world’s people. San Francisco’s many murals spread out from the Mission District where the art form flourished after an influx of Latino artists in the 1960 re-introduced influences such as Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

Cafe International in Haight-Ashbury is dominated by a mural of the world’s people. San Francisco’s many murals spread out from the Mission District where the art form flourished after an influx of Latino artists in the 1960 re-introduced influences such as Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Photo by Peter Horree / Alamy

Peter Horree

Peter Horree

Agency
Alamy

Cafe International in Haight-Ashbury is dominated by a mural of the world’s people. San Francisco’s many murals spread out from the Mission District where the art form flourished after an influx of Latino artists in the 1960 re-introduced influences such as Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

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