Why Both Counterculturs Failed
Systematic eternalism depends on a foundation: some eternal ordering principle. On that, it builds a structure of justification, which gives everything meaning. By the mid-twentieth-century, this had clearly failed. Nihilism seemed the only possible alternative.
Both countercultures recognized that the 1950s American mainstream was an empty shell, based on collective pretense, with mere materialism at its core. It might as well be outright nihilism, they thought.
But… there is a more generous way of interpreting the “hypocrisy” of the 1950s. Everyone understood, at some level, that the structure of justification no longer worked. However, everyone also understood, at some level, that just pretending was enough to keep the system working. This was actually right, because there never was a genuine foundation for systematic eternalism. In reality, it had always largely run on ritual: everyone acting as if the system was justified. This is a good thing! The ritual “as if” is the only way functional societies can work.