Socialism is: An economic and political system based on public or collective ownership of the means of production. Socialism emphasizes equality rather than achievement, and values workers by the amount of time they put in rather than by the amount of value they produce. It also makes individuals dependent upon the state for everything from food to health care. And it is China, Vietnam and Cuba that are prime examples of modern-day socialist societies. And it would be wise to remember folks that what the state giveth, the state can also taketh away, whenever it wants.
Something which has been described as ‘shocking news’ is a new survey recently conducted by YouGov which finds that millennials seem to have a far more favorable view of socialism than they do of capitalism. So why is it, exactly, that this should, in any way, be viewed as shocking? Our children are force-fed this tripe upon day one of entering the door of their local public school and it continues through college. And yet when asked them to provide to you an accurate definition of what socialism actually is, not one of them can provide a coherent response. And yet they seem totally in favor of turning complete control of their lives over to their government.
I’m reminded of that old adage which says, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Because less than two decades after socialism seemed to have finally been relegated to the ash-bin of history, it would now seem to be experiencing a revival, of sorts, with yet another generation willingly positioning itself into having to learn those same hard lessons learned by generations past. But, like I said, none of this should come as being a surprise since this is exactly the type of drivel that our kids are indoctrinated to believe. And is there time enough remaining for them to have the requisite epiphany on the subject? I’m not sure.
Anyway, in getting back to this survey, apparently it was taken at the end of January, and what it found was that 43 percent of Americans under the age of 30 had a favorable view of socialism. And what is somewhat worrisome is the fact that less than a third of millennials had a favorable view of capitalism. No other age or ethnic demographic preferred socialism over capitalism. Ah yes, the future of America is beginning to look very much in doubt. Because, after all, when we look into the faces of today’s young people, regardless of race, gender or faith, what we are really looking at is the not so distant future of our country.
It was seniors who, rather unsurprisingly, had the most favorable view of capitalism. Just 23 percent of Americans older than 65 had a positive view of socialism. Sixty-three percent of seniors, though, had a favorable view of capitalism. Seniors, after all, experienced the long-standing intellectual battle between capitalism and socialism played out in real life. They witnessed a post-war economic euphoria grind down into a socialist malaise, only to be reinvigorated by a global embrace of disruptive technology, deregulation, and global trade. Is it that same socialist malaise that our young must first experience before coming to their senses?
In the past 20 years, the number of people living in poverty worldwide has fallen by half. In 1990, 43 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. In 2013, the United Nations estimated that just 22 percent of the world’s population continued to live in extreme poverty. And it was the UN Human Development report that stated: “Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.” But I would like to know what it is that the UN identified as being the reason behind this phenomenon. Surely it can’t be because of capitalism! After all, this organization is overrun with Socialists and Communists.
Even if these millennials aren’t swayed by the dramatic improvement in worldwide living standards, one would hope that they would be bright enough to recognize the benefits of capitalism in the products and services that inhabit their world. After all, they live, and thrive, in what is a consumer-driven, on-demand society. They have immediate access, at their fingertips, to far more knowledge, art, music, and communication than the wealthiest oligarch just a few decades ago. Each and every one of the products and services they use, and enjoy, every single day was developed by someone chasing profit and market-share.
It is a cliche to say that capitalism has powered the technological and scientific innovations that have improved all our lives. Apparently, however, it is a cliche that bears repeating. No discovery of any real significance, be it related to science, healthcare, transportation, communications or anything that even remotely technological or innovative, has ever come from a country where the people granted to the government complete control over all things. It just doesn’t happen. And yet, or so it would seem, many of our younger generation tends to be in favor of a system which would literally stifle all manner of creativity and innovation.
And in doing my best to try to locate that ever elusive silver lining in any of this, we do strike upon one slightly positive note, that being the fact that every other demographic block in America still prefers capitalism over socialism. That being said, however, it’s Democrats, perhaps naturally, who are evenly split between the two economic systems. At least Democrats, though, have slightly higher unfavorable ratings of socialism than capitalism. I thought it funny that that when recently asked to explain the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist, neither Debbie Wizzerman Schultz nor Chuckie Schumer were willing to do so.
The danger, of course, is that the demographic in America that does seem, at least at the present time, to prefer socialism also represents what I think can be said to be, the future of our country. Of course, they have the luxury of looking positively on socialism, since any impact on their lives is restricted to dusty old history books. Because today instead of being able to understand the dangers of an all-powerful government, young people are presented with what are said to be its many benefits. The finding also seems to present something of an existential dilemma for the conservative and libertarian movement in this country.
Since the 1980s, the institutional infrastructure of the conservative and libertarian movement has grown exponentially. Aside from dozens of national think tanks and advocacy organizations devoted to propagating conservative and free market views, there are more than a hundred free-market think tanks in states across the country. It is safe to say that billions of dollars have been spent over the past two decades promoting and educating the public on the benefits of capitalism and free markets. There are publishing imprints, media companies and new conservative news sites everywhere. Yet, something has gone horribly wrong.
Many of those who are members of our state-controlled media, have watched the rise of Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate and committed Socialist, with a certain touch of condescending nostalgia. “Oh, look a socialist is running for President, isn’t that cute,” you can almost hear them type. For many, Bernie’s label as a socialist was something he would have to overcome if he were to make a serious run for the White House. It may now be, however, something he needs to more warmly embrace. But there may still be a downside to doing so, since Bernie will need far more than socialism-favoring millennials in order to win the general election this November.
And something that many of our younger folks today would do well to realize as they cheerfully embrace this new found enthusiasm for socialism, is the fact that they are not going to be the younger generation forever. And there is going to come a day, and a lot quicker than they may like, when they will be asked to pay the piper. A day when they will be forced to cover the costs generated by who will comprise a whole new population of young people, just like we who are older are now simply expected to happily cover theirs. And I’d be curious to know if they will remain as enchanted with Socialism as it would seem that they are today.