Why Do the Socialists Even Have An Audience Today?

Tonight is the fifth Democratic debate which is being held in Atlanta, Georgia.  There will be ten candidates on the platform this evening.  One word that will be used repeatedly this evening will be that of "socialism."  Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been espousing some form of socialism since they entered into the race months ago.  According to a recent Gallup poll, 43% of Americans believe that some form of socialism would be good for America.  Another poll indicated that 70% of millennials and 64% of gen-Zers would favor a socialist candidate.  Why this dramatic increase in the favorability of socialism today?


On November 8, Tyler Durden published an article titled, "4 Reasons Why Socialism Is Becoming More Popular."  It can be found at: www.zerohedge.com/economics/4-reasons-why-socialism-is-becoming-more-popular.  The author suggests four factors that are contributing to this rise in the acceptance of socialism. 


"Factor #1: Ignorance of History.  The first cause of socialism's popularity, especially among the young, is an obvious one: having grown up at a time after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of Europe's Eastern Bloc and China's transition to authoritarian capitalism, 'these kids today' - those 18 to 29 year-olds who were born around the last decade of the 20th century - don't know what socialism is all about.  When they think socialism, they don't think Stalin; they think Scandinavia.


"Americans' - and especially young Americans' - ignorance of history is well-documents and profound.  As of 2018, only one in three Americans could pass a basic citizenship test, and of test-takers under the age of 45, that number dropped to 19%. ... As compared to about a third of Americans over 30, only 16% of millennials were able to define socialism, according to a 2010 CBS/New York Times poll. ... Compounding the problem still further is that the history that students are being taught increasingly falls into the category of 'woke' history, America's history of oppression as imagined by the influential revisionist socialist historian Howard Zinn.  When socialists are writing our history books, the end result is preordained."


"Factor #2: Government Bungling.  When we try to explain the socialist urge, we cannot lose sight of the fact that our government keeps interfering in the economy in ways that give people every reason to think the system is corrupt and needs to be trashed. ... The point is this: the more the government interferes in the economy to help out vested interests, the more reason many of us will see to ask government to interfere in the economy to help out the rest of us.  The more reason we give anyone to think that capitalism means crony capitalism, the more they'll clamor for socialism."


"Factor #3: Universities' Ideological Monoculture.  The supporters of socialism are not simply the young, but rather, disproportionately those among the young who are college-educated.  And the more college they have, the hotter for socialism they got.  According to a 2015 poll, support for socialism grows from 48% among those with a high school diploma or less to 62% among college graduates to 78% among those with post-graduate degrees. ... We have already seen that what's not happening at universities, even elite universities today, is a whole lot of education in important subjects like history.  What we are getting instead is a lot of group think and indoctrination."


"Factor #4: Coddled Kids.  The young have always been more inclined to embrace pipe dreams - a lack of familiarity with the complicated way in which the world actually works, coupled with the college fix described above, will do that to most anyone - but there is a reason the mindset of today's young'uns is particularly susceptible to the red menace. ... When we are raised in the belief we are wonderful just as we are, we never learn the critical life skills of self-soothing, working through anxiety, facing obstacles and overcoming adversity.  The predictable result...is a demand to be safeguarded - safe spaces, free speech crackdowns and so on.  The state appears to many as the appropriate institution to provide this sort of 'safety.'"


Friends, I strongly encourage you to read this full article.  It will give you much about which to think. 


A companion article, written by Jarrett Stepman, was published at: www.dailysignal.com/2019/11/07/the-next-generation-of-americans-will-embrace-socialism-if-we-lose-war-on-history.  The author begins: "As young Americans are losing an understanding of civics and American history, they increasingly embrace socialism.  An annual poll conducted for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation again found that the younger generations have a far sunnier view of socialism and communism than their elders.  Some of the findings from the YouGov survey, released Oct. 28, were deeply worrisome.  According to the poll, 70% of millennials responded that they are likely or extremely likely to vote for a 'socialist.'  About 50% said they have an unfavorable view of capitalism.  Incredibly, the poll found that '15% of millennials think the world would be better off if the Soviet Union still existed.' ... Perhaps worse than nostalgia for the Soviet Union, '57% of millennials (compared to 94% of the Silent Generation) believe the Declaration of Independence better guarantees freedom and equality over the Communist Manifesto.'"


That last poll number is alarming and frightening.  Over half of America's young adults believe that the Communist Manifesto provides better guarantees for freedom and equality over the Declaration of Independence.  The author then concludes: "So far, we have escaped the curse of socialism, which leaves societies broken, dispirited, and impoverished.  But a troubling collapse in a basic understanding of our history, along with the malignant attempt to reframe our country's origins to make us more susceptible to doctrines outside our tradition, means that the specter of socialism now hangs over us.  We accept socialism only be rejecting America's most essential qualities."


Like most man-made philosophies, socialism looks very inviting.  Who could argue against free college education?  Who could argue against free health care for everyone?  Who could argue against "making the rich pay their fair share?"  But then look at those places where socialism has failed. 


So, when you hear candidates speaking strongly of socialism this evening, remember those foundations are not the ones upon which our country was created.  Socialism has been tried - and found wanting.   

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