Academics might have unearthed an unreleased Huey Lewis and the News track called “Hip to be Socialist.” The young whippersnappers continue to be infatuated with an ideology more destructive to the human condition than TikTok videos. Despite socialism paving a trail of death, despair, and destitution, many millennials and Generation Zers cannot get enough of the inane ramblings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Mao Zedong, and the bald gentleman standing on a New York City street corner wearing a brown paper bag and shrieking at bystanders about the labor theory of value.
There’s Something About Socialism
According to a new poll by Axios and Momentive, 49% of Americans aged 18-34 possessed a positive view of capitalism, while 46% did not. Within this demographic, 42% of Gen Zers (18-24) maintained a positive position on capitalism, and 54% said they disapproved of the present system. Even young Republicans are shifting their opinions, with only 66% of youthful GOP voters holding an upbeat attitude about capitalism, down from 81% in 2019. A slim majority (51%) of young Americans reported being ebullient about socialism.
These opinions are common across the pond, too. For example, a recent study by the Institute of Economic Affairs learned that about two-thirds of young Britons would support implementing a socialist system as it would breed compassion, cooperation, and solidarity in the broader society. And these are not isolated findings in a post-pandemic world. Over the years, Liberty Nation has reported on multiple surveys highlighting a long-term shift toward the 18-34 population grabbing a hammer and sickle and binge-reading on Das Kapital.
Are Karl Marx Disciples Converting Americans?
Back in the day, socialism was typically synonymous with gulags, food shortages, and tyrannical governments. Today, the philosophy is now equated to equity, fairness, and justice. What happened? Why is socialism no longer a dirty word? It all comes down to marketing ploys, says Liberty Nation‘s Jeff Charles, who opined in February 2019 that conservatives are more focused on attacking socialism than selling capitalism to the general population hungry for rational explanations.
“If right-leaning Americans want to stop the rising popularity of socialism, they must communicate what they are for and not only what they are against. In the end, putting forth the benefits of capitalism will be far more persuasive than relying solely on an aggressive offense.”
Indeed, for teenagers and 20-somethings who embark upon a journey into the real world that can be terrifying, socialism can appear to be as comfortable and secure as a safe space with chocolate chip cookies and videos of rainbows and puppies. When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are speaking with confidence, no matter how inaccurate, that providing free tuition, basic income, and guaranteed government jobs are feasible public policy pursuits, why would any young person, devoid of real-life experience, dismiss this Faustian bargain?
Meanwhile, when the smartest men and women at the most prestigious universities and the broader realm of pop culture are proselytizing on the virtues of socialism, it can be challenging for millennials and Generation Zers to ignore this bombardment of propaganda. Their minds are still developing, making them ripe for molding and indoctrination in the classroom and front of digital screens.
Conservatives and libertarians would contend that the treasure trove of books lecturing on the pitfalls of socialism and the benefits of capitalism would be the antidote to this widescale inculcation. But an entire library of Thomas Sowell, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard is available with a click of a button and socialism’s popularity continues to intensify. Perhaps the solution is life itself.
Will Experience Eradicate Socialism?
Former President John Adams famously quipped: “If my son is not a liberal when he is twenty, I will disown him; if he is not a conservative when he is forty, I will disown him then.” While their actions might be great for mockery and scorn, viewing college students engaged in Two Minutes of Hate because of different opinions should elicit empathy and understanding. Unlike somebody who is 60 years old, a 21-year-old only knows what his or her teachers have pontificated. That person, confined to more than a decade in government-run schools, has not been exposed to reality, work, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Socialism can only be alluring to the injudicious, the imprudent, and the impetuous – attributes generally associated with the sweet bird of youth. With gray hair comes wisdom, skepticism, and the realization that socialism is a failure in theory and practice.
Read more from Andrew Moran.