Students in Washington D.C. love the idea of socialism! They just don’t have a clue what that is.
Recently, the campus watchdog organization Campus Reform traveled to the nation’s capital to ask young people how they feel about socialism. Most students were able to quickly give an answer, most of which included words like “fairness,” “compassion” and “equality.” But as soon as they were asked to define socialism, it became abundantly clear that they had no idea what they were talking about.
“I think people throw that word [socialism] around to try and scare you, but if helping people is socialism, than I’m for it,” one student argued in the video montage put together by Campus Reform. However, when this same student was asked to define socialism, she froze up and said, “I mean honestly, I’m not exactly sure.”
Yet another student’s definition of socialism was only slightly more profound: “I guess just, you know, getting rid of that wealth gap in the United States?”
Towards the end of Campus Reform’s video, one student proves that she at least knows how to sound intelligent, passionately defending socialism as “more of an open form of government” that “feels a lot more accessible to a lot more people.” However, when asked what socialism really is, she replied, “To be quite honest, I don’t know.”
It is disheartening to see so many young people openly supporting something that they don’t even understand. Sadly, though, the pro-socialism attitude depicted in Campus Reform’s video has been confirmed in recent months by multiple polls and surveys. For instance, a survey conducted by YouGov in early 2016 found that the majority of millennials favor socialism over capitalism. According to the study, 43 percent of Americans under the age of 30 viewed socialism favorably, while less than 33 percent of young people in the same age group had a favorable view of capitalism.
By contrast, the majority of American seniors had a favorable view of capitalism and an unfavorable view of socialism. The YouGov survey found that only 23 percent of those above the age of 65 had a positive view of socialism, while 63 percent of seniors had a positive view of capitalism.
Clearly, there is a significant generational gap regarding Americans’ attitudes towards capitalism and socialism. While young people like the ones shown in Campus Reform’s video tend to support socialism and the redistribution of wealth, older people tend to support free market capitalism. Why is this? Is capitalism out of style just like cassette players and box televisions, or do older Americans understand something that millennials simply do not? The answer is a bit of both.
Young people today are quickly turning away from free market capitalism largely because they are being taught to do exactly that. Between the mainstream media, Hollywood, politicians and especially left-leaning professors, millennials are being taught that capitalism is an oppressive system that only benefits the wealthy. Meanwhile, their heads are being filled with lies about socialism – that it’s fair, equal and just, even though it is none of the above.
It is fair to say that older Americans know something that younger Americans don’t. They know that capitalism is the fairest, most compassionate economic system ever created by man, and although it’s not perfect, it is certainly the most perfect. Older Americans understand that socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried, while capitalism is the system has lifted more people out of poverty than any other. And finally, older Americans understand that socialism means the expansion of government, while capitalism embraces the principles of individual liberty and private property rights.
The sooner we are able to educate millennials about the dangers of socialism and what it really would mean for our country, the better.