Why do nearly a majority (43%) of young people have a positive view of socialism? That is a question many pundits and social commentators have been pondering.
The swing to socialism isn’t due to the presence of favorable examples of it in the world. Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Venezuela are impoverished, authoritarian countries. Even the soft-socialism in many European countries isn’t that attractive to anyone who takes the time to look at their economic record.
Victor Davis Hanson identifies a number of catalysts for the new socialism. One of those is massive immigration. Many of these immigrants fled from poor areas in Latin America, Asia, or Africa. They arrive unaware of the economic alternatives to state socialism and even expect government to provide social services for them.
“Another culprit for the new socialist craze is the strange leftward drift of the very wealthy in Silicon Valley, in corporate America and on Wall Street.” They may feel guilty about their unprecedented wealth and thus champion socialist redistribution.
Perhaps the greatest reason for the swing to socialism is the university. The teaching, of course, is almost always focused on the evils of capitalism and the benefits of socialism. But Victor Davis Hanson also points to student loan debt. More than 45 million now have racked up a collective student debt of nearly $1.6 trillion. This often forces young adults to postpone marriage, child-rearing, and home purchases. If this is what capitalism looks like to them, it’s no wonder they flirt with socialism.
The answer is alternative education. We must provide good reasons for why a free market is better than massive government control of the economy. We need to remind the younger generation of the sad history of socialism and communism. Otherwise we will see a swing to socialism in the next few elections.