The fact that Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America, mixed with the success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, is a clear sign that socialism is the popular kid in class among millennials.
As Ben Shapiro writes at the Daily Wire, there is no doubt in our minds that the Democratic party is — thanks to the help of its younger members — moving into a more Sanders-centric territory:
And herein lies the issue for Democrats: while the agenda of the DSA is utterly unworkable and insane – nationalized healthcare, guaranteed housing, guaranteed government jobs – the Democratic Party is happy to embrace the crowd, even if it means embracing unworkable policies. Socialism allows Democrats to fit President Trump’s victory into an ideological framework: he’s the apotheosis of evil capitalism run amok, finally at the head of American government.
The political story of why the younger parts of the left is embracing socialism with gusto is an easy one to track and has been told and retold over the course of Trump’s rise to the presidency and beyond. I’ll spare you another.
What I will focus on is why millennials want socialism, and it has everything to do with both ignorance and a selfish need for a political system that requires state-mandated “sharing.”
Most of my readers know full well that capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty and lift their standard of living to heights the world has not seen in the entirety of human history. In fact, just last week, I saw a homeless man with an iPhone…or maybe he was a hipster. The jury’s still out.
But it’s hard to fully understand something when you’ve only viewed it from the inside. All American millennials know is capitalism. All they’ve known is abundance, comfort, and ease. With a few presses of the screen on their phones, an entire meal will show up at their door within the hour, or a ride home from wherever they are. For millennials and younger, this isn’t a miracle brought about through the advantageous use of capitalism. This is normalcy. Something that just happens.
What millennials do tend to know about capitalism, however, is what much of the mainstream media, the media’s favorite politicians, and their college professors tell them. What they’re told is that many of the problems within America today stem from “the system.” Be it systematic racism, systematic sexism, systematic privilege, etc etc, the system is to blame for anything that goes wrong.
That system is the capitalist system, the system preferred by evil Republicans and Trump who they are told is somewhere between Hitler, and Hitler but in a different outfit.
It’s “the system” that allows for injustices like the “patriarchy” and was created to benefit white people, according to social justice warriors. It creates the mega-rich, which when contrasted with the poor, appears gross and unfair. The list of things for which capitalism is vilified is long, and before you know it, the best system man has dreamed up to date has a shadow over it. Capitalism becomes an issue that needs to be dealt with.
The glorious alternative filled with light and justice just so happens to be socialism. You know, that thing that Sanders talks about a lot that allows the rich and the poor to be more or less the same. They hear phrases like “pay your fair share,” and “corporate greed” and living wage,” and think that socialism is, in every sense of the word, the system of the good.
They’re often blind to the fact that what is actually being preached is nothing short of theft, government control of your personal property, and that the economic result of raising taxes on “the rich” is depriving the poor of more opportunities to climb the ladder.
They’re also blinded to the fact that every socialist system in history has failed horribly. When it is brought up, some enthusiastic supporter stands up and declares that it wasn’t “true socialism.” When asked to explain what “true socialism” is, oftentimes the response we get is the exact description of what caused the problem in the first place.
But socialism’s apologists have made it a modular concept. You can take out a part of the problem that caused the socialist system to fail, such as a bad leader, and say that if the leader was good then it would have worked, or if the market hadn’t devalued a source of income, then that would have worked. So on and so forth. They can switch out the problems with little to no issue.
They don’t understand that what they’re imagining is a system where the stars align and never again move out of place, and human nature as we’ve known it for thousands of years suddenly changes. In part, they can’t understand. They’re under pressure from their peers, the media, and their professors to believe what is logistically untenable in the universe in which we currently live.
They would know all of this if they had every experienced socialism. What socialism they do understand is the kind that allows for public schools, police, firefighters, etc. They see these things and ask why a little is good, but more isn’t better.
All this combined puts millennials in the perfect position to be receptive to socialism, but the nail in the proverbial coffin comes from the fact that we also live in an age where we as a society have overvalued the college degree.
These millennials come out of college with too often useless degrees and a Scrooge McDuck’s vault-worth of student debt. The idea is that they will use their degree to obtain a high-level position in a cozy corner office in the high rise downtown. The only problem is that there are thousands of graduates hunting for that same job.
Instead of the high paying job they anticipated, they end up working minimum wage at the local Starbucks. Millennials living with their parents is on a steep rise. In fact, despite the fact that the youth is better educated, they’re far worse off than their parents were at their age.
Broke, in debt, lacking independence, and their job options whittled down to which burger they want to flip first, millennials look to lighten their load. They flick on the television or get on YouTube, and hear politicians talking up socialist programs that would help people just like them. They hear about loan forgiveness, they hear about free schooling, they hear about the government facilitating more jobs.
After everything the millennial has heard, learned, and experienced…a “socialist” is born.
They see the system as a means to justice, not just justice for all the oppressed people they are told ad nauseam are oppressed, but economic justice for all those who were promised a better life if they just did what they were told and went to college.
If they knew socialism would lead to businesses being able to provide fewer jobs, and that taxes would claim their earnings, make medicine more expensive, and eventually collapse the society they’ve found so comfortable, they would reject it outright and seek alternative ways to enrich their lives.
But so inundated with messaging are they that the thought of a free market solution would barely register in their minds. To them, they were thrust into an unfair, abusive system that they are told put them in the position they are now.
So, of course, millennials want socialism. They don’t really know what it is, but they heard what it promises.