SOCIALISM IS RISING – SO ARE IGNORANCE, STUPIDITY, GREED AND ENVY
By Don Feder
February 25, 2018
The growing popularity of socialism among certain segments of society may seem counterintuitive. There's never been a time in our history when Americans should be less likely to turn to socialism.
This is not the Great Depression with 25% unemployment and Hoovervilles dotting the landscape. Starving masses aren't selling their 60-inch flat-screen HD TVs for a crust of bread.
The Trump economy is what you'd expect from a president who campaigned against high taxes, overregulation and sucker trade deals.
In 2018, economic growth will come close to hitting 3% for the first time since 2005 (significantly higher than under Obama). Unemployment is at a 20-year low. Today, there are 157 million employed – the largest number ever – and employers are looking to fill another 6.9 million new job openings. Last year, take-home pay was up 5%, and workers' wages are rising faster than those of managers.
And then there's the real-life example of socialism south of the border down Venezuela-way. Once one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, Venezuela has hyper-inflation to rival Germany's in the 1920s, people literally starving to death, a mass exodus of the truly desperate, and demonstrators rioting – and being shot dead – in the streets.
So, whence cometh support for a command economy (Give us breadlines or give us death!) – a system that's failed miserably on five continents over the past century, spreading misery from Cuba to North Korea?
Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1998) are high on statism.
A 2018 Reason-Rupe survey found that 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds view socialism favorably, compared to less than 25% of those over 55 (AKA grownups). In a more recent YouGov poll of those under 30, 43% had a favorable view of socialism, against 32% who liked capitalism. A 2016 exit poll showed that in New Hampshire, 85% of Sanders support came from the kiddies.
Is this surprising? Millennials are the most ignorant, feckless generation in our history – the most reality-challenged. They change jobs as often as they change relationships. For many, home is where their parents' basement is.
They know next to nothing about America's history or foundational principles.
In the same YouGov poll, 87% of high school students flunked a five-question test of basic knowledge of American history.
Only 35% knew which presidents are on Mt. Rushmore. A bare 10% could name the rights enumerated in the First Amendment. More than half believe Barack Obama was more important than George Washington. And a third think George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin.
They have been fed a steady stream of lies not just by high school teachers and college professors, but by movies and television – programming churned out by a relentlessly anti-capitalist Hollywood (ironically, millionaires who hate wealth-creation). Most who've seen it think the musical "Hamilton" is an accurate depiction of the first Secretary of the Treasury.
The other main source of support for political theft is among Democrats, the rank and file as well as leaders.
In an August 2018 Gallup Poll, 60% of Democrats said they no longer have a positive view of capitalism. (Among Republicans, more than 70% view capitalism favorably). Look at Democrats' leaders – Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Nancy Pelosi, Comandant Ocasio-Cortez and Woo-Woo Warren – who cover the spectrum from hard-core to soft-shell socialist.
Democrats have always been the party of big government – of confiscatory taxation, regulation that strangles innovation and shut-up-and-do-what-you're-told policies. The last Democratic President who believed in the free market was Grover Cleveland.
But the party's ethos gets progressively worse, from FDR to Lyndon Johnson, and George McGovern to Bernie Sanders.
When was the last time a prominent Democrat said something positive about free enterprise, recommended reducing marginal tax rates, or expressed skepticism about the latest government handouts? If Will Rogers never met a man he didn't like, the Party of Plunder never met an economic nostrum of which it wasn't enamored. The Green New Deal (let's abolish the Industrial Revolution) is the culmination of decades of Democratic hysteria over global warming and infatuation with the welfare state.
For Millennials and Democrats, theirs' is the socialism of greed and envy. It isn't fair for billionaires to have so much, while we're still paying off college loans. (Majoring in Women's Studies and Multicultural finger-painting really paid off, didn't it?)
For Democrats, it's not about building anyone up but tearing down the best and brightest – the successful, the hardworking and the creative. And they actually think that the rich are masochists who'll lie back and enjoy it, instead of taking their wealth and businesses (and jobs) overseas.
Democrats and Millennials are like primitives of the post-World War II Cargo Plane Cult in Micronesia. They look at modern industrial society and assume it all happened spontaneously – that one day we were living in mud huts and grubbing in the ground for a bare subsistence existence and the next, we had indoor plumbing, condominiums, SUVs, iphones and 401(k)plans.
Think of a socialist country where any innovation has occurred. If socialism had a motto, it would be "Stagnation is our most important product."
The left still sings the praises of Cuban medicine. When I was there in 1997, I was told that when patients are admitted to hospitals, they had to bring their own sheets and pillow cases.
Daniel Di Martino, whose family fled Venezuela in 2016, says they were reduced from an upper middle class existence to living on the equivalent of two dollars a day, and they were among the lucky ones. Now a college student here, Di Martino warns: "People are starving in Venezuela because (of) policies such as the one that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (supports) in her Green New Deal, which is in reality just the 'red new deal,' which is just a socialist wish list, (that) would destroy the economy and lead us into the path of Venezuela."
It's hard to overcome profound ignorance, and plain old-fashioned avarice. But we have to try -- else Venezuela's present could be our future.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.