Millennials are clueless about communism — here’s why that’s a problem

By Jarrett Stepman | The Daily Signal

The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union ended the Cold War, but it didn’t end the ongoing battle of ideas between liberty and collectivism.

A 2017 survey by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation revealed some disturbing facts about what millennials think of communism and socialism.

Some of the results are a little disturbing and could have big implications for the future of our country.

Wikimedia Commons

CLUELESS: While it’s certainly reasonable to have a discussion of communism’s legacy, it’s jarring to see so many favorable columns devoted to the primary geopolitical existential threat to the United States in the 20th century.

For instance, the poll found that about half of millennials said they would rather live under socialism or communism than capitalism.

The poll also found that nearly 1 in 5 millennials think Josef Stalin was a “hero.”

“Millennials now make up the largest generation in America, and we’re seeing some deeply worrisome trends,” said Marion Smith, executive director for the Victims of Communism, according to MarketWatch. “Millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”

The findings of this study should be a wake-up call to those who think that communism is no longer a threat to the United States and the West. Young people, who had little personal experience with the half-century battle between Soviet tyranny and American freedom.

It is a sad indictment on a generation that grew up with more prosperity than any in human history would turn on the system that brought them there. Alas, socialism appears to be the opiate of prosperous utopians.

Perhaps in the decades of unchallenged international supremacy, Americans let their guards down to real threats to our way of life. We were lulled into a false sense of security about our future and have now fallen into the trap of bringing back dangerous doctrines that we have had the good fortune to escape.

Yet, apologies and even wistful nostalgia for the high tide of communist revolution are being peddled in the pages of mainstream liberal outlets like The New York Times.

The Times has shockingly featured a section called “Red Century,” which is all about the 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and its aftermath.

While the section has editorials about the evils of communism, it also features numerous pieces that actually celebrate or make excuses for it.

It has run a puff piece on Vladimir Lenin being an environmentalist, praised the sex life of women behind the Iron Curtain, and published flattering profiles of Communist Party organizers, among numerous other absurdities.

While it’s certainly reasonable to have a discussion of communism’s legacy, it’s jarring to see so many favorable columns devoted to the primary geopolitical existential threat to the United States in the 20th century.

As John O’Sullivan noted in National Review, the whole tenor of the section treats communism like “a noble experiment conducted in less than ideal conditions.”

One has to ask: Would the Times have had a similar section with glowing pieces about fascism at 100 years?

Of course not, and for good reason.

But this is part of a larger cultural normalization of a destructive creed that lay dormant but was never entirely extinguished in the last few decades.

And now its back in vogue.

It’s no wonder that so many millennials have a fanciful view of the ideology that took more lives than any other creed in human history, that destroyed civilizations, and nearly plunged the world into darkness.

This is a dire warning that we need to do a better job of educating young Americans about history and the blessings of liberty that have imperfectly, but ultimately, flourished in this country. Perhaps we need to see school choice and the revitalization of our education system as a higher priority.

As historian Sean McMeekin wrote in his book, “The Russian Revolution,” after communism’s “century of well-catalogued disasters … no one should have the excuse of ignorance.”

“Today’s Western socialists, dreaming of a world where private property and inequality are outlawed, where rational economic development is planned by far-seeing intellectuals, should be careful what they wish for,” McMeekin wrote. “They may just get it.”

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Wikimedia Commons/ObserverNY
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10 thoughts on “Millennials are clueless about communism — here’s why that’s a problem

  1. Half of Vermont is clueless about Communism. They espouse it without really knowing what it is. They lack a whole lot of history.

  2. The beginning of the end of the Communism being a treat started with the Attacks on Joe McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activity. This was one of the Communist greatest marketing campaigns using the budding Liberal media and Hollywood itself. One thing most people don’t realize is that McCarthy was a Senator not a member of the House.Hence had nothing to do with that committee. Go figure.
    It was this campaign that made Communism acceptable. Those poor Hollywood communist – so sad.
    It was this campaign that blossomed into the Liberal media and Hollywood.
    PS Liberal is in my opinion another word for Communist.

  3. The snowflakes seem to think that they will be the leaders and reap the rewards of socialism. The rude shock comes when they find out they’re nothing but dupes and expected to toil in the mines for what the Bernie’s decide they may have.

  4. Socialism or communism is based on a utopian ideal and may work on a small scale, i.e., tribal. We may also call an extended family the smallest tribe of them all, families who take care of each other. We could classify organizations like homeowners’ co-ops as socialist. On the other end of the spectrum, nations are simply families (tribes) grown large. This is why small countries in Europe, which have remained ethnically the same, appear to be successful. But in order for a small group to be completely self-sufficient, they must have all the resources they need, without the need for trade with other groups. This of course will never happen.

  5. Wait until the communist put their jack boots on their scrawny little necks. Parents, you must teach your children well.

    • It’s not only the public schools – in many cases their parents are reinforcing the same thing. My wife had many aunts, uncles and cousins who grew up in East Germany; she’s had many conversations here with ‘adults’ who choose not to believe how bad their lives were. Same with ‘European health care’ – the militant liberals in this State are so supremely confident in their beliefs, they steadfastly refuse to believe someone who lived under the system. They’ve got ‘Bernie’ to explain it all to them and that’s much easier than thinking for themselves.

      • Re: “It’s not only the public schools – in many cases their parents are reinforcing the same thing.”

        Agreed. But it is in the education system where the historical misinformation begins. After all, its effect is multi-generational at this point in time. The parents of whom you speak are products of the education system as well and while not everyone has disavowed free markets and individual responsibility, they are fewer and fewer as time goes on and the public school monopoly (The State) tightens its grip on educational alternatives.

        As Vladimir Lenin said: “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”

  6. Re: “Perhaps we need to see school choice and the revitalization of our education system as a higher priority.”

    An innovative, entrepreneurial form of education governance isn’t the only aspect of School Choice that is essential to societal revitalization. The ‘act’ of choosing necessarily creates incentives for individuals to once again accept responsibility for their actions and, therefore, to be more careful and considerate, not only of their own self interest, but the interests of others with whom they choose to collaborate. Simply being programmed to follow a centralized, pre-determined plan creates a zombie like culture without personal attachment to cause or effect…which seems to me to be where our current society is headed. School Choice is the single most important, and easiest, tangible next step toward revitalization we can accommodate. School Choice is today’s primary civil rights issue.

  7. The popularity of Socialism may be overstated. If it were popular, the majority of people would have bought into Obamacare. the penalty tax (and penalty taxes are not Constitutional) would have been unnecessary. The reason the Socialist state needs to be Progressive (the philosophy that centralized government control is the path to Utopia) is that the people necessary to economically support the socialist state (Marx’s entrepreneurial bourgeois) don’t want it and the people who want the socialist state expect to benefit from it but will not support it – except by compulsion, since other incentives have been cancelled. The Democrat party also doesn’t seem to want it – insofar as they Balkanize the citizens into identity groups and antagonize them against one another. Extremely non-socialist. In Marx’s view, the only identities that mattered were class identities — the working class and the ruling class. Any others, national, religious, whatever interfered with the implementation of the socialist state. Given that his ideal was a two class society (so much for equality) of workers supporting a ruling class with essential totalitarian control, he was advocating what would be essentially a grand scale feudal state. Russian peasants fell easily into this concept since they did not own the farms they worked – the Tsar owned ten percent of the land and the landlords, the Kulaks (peasant stock themselves) owned the land they farmed. Communism promised that the people owned the land – administered by their representatives, the Soviets, of course. That had to be better, yes? And they died by the millions.

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