By Bob Shanahan
Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders dominated younger voters in 2016. He would have destroyed Hillary Clinton if she did not have the whole nomination process rigged in her favor and might have defeated Trump in the general election as Sanders won more votes among those under the age of 30 than Trump and Clinton combined during the primary process.
My brother and sister were feeling the bern. So were all my friends in Seattle. Sadly for them, they never got their guy to the general election due to the crookedly criminal Clinton machine. But I digress…
A socialist society will be the future of America if Millennials have their way. This is a scary reality that cannot happen if we hope to remain the world’s top economy and not become another socialist failure like Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Brazil, and the Soviet Union.
We all know what happened to Venezuela. A once prosperous and fully functioning democratic nation in South America became proof positive of the ultimate failure of socialism. Today, standards of living are abismal since the disruptive election of Hugo Chavez 20 years ago that set the country on its current catastrophic course. Food riots are now commonplace, citizens are fleeing the country, inflation is incessant, starvation is rampant, and economic growth is nonexistent. Nicolas Maduro doubled down on Chavez’s redistributive economic measures and has only exacerbated the suffering.
Another South American country teaches us a valuable lesson on the failure of socialism.
As America’s Millennials are increasingly drawn to socialism and disgusted by capitalism, it is important to point to the recent collapse of Brazil. In the early 2000s, the Portuguese-speaking nation was growing rapidly after the government enacted economic reforms that reduced its involvement in state-owned companies, giving the private sector the freedom required to thrive. Things were looking up for everyone and foreign investment was flooding in.
Sadly, today the country is in shambles as its unemployment is sky high and their politicians are being investigated and even jailed for rampant fraud and corruption. It all started in 2002 when socialist Lula da Silva was elected president, promising to heal national divisions and help all Brazilians. A redistribution of income was initiated with the help of the media, academic elite, and celebrities, claiming that the taking of money from the rich and giving it to the poor would help those in need. However, it ended up only helping Lula and his political and corporate connections get rich. Things got even worse under his successor, Dilma Roussef. Socialists in power doubled down on these disastrous economic policies by increasing the minimum wage, expanding social welfare programs, increasing salaries and benefits for government workers, and handing out thousands of unnecessary government jobs. It worked for a time, but socialism always works in the beginning before it inevitably fails. And the crash at the end comes hard and devastates the entire population.
From 2008-2015, government spending grew nearly four times as fast as revenue from taxes. Brazil’s economy shrank 3.8% in 2015, the worst in 25 years, generating the current crisis. The country is now a world leader in murder and robbery and one of the worst in providing effective education and affordable healthcare to its population.
Brazil can only get back on track if it moves away from this socialist experiment. Let’s hope Brazilians wake up to the reality that a return to capitalism and limited government are the only ways to ensure economic prosperity for the future.
Socialism breeds corruption and promotes criminal politicians to the top. President Michel Temer, Brazil’s current conservative leader, was charged in a yearslong corruption investigation. In April, Lula began serving her 12-year prison sentence. And Roussef was impeached a couple years ago. The new government in power today has recently frozen government spending and in turn decreased its role in state-owned companies while slashing the bloat of government employees on its payroll.
Despite these two telling examples from South America, Millennials in the U.S. no longer see socialism as a dirty word. In fact, they want more of it as their communist college professors brainwash them to denounce capitalism and crave an even more redistributive and socialist society than we already have.
Mark Thornton, Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics wrote an informative piece on mises.org bemoaning young Americans’ desire for socialism in the United States. The Mises Institute “exists to promote teaching and research in the Austrian school of economics, and individual freedom, honest history, and international peace,” according to its website.
If our future lies with the next generation, then we’re screwed. We Millennials (yes, I am one) grew up in a world after the Cold War and without the Soviet Union and cannot recall its collapse almost 30 years ago. Today, young Americans roughly in the 18-34 year-old age range increasingly view themselves as politically socialist, Marxist or communist. This is a scary truth in the face of a bloated national debt that will never be paid back, unfunded entitlement programs (Social Security and Medicare), insurmountable student loans, credit card debt, outstanding auto loans, probably another Middle East War in the near future, and the coming recession when the party finally ends. Moving our “society towards socialism will only make matters worse,” Thornton writes.
Image via @Ojadana on Twitter
A recent GenForward survey quantified Millennials’ support for socialism. When asked about whether strong government or the free market is key to solving our nation’s problems, respondents overwhelmingly believed, by a two to one ratio, that government is the answer. This, despite the fact that the federal government has regularly racked up $1 trillion deficits that will eventually be paid by Millenials once we get to our prime working years in the coming decades. “Every $1 trillion of increased government debt puts an approximate burden of $15,000 on every millennial,” Thornton points out.
Millennials want higher minimum wage laws that will put thousands of restaurant workers in the unemployment line. Millennials want equal pay for equal work when in reality the gender pay gap is essentially nonexistent. Millennials want “free” tuition and for the government to “pay off” their student debt loans, indicating that “their Economic IQ is close to zero,” Thornton quips. Socialism is viewed as a kind of nationwide safe space, according to thin-skinned Millennials. And they want it real bad.
According to a new study from YouGov and Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation that surveyed more than 2,000 individuals, one out of every two Millennials said they would rather live in a socialist (45%) or communist (7%) country over a capitalist democracy (42%). The nation’s largest generation is turning away from capitalism and embracing communism, a troubling trend if it continues and if Millennials continue to turn out to vote in greater numbers. For comparison’s sake, over half of Baby Boomers favor capitalism and only 26 percent support socialism.
The numbers are in and America’s young adults appear to want socialism. A 2016 Harvard University survey of people aged 18 to 29 found that 51 percent did not support capitalism. Similar conclusions were found in a 2015 Reason-Rupe poll which revealed 58 percent of the same age group approved of socialism, up dramatically from a 2011 Pew poll that found 49 percent of young Americans viewing socialism positively.
Image via @Bentler on Twitter
Supporters of socialism claim that capitalism cannot be trusted because humans are inherently greedy and selfish. Excessive capitalism wrecked our economy in 2008 and has made the rich richer and the poor poorer, so they say. Adam Smith’s invisible hand does not lift people out of poverty and economic freedom does more harm than good. While some of these statements have specks of truth in it, capitalism actually promotes altruism and people are less selfish in a capitalist society.
Wide swaths of society have accepted as gospel the belief that capitalism teaches humans to be so self-interested that they become uncaring to the well-being of others. In addition, as the Foundation for Economic Education’s editor Dan Sanchez observed, “Some go so far as to demand the abolition of capitalism in favor of socialism in order to fully restore benevolence and the intentional promotion of the public interest in the hearts of humankind.” Big government solutions are not the solution to our problem, government is the problem, as the great Ronald Reagan once said.
Neuroscience professor Abigail Marsh explains this dilemma in her book, The Fear Factor, writing, “Majorities of respondents polled in the United States and elsewhere believe that people are, as a rule, selfish, preoccupied with their own interest, and untrustworthy—and getting worse.”
However, as Barry Brownstein wrote in FEE recently, “widespread adoption of a belief does not make that belief true. Capitalism calls forth altruism.” Recent scientific research bears this out.
Marsh points to “an overwhelming body of scientific data” in support of “the conclusion that human beings are in no way fundamentally selfish or callous.” We are more compassionate than you think. Sure, their are greedy and solely self-interested people in out there. But perfect human beings are an nowhere to be found. We all have the capacity for kindness and compassion while also maintaining a cruel and aggressive side. That is the human condition.
Nevertheless, recent research indicates that “the United States is a more generous country than nearly any other nation on earth.” Americans who have the capacity and the willingness to help others will do so. We will give money to the homeless person on the street corner, we will volunteer our time at the local food bank, and we will do what we can to lend a helping hand to those willing to accept it.
— IntLibertarian (@IntLibertarian) May 26, 2018
Marsh writes, “Relative to any reasonable frame of reference, modern human societies are generous, peaceful, compassionate, and continually improving. We can only be considered selfish and violent in comparison to a utopian society in which no violence or cruelty takes place—a somewhat unfair comparison considering that there is no evidence of such a society as ever existed.” Progressive Democrats, socialism supporters, and communism cravers all want that utopia which is unattainable. They are aiming to implement the socialist experiment here in America no matter the costs. We will likely see single payer healthcare here in California in the coming years and possibly across the country in my lifetime. Free market strategies are no longer seen as the indispensable tools for promoting economic growth that they once were despite the Trump administration’s pertinent tax cuts and significant deregulation in DC.
In the end, “capitalist societies are more generous than real-world collectivist societies,” Brownstein concludes. And most importantly, the rise in altruism in America has occurred alongside the rise of capitalism. The drop in global poverty and the increase in altruism and generosity have ticked upward along with the rise of capitalism.
More capitalism equals more compassion. More compassion creates exponential altruism. More altruism and compassion adds to the welfare of all Americans.
We need capitalism. We need compassion. We need free markets. We need government to get out of the way. We need charities. We need altruistic action. We need a better life for all Americans willing to work and improve their lives. We to restore America. We need hope for a better future for ourselves and our families and the generations to come. And we can have all of this in a capitalist democracy if my Millennial utopians come to grips with the indisputable failures of socialism.
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Bob is a freelance journalist and researcher. He remains forever skeptical of the mainstream media narrative and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Bob writes about politics (in DC and CA), economics, cultural trends, public policy, media, history, real estate, Trump Derangement Syndrome, and geopolitics. Bob grew up in Northern California, went to college in Southern California, and lived 4+ years in Seattle. He now lives in sunny Sacramento. His writing also appears in Citizen Truth and has been posted on ZeroHedge.