America’s young people are stumbling to the left

From P.J. O’Rourke, Editor, American Consequences:

Today, America’s young people are stumbling to the left.

The pundits say so…

“Why Millennials Are Drawn to Socialism”
Chicago Tribune May 19, 2018

“This Is Why Millennials Favor Socialism”
HuffPost April 11, 2017

“‘The S-Word’: How Young Americans Fell in Love With Socialism”
The Guardian Sept. 2, 2017

The opinion polls agree…

In a Pew Research Center study of Americans age 22-37, 57% called themselves “mostly” or “consistently” liberal. In a Gallup poll of Americans age 18-29, 51% had a positive view of socialism. And in a University of Chicago survey of Americans age 18-34, 44% said they would prefer to live in a socialist country.

“Mostly” or “consistently” liberal may not be enough for young voters. Ten-term incumbent congressmen Michael Capuano (D-MA) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) are as mostly consistently liberal as they come. And they were kicked to the curb in Democratic primaries by leftist “progressives” Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, respectively.

What’s the matter with kids today?

Nothing new. The brats, the squirts, the fuzz-faced mooncalves, the sap-green sweet young things, and the wet-behind-the-ears in general have always been “Punks for Progressives.”

As soon as kids discover that the world isn’t nice, they want to make it nicer. And wouldn’t a world where everybody shares everything be nice? Aw… Kids are so tender-hearted.

Kids are broke – so they want to make the world nicer with your money.

But kids are broke – so they want to make the world nicer with your money.

Kids don’t have much control over things – so they want to make the world nicer through your efforts.

And kids are busy being young – so it’s your time that has to be spent making the world nicer…

For them.

The greedy little bastards.

Young people were thinking these same sweetly selfish thoughts back in the 1960s, during my salad days (tossed green cannabis buds). Young people probably have been thinking these thoughts since the concept of being a “young person” was invented.

That would have been in the 19th century – during America’s first “Progressive Era” – when mechanization liberated kids from onerous farm chores and child labor laws let them escape from dark satanic mills.

This gave young people the leisure to sit around noticing that the world isn’t nice and daydreaming about how it could be made nicer with the time, effort, and money of grown-ups.

I’m all for sending them back to the factories or, at least, the barn. If I hear any socialist noise from my kids, I’m going to make them get up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. And this will be an extra-onerous farm chore because we don’t have any cows, and they’ll have to search for miles all over the countryside to find some.

They’ve got it coming.

Young people are not only penniless and powerless, they’re also ignorant as hell. They think of wealth as something that’s limited, like the number of Hostess Ding Dongs on the 7-Eleven shelf. They think rich people got to the 7-Eleven first and gobbled all the Ding Dongs, leaving poor people to lick the plastic wrappers.

Young people don’t know that more Ding Dongs can be produced. They don’t know how or why more Ding Dong production is possible. And they certainly don’t know how to get the cream filling inside.

Young people think that the way to obtain more wealth is to take it away from rich people.

You can’t do it. Well… you can do it. But you can only do it once.

You can take the Ding Dongs from the rich people… But once you’ve eaten them, you can’t go back to the rich people and take more. They’re out of Ding Dongs. Or, if they’re not out of Ding Dongs, the rich people aren’t there. They’ve taken what they had left and moved someplace, like Singapore, where they can enjoy their Ding Dongs in peace.

The reason that young people are so ignorant about wealth (they think it’s limited to what arrives at the 7-Eleven with the Hostess deliveryman) is that young people are still in school… or have been recently.

School, while not without its benefits, carries the risk of dangerous over-exposure to intellectual elites. And intellectual elites, when it comes to understanding economic realities, might as well be Hostess Ding Dongs.

The 19th century spawning of idle, dreamy, feckless young people arrived just in time for the Marxist intellectual fad. And Marxist thinking among intellectuals is a fashion trend that has never gone away.

Intellectuals like Marxism because Karl Marx makes economics simple – the rich get their money from the poor. (How the rich manage that since the poor, by definition, don’t have any money is beyond me. But never mind.) Real economics is too complicated for intellectuals to understand. Living in an ivory tower teaches few economic lessons – and even fewer now that intellectuals have banned the ivory trade.

Marxism puts inarticulate notions of a sharing-caring nicer world into vivid propaganda slogans.

Slogans such as: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Which may be the most ridiculous political-economic idea that anybody has ever had.

My need is for beluga caviar, a case of Château Haut-Brion 1961, a duplex on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park, a bespoke suit from Gieves & Hawkes in Savile Row, a matched pair of Purdey 12-bore sidelock shotguns, and a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that recently sold at Sotheby’s Monterey auction for $48.4 million.

My ability is… um… I have an excellent memory for limericks…

There once was a man from Nantucket…

What kind of totalitarianism would be required to determine everyone’s abilities and needs? What kind of dictatorship would be necessary to distribute the goods of the able to the wants of the needy?

We know what kind. The kind of totalitarian dictatorship that the U.S.S.R and Mao Zedong’s China had.

The Soviet Union and Maoist China are two more reasons that millennials love socialism. This is not because young people learned left-wing lessons from the Soviets and the Red Guards. It’s because they didn’t.

Kids don’t get that communists are bad people.

It was too long ago. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Deng Xiaoping began market reforms in China in 1978. I have two millennial daughters. The end of the Cold War and the beginning of China’s economic boom are as distant in time from them as the Great Depression and the Coolidge administration are from me.

To millennials, hearing the U.S.S.R. and Mao’s China used as examples of how socialism can go very, very wrong is like me hearing about the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff.

The only communist societies young people know anything about are the goofy outlier North Korea… and Cuba, where the Marxist-Leninism comes with cheap rum, ’57 Chevys, and Guantanamera sing-alongs.

Or, I should say, these are the only communist societies young people know anything about, except one… The communist society in which all young people grow up.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is deeply stupid and completely impractical. And yet there’s a place where it works.

This place is my house. And your house. And anywhere else there’s a family.

To each according to his need… What don’t kids need? My 14-year-old son needs Mom to drive to school with his lunch, his homework, and one sock. Never mind that she packed his lunch, did his homework, and washed his socks – one of which he left behind this morning along with homework and lunch so that she has to drive back to school even though she just returned from driving him to school in the first place.

From each according to Mom’s and Dad’s ability, not to mention the ability of Mom’s and Dad’s Visa card credit line and the bank loans we took out to pay for school tuition.

The grim truth is…

Kids are born communists.

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