In February 2009, just after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Newsweek declared on its cover “We Are All Socialists Now.” More than a decade later, socialism has taken over the Democratic Party, and has a strong hold on young Americans. It’s gone mainstream in a nation founded on principles opposite the tenets of socialism.
Seven in 10 millennials say they would vote for a socialist candidate, while 64% of Generation Z told pollsters last year it is “somewhat/extremely likely” they’d vote for a socialist, according to a YouGov-Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation poll taken last fall.
Among Democrats of all ages, socialism is held in high esteem. Seven in 10 (again) said last spring socialism is “a good thing,” marking a disturbing shift. The year before, only 57% of Democrats held the same opinion of socialism.
Cultural critic Camille Paglia has said that young Americans lean toward socialism because they are ignorant of history. So maybe they just don’t understand what socialism is. To them, it’s an avuncular white-haired guy yelling about concentrations of wealth, which they’ve been led to believe is an evil that must be broken by the state, and too many choices in deodorant; a frail but angry-for-some-reason woman promising to cancel the debt on their student loans who says she has a plan to fix all economic and societal ills; and a young, photogenic New York congresswoman with a tippy-top coolness factor who they think speaks for them.
Socialism, though, is coercion by the state, “a boot,” said George Orwell, “stamping on the human face forever.” It requires the exclusion of freedom, operates by command, requires reluctant participants to yield to its plans. Socialism “cannot co-exist with individual rights,” its solidarity “is enforced at gunpoint,” its notions of equality and fairness ensured by squads that will ultimately “show up with truncheons.”
And we’re not talking about just the Cubas, North Koreas, East Germanys, and Soviet Unions of the past and present. The utopian welfare state that the democratic socialists – and socialist Democrats – say they want to establish would still require a coercive authority. Welfare states are funded only by the forced redistribution of income and wealth. Economic freedom and property rights have to be surrendered to the collective.
At one time Americans cherished freedom. While some still do, it’s obvious a large portion of the population prefers comfort provided by others, don’t want to hear ideas and opinions they don’t agree with, and are happy to see the liberty of others restricted, and even eliminated, if those restrictions are holding back freedoms they don’t care about, such as the right to bear arms. They have also grown “apathetic about their freedom,” writes James Bovard, “because most of the media continually assure them that Big Government is nothing to fear.”
Not every Republican, conservative, and libertarian is on board with President Donald Trump. Some of his bitterest enemies, it seems, would have supported any other Republican president.
But at least we have a president who declares “we were born free and we will stay free,” and has promised “America will never be a socialist country.” This is the real “resistance.”
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt
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