Issues & Insights

Can America’s ‘Woke’ Generation Rise To China’s Growing Challenge?

Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping. Source: www.kremlin.ru, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

As Americans prepare to celebrate 245 years of freedom with diffidence and perhaps even mixed feelings, China’s national fete this week marking the Chinese Communist Party’s 100 years of existence showed no such doubt. America faces a serious challenge from China, but seems too self-obsessed and divided to do anything about it.

It’s depressing to compare China’s celebration of a century of communism with our much more muted planned observance.

Of course, most Americans remain patriotic, despite the recent divisive turn in our politics brought on by the Democratic Party and its sharp shift toward extremism of the socialist kind.

For instance, a RealClearPolitics Opinion Research poll of 1,762 registered voters reveals America’s profound cultural and political schism: Overall, 49% of Americans consider themselves “very patriotic.” If you add those who consider themselves “somewhat” patriotic, the number jumps to 85%.

But virtually all of the patriotism resides on one side of the American political equation. Among Republicans, 68% are “very” patriotic. Democrats? Just 41%. Independents? Even lower at just 39%.

There’s a huge generational split as well. Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation remain intensely patriotic, at 68%. No other age group is even 50%. By race, the picture’s the same: White Americans are 58%, while Blacks (37%), Hispanics (36%) and Asian-Americans (28%) are lower.

A separate sounding of young people nationally by North Dakota State University produced even more alarming findings. It asked more than 1,000 students at campuses around the country if they were “proud to be an American.”

As CampusReform reported, “57% of liberal identifying students answered ‘no.’ This is in contrast to the 73% majority of conservatives who answered ‘yes’ to the same question.”

There’s a rather disturbing split between the two groups when it comes to economics:

… 61% of liberal students have a negative view of the country’s economic system. Only 9% of liberals answered in favor of capitalism, while 30% remained indifferent … 47% had a positive association with socialism, while only 13% felt negatively about it.

The survey also showed that liberal students believe socialism to be the solution to many of the world’s problems. Sixty-five percent of liberal respondents agreed … (socialism) could help solve major problems such as climate change and poverty. 

Given such beliefs, it’s hard not to be pessimistic. Don’t expect a lot of misty-eyed love of country this July 4. A whole generation of Americans educated in socialism believes that the wealthiest, freest, most-diverse country in the history of humankind is a racist fraud.

That’s certainly an indictment of our educational system, now run by hard-left union activists, not by parents or students. Remember this on July 4, as Woke-Marxist condemnations of the greatest nation on Earth permeate the airwaves, Internet and social media.

Which brings us to China.

China celebrated its communist history Thursday, a kind of anti-July 4. Fireworks, parades, military displays, flyovers, massive feasts and the vainglory of Communist Party apparatchiks taking credit for China’s recent wealth were all on full display.

The “celebration” also included bluster and threats, directed mainly at the U.S., by China’s Communist “President” Xi Jinping. Lest you still hold to the belief that China is a potential ally and friend of the U.S., here are Xi’s own words.

“​The Chinese people will absolutely not allow any foreign force (emphasis ours) to bully, oppress or enslave us and anyone who attempts to do so will face broken heads and bloodshed in front of the iron Great Wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” ​Xi told thousands of people waving Chinese flags in Tiananmen Square.

Wearing a Mao-style jacket, Xi called the Communist Party’s rise “irreversible,” promising to build a “world class” military to make sure of it. He vowed to pursue “reunification” with Taiwan, and “stability” in Hong Kong, after last year’s brutal crackdown.

“Without the Communist Party, there will be no new China,” said Xi.

No doubt, much of the crowd listening to Xi was a Potemkin assembly of people pretending to be proud of something they in fact loathed. That’s the way totalitarian states, such as China and North Korea, work.

They couldn’t have missed the bitter irony of China’s Xi aping his idol, Communist China’s founder Mao, while lauding socialism. They surely knew that Mini-Mao Xi was paying homage to a vicious mass murderer whose tyranny led to the death of an estimated 60 million people, or more.

Today, Xi emulates Mao by imprisoning and murdering Muslim Uyghurs and Christians alike, crushing Hong Kong’s rights, bullying Asian neighbors by seizing both territory and mineral wealth, and threatening the U.S. with a massive military buildup.

It was Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, who unleashed market economics in China and allowed ordinary Chinese to get rich. Under Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and “Cultural Revolution,” starvation, economic backwardness and brutality were facts of Chinese life, shows who he really is.

The truth is, China’s neo-Maoist Communist government doesn’t deserve credit for China’s great economic advances in recent decades. Walmart, Target, Apple, Intel, Amazon, Tesla and hundreds of other American, European and Asian companies do. American-style capitalism built modern China, not Communism.

Yet, China is now the No. 1 threat to the U.S. and the other nations that make up the West, broadly defined. As China spirals into both population and economic decline, a process that has already begun, it’s inevitable that the U.S. and China will face off.

Will the “Woke” generation be up to the challenge? As we pause this July 4 to ponder the blessings of our own freedom, we can only hope that all those young, miseducated Americans who now hear the siren song of socialism will also pause, if only for a moment, to think about their own great good fortune. America’s tradition of free markets has made them rich, and its legacy of unalienable rights has made them the freest people on Earth.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

5 comments

    • I think you are entirely correct, but it needs to be said that the “woke” generation will fail to stand up to China simply because they are racists and would happily subject themselves to the yoke of communist China in order to take power here.

      How can Democrats see China as an enemy when they are so busy seeking to emulate them?

  • They’ll be screaming their “wokeisms” at the Chinese as the Chinese just laugh in them and run them right over them.

  • The United States will not be able to stand up to Communist China. This is because of the anti-Colonialism and radical Socialism. The United States is in permanent and irrevocable decline by almost any measurement.

  • What is referred to as “Woke” is actually a pathway leading to disintegration, destruction, downgrading, lowering of all standards including those of law and order. It is being used as a method to punish achievers, often while elevating non-achievers. To “be woke” is to bow to rules that have no basis. Distortions and lies about history. False claims that have no backup evidence, jealousy, unfairness and downright hatred.

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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