Winston Churchill, the great British Prime Minister in the time of the 2nd World War, noted, “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy” (Churchill, 1950).
Be that as it may, we are in the midst of a generational change. The Baby Boomers, which were the largest segment of the population, have already or are now reaching retirement age and starting to die off. This will result in Millenials becoming the largest segment of society, and that, in turn, will have an effect on where we are headed. Now, socialism appears to be on the rise in our country with young people. The question is, “Why are the young people so drawn to socialism?” There are many reasons, but the main drawing force seems to the promise of free things.
Before we look at this let us stop and define socialism. Socialism is a political and economic form of social organization that advocates for the community as a whole to have greater control over the lives of its members and over the marketplace than exists in a free market capitalist society. Example Medicare-for-all.
THE PROMISE OF FREE THINGS
Young people are told by the likes of Bernie Sanders that they won’t have to pay for a whole lot of free things, such as college tuition. There is no question that this is attractive to young people as they observe how many young adults are burdened down with college loans that they are struggling to pay, particularly in a time when people are out of work. The availability of free things relies on the concept that the rich will pay for them. The wealthy folks will be taxed at higher rates to make it possible so young people can get it free. Now how did they get to that way of thinking? Again, let’s look at some reasons.
YOUNG PEOPLE & FINANCES
It appears that the Millenials seem to be financially illiterate. A report from the Teachers Insurance Annuity Associations of American College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA) showed that “one of the key findings is that only ’16 percent of millennials qualify as financially literate by correctly answering three basic questions assessing fundamental financial concepts‘” (foxnews.com & tiaainstitute.org).
Chris Burns, a financial planner with Dynamic Money, also stated: “a small percentage of millennials are financially literate“(foxnews.com). Now, why is this the case?
LACK OF EDUCATION REGARDING FINANCES
Young people do not have a basic understanding of finance and economics because of the failure to educate them. Actually, I was not taught about it 70 years ago. This needs to change.
Chris Burns reported this earlier this year “North Carolina just came out with one of the most sweeping bills on this saying, students have to take at least one class in this area,’ he said. ‘But a lot of states don’t cover this at all. Or if they do, it’s only one or two weeks in the middle of a segment so kids aren’t really learning these things.’ Burns was referencing the fact that starting next school year, high school students in North Carolina will be required to take a personal finance class before they can graduate”(foxnews.com).
EDUCATION FOR SOCIALISM
If schools and colleges have not taught young people about finance and economics, they have taught them about socialism. The Wall Street Journal, earlier this year, at a time when Bernie Sanders was the front runner for the Democratic ticket for president, pointed out that both the “nation’s academy and the media tilt heavily toward the explicitly socialist agenda and a comprehensive welfare state… They [the academy and media] created the political environment in which he [Sanders] could prosper.’ The Journal writers point to four specific examples:
- America’s historic commitment to capitalism and the “free market” is rejected in both contexts.
- The rise of left-wing intolerance on campus.
- Seeing America as “irredeemably racist.”
- Espousing climate change as religion more than science.” (world.wng.org).
The move towards socialism began in the classroom.
IGNORANCE REGARDING HISTORY
Young people don’t always realize the reasons, in the historical sense, of what made America the wealthiest country on earth and the best economy in the world.
Certainly, socialism didn’t do it. It was a free enterprise system of economics, whilst not without its problems and even its failures, that brought us to where we are today. There are issues that still need to be addressed. Such as the gap between the very wealthy and the average American, and hopefully, that will happen without dismantling the whole system.
Nonetheless, can you point to any country in the whole world that is a full-blown socialist country (which can lead to some form of communism), be it Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, that is successful and to be envied?
However, let us remember that there is usually a blending of socialism and capitalism in a country like America. “For example, there are many government programs that one could argue are forms of socialism, including the U.S. Postal Service, public school (although some would put forward the need for a change to allow more school choice), social security, Medicare, water and sewer, highways and bridges and so on. However, capitalism is still the preferred economic system.
As one writer puts it, ‘Most Americans feel free enterprise can work quite well and want it to continue. But there is a longing for ways to bridle capitalism’s conspicuous excesses, especially inequitable wealth concentration‘”(Star Tribune.com).
WHERE IS ALL THIS HEADED?
Time alone will tell. The upcoming election will give us an immediate idea, especially as surveys will reveal what young people want and if they turned up to vote. But the wave of young people will carry on into the years to come.
From a spiritual point of view, we can realize that, above all, we need a new spiritual revival amongst young people. We need a new Jesus Revolution that would sweep countless young people into the Kingdom. Let us pray for that to happen. Let us pray for a new generation to rise up that will bring this nation back to God. We need a new Great Awakening!
In Acts 2:17, Peter repeats the prophecy of Joel “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Let’s pray and believe for that to happen!
Churchill, W. L. (1950). Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 and 1948 (p. 347). London: Cassell.