It has been said that if you are not a socialist before you are 25, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after 25, you have no brain. Young people have almost always leaned left toward the concepts of socialism until they get old enough to know better. But a plethora of recent studies have found that young people’s attitudes toward economic and political philosophies are increasingly leaning left – more than they have before. Will the next generation change the fabric of America?
Do Young Americans Endorse Socialism?
Every year, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) conducts a survey on the opinions Americans hold about capitalism and socialism. The main takeaway from the 2020 edition is that favorability of socialism among Generation Z has skyrocketed.
According to the study, which was conducted by research firm YouGov, 49% of Gen Zers had a favorable opinion of socialism, up from 40% in 2019.
For millennials, 47% held a favorable opinion of socialism, down from 49% a year ago. Thirty-nine percent of Generation Xers expressed support for socialism, up from 33% last year.
Researchers came across some other interesting findings from the nation’s youth:
- 34% of Gen Z and 35% of millennials view President Donald Trump as the greatest threat to world peace.
- 39% of Gen Z and 32% of millennials think Trump is more responsible for the coronavirus pandemic than Chinese President Xi Jinping.
- 60% of millennials want to move the economic system away from capitalism, up from 8% in 2019.
VOC’s Previous Findings
In 2017, the organization’s annual study found that 44% of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country. When they were asked to name “a personal hero, hero for the country, or hero for the world” a large portion named Che Guevara, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Joseph Stalin.
Despite this, one-third of those people couldn’t correctly define communism or socialism. Does this mean youth are getting their information from the classroom, the mainstream press, social media, or another venue that is not offering accurate information? It’s easy to blame public schools for this disappointing level of knowledge and the admiration for tyrannical dictators: They’re run by the state and funded by tax dollars – socialism from the ground up.
But who is ultimately responsible for making sure students are presented with the facts and taught to think for themselves rather than force feeding them opinions like some CNN or Fox News program? Parents.
Then, Now, Forever?
In the end, maybe this isn’t anything to be worried about. Young people were enthralled with the ideas of socialism and communism yesterday – and they are interested in these ideologies today. Chances are, the next generation will be fascinated by these philosophies tomorrow. History is cyclical, and it typically repeats itself.