The Corner

Education

Why Young People Fall For Socialism

A huge part of the socialist project, going back to the 19th century, was to capture the commanding heights of thought within society, from which the socialists would control the people’s beliefs. That meant taking control of publishing, the churches, and the education system. They were remarkably successful. They never thought they’d take over business, but now we find many companies run by executives with scant understanding of capitalism and who warmly embrace lots of socialistic drivel. (Yes, Google, I mean you.)

In today’s Martin Center article, lawyer Arch Allen explains that Millennials are to an alarming extent imbued with the “anti-capitalistic mindset” (borrowing the phrase from von Mises). Allen writes, “Clearly, Millennials’ rejection of capitalism and acceptance of socialism show that they know little about either and do not know their comparative histories. Instead, they have learned relativism, postmodernism, and other academic fads. In much of the humanities and soft social sciences — especially with literary theorists and social justice warriors in the race, class, and gender grievance disciplines — capitalism is caricatured as racist, sexist, etc., and generally bad.” And where did they learn that toxic nonsense? In their schooling, and especially in college.

Perhaps the most distressing instance Allen points to is the nasty gestures of young SJW types toward the Victims of Communism Memorial. Communist regimes killed millions of people in the 20th century, but these ignorant kids have been trained to see the dictators as enlightened leaders and their victims as the bad guys. Could anything speak more loudly about the failure of our educational system?

Allen closes with an excellent suggestion for college leaders: instead of assigning leftist puff books to incoming freshman each summer, how about instead having them read something enlightening, such as a great essay by Alan Kors, “Can There Be an ‘After Socialism’?” Rather than reinforcing the socialist brainwashing so many students have gotten, college ought to challenge it.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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