Socialism Sells

(source) The Democrat presidential candidates are moving ever further left, and they’re dragging their party with them. They’ve introduced a wave of radical legislative proposals that have struck a dangerous resonance with millennials.

In fact, Gallup reports that young Americans are souring on capitalism. Less than half, 45 percent, “view capitalism positively . . . a marked shift since 2010, when 68 percent viewed it positively.” Gallup adds that a startling 51 percent of those polled in both 2010 and 2018 are “positive” about socialism.

That’s less surprising from one angle: After all, Gallup polled young Americans, not young Venezuelans. American kids have never lived under socialism. All they know is the promises. But the 2018 group had lived through eight years of Obama advocating socialism.but-but-socialism-will-work-this-time

What factors could possibly account for this consistent approval of socialism among a majority of America’s young people? Here we will consider only two, both from the world of education.

Trained To Feel, Not Taught To Think

First comes the destruction of public education in recent decades at the hands of ideological school unions.

They constitute the most rabid and effective political force in current American life. Forty years ago, Jim Hitchcock reminded us of Hannah Arendt’s observation of long ago: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any”.

The indoctrination of two generations of public school pupils (and many of their private and parochial school counterparts, alas) is indeed the original sin that “destroys” their ability to think.

Consider: For years, pupils were forbidden to compete in many ways

  • in academics (“Abolish class rankings!”),
  • sports (“Everybody gets a prize!”), and, in general, any
  • challenge requiring effort (“Great Job!”).

That rule goes for behavior as well. And it can be fatal. An Obama regulation that supposedly prohibited discrimination against minorities in disciplinary decisions led the Broward County School Superintendent to leave the Parkland School shooter in school. Because he was a minority, he was not reported for repeated offenses that would have caused his removal. He killed seventeen of his fellow students.

But what about “thinking”? Clearly, some folks think better than others because they’re smarter — but wait, that’s offensive.

Feel good

On the other hand, even the least intelligent pupil can “feel” just as well as the next guy. And the fake egalitarianism of the left begins in the schoolroom where every pupil is urged to “feel good about yourself.”

Of course, that boils down to “feeling good” — which offers the totalitarians the invitation to introduce sexual liberation in Kindergarten, because, after all, how else is everyone going to learn to “feel good”?

Finally comes thinking. Or — it doesn’t. Thomas Sowell of Stanford’s Hoover Institution thinks a lot. At age 88, he’s written eight books — since he turned eighty.

When they tell you how they feel, they think they’re thinking

Many graduates feel good about not thinking, and why shouldn’t they? After all, to have an intelligent conversation, they’d have to learn the basics of logic, rhetoric, language, grammar — and then learn about the subject at hand as well.

That’s hard! But if they tell you how they “feel” — about Aristotle, about abortion, about religion — how do you argue with a feeling? They proudly proclaim victory because, after all, they not only “feel strongly” but they have been indoctrinated with the proper feelings to feel strongly about.

The Solution: A Massive Abdication Of Responsibility

With that preamble, we consider, second, the attraction of socialism in the light of the $1.5 trillion student debt held by current and former American college students.

To be sure, all of this debt was voluntarily incurred by students who thought that they were smart enough to go to college in the first place. They swallowed the line that graduating from any college with any major with any GPA would guarantee an increase in their lifetime potential earnings that was greater than the debt they were taking on.

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Did they know what they were doing? Maybe not. Millions of them don’t want to pay back those loans, period. Obama’s takeover in 2010 means that the federal government could bail them out, the way it did the financial institutions in 2008 during the mortgage crisis. (Of course, the feds could have just paid off the mortgages, saving underwater homeowners as well as making the financials whole, but that would have been too much trouble, so millions of homes were lost.)

Advocates of student loan forgiveness

reach for any feel-good argument (forget rationality): The loans are “unfair,” because they’re “just too big.” A generation of debtors won’t be able to buy homes (the real estate lobby is powerful, maybe they’ll support us). An entire generation won’t be able to afford getting married and having kids (this trial balloon is designed to appeal to “pro-family” advocates); many colleges will close when students realize that they aren’t worth it (this is supposed to be a tragedy). And so on.

All of these arguments take for granted the notion that student debt is somehow “different” from the debt owed by taxpayers to the IRS ($1.6 trillion in 2017), or by homeowners whose mortgage debt ($5.5 trillion).

Promising more government money to more people

The Far Left dominates the Democrat presidential primary season. Each candidate is desperate to stake out a position that will distinguish him, or her, or “them” (please choose your preferred gender pronoun at the door) from the rest. And, as usual with socialists, that means promising more government money to more people.

And you can count on this: Many fairly intelligent folks who are burdened by student debt will feel good about the government telling you and me to pay it off.

Really good.

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