By Joe Darby
I saw a little item in the news earlier this week that was of some interest to me: Fifty percent of young Americans think socialism is a good idea.
When I saw that, my first thought was, well, I’ll be writing about politics for two weeks in a row. My second thought was Whhhaattttt?
What I have to say in the ensuing paragraphs should not, I repeat not, be taken as critical of all young Americans. Because, obviously, the other 50 percent of them feel socialism is not a good idea, right?
But the fact that half of the younger generation believes government ownership and/or control of the economy is, like, cool, is a direct result of their gross lack of a knowledge of history. And it’s not really their fault. It’s what they’ve been taught in college, or even in high school. Or not taught at all.
Before I continue discussing the youngsters collectively, let me tell you a particular instance of historical ignorance that I witnessed first hand. I was in Shreveport some years ago to attend a history seminar at LSUS. I had lunch in a restaurant near the campus and I chatted with the server, a very nice young woman.
When the reason for my being in town came up, she informed me that she didn’t like history too much. “I get World War II and the Civil War mixed up,” she said. I just kind of gulped, smiled and took a sip of iced tea. Oh, one more thing. Her major was education.
One of the Shreveport TV stations went out last July 4th and interviewed folks about what Independence Day meant. One question was about when we declared our independence and from whom. Answers included, “we declared our independence from the South” and the time frame was during the 1970s. Yeah, those ’70s were a long time ago. But, old as I am, I should have a good memory of George Washington and I really don’t.
Anyway, my point is, if a person doesn’t know anything about history, they’re sure not going to know about socialism and capitalism. My favorite Democratic socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,(also the chief mover behind the impossible Green New Deal) recently said that all capitalism was about was making profits.
She obviously has no concept for example, that all of the modern electronic technology that she employs so well is due to capitalism. Capitalism fosters innovation, fosters new ideas and techniques, fosters advances in science, engineering, medicine and many other fields, and it’s all because of the “evil profit seeking” competition that AOC and her comrades deplore.
Socialism fosters little but complacency and stagnation. If the government controls the economy and tells you what you should make, sell and buy, what incentive would anyone have to come up with a great new idea? That fact is obvious from the state of the stagnant, moribund economies of Eastern Europe at the time of the collapse of Soviet Communism.
But many of our young people know little or nothing about any of this. And much of what they do know, has been imparted to them by ultra left wing college professors. It is a mystery to me why intelligent people (and I’m talking about the professors here) choose to hang on to an idea whose basic premises have been proven wrong so often and so emphatically. Let me interject, I certainly realize that not all college profs are Marxists. Far from it. But they do predominate at the elite universities, where our future leaders will mostly come from.
So, what’s to be done. We shouldn’t want to wait until these young socialists mature, become our nations’ leaders and completely ruin the economy. All we could do then was to say “Well we told you so.”
We certainly can’t count on the national news media to set the young ones straight. (And the news media would be a good topic for a future column, I think.) The media, which could find no fault with Obama and fails to admit that Trump ever does anything right, is as left-leaning as it has been any time in our history.
I don’t know. But something needs to be done. Otherwise, some time in the future we’re going to find ourselves seeing a good part of our hard-earned income taken by the government to pay for left-wing pipe dreams that will mean the end of American prosperity, power and prestige. It could happen, folks.
By Joe Darby