Socialism is having a moment.
I’m not just referring to Bernie Sanders’s surprisingly strong showing in the Democratic primaries. Various polls show that Millennials have a more favorable view of socialism than of capitalism. And Millennials generally are the only age group that views socialism more favorably than unfavorably.
Some conservatives aren’t surprised. Schools have been force-feeding left-wing propaganda to kids like it was feed for geese at a foie gras factory.
On the other hand, what are we to make of the fact that only a fraction of the young people who say they like socialism can explain what it is? If left-wing indoctrination is so effective at getting kids to like socialism, you’d think it would have more success at getting kids to at least parrot back a serviceable definition.
Regardless, this is a familiar tale. Young people have a well-documented tendency of skipping facts and arguments and going straight to conclusions.
Writing in The Federalist, Emily Ekins and Joy Pullmann note that many of these young people think socialism is federally mandated niceness. A 2014 Reason-Rupe survey asked Millennials to define socialism. They had in mind a more generous safety net, more kindness and, as one put it, more “being together.”
But when asked if they agreed with a more technically accurate definition of socialism — government control of the economy — support dropped considerably (though not nearly enough). Given a choice between a government-managed economy and a free-market economy, Millennials overwhelmingly chose the latter. It seems young people realize that putting bureaucrats in charge of Uber wouldn’t work too well.