PJ O’Rourke: This is why Generation-Z adores socialism

C C Offline

EXCERPTS: America’s young people have veered to the left. Opinion pollsters tell us so. According to a November 2019 Gallup poll, “Since 2010, young adults’ positive ratings of socialism have hovered near 50 percent.” A March 2019 Axios poll concurs, saying that 49 percent of millennials would “Prefer living in a socialist country.” And The Hill puts it more strongly, citing an October 2019 YouGov Internet survey in a story headed, “7 in 10 Millennials Say They’d Vote for a Socialist.”

Traditional liberalism still exists. [...] But “mostly” or “consistently” liberal may not be enough for young voters. This was evident in the 2018 congressional elections. Ten-term incumbent congressmen Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) and Joe Crowley (D- NY) were as mostly consistently liberal as they come. And they were kicked to the curb in Democratic primaries by leftists Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What’s the matter with kids today? Nothing new. A large portion of [...] the wet behind the ears have always been “Punks for Progressives.” As soon as children discover that the world isn’t nice, they want to make it nicer. And wouldn’t a world where everybody shares everything be nice? Aw … kids are so tender-hearted.

But kids are broke - so they want to make the world nicer with your money. And kids don’t have much control over things - so they want to make the world nicer through your effort. And kids are very busy being young - so it’s your time that has to be spent making the world nicer. For them. The greedy little bastards.

Kids were thinking these exact same sweet-young-thing thoughts back in the 1960s [...] Young people probably have been thinking these same thoughts since [...] the 19th century - during America’s first “Progressive Era” - when mechanization liberated kids from onerous farm chores and child labor ... This gave young people the leisure to sit around noticing that the world isn’t nice and daydreaming about how it could be made nicer with the time, effort and money of grown-ups.

The 19th century spawning of idle, dreamy, feckless young people arrived just in time for the Marxist intellectual fad. And Marxist thinking among intellectuals is a fashion trend that has never gone away. ... Real economics are more complicated than anything that intellectuals can make sense of.

[...] Young people are not only penniless and powerless, they’re also ignorant as hell. They think of wealth as something that’s limited, like the number of Hostess Ding Dongs on the 7-Eleven shelf. They think rich people got to the 7-Eleven first and gobbled all the Ding Dongs, leaving poor people to lick the plastic wrappers. Young people don’t know that more Ding Dongs can be produced. They don’t know how or why more Ding Dong production is possible. And they certainly don’t know how to get the cream filling inside.

[...] School, while not without its benefits, carries the risk of over-exposure to intellectuals. And intellectuals, when it comes to understanding economic realities, are Ding Dongs. ... Marxism puts inarticulate notions of a sharing-caring nicer world into vivid propaganda slogans. Slogans such as: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Which may be the most ridiculous political-economic idea that anybody has ever had.

[...] What kind of totalitarian mind-meld would be required to determine everyone’s abilities and needs? What kind of dictatorship body slam would be necessary to distribute the goods of the able to the wants of the needy? We know what kind. The kind that the USSR and Mao’s China did their best to create. The Soviet Union and Maoist China are two more reasons that millennials love socialism. This is not because young people learned left-wing lessons from the Soviets and the Red Guards. It’s because they didn’t.

Kids don’t get it that communists are bad people. It was too long ago. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Deng Xiaoping began market reforms in China in 1978. I have two millennial daughters. The end of the Cold War and the beginning of China’s economic boom are, respectively, as distant in time from them as the Great Depression and the Coolidge administration are from me. [...] For young people today, the only communist societies they know anything about are that goofy outlier North Korea and Cuba, where the Marxist-Leninism comes with cheap rum, ’57 Chevys, and “Guantanamera” sing-alongs.

[...] From each according to Mom’s and Dad’s ability, not to mention the ability of Mom’s and Dad’s Visa card credit line and the bank loans we took out to pay for school tuition. The grim truth is, kids are born communists... (MORE - details)

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Cynical Sindee: P. J. O'Rourke is, of course, a testament himself that Baby Boomers grew out of their own youthful enchantment with Marxism. Which surely contributes to his [quasi-facetious] optimism that this is overblown and maturity will in time solve the looming Karl menace again: same old cycle. But just to balance that with an exploration in pessimism...

There arguably is a difference with this rebirth of Wild in the Streets: History education/influence has faded due to its offensiveness. And today's establishment is solidly on the left nursemaid spectrum, timidly coddling any arbitrary impulses the much more sheltered Gen-Z has with regard to conduct, lifestyle and beliefs. Comparison-wise, back in the '60s, some of the old Jewish communist [intellectuals] who had stealthily made their way up to the administrative departments of key colleges and universities had already politically ameliorated before the neoconservatism label/trend set in. Had discarded the conviction that capitalism and multiple party rivalry could never bring about change. In their attempts to maintain order, they were condemned as traitors by hippie protesters on campus grounds.

Today that once lingering practical side of institutions and mainstream journalism isn't there anymore to eventually steer a new generation from naive idealism and the reality impairment revolving around an ideological cult's single-party system of government. Only how the world itself works can do that the hard, suffering way. In other countries of the past, that had meant actually having to endure the consequences of a leftist authoritarian state and bitterly realizing what one had been suckered into with the altruistic morality theatrics and conspiracy frameworks targeting the job-producing and special skills classes of society.

Today, that evil "bourgeois" category has been adapted and refined to portraying certain "privileged" population groups (ethnic, sex, etc) as dominating property ownership and success and thereby being the source of "your personal problems". A strategy which can even backfire on the Jewish left, as illustrated by the anti-Semitism of Black activists that erratically arises. I.e., playing "your own" victimhood card can only go so far when you're a significant part of the affluent elite itself that is controlling orthodox thought orientation and information filtering.

Political correctness evolved from the old days of American communists para-religiously doing everything they could to suppress speech criticism of the Soviet instantiation of Marxism. It wasn't until the late '50s and '60s that the far left started hearing it from the horse's mouth that news about the Soviet Union was true -- that it wasn't capitalist, negative propaganda slash disinformation. Not until then did the betrayal of Marxism finally sink in and dissolve the "quieter" militant passion of those aging pre-hipsters.
Zinjanthropos Offline
There was a time in my life when I wondered where all the hippies had gone. Then I realized they were busy gathering up some of the material wealth they had protested against. One can see it more clearly now as I’ve hit retirement, the old hippies are the only ones who can afford to buy and drive a new Harley-Davidson.

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