Ignorance is bliss, they say. But when it comes to modern history, ignorance might be a genuine peril to our future. A new study published recently shows that the majority of the millennials in the US are leaning towards a socialist mindset and some even favour communist views.
The survey showed, for instance, that more millennials (71 percent) agreed with Bernie Sanders’ statements than with the late-great Prof. Milton Friedman (58 percent). Yes, you read it right. A person who wanted to make college tuition free for all, to increase taxes by almost $20 trillion and to overregulate Uber, is more popular than one of the founding fathers of liberal economy.
Moreover, some of America’s young adults also expressed ignorance about the world’s worst tyrants. Some 58 percent and 67 percent didn’t know who Mao Zedong and Vladimir Lenin were, respectively.
George W. Bush more evil than Stalin?
The Cuban mass murderer Che Guevara was known only to 40 percent of the respondents, even though so many of them are wearing his merchandise. No wonder a picture of the American president on the background of Guevara’s silhouette from Obama’s historical visit to Cuba was more favored than condemned.
But, if that’s not enough, almost a third (32 percent) of American millennials believe that there were more people killed during George W. Bush’s tenure than under the rule of Joseph Stalin. Stalin, who’s famous for quotes like “when one dies, it is a tragedy; when a million die, it is a statistic”, and “no person, no problem”, is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of his people, many of whom suffered terrible deaths in work camps.
Overall, Stalin and other communist tyrants, like Pol Pot and Mao Zedong, have exterminated over 100 million people! But apparently, those inequities are less awful than the casualties of the war on terror initiated by Bush.
Oddly enough, this underestimation of Stalin’s contribution to diluting the global population can be found thousands of miles away, in Russia. According to a survey conducted earlier this year by the renowned research organization Lavada Center, some 40 percent of Russians view Stalin’s era as “more good than evil”.
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An enormous portion of the US electorate oppose free trade and support protectionism.
As a person who was born in the “Empire of Evil” (as Reagan called it) – the Soviet Union – I find this global affection for tyranny and the ignorance of its perils alarming.
But no less alarming is the infatuation of America’s young adults with communism’s lesser evil – socialism. This notion, by the way, is now bi-partisan. Both Trump and Sander supporters – an enormous portion of the US electorate – oppose free trade and support protectionism.
It’s no wonder that this generation (which I am also a part of) is so fond of socialism. After all, we all grew up in an era of relative peace and great personal wealth and abundance.
Countdown to the end of the great era of wealth
Recent research conducted in the US, Canada and other Western countries showed that millennials are the richest generation in history. Not to mention that they did not experience first hand the Cold War, the Iron Curtain or the Cuban missile crisis.
America’s greatness, under the rule of both parties, was built largely on the values of free economy, small government involvement and personal liberty. To a large extent, the same goes for Europe and the Far East. Wherever those values prevailed (Northern Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and even coastal China), there has been prosperity.
The other side of the coin can be seen in Venezuela, North Korea, rural China and even the ‘Club-Med’ countries, where state involvement and poor fiscal policy have led to decadence and corruption.
The only way to stop this race to the bottom is by educating my generation on the prospects of free economy and the dangers of socialism, statism and re-distributism, led by populist politicians.
Unless we do something about it, we can start the countdown to the end of this great era of wealth.