A 2019 poll by advocacy group Victims of Communism showed some startling results. Its Fourth Annual Report on US Attitudes Towards Socialism caused a minor stir across social media, showing the following:
- 70% of millennials are either likely or very likely to vote for a socialist
- A quarter of all polled believed Donald Trump was the biggest threat to world peace, trumping communist/socialist figures such as Nicolás Maduro and Kim Jong-Un.
- 57% of millennials thought the Declaration of Independence guaranteed more rights than the Communist Manifesto, compared to 94% of the Silent Generation.
- One in 5 millennials thought the world would be better if private property was abolished
- Only half of all millennials and Generation X think that capitalism is good, down by several points
- One in three millennials think communism is good, up eight points from last time
That is pretty alarming stuff, don’t you think?
What we need to do is ensure that the young are aware that capitalism is by far the best and only option when it comes to economic and social political models. There’s no doubt that those polled believe these things not out of cruelty, but out of genuine belief of a better world. The pessimistic older generation need to learn from this young group, who are happy to go out and fight for an improved life. Unfortunately, there’s quite a large line between those beliefs.
Capitalism is not perfect, no one can deny that. It has flaws; people are still poor and some still cannot get good healthcare. Whilst we must address those flaws, we need to preach its virtues. In the decade called the ‘New Tens,’ extreme poverty fell to under 10% for the first time in history. We saw diseases like polio and malaria plunge to low depths. Asia and Africa experienced faster growth than Europe and North America. It may not be seen by us Western folk, who live relatively privileged lives in comparison, but that means a lot to those who live in underdeveloped or developing countries.
Young people want things that other generations do: good jobs, a fair wage and housing. Socialism can provide those things, but not in the way capitalism does.
Socialist programmes lead to housing shortages, and, while the state provides increased benefits, they are followed by higher taxes. Communism can also provide those things, but they are usually poor, non-existent or only for the wealthy. Whilst communists claim they are for the people, it’s usually the elite in communist nations that are doing the best.
That’s not to say capitalism is always pro-working class; we need major reform. People associate capitalism with evil corporations, rich men in suits and poor workers. Capitalism, however, can work hand in hand with the issues that young people care about.
Take for example the environment. Around 45% of 18-24 years old surveyed in the UK said it was the most pressing concern in June 2019, only after the still unsolved Brexit. In the UK, the Conservative Party is pushing environmentalism, especially under the direction of politicians such as Zac Goldsmith and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Many politicians and members are part of the Conservative Environment Network. Margaret Thatcher, one of the biggest cheerleaders for capitalism, was one of the first world leaders to talk about climate change on the world stage.
In the United States, there are those on the right who support environmentalism and conservationism. ConservAmerica was founded by Republican voters and politicians, a non-partisan structure promoting those values. Their tagline, “Conservation is Conservatism,” may seem like an oxymoron for some, but shows how capitalism works with issues such as the planet.
We need to show young people that capitalism works. Not only does it promote a fair economy and prosperity for all, but it promotes socially liberal policies such as environmentalism and LGBT rights. While we can hope for a balanced education system that will teach students unbiased views, we know that it will not happen soon. Instead, we can work on the system but also promote views through social media and encourage young people to read up on it themselves.
Though capitalism is flawed, we know that there is no alternative.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.