Americans' Lack of Knowledge on Communism and Socialism Is Astounding

(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
AP featured image
Communist Party supporters carry portraits of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, left, and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during a demonstration marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Thousands of Communist demonstrators marked the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution Tuesday by marching across downtown Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

I knew very little about communism growing up. It was a system we heard about in school when we discussed various nations around the globe but we never really got into learning about the ins and outs of it.

At one point in my life, God blessed me with morbid curiosity and gave me quite a bit of time on my hands. I was a security guard in Galveston, TX, where I sat in a small guard shack by the sea. For 10 hours every day, I would sit in that shack and attempt to amuse myself to stop from going insane from boredom. It was where my life in political and cultural commentary began, but before that, I became absolutely fascinated with despotic governments, namely North Korea.

North Korea is one of the world’s last real communist holdouts. Looking into the nation of North Korea is like looking back into the past to see places like Soviet Russia brought to life. It’s absolutely astounding to see the life the people live there compared to the life we live here in America. For a time, I wrote about it nearly obsessively, and Googling my name alongside “North Korea” may give you a plethora of articles to choose from.

Here’s one that just gives you a taste of what life as a North Korean is like. Click the link below.

(READ: This Is What Happens to the North Korean Cheerleaders Who Mess Up)

Watching the various documentaries and reading up on what the communist nation does to its people became a necessary obsession in my little shack by the sea. It horrified me as much as it fascinated me, and it’s that fascination and horror that drove me into politics in order to help ensure that it doesn’t take root in our nation in any way. Sure enough, it’s trying. You can look at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to see that. But I digress.

Fast forward to today and after various conversations with friends — I’ve learned that the concept of communism is foreign to them through discussions about China and its communist government. They know little to nothing about it. They’re wholly ignorant about the control a communist government exerts over the lives of its citizens and even people who aren’t their citizens. They couldn’t understand, for instance, why China would lie about the contagious nature of the coronavirus. When I explain that a communist government’s first PR priority is to maintain the illusion that they have everything under control even at the cost of thousands of lives, it almost seemed unbelievable.

I can’t blame them for their ignorance. At no point were we ever really taught what communism and socialism were growing up. I fell into it because I had the time and curiosity which are two necessary components to learning about communism today. For most, their daily lives and concerns don’t revolve around foreign governments and economic systems.

Today, there’s a general lack of knowledge about socialism or communism, but despite this, many millennials have a positive view of it. Reason’s Emily Ekins wrote about this divide in 2014:

new Reason-Rupe report on millennials finds that young people are more favorable to the word “socialism” than a government-managed economy, even though the latter is less interventionist. Millennials don’t like government intervention in the economy when you spell it out precisely, rather than use vague terms like “socialism.”

In fact, a 2010 CBS/New York Times survey found that when Americans were asked to use their own words to define the word “socialism” millennials were the least able to do so. According to the survey, only 16 percent of millennials could define socialism as government ownership, or some variation thereof. In contrast, 30 percent of Americans over 30 could do the same (and 57% of tea partiers, incidentally).

Millennials simply don’t know that socialism means the government owning everybody’s businesses. They don’t understand that socialism means the government owns the banks, the car companies, Uber, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc. They don’t even want the government taking a managerial role over the economy, let alone nationalizing private enterprise.

In fact, millennial support for a government-managed economy (32%) mirrors national favorability toward the word socialism (31%). Millennial preferences may not be so different from older generations once terms are defined.

The trend still continues today as Sanders enjoys a high popularity along with his socialist system, at least among younger crowds as Reason’s Nick Gillespie highlights:

A poll earlier this year found that respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 had a more favorable response to the term socialism than to capitalism (61 percent to 58 percent). For folks between 25 and 34, capitalism won, but by a relatively slim margin (58 percent to 51 percent). Overall, respondents overwhelmingly preferred capitalism to socialism, 61 percent to 39 percent, but other polls find that socialism is viewed much more positively than in the past. For instance, Gallup notes that in 1942, only 25 percent of Americans agreed that a socialist economy would be a “good thing.” In 2019, that number had increased to 43 percent.

This is all both good news and bad news. The bad news is that we as Americans, specifically the younger generations, are ignorant as to what communism and socialism really are. The good news is that once they get a much larger idea of what these systems entail, most begin walking back to capitalism rather quickly.

To truly rid ourselves of the socialist plague, we’ll first need to look into how the schools teach it. We know for a fact that academia is plagued with professors and educators who are big fans of the failed systems and do what they can to make their students believe that they are the future. They couch it in pleasant terms like “equality” and “fairness,” and even throw in dynamic phrases like “revolution” and “progress.” Our first goal should be to drop the mask these educators have put on it and tell the students the truth. The horrors of communism need to be exposed to lessons about Stalin’s Russia and the Kim regime’s North Korea. Show them what’s happening to Venezuela under socialism. Show them that, yes, it was real socialism that did that. Show them that they will try to be sold socialism under various names such as “democratic socialism” but in the end, it’s all the same.

That’s just the first domino in a line of them. Once proper education is given, socialists will find themselves to be a fringe group supporting a system soaked in failure in futility. People like Sanders and AOC won’t be such a problem anymore. The call for entitlements will decrease, etc, etc.

There will, of course, be holdouts. People who just want to make daddy angry, mentally disturbed people, and those desperate to find belonging to a group no matter what group it is, but otherwise we’ll start seeing a far more stable and wise America.


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