Millennials Don't Understand Socialism

According to the United Nations, October 11th was the International Day of the Girl Child.  It is sponsored every year by the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (USW) which, among other things, proudly proclaims itself to be a leader in monitoring the implementation of the “1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” (PFA) which is a policy agreement between nations for global “gender equality” and the empowerment of women.  There are some dazzling jewels of irrationality within PFA and within the USW’s feminist crusade and they are especially pronounced in relation to so-called “Sustainable Development” (SD).

As tempting as it is to examine PFA alone, its value (along with SD) is to make a larger point about American politics, especially about how we have gotten to where we are in this election season.

The sustainable development (SD) movement is pervasive, intricate and, to the sovereignty of the United States and her citizens, a dangerous initiative.  It would take a book to trace all the tentacles of this monster. Almost every other intrusive U.N. initiative is intertwined in varying degrees with SD.  Under SD doctrine, the survival of the planet as we know it hinges on a global, communally-styled, centrally-manipulated existence.

When all the nooks and crannies are exposed, there is hardly one segment of earthly life that is exempt – climate, water, sky, land, energy, marriage and family, sexuality, human rights, civil liberties, government, transportation, business and investment, trade, “social justice”, education, religion, arms control (from private self-defense to nuclear disarmament) and health care, including “reproductive rights” (abortion).  All this is part of a grand effort by mankind (the enlightened ones) to save Earth from mankind and mankind from himself.

The Platform for Action (PFA) is a quazi-treaty document which is the same species of beast as SD but in a more nuanced way.  It too calls for worldwide management of the affairs of everyone and everything but from a radical feminist orientation.  But never once in the Platform is there any defense of unborn or even about-to-be-born “girl-children” or the despicable results from abortion or its use as a gender control method.

The PFA’s “logic” is also extraordinary.  It is able to move in and through strong rhetoric about women’s and “the girl child’s” freedom of thought, conscience, religion, empowerment and “reproductive health” to ending with disarmament, the environment, sustainable development, “consolidate[ing] democracy” and social justice.  Once again, like sustainable development, the success of this utopian dream hinges on worldwide communal but centralized control.

So how does PFA and the United Nations’ SD apparatus help explain where we are in American politics?  To start with, remember the campaign of Bernie Sanders and its appeal to millennials.  It baffled the media and both parties.  His appeal was collective solutions to big problems under the auspices of government giftedness.  Unlike Hillary Clinton who buries the same ideology in a more polished if not stealthy way, Sanders, at the bottom line, offered the long strong arms of government to the collective little guy. His constant refrain was take the other guy’s supposedly ill-gotten wealth and weaponize it against social ills in the name of a brotherhood between those who believe they deserve more because they have less and those who are crusading on their behalf.

This is collectivism, or, what us old timers (fifty years old or older) would have called socialism. It is what Karl Marx summarized as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.  It sounds extremely attractive, especially to millennials

Polls in the last few years tell the story.  Incredibly, 3% of Americans 18 to 29 years old view socialism favorably but only 16% of them can define it accurately.  Above the age of 30, 30% get it right.

Interestingly, millennials change their tune with an increase of age and income.  After their income reaches $40,000 a year opposition to the socialist ideal goes to 50%.  Apparently, as they get more successful and attached to the things for which they have worked so hard, true socialism looks much less attractive.  They realize that the government would control more of their lives as they become more successful.  They are less enchanted with collectivism’s government control of their small businesses, social media and services such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Uber etc.

Millennials tend to associate socialism with Scandinavia without understanding that what exists there is not really socialism at all but a historically new arrangement where the products and wealth of free enterprise is confiscated by government and redistributed to the rest of the population through entitlements.

For those of us who still remember the Cold War years, none of the realities of what true socialism devolves into is any surprise. The memory of The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) lingers.  We remember watching the Russian people living with rationing, political and religious repression, and the harsh realities of the millions of lives lost under that system.

It is the effect of simple human nature.  It began at the fall of Adam and Eve and is exemplified in the Tower of Babel.  We much prefer receiving the bounty of others than tugging on our own bootstraps.  Human nature prefers power to service, fairness instead of righteousness and sometimes even revolution to the endurance of good but maturing republic – the same republic which is willing to let them enjoy whatever they are able and willing to earn.

This is where we are this election cycle.  One side is appealing to the veneer of what they falsely understand as socialism.  Their candidate, Hillary Clinton, banks her appeal on the same collectivism as Sanders but does it in a much less honest way.

The other side is what one writer calls “right-wing Marxists”. They are right wing because they yearn for limited government, effective education, restored rule of law and controlled immigration.  They are Marxist because they see current politics as a class struggle between the middle class and a new aristocratic class – establishment party power brokers, lawyers, academics, media and trust fund babies.  Donald Trump’s published platform promise tries to understand those expectations.

One party is selling a utopian dream.  The other one, minus establishment types, is willing to reach for the bootstraps.  We may not get a second chance to make this kind of fundamental choice for our country again.