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College Students Love Socialism… But Don’t Have a Clue What it Means

2 ¾ min

In an article written last month for the New York Times, 29-year-old Sarah Leonard suggested that millennials are turning to socialism in droves. The reason, she opined, is that capitalism has let them down:

“Across Europe and the United States, millennials are worse off than their parents were and are too poor to start new families. In the United States, they are loaded with college debt (or far less likely to be employed without a college degree) and are engaged in precarious and non-unionized labor. Also the earth is melting.”

To advance her point, Leonard goes on to say that a recent Harvard survey found about a third of the U.S. population says it supports socialism. Nowhere is this support more apparent than in a recent YouTube clip from Campus Reform.

The video shows a number of interviews conducted with students in the D.C. area. When asked if they support socialism, students agreed overwhelmingly.

The video gets more interesting, however, when students are asked to define the political ideology which they support.

Reporter: “How would you define socialism?”

Student: “Um, it’s definitely more of an open-form of government, and it feels like a lot more accessible to a lot more people. And that’s kind of how I see it, like, being more accessible and more, kind of like equal ground. Yeah.”

Reporter: “What does that mean necessarily though?”

Student: “To be quite honest, I don’t know!”

To flesh out their knowledge of this political ideology, these students might do well to take a quick read of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Critique on Socialism. In a nutshell, Tocqueville suggests that socialism denies the individual the right to think and to act for himself:

“Now, a third and final trait, one which, in my eyes, best describes socialists of all schools and shades, is a profound opposition to personal liberty and scorn for individual reason, a complete contempt for the individual. They unceasingly attempt to mutilate, to curtail, to obstruct personal freedom in any and all ways. They hold that the State must not only act as the director of society, but must further be master of each man, and not only master, but keeper and trainer. … For fear of allowing him to err, the State must place itself forever by his side, above him, around him, better to guide him, to maintain him, in a word, to confine him. They call, in fact, for the forfeiture, to a greater or less degree, of human liberty, … to the point where, were I to attempt to sum up what socialism is, I would say that it was simply a new system of serfdom.

Tocqueville concludes by saying:

“Democracy and socialism have but one thing in common—equality. But note well the difference. Democracy aims at equality in liberty. Socialism desires equality in constraint and in servitude."

Although Tocqueville’s words are strong, they happen to resonate with the definition which Vladimir Lenin advanced for socialism. According to him, socialism brings everything in society under the control of the government and runs it for the “interests of the whole people.”

If American young people were truly educated and knowledgeable on the meaning of socialism, does it seem likely that far fewer would be supporting it?

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.

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Hidden Mickey
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The advent of minimalistic education, warped by the media, the Hollywood adoration, social media hype and short-take memes, all condition the young people today to ASSUME they understand a concept when in reality, they are grasping at straws to actually comprehend a concept. Thus, we have such ignorance perpetuated within our society without realizing the absurdity that is spewed from their mouths. This will be the ultimate demise of our society; The resounding belief in the unbelievable will create a division among those who are actually educated and those who think they are educated. This video is a microcosm of that indoctrination of minds to not know what they speak of. Sad.
 
 

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Ekimsnevets
“Educate” or “Educated” doesn’t really work in your otherwise well constructed comment and by no fault of your own. As I was watching the film I was thinking to myself how ironic it is that as someone that graduated HS near the end of the Carter admin who couldn’t afford college “with interest rates so high then how could possibly pay off the loans” I used to feel ashamed I have no degree. Now almost 40 years later I feel more educated in many aspects than most of today’s college grads
Reverandglenn
For Steven Smike, who posted below, I know exactly what you are saying. I describe you our phenomenon as, "The misunderstood difference between "educated" and "smart." A person can be incredibly educated with a pedigree from top world institutions.... but smart as a rock. Conversely, someone who didn't have the means to get a Post sec degree could be incredibly smart, but uneducated. There are a lot of smart people out there who just were never able get a degree :( I will continue in new reply
Happyman
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Unbelievable. Not one person knows what socialism is. I here all of them say the same thing. It’s not far that other people have more money then them. And that it needs to be even. So let’s take all the money in America and give it to the government everyone goes to work and they get paid $10 an hour working 64 hours a week no matter what job you have. Doctors, nurses, teachers, truckers, ditch diggers “everyone the same. And two and three families live in the same house everywhere. Just like Russia after they killed the Czar and his family. Of coarse that fell apart with the famous speech. “ tear down this wall”. To me it sounds like a lot of cry baby’s. It’s not far. Who ever said life is fair. No one gave many anything. My wife worked two jobs and I worked a job and side work after a 10 hour day. I never got jealous that my neighbor made more money then me or had a better car. I have had a nice life. How immature these people are. There have been a lot of men and women that gave their lives for the freedom we have right now.
 
 

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Anemeth
Socialism has failed in every country in which it has been tried. I guess the students are not good at studying the facts, lazy brains.
Reverandglenn
The fact is, you could equally redistribute all the money in the world, and within 5 years, the people who have money now would have it again, and those without would not. It's not magic. Some people are very competitive. Competition and reward is the necessity of progress.
Dil Dough
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The ignorance is obscene, appalling, and wildly dangerous. These people are so devoid of even the first clues that I suspect that when the time come that "socialism" puts them to the wood, they won't even realized just how thoroughly they have been robbed, cheated, and beaten.
 
 

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CandaceSaid
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Please tell me you educate these people that you speak with, on what socialism is after you question them
 
 

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Sparkiejim2
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Yes it seems they would, but way too many young people want Utopia but are not willing to take the time to educate themselves! They think they are informed because of their “prideful”attitudes 🤪
 
 

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