Another year, another annual survey on American attitudes towards socialism, communism and collectivism, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. I blogged previously about the 2017 report under a rather unkind title “Young people are f***ing morons”. The bad news is they still are; the good news is while Millennials continue to disappoint, their younger siblings from Gen Z are proving to be somewhat wiser, even if nowhere near as much as their parents and grandparents. Still, any red pill swallowed willingly by that cohort, which is starting to get on the voting rolls, is one less red pill that will have to be smuggled in their food.
Firstly, the respective popularity of concepts/ideologies:
Favourability is down by 6 per cent for Gen Z and 8 per cent for the Millennials, compared to last year.
But at the same time, socialism is also viewed less favourably by the Zs. Maybe they just like all “-isms” less (but hello the WW2 generation, are you falling in love with Bernie Sanders all of a sudden?).
Millennials are getting more hardcore – their hearting of communism is up by 8 per cent from 2018.
Overall, at least half of the population can actually correctly define the terms the ideas, whether they love or hate them:
The report, alas, does not provide a generational breakdown here, so we don’t know if the Millennials like socialism/Marxism because they understand what it entails or because they don’t understand what it entails. Both scenarios are equally probable and equally worrying.
Some idea on this point can be obtain indirectly, by looking at some relevant historical knowledge:
Not surprisingly, Gen Y is the most historically ignorant generation. Interestingly, the percentage of Millennials who have favourable opinion of communism is almost exactly the percentage of Millennials who say that communism was presented favourably in college (in both instances, the highest for any generational cohort) – a pretty clear case here of the great contribution of the higher education system to spreading destructive ideas among the young* (The Zs seem less impressionable: while the similar percentage report pro-communist teaching, fewer are convinced**).
Lastly, the attitudes to own society:
So while majorities in every generation believe that capitalism (or the American version of it) works for them, substantial percentages of the Ys (less so the Zs) are dissatisfied and want significant changes:
As a (positive) aside, the support for free speech seems to be significantly stronger in this poll, even among the young, than in the one I cited a few days ago.
So while the news is grim – Gen Y and Gen Z are continuing their love affair with far left ideas and ideologies – today’s teenagers seem to be somewhat cooling off on Mr Marx’s legacy. Millennials might be a lost cause, at least in the immediate future, but if you see a teenager, give him or her*** a hug and tell them 1. you love them, 2. they have great future ahead of them, and 3. socialism doesn’t work. Don’t release from the hug until they acknowledge point 3.
*/** yes, I do know that correlation is not causation
*** it’s safer not to ask