Op-ed: The Bernie Sanders effect

  • By Cal Thomas
  • Saturday, October 22, 2016 2:25pm
  • Opinion

Many millennials are OK with socialism, even communism, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Forty-five percent of those polled between the ages of 16 and 20 years old said they would vote for a socialist, while 20 percent said they could vote for a communist. Maybe that explains the Che Guevara T-shirts so many of them like to wear.

Responding to the poll, Marion Smith, the executive director of the organization, said, “An emerging generation of Americans has little understanding of the collectivist system and its dark history.” Partial credit for this should go to former presidential candidate and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders.

Even more shocking is the poll’s discovery that a third of millennials believe more people were killed under George W. Bush than Joseph Stalin, whose regime murdered 20 million people between 1924 and 1953. The total killed under all communist regimes (so far) is estimated at 100 million.

The poll also found that capitalism, which offers millennials more opportunities than the socialism and communism so many of them admire, is viewed favorably by 42 percent of young people, compared to 64 percent of Americans over the age of 65. That so few older adults appreciate capitalism is also disturbing, though it is a triumph of liberal propaganda, which tends to base its ideology on intentions and feelings, not evidence and outcomes.

In part, these results are a product of a public education system that increasingly treats all ideas and organizing principles — save democracy and capitalism — as equal. Moral judgments are not to be made, thanks in part to an emerging philosophy divorced from right and wrong.

The late Catholic Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen brilliantly summed up the problem with modern society more than a half-century ago; before it evolved into the morally chaotic nation we are today. He wrote, “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”

When one has lost a standard for judging right from wrong, good from evil, when anything goes (Cole Porter wrote a satirical song with that title), then socialism and communism become one more organizing principle among many of equal value.

That liberal Democrats are succeeding in shaping young people’s minds is revealed by this finding in the YouGov poll: More than half of millennials say the capitalism system works against them, while four in 10 call for a “complete change” so that the highest earners pay their “fair share” in taxes.

No one ever defines what “fair share” means, much less holds government accountable for the money it wastes, including the failure of costly programs Congress lacks the will to terminate.

This way of thinking is a triumph of the envy-greed-entitlement worldview, which believes that if someone is making more money than you, they owe you the difference, except those higher taxes won’t find their way into your pocket.

We used to learn from the successful, because they served as role models and examples of how hard work and risk-taking could improve any life. Now, we penalize success and, as a result, get less of it. But we feel better and feelings are all that matter, right? At least that’s how we have been conditioned to think.

These poll results ought to spur more parents to rescue their children from an education system that is failing them on many levels. Maybe a field trip to a communist country would cure millennials of their moral equivalence. They might start by visiting the prisons in Cuba.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com.

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