According to some analysts, Millennials, in an alarmingly high percentage, are favorably disposed not only towards socialism, but also towards Communism. Which is “more or less like being favorably disposed towards tetanus or smallpox,” writes Roger Kimball in American Greatness.
The people who say they like it, most of them, haven’t been exposed to it. In essence, socialism is just Communism without the latter’s monopoly on power. And Communism is the most soul-blighting political philosophy ever invented by the crooked ingenuity of man.
How is this perverse efflorescence of fondness for socialism to be explained? These spoiled brats know nothing of want or deprivation. They see no reason why they should not project their sense of entitlement on society as a whole. If society fails to live up to their airy standards, society must be to blame.
Another part of the story involves the failure of schools to teach their charges about the history of Communism and the rudiments of civics. The stupendous intellectual, moral, and political labor that stands behind the creation of the American republic—locating, for the first time, sovereignty in the people—is an eloquent and effective counterweight to the illusory blandishments of socialism. But if that story is neglected, or perverted in the telling, then it is no surprise that young (and some not so young) people embrace high-sounding delusion in place of steady if prosaic reality.
But there is an even more fundamental education that concerns not school curricula but the nurturing of civilizational values.
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle notes that good education means having been trained from childhood to like and dislike the proper things. More and more, alas, our country has reneged on that fundamental responsibility. Large swathes of our society, especially elite society, are reticent about as well as ignorant of the vital achievements of our civilization. Resuscitating that lost confidence is at the center of the task that confronts the friends of liberty. We need to learn again to like the right things and abhor the bad.
There is a silver lining, as Mr. Kimball puts it in the insane sobbing of would-be socialists and anti-Trump agitators. These Millennials offer “clarifying examples of what not to like. For that, anyway, we owe them thanks.”
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