Teach the Children Well

It is said that those who ignore, or are ignorant of, history are doomed to repeat it

I’ve been in a funk waiting for Election Day to get here so I’d know just how bad it’s going to be, right? Well, my funk got even better when a series of headlines caught my eye – in general, as put by one website: “Millenials Pretty Cool with Socialism.”

Oh, of course! Raised by draft-card burning, long-haired Boomers, swaddled in Red diapers? Whodathunkit? Never mind that even well-raised, patriotic millenials have been hit pretty hard by the Great Recession. No matter your upbringing, if you can’t find a job of any kind at any pay, free stuff has a certain appeal, eh? Feel the Bern!

These articles started popping up after the release of a survey from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, their “Annual report on US attitudes toward Socialism.” This is the first annual survey of its kind and an interesting read overall, but the media take-away was that the youngest (age 16-20) millenials are more willing to vote for a socialist (45 percent) or communist (21 percent) than other “generations.”

Does that matter? Yes. The millenial cohort is now 15 to 35 years old, numbering 70 million according to the Wall Street Journal – these voters and their ideology will be around for a long time.

The survey found 42 percent of millennials were “unfamiliar” with Mao Zedong, aka Mao Tse-Tung aka Chairman Mao. Seriously? Millions of Americans have no idea who wrote the Little Red Book and, among other things orchestrated the disastrous, murderous mid-1960s Cultural Revolution – an intellectual cleansing that actually set back China decades at best? No clue of the dictator responsible for killing 65 million?

Even more mind-blowing, of those “familiar” with the Chairman, 18 percent rated him favorably. Still? Are there that many morons in America?

There’s more – 40 percent didn’t know who Che Guevara was. Of the 60 percent who did, 37 percent rated him favorably. You know, the guy on the T-shirt, who just so happened to run Castro’s secret police? Bored with extrajudicial executions, Che later ran off to try to start a revolution in Bolivia. Too bad for him it didn’t work out.

But it’s not just the “millennials.” Overall, across all age groups, survey respondents actually believe Adolf Hitler killed more innocents than Joseph Stalin. Thirty-two percent got that wrong. And there’s more – fully 26 percent of respondents (millennials, 32 percent) believe George W. Bush killed more innocents than Uncle Joe.

The truth? Adolf, 6 million, just counting Jews. Joe, 20 to 40 million plus. Dubya? A million, but only, only, only if you believe the looniest Code Pinkers.

The survey finding that hit hardest was that 64 percent agreed with “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Who said that, kids? Go to my column on the Beacon website and put your answer with your name in the comments section, if you dare.

Pair that with 68 percent who agreed “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” Hmmm, who do you think said that? And no cheating with Google.

Personally, I’d love to know the percentage of geniuses who agreed with BOTH those statements – at least 14 percent willing to agree with something because it sounds cool.

Shameful.

It is said that those who ignore, or are ignorant of, history are doomed to repeat it. The hardest history there is to ignore is that which you experience, and the millennials are too young for that. The task then becomes to teach the children well, but that’s not happening.

How else could it be possible for 91 percent of the Depression generation to feel Communism is “still a problem in the world today,” even 80 percent of beatnik Boomers, but only 55 percent of millennials?

These are young Americans, fresh out of our “educational system,” ignorant about something that really matters in the real world: The more control any government has over the lives of its citizens, the more totalitarian the society. The more totalitarian, the more likely there will be slaughter.

  • geraldcuvillier

    Socialism only works until you run out of other people’s money.

    • Rhett the Butler

      Just for the record.

      Margaret Thatcher once said that ‘The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money’.

  • Brother Mateo

    Well said. America is most likely to lose such treasured things as liberty and freedom because of apathy, stupidity, and the belief that “it can’t happen here”. The zombie like adoration of people like Hillary and/or obama serves as a warning.

    • reggiewhitefish

      Your second sentence describes exactly how we in the reality based community see Donald Trump’s scary rise to power. I truly believe, if he wins, that in one year none of us will recognize our own nation.

      Not a Hillary supporter, as if she wins we will get more of the same supply side B.S. that has cursed America for 40 years….. But she is not a Fascist.

  • Christopher Cunningham

    There is a lot of ground to cover here Dave. I considered writing in to the paper for this one but there wouldn’t really be a point. Not many people in the valley would care what I have to say and it wouldn’t change anyone’s mind. Still, can we discuss the topic here?

    For one thing polls on socialism are misleading because tons of folks confuse it with social democracy. When millennials support Sanders and socialism they are after a mixed-market system and economic rights beyond what are safeguarded in the U.S. today. They have in mind is what Western Europe after World War II.

    The same problem pops up when polls on socialism are taken in Latin America. Most countries down there have populations that approve of socialism much more so than capitalism. Yet again, their notion of what “socialism” means isn’t the same as what it actually is in the real world. This takes us back to social democracy.

    Social democracy used to be a form of socialism but long ago morphed into a moderate compromise between the far-left and far-right. The state serves to uphold human rights interpreted more broadly than in the U.S. and the public sector is sizable. Yet economic classes collaborate peacefully and most property remains private.

    Real socialism is about social ownership and having an economic model intended to be of service to everyone’s interests. State control of course comes to mind, and that is an option, but there are alternatives like social enterprises, syndicates, guilds, or producer cooperatives. Central planning is also optional; markets are fine.

    As for the supporters of infamous political celebrities, to that I’ll say that some people should know better and others should be ashamed of themselves. I revile Che, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and a great many other revolutionary figures. It’s loathsome that so many radical believe that their goals justify use of extreme measures.

    In regards to the quotes my opinions are mixed. Marx’s is too idealistic for this age but society should guarantee the basic material needs of people to all. The other – I don’t know who said it – sounds like it came from a classical liberal. Freedom and equality in the forms I care about are codependent. Neither stands alone.

    Finally, the generational gap in opinions offered near the end of your opinion piece hint at the life experiences people have gone through. There is far less propaganda against reds today than all those decades ago and without the Soviet Union around to be giving socialists a bad image young folk are less biased against us.

    Now looking back on all of this, of course there is a need for better education. Just as a lot of Millennials don’t understand socialism neither do you – having conflated it with the Marxist-Leninist dogma and its ideological offshoots. Red convictions span the spectrum of state power all the way from totalitarianism to anarchism.

    It’d be great if people could have lessons in civics that include neutral overviews of many different flavours of politics. As things stand it seems like there’s a tug of war among a lot of groups to have schools indoctrinate young people in one way of thought or another. If I hadn’t gone into a poli sci programme I’d also be misled.

    • reggiewhitefish

      Stirring post, thank you.

      It seems to me that the public in general is more and more disappointed if our form of capitalism than supporting another form of organizing government and markets. After all, what else could be expected when 85% of U.S, citizens have not received any benefit from increased production in 40 years while the top few percent has taken trillions over the same time frame.

      When the system is rigged against such a large majority, raising dissatisfaction is the only possible result. If government cannot correct this failed economic system, what other avenues to prosperity exist for the masses than violence? Both parties selling out the public to the wishes of big moneyed interests is an ever increasing danger and will not be allowed to continue indefinitely….if history is any indication of the future.

      • Christopher Cunningham

        Yeah – violence becomes more attractive to people the more convinced they become there isn’t anything peaceful they can do to set things right. It goes both for radicals and also for those Bundy sorts of traditionalists who band together into anti-statist militias. There are already environmentalists and anti-abortionists who think terrorism is the only way to make a difference.

        I wouldn’t say the established system has failed outright, though it’s flawed enough for folks to have legitimate grievances that will haunt us until some kind of action is taken. Maybe another problem with the two major parties right now – by the way – is that like their counterparts in Europe they offer stale ideas and neglect to lay out bold visions for a brighter future.

        Corruption is certainly an issue in its own right and should concern folks regardless of where they stand on other issues. It is the bane of human development and ruins governments of all kinds. :

    • Perrico de los Palotes

      You’re right about one thing: nobody cares what you have to say LOL!

      • Not Me!

        Deplorable Perrico

    • MT Native

      Do you really believe socialism in any form will work? Venezuela? Any examples of socialist governments that worked for extended time?
      In concept it would be great unfortunately it never does. Wouldn’t it be great if we all got along and no one turned into a socialist bureaucrat and abused their government powers? Yes, but has not happened yet – has it?

      • Christopher Cunningham

        Sure, though because the variant I’ve got in mind has never been given a chance to run its course it is impossible to provide an example. There are many reasons why historic attempts fell short of expectations but I won’t make excuses for the mistakes of other people, nor for the socialists who remain on course to repeat those mistakes in new places.

        • MT Native

          Well said. Good luck

  • Gravelly Joe

    The more likely there will be slaughter, really? So the death toll from Afghanistan and Iraq is considered what? Since those wars were created by older generations the deaths associated with them are not considered slaughter? What are they considered? non-human? Unchristian? Help me out here Dave, I’m really having a hard time understanding your blame casting.

  • Caddisfly

    Typical right wing zealot, does not know the difference between western European Socialism and communism. For the record there is a much greater difference between those two philosophies than the difference between American right wing capitalism and Italian Fascism. If Trump is elected there will be no difference as he is the reincarnation of Benito Mussolini.

  • Mike Mayes

    I normally don’t like to get involved in this kind of food fight, but please see the following: communiststats.com

    • reggiewhitefish

      Mussolini’s definition of fascism (paraphrased maybe) : “Fascism could more correctly be called corporatism, as it is the combination of corporate power and state power.”…..and he made the term known originally.

      • Dave_Skinner

        What do you call the combination of foreign state power and cronyism exemplified by the Clinton Foundation, Reg? Seems you don’t need a swastika to be a rentier cronyist, mmm?

        • reggiewhitefish

          Concocted Myth.

  • Joel

    Don’t forget to ask the millennials what they know about McCarthyism, HUAC and blacklisting. Oh, and don’t forget to ask about Jim Crow. There are many dangers to the people when the government ignores the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.