Why are so many college students enamored with communism and socialism?

In a previous post I reprinted with permission a terrific piece by James Davenport lamenting that most of his young college students lack an understanding of the basic principles of capitalism. It’s actually worse than Professor Davenport says in his column from the Foundation for Economic Liberty.

Today’s millennials and college students not only do not understand capitalism, they are enamored with the very ideologies that made the 20th Century the bloodiest in world history. They seem to have no concept of freedom and how fragile one’s liberty, aye life itself, can be under communist or socialist regimes.

Laura Nicolae is a student at Harvard who does understand all this because she comes from a family that experienced communist oppression first hand. She understands that these regimes brainwash, torture, and murder their citizens because collectivist regimes are no more than countries under the rule of a criminal gang.

Ms. Nicolae tells her story in The Harvard Crimson. 100 Years. 100 Million Lives. Think Twice.

Here she explains her misguided classmates:

Walk around campus, and you’re likely to spot Ché Guevara on a few shirts and button pins. A sophomore jokes that he’s declared a secondary in “communist ideology and implementation.” The new Leftist Club on campus seeks “a modern perspective” on Marx and Lenin to “alleviate the stigma around the concept of Leftism.” An author laments in these pages that it’s too difficult to meet communists here. For many students, casually endorsing communism is a cool, edgy way to gripe about the world.

After spending four years on a campus saturated with Marxist memes and jokes about communist revolutions, my classmates will graduate with the impression that communism represents a light-hearted critique of the status quo, rather than an empirically violent philosophy that destroyed millions of lives.

Statistics show that young Americans are indeed oblivious to communism’s harrowing past. According to a YouGov poll, only half of millennials believe that communism was a problem, and about a third believe that President George W. Bush killed more people than Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who killed 20 million. If you ask millennials how many people communism killed, 75 percent will undershoot.

Do read the whole thing.

If you enter the title of this post into a Google search the first 6 articles offer positive views of socialism. If you enter the same search request in DuckDuckGo you’ll get a much more balanced view of why young people are falling for the false god of socialism.

I think at least part of the answer is that millennials and today’s college students were all born after 1980. That means their parents were baby boomers, a generation that grew up sheltered too much by their World War II generation parents who had seen the realities of communism but failed to convey that story to their children. As parents themselves the baby boomers didn’t know or didn’t care to focus on those realities. As a result their children lack sufficient information to inform their thinking about socialism.

If the next generation is this ignorant I’ll be thankful to not be around, to not be forced to live by its rules.

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