It’s not youth and inexperience. It’s not even government-run schools and idiotic celebrities. Not primarily.
Why do so many young people embrace socialism?
For the same reason any middle-aged or older person embraces socialism: Anxiety and envy.
By “anxiety” I mean neurotic anxiety, which means a false or exaggerated belief that one will be unable to properly survive or take care of oneself, so that unspecified help is needed to ensure survival.
Envy is often a byproduct of anxiety. If one starts out feeling, “I’m unable to care for myself,” then it’s not a stretch to look at someone else who has more than enough and say, “That’s not fair. He can more than provide for himself, and I’m unable to do so for myself”.
What about the fact that young people have not yet earned much money, and therefore don’t appreciate the value and justice of private ownership, i.e., being able to keep what you earn? Not all young people feel this way. Some young people understand the justice of keeping what you earn. Some do, and change their minds later and become socialists in middle-age.
Regardless, unless you have a significant amount of neurotic fear and/or envy, it’s unlikely socialism would grab your fancy for even five minutes, much less for years (and elections) on end.
It’s true that public schools are teaching the ideology of self-sacrifice and blind service to others (the same premises as Nazism and Communism) as self-evident givens in today’s government-run schools. But these faulty ideas are not new to the present era. Yet in earlier eras, the majority of young people did not turn as socialist as they appear to be doing today.
The more likely contribution of today’s mediocre schools — as well as an increasingly irrational culture — is that young people don’t know how to think. Thinking is your basic tool and precondition of survival. If you feel inadequate to think critically, rationally and objectively, you’ll develop a neurotic and pervasive sense that, “I’m not equipped to survive.” In a land of plenty, particularly, it seems logically appealing when someone comes along and says, “No worries. We’ll pick up your college tuition. And health care. And tons of other things too. You’re entitled to it, after all.” It comes as a relief to the anxiety-ridden souls who embrace socialism.
In older folk, and in some young people born into wealth, there’s the factor of guilt and atonement. That’s a form of anxiety, too. “I’m rich and I don’t deserve to be. It’s not fair.” So it becomes a form of virtue-signaling merged with a psychological tonic to make sure others see you support socialism.
It’s not that most young people are depraved and stupid any more than most older people are totally depraved and stupid. And it’s not just inexperience. It’s fear. And the envy that gets ignited by fear.
It’s truly sad. And yes, it’s dangerous for the future of a free society, but dangerous most of all for those young people who now seek to embrace socialism. It’s not going to end any better for them than it did for anyone else. And if they get their wish, and socialism gets enacted completely, then their fears will quickly become rational.
Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1, and see “Michael Hurd” on MeWe.