I received a pretty interesting email question the other day from a reader about why millennials are socialist, and I thought it’d make for a good article
Their email went something like this:
Hey Avi, I read your email about socialism [this one] and I was curious about why you think millennials are moving toward socialist policies?
And it’s a great question. For one, we live in an age unlike anything our ancestors could have ever imagined. Things are looking great, for now. Work hours have been reduced, health has improved, and quality of living has been steadily rising. Even crime has been dropping for some years. Why the sudden shift away from capitalism which has given us all of these benefits?
I feel like there are a few things at play here.
1. The Living Situation Has Improved – Drastically
The first being the ‘Story of Nations’. I’ve explained this trend in the post here pretty sufficiently.
The US has reached an “easy life”, and an easy life tends to bring about weak men – which directly lead to political deterioration. It’s a trend that most nations throughout history have endured, and it may be time for the US (and most western nations) to endure it as well.
So a rise of weak men is definitely a telling sign here. There have been a ton of studies done on the subject, and they’ve shown that men with low testosterone, or “weak men”, overwhelming lean left. Especially when considering race: white men that have low testosterone are the backbones of socialist movements.
So then the question arises: how’d we get so soft? Easy: we haven’t had to struggle much. Because things have been going so well. [Because of capitalism – the same thing they are now fighting].
Ironic, isn’t it? But life would be quite dull without a little irony.
Sure, everyone has plenty of personal problems and struggles in life. That’s no question. But you don’t have all of those problems and have to fist-fight wolves or work for 14 hour days just to put food on the table.
This just naturally makes us a bit weaker. It’s not a bad thing – Hell I’m glad I don’t have to do either of those things.
And it pushes some of these men to the left.
2. Pure Economics
Hayek is one of my favorite economists of all time. He explained the ‘capitalism leading to socialism’ cycle very fluently:
Productive people desire to be productive and be rewarded for their production.
Capitalism then begins and those productive people make a lot of money, because of their strong drive. Simultaneously, the non-productive inhabitants become (relatively) poor in comparison to the rich producers. (Even though they are still “richer” than their non-capitalist counterparts).
The big producers start to “feel bad“, and opt to redistribute some of their wealth to the poor.
Over generations, these people that receive the distributions form a political block (democratic party, anybody?)
This bloc will vote for more distribution.
A tipping point must be reached wherein a majority of people align with the distributors mindset, and a majority will vote resources to itself at the expense of the minority (the ablest producers)
We already have that in the USA. We have a voting bloc that is favorable toward redistribution, and the classes have already been marginalized sufficiently to support this.
So many young individuals (millennials) feel this pressure. They feel as though they can never achieve the status of being a top producer, so instead – I’ll vote to take their work from them and claim that it is “moral“.
This factor is definitely a big driving force behind the socialist leanings of millennials. More kids are being trained into the free rider position, instead of the productive person position.
Kind of inline with the above, there is a strong emotional connection to socialism as well. It’s viewed as ethical to help out the poor/disadvantaged.
It matches the “virtue signalling” aspect of the youth. Make yourself look good, even if you are not a good person.
Any analysis of socialism shows it has never worked, nor is it sustainable for long periods. So it can’t be an intellectual or factual position. It’s merely emotional. “I feel like we should do something”, without respect for the consequences.
I feel like this falls into the education curriculum a lot. Emotion and empathy are sometimes used to trump logic. And to a large degree, it is one of the most important fighting stones against socialism.
If we lose education, we will lose the founding principles that have made the successes in America possible. And we have lost education, to a decent margin.
4. It’s Easy
You don’t have to work that much in socialism, and still can get money. And better yet – no one will really get much more money than you.
But of course no one thinks that it will lead to misery, they just expect the gravy train to keep running. So it’s an easy position to hold.
And millennials like things that are easy. Trust me, I am a millennial.
It’s also much easier to fit in, as it’s a popular position to have (bandwagon fallacy, much?). It’s hard to be seen as the “hardass without empathy”, which I’ve been referred too before. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to avoid that confrontation, but I do think it makes them weak for avoiding it.
You have to stand up for what you believe in at some point, it’s a lot easier to do it now rather than later when your tax rate is 80%.
It’s a lot easier to say that we deserve something, than to have to work to earn something. Because if you work hard to earn something, you don’t want it to be taken away and given to those people who yell about ‘deserving’ it. So being a socialist is an easy cop-out position, even if it results in economic dis-propensity.
5. Single-Family Homes
Kids raised without one of their parents are almost always on some form of governmental handout.
As these numbers increase, more youth think that money is deserved – not earned. And millennials are one of the biggest generations of children raised in these broken homes.
And they are also becoming one of the biggest contributors to further exacerbate this problem.
6. Fallout From Religion
It would be disingenuous of me to not disclose religions part in this analysis.
Secularism has been rising since the falling out of Catholicism.
Traditional Christian practices were always a unifying force within the US. Without them, we lack the kind of brotherhood we had before.
This demise definitely aided in the problem of #5, but it also comes with its own issues. Without religion, we judge our neighbors much more harshly. We dislike that they have things we don’t.
It is a comparison problem.
Without religion, it’s hard to find a purpose. A meaning. Instead, we attach ourselves to whatever we can find that will fulfill that void.
It makes it easier to strive for socialism instead of bettering ones-self. It makes it easier to fill that empty void in our hearts and minds with a political position. We need faith in something. Some choose religion, some choose politics.
Have you ever talked to a big environmentalist? It’s practically a faith in itself.
7. Capitalism is Terrifying
Think about it: it’s a governmental structure that pretty much says “do whatever you want to do, the government is staying out of it”.
That’s scary to people that value control. And millennials have grown up in controlled environments their entire lives.
From daycare, to school, to college – everything has been rigidly controlled. Helicopter parents, don’t play outside because it’s dangerous, don’t do this, don’t do that.
Every single thing growing up has been heavily regimented for my generation. We value when things are stable and controlled.
And then capitalism is a free for all.
Capitalism requires that people be self-controlled, not outside-coerced. And the entire learning curve of kids has been “control them”. Not teach them how to control themselves.
You have to have the strength to fend for yourself in capitalist countries. And a generation of kids that have not had to do that will not understand this mentality until they get older and have to actually fend for themselves.
So of course a lot of young kids are scared of it. Their own parents have practically taught them to be.
However, I think this one is possible to “grow out of”. As we see, when people get older they usually get more conservative. It just takes that experience. The initial hurdle.
But when analyzing the aspects of why millennials are socialist, you have to include this. They are still young. How would they know yet? They want things to be controlled for them, including the economy if need be. So then they wouldn’t have to worry about it.
But as they get older, the worry fades and they realize they do have what it takes.
And they then realize that capitalism isn’t the scary one, socialism is.
There are a lot of different reasons why the youth turn to socialism. However, I feel these 7 are some of the most prominent.
It’s possible for some of these to improve on their own. Such as #7 – as they grow out of it.
But some of them are more intrinsic problems with the society as a whole.
And the only way to fix those types of issues is to adjust societal values, and to educate people. They have to be educated of the consequences of socialism and the benefits of capitalistic structures.
That’s the point of this article. Maybe some of it will resonate with a young socialist and they can see their own picture in these words.