This is astounding. Half a world away in Hong Kong, young protesters facing off against the brutal Chinese communist regime fly the American flag and sing our national anthem. They want the freedoms we take for granted.
Meanwhile, here in the (for now?) land of the free, young protesters in Portland fly the communist hammer and sickle flag and pine for hard-edged socialism to displace capitalism — and viciously assault a gay Asian journalist for accurately capturing their protest. Socialism’s advocates tend to put a smiley face on the “free stuff” promises, but when the happy mask comes off, a raging monster is revealed.
Along comes a poll commissioned by Young America’s Foundation that ought to disturb all American adults outside the Berkeley faculty lounge: a plurality of Gen Z has a positive view of socialism.
40 percent of college-aged students had a positive view of socialism. 35 percent of all respondents said they viewed the economic system positively. Yet, when asked to define socialism, 10 percent of these students answered it simply meant “free stuff” and 27 percent said they were “don’t know/unsure.”
That’s the bad news. It gets worse before it gets better. These young Americans, aged 13 to 22, report they have very few meaningful conversations about capitalism and socialism, they feel peer pressure not to speak up, and get much of their information from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.
Social media platforms are notorious for censoring and de-platforming conservative opinion. And where Twitter is concerned, Pew Research says just 22% of Americans even use the platform, and those users are much more likely to be Democrats, and just 10% of Twitter users overall dominate conversations there. So simple math suggests if you’re getting your information from Twitter, it’s more likely to skew left than right. Twitter’s echo chamber mentality reinforces this.
Six-in-ten adults on Twitter say they are Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, compared with 52% of all Americans, according to the late 2018 survey. And on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 (“very conservative”) to 10 (“very liberal”), only 14% of adult Twitter users in the U.S. place themselves between 0 and 2, compared with one-in-four Americans overall.
So…Twitter won’t deliver balanced information.
The same YAF poll did find some good news.
The polling indicates that 80 percent of Gen Z have a favorable view of small business, 73 percent have a favorable view of entrepreneurs, and 61 percent have a favorable view of free markets.
Small business is the heart of opportunity and capitalism.
The poll also found:
…that the more informed somebody was on socialism, the less likely it was they thought it would benefit the country.
And something as simple as a conversation could change Gen Z minds. Accurate information really is power.
Those conversations can happen, and some are. In Texas, entrepreneur turned public servant Ryan Sitton* has been holding college campus events to have these very conversations and speaking out for capitalism whenever he gets the opportunity. Rep. Dan Crenshaw takes on socialist “squad” leader Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter just about every day. They’re using the language of opportunity and freedom to drive home the truth that socialism is the opposite of everything they really want. “Free stuff” is never free. If you know of other young leaders out there who are speaking up for capitalism, mention them in the comments. Let’s crowdsource capitalism’s champions.
We obviously need more of these conversations, from homes to public school and college campus classrooms and social media until we all get de-platformed. We have to empower our kids with knowledge and the confidence to speak up. We have to explain to them why Hong Kong is rising up against China, and why they’re flying our flag when they do. We have to show them what’s happening in Venezuela and make the connection between its collapse and chaos, and the policy program the Democrats are trying to push on America right now. It’s an easy case to make. Venezuela attempted to eradicate “income inequality” starting in 2001 by giving away “free stuff” — “free” education, “free” health care, “free” electricity — and all of those “free” things destroyed Venezuela’s economy and ripped real freedom out of their hands.
The same thing will happen to the United States if the socialist Democrats get their way. Gen Z deserves the opportunity to thrive and not be subjugated by the dishonesty and brutality that comprise socialism.
This won’t be easy. All of our attention spans can be measured in nanoseconds now, thanks to our technology and social media. Our smartphones are making us stupid.
But if we love our freedom we have to do it.
*Disclosure: The author manages communications for Ryan Sitton.