Trump's Most Daunting Task: Educating on Socialism
Amidst the welter of good and bad news we are assaulted with every day, by far the most dangerous long-term are the new polls showing America's youth tilting significantly toward socialism.
Not surprisingly, these same young people haven't the slightest idea of what socialism really is, its history or what it entails, which is suicidal for them more than anyone else. They are the ones who will suffer most if the USA turns into Venezuela.
Because of a sclerotic leftwing education system, our youth have been indoctrinated in a simple-minded version of socialism for decades without knowing it. Meanwhile, the right has been extraordinarily lazy in confronting this, acting in a basically uneducated manner themselves. It 's almost criminal.
Ask your average college student who is history's greatest mass murderer and almost none of them would name Mao. They have no idea what the Great Leap Forward was when some thirty million Chinese were starved to death by the Chairman in the name of socialism or why that might have happened. One could go on with the history of megadeath from Stalin to Hitler to Pol Pot (who?) -- all socialists -- and get plenty of blank stares.
Basically, our youth has suffered from a form of child abuse by their teachers and the media. They have been told, implicitly and explicitly, from earliest childhood that socialism is the preferable system because of "fairness."
The next election is likely to be some form of socialism versus capitalism, no matter who the Democrats nominate. If Bernie Sanders, it will be front and center, but it won't be far away with other candidates. Every election is said to be the most consequential. This one really is. It's about a lot more than the individuals running.
So as Lenin himself would have put it, what is to be done?
Trump has to be prepared as never before to be the spokesperson for the free market system and its attendant freedoms. This is not going to be simple. While the president can be a hugely entertaining speaker and often has excellent gut instincts, education is not his strong suit. But he's going to have to do it.
Rather than relying on obvious sloganeering, even if it's accurate, or pointing to his own business success or even a booming economy, he has to be mindful of his audience. It is not, in this instance, the "deplorables," who already understand the situation. It is the youth of America -- our future -- who must be educated from the ground up, actually re-educated.
This takes patience and it takes clarity, but is also an opportunity to make this election even more important. Our youth must be walked through basic economics and have history explained to them. (As an example, merely pointing out Bernie's love affair with the Soviet Union is not enough, since our young don't have a clue what the USSR really was. They don't even remember the Beatles song, which was based on idiotic equivalency anyway.)
To do this educating, Trump will have to rely on speech-writers and prepared remarks more than he likes. But, as I have said, this election is about far more than Donald, no matter what you think of him.
Trump must also be prepared for counter-arguments, particularly what we might call the "What About Denmark" excuse. The left, as long as most can remember, has insisted that the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Cambodia, now Venezuela, etc., etc., somehow got it wrong. There is still hope for socialism. We could be like Denmark.
To begin with, Denmark isn't really socialist anyway (I've just been there). It's head over heels with entrepreneurship and its prime minister insists it's capitalistic. To whatever extent it is socialist, it is a tiny country with a population about half of Los Angeles County's. Making an analogy from someplace so small to the giant USA is absurd. In any case, the Scandinavian countries are largely walking away from socialism and back toward free markets.
Those of us who believe in the market, even with the usual reservations, should be preparing for battle. We have in our corner that some Democrats (Omar, AOC, etc.) are heading off a cliff. That's to the good, but complacency is our enemy. As the left would say, the struggle continues (la lucha continua). Let's turn it back on them.
Roger L. Simon - co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media - is an award-winning novelist and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.