– by Bradford Richardson
The majority of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist, communist, or fascist nation rather than a capitalistic one, according to a new poll.
In the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism,” 58% of the up-and-coming generation opted for one of the three systems, compared to 42% who said they were in favour of capitalism. The most popular socioeconomic order was socialism, with 44% support. Communism and fascism received 7% support each.
Widespread historical illiteracy
Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said the report shows millennials are “increasingly turning away from capitalism and towards socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”
“This troubling turn highlights widespread historical illiteracy in society regarding socialism and the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.
Millennials seem to admire communists
Millennials are more likely to prefer socialism and communism than the rest of the country. 59% of all respondents chose capitalism as their preferred arrangement, compared to 34% who said socialism, 4% fascism, and 3% communism. Some of communism’s luminaries are admired by millennials. Thirty-one% said they have a favourable view of Che Guevara, 32% Karl Marx, 23% Vladimir Lenin, and 19% Mao Zedong. Joseph Stalin is viewed favourably by just 6%.
Millennials can’t define socialism correctly
In the poll, only 33% of millennials were able to identify the correct definition of socialism. They fared about as well as the rest of the country, which only successfully identified socialism at a 34% clip. Gen Z, the generation after millennials, ―was the most informed group, with 43% correctly identifying socialism.
Where millennials struggled compared to other generations was in the identification of capitalism. Just 51% correctly said capitalism is the “economic system based on free markets and the rule of law with legal protections for private ownership.” That was by far the lowest of any age cohort. Americans as a whole correctly identified capitalism 67% of the time.
Millennials feel burdened by the economy
Millennials are also less likely to have a negative view of communism. Just 36% said they had a “very unfavourable” impression of the system, and only 44% said they would be insulted if described as a communist. As a whole, 56% of Americans view communism very unfavourably, and 63% would be insulted to be associated with the ideology. One possible explanation for the millennial infatuation with socialism is that 53% of the cohort reports feeling burdened by the economy. Millennials were the only age group more likely to say America’s economic system “works against me” rather than “works for me.” Gen Z had the most positive impression of the economy, with 66% saying it “works for me,” although many of them have yet to enter the workforce. The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey was conducted online from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5 by YouGov. It polled 2300 members of the general public aged 16 and above.
Have your say
- Do you support capitalism, socialism, or communism?
- Do you think that the youth are misled and misinformed?
BRADFORD RICHARDSON is a culture reporter for the Washington Times in the USA.