Why So Many Millennials Are Socialists

Fascinating analysis from The Federalist into why so many are “feeling the Bern” these days. It’s because these voters are just plain ignorant:

First, millennials don’t seem to know what socialism is, and how it’s different from other styles of government. The definition of socialism is government ownership of the means of production—in other words, true socialism requires that government run the businesses. However, a CBS/New York Times survey found that only 16 percent of millennials could accurately define socialism, while 30 percent of Americans over 30 could. (Incidentally, 56 percent of Tea Partiers accurately defined it. In fact, those most concerned about socialism are those best able to explain it.)

With so few able to define socialism, perhaps less surprisingly a Reason-Rupe national survey found college-aged millennials were about as likely to have a favorable view of socialism (58 percent) as they were about capitalism (56 percent). While attitudes toward capitalism remain fairly constant across age groups, support for socialism drops off significantly when moving to older age cohorts. Only about a quarter of Americans older than 55 have a favorable view of socialism.


Conservatives often use the word “socialist” like an epithet, but they don’t realize that neither their audience nor even their political opponents really know what the word even means. This may help explain the inability of free-market advocates to communicate with them using phrases like “big government,” “socialism,” and “collectivism.”

So what do millennials think socialism is? A 2014 Reason-Rupe survey asked respondents to use their own words to describe socialism and found millennials who viewed it favorably were more likely to think of it as just people being kind or “being together,” as one millennial put it. Others thought of socialism as just a more generous social safety net where “the government pays for our own needs,” as another explained it.

So once again, we fall victim to the failure of the American education system. Socialism is a kinder gentler society, nothing to do with the failed states of every socialist government over past 94 years.

I wonder which of these 35 countries the students would like for us to emulate (via Wikipedia’s List of Socialist States):

Country From Until
Soviet Union 30-Dec-22 26-Dec-91
Mongolia 24-Nov-24 12-Feb-92
Yugoslavia 29-Nov-43 29-Nov-45
Albania 29-Nov-44 11-Jan-46
Poland 28-Jun-45 30-Dec-89
North Vietnam 2-Sep-45 30-Apr-75
Yugoslavia 29-Nov-45 7-Apr-63
Albania 11-Jan-46 28-Dec-76
Bulgaria 15-Sep-46 7-Dec-90
Romania 30-Dec-47 21-Aug-65
Czechoslovakia 9-Jun-48 11-Jul-60
North Korea 9-Sep-48 19-Feb-92
Hungary 20-Aug-49 23-Oct-89
People’s Republic of China 1-Oct-49 Present
East Germany 7-Oct-49 3-Oct-90
Czechoslovakia 11-Jul-60 29-Mar-90
Yugoslavia 7-Apr-63 27-Apr-92
Romania 21-Aug-65 30-Dec-89
Republic of Cuba 1-Jul-66 Present
South Yemen 30-Nov-67 1-Dec-70
Somalia 21-Oct-69 26-Jan-91
Congo-Brazzaville 3-Jan-70 15-Mar-92
South Yemen 1-Dec-70 22-May-90
Ethiopia 28-Jun-74 22-Feb-87
Cambodia 17-Apr-75 10-Jan-79
Mozambique 25-Jun-75 1-Dec-90
Angola 11-Nov-75 27-Aug-92
Benin 30-Nov-75 1-Mar-90
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 2-Dec-75 Present
Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2-Jul-76 Present
Albania 28-Dec-76 22-Mar-92
Afghanistan 27-Apr-78 30-Nov-87
Cambodia 10-Jan-79 1-May-89
Ethiopia 22-Feb-87 27-May-91
Afghanistan 30-Nov-87 28-Apr-92


Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Thirty-five tries. Of those, 31 have already been resigned to history’s dustbin, 3 of the 4 current socialist states are clearly outright failures (Cuba, Laos, N. Vietnam) and China (not exactly socialist given the number of very, very rich party members and more than 82 million people living below the poverty line on just $1/day) is circling the drain while we hope that we don’t go down with it.

Education fail.

Posted February 23rd, 2016 Filed in Education, Government