While this may not be very surprising, but still disappointing to see, socialism is being viewed more and more favorably by some people, and the kind of college major one goes into tends to have some sort of impact on it, according to a recent survey from College Pulse.
The survey of over 10,000 college students, so a massive sample size, asked students a series of questions relating to socialism and their views on it. All in all, they found that 39% of college students have a favorable view of socialism, 39% have an unfavorable view and 18% are not sure. With these couple of numbers alone, I can say an awful lot. But I will simply say that that is both considerably less than what I expected (referring to the number of students who hold a favorable view) but also far too high for my liking.
But what kind of major a student chooses will seemingly have some impact as to what view they hold on socialism. According to the poll, 78% of philosophy majors have a favorable view of socialism (not very surprising at all, considering Marx was a philosopher more than an economist). That number is followed by 64% of Anthropology majors who view socialism favorably, 58% of English majors, 58% of International Relations majors, 57% of Sociology majors and 57% of Music majors.
However, there are four majors listed in the survey who have a more unfavorable view of socialism, and they are majors that maybe we shouldn’t be surprised to find here: Law/Criminology, who hold a 43% unfavorable view on socialism (compared to only 28% who favor it) and 29% who are unsure; Economics, with 61% unfavorable view of socialism; Finance, with 63% unfavorable view of socialism and Accounting, with 61% unfavorable view of socialism (and 20% are unsure).
This really shouldn’t surprise anyone for a number of reasons. First, socialism is an economic system. Those studying economics ought to have a much better understanding of socialism in comparison to capitalism than those who are not studying economics. Second, those who study economics understand that socialism is an economic system. Before you say that that is the same as my first point, allow me to elaborate. What I mean by that is in reference to an article I wrote about a month ago in late June about how even those who say they are socialist also favor free market economics, signifying that those people don’t view socialism as an economic system but as a government system where the government takes care of people that need help.
Obviously, for those who understand socialism, it’s not at all about that. Socialism is an economic system where the government owns the means of production, so everything that is made and sold goes through them and they benefit from it. A system where the government owns every industry and regulates things like prices and how much an employee makes in a government-owned industry.
For those who do not view socialism as an economic system, such as those who do not study economics or finance, they view socialism as government being good to people who need help and thus have to be funded by those who are already well-to-do anyway like the upper class and even the middle class.
And one can’t really blame people for holding this belief. Socialism is sold as a great system where everyone and everything is equal, where one doesn’t have more than another but doesn’t have so little that they can’t live or survive at all. And often, it’s sold as the idea that the government can afford to give everyone everything for free, including health care and insurance, phones, vehicles (eco-friendly ones, of course) and even fancy high-rise apartment buildings (that are also eco-friendly, of course) and we are not supposed to even question how it can all happen or where the government is going to get the money to do it. “The rich will pay for it” is the standard answer given, even though the rich, even by confiscating everything they have to the point where they are penniless, still can’t afford to pay for even Medicare-for-All, let alone every other socialist wish-list item.
Those who think in terms of philosophy will look at minimum wage and think “people should be paid more than this” even though they are looking at the MINIMUM of people’s wages, not the average. They will look at someone like Donald Trump (before he was President) and think “no one should be able to live like that without government assistance, so they must have stolen from someone else!” (That is literally the belief of many people who support socialism, that someone is rich only because they stole from other people, not because they worked towards becoming rich).
I mean, take a look at one student that College Pulse quoted: “Capitalism is a failure of a system. If you weren’t born rich, you [aren’t] gonna be rich, so we should be focusing on helping our neighbors,” adding that those who defend capitalism defend “a system designed to keep them poor and exhausted.”
I don’t know what that kid’s major is, but I can almost guarantee it’s not Economics. What he says is adamantly untrue. Capitalism is the greatest economic system out there (not without its flaws, of course, but far better than what socialism does). People can, in contrast to what the kid was saying, become rich even if they weren’t born rich. Look at people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs and virtually every single person that has had a high-level position of pretty much any company. Virtually none of them were born rich. Gates, Jobs and other entrepreneurs began their businesses from their parents’ garage. Others began their businesses in their kitchens. Others rose up the corporate ladder to reach high positions in companies and make multiple hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars a year.
Just look at someone like Intel’s current CEO, Robert Swan. According to Business Insider, he makes over $4.6 million a year in salary and can earn more than $28 million in stocks. That’s more than most of us will make throughout our lifetimes, isn’t it? So being the CEO of a massive company will make you a lot of money (go figure) almost regardless of your background.
So to say that if you aren’t born rich you will not be rich in the future is a nonsensical and untrue statement. And as far as the comment about capitalism being a system “designed to keep them poor and exhausted”, it absolutely does not do that. Capitalism is designed to help people who have the ambition, drive and work skills and ethics to amass wealth to actually do so without a pesky government stealing from them. It’s getting harder and harder in America to do so only because of increasingly more socialistic policies being put into place (minimum wage, for example).
In a pure capitalistic system, people’s financial fates are largely in their hands and not in the hands of others. In a pure communist system, there is no such thing as private ownership of anything (and it’s a system that literally cannot work for any amount of time, as Lenin saw when his new Soviet Union was collapsing hard with that system, so he had to allow for some private ownership of land).
Those who study economics tend to understand how capitalism works (and will not say stupid things like what the aforementioned student said) and will understand how socialism works, which is why most tend to not hold socialism in a positive light. They understand that the hardships that the Soviet citizens had to endure, and what the Venezuelan citizens currently have to endure, are not because of anything apart from their own, heavily-flawed systems of economics that only serve to destroy wealth, not create it.
And while there are those who will say: “No! The U.S. is the reason Venezuela is like it is now,” All I have to say is: if America can do something like that to Venezuela, why couldn’t it do it to non-socialist countries? If America had this sort of power to affect other countries, why have we only seen socialist/communist countries fail? And if it has this sort of power, how did it get such power in the first place? How is our economy or our government or military as powerful as it is when we’ve only employed capitalism, a system that is “clearly flawed”, a “failure of a system” and “designed” to keep people poor?
These are the types of questions that, when asked to these people, will get you punched in the face because they have no good answer to it and they will sometimes (not always) resort to violence because you’ve exposed the irrationality of their arguments.
But fair questions they most certainly are and not questions that will likely ever be answered in a truthful and non-b.s. manner. Because the truth is that a system of economics designed to destroy wealth is not going to work. A country whose government taxes people more and more money, takes away their freedoms and rights, takes away their private property and funds itself through a pie that is slowly but surely diminishing is going to collapse at one point or another. It’s the reason Margaret Thatcher once said: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Those who study economics, finance, accounting, etc. (and history should also be on that list) will have a good understanding of what socialism actually is. Those who do not study it are more likely to fall for the bullcrap being spread around the media and college campuses.
It really is a shame that so many philosophy majors favor socialism, considering its once great ties to theology. Theology requires a very deep understanding of philosophy and logic (and considering philosophy literally means “love of knowledge”, that makes it even more disappointing because these students have no real knowledge of what they are talking about).
Still, I’m glad to see that there is at least SOME logic still applied in colleges around the country, even if those who study the major that most ought to be studying logic fail miserably at it.
“Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
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