Perusing over the different news outlets for me to find something to write about, I found a very interesting piece by Rachel Bovard on The Daily Caller titled: “The Kids Are Right: Our Economic System And The Threats To Freedom.”
In the article, she says the various supposed reasons for millennials to be turning to Socialism, such as “They’re ungrateful and greedy, they don’t understand what it is, Instagram makes us covet other people’s stuff, or… millennials pick dumb and unemployable majors in the liberal arts when they should study math or learn to code,” are really unfounded and not actual reasons that tackle the overarching problem.
I understand where she’s coming from here, but I don’t totally agree with what she says. Regarding the “ungrateful and greedy” reason, I agree. It’s not that kids are ungrateful and greedy. There are plenty of people who are, indeed, ungrateful and greed has been around for millennia, so it’s not strictly a flaw unique to this young generation, but that ungratefulness, which does appear at least in a good amount of people, stems from the second reason: ignorance.
“They don’t understand what it is” and it’s entirely true. If you remember, Rasmussen had a poll back in June, which I talked about, that found 84% “of voters nationwide have a favorable opinion of free markets,” while 41% also “have a favorable view of Socialism.” Like I said in the article talking about this, it becomes clear that the problem here is ignorance as to what Socialism actually is because the Left promotes it as this fantastic system where everyone does great, has everything they need with no excess, is very happy and fulfilled. That is, as proven by history, a massive lie, but it keeps getting told generation by generation.
So while ignorance may not necessarily be the only factor here, it is important to note that it is, in fact, a considerable factor because ignorance on a subject opens the way for misinformation. If you don’t know what Socialism is, you could be told the wrong thing about it and believe it, particularly at an early age when you trust the information given to you by authority figures such as parents and teachers unquestioningly.
As far as covetousness goes, I agree with her that that “reason” is no reason at all because covetousness has been around for ages (and is part of the Ten Commandments not to covet that which is not yours), though I have personally never heard anyone use that argument, but fair enough if she has.
And picking unemployable majors is, I think, also a factor, once again disagreeing with her. When you pick to learn about “Gender Studies” as a major, you find yourself hating men (even if you are, yourself, a man), hating capitalism and wishing for a full-on communist takeover of the government and our lives. That, again, stems from ignorance on socialism. But more importantly, that also means that no good and useful skills have been learned by the students apart from how to play the victim at every turn, so no real employment opportunities rise up.
But moving on, Rachel says that “channeling self-interest into capitalism, allowing free consumer choice, letting the market respond naturally to demand, has served us well.” This comes after acknowledging the fact that the average American earns 10x more than the rest of the world. However, she argues that “there are cracks. And it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge that people – especially millennials – are falling through those cracks, and that scoffing that the system is fine, and they should stop whining and read more Milton Friedman, ignores the problem that parts of the system may indeed be out of whack.”
This is where I also have to disagree, but the interesting thing is that she also sort of disagrees herself later down the line. Before I come to the defense of capitalism (which I will, so don’t worry), allow me to share the arguments Rachel makes that are actually valid.
The millennial generation, she writes, “came of age just as the economy was slipping over the cliff of the Great Recession. We watched as the government took pains to care for the billionaire bankers and auto giants, but not the 401k’s of our parents and grandparents. The left told us to Occupy All The Things, and the right told us to sit down and mind our betters. Neither made sense.”
“We are very likely the first generation who will not create more wealth than our parents. In fact, we’re struggling to even make it to the middle class. After years of being told that college was the ticket to success, we’re drowning in debt, thanks to tuition increasing over 100% since 2001. We still can’t afford health care. In fact, we can’t even make enough money to get married, have kids, and buy a house – the very steps conservatives say will save us, and save civil society. Perhaps relatedly, suicide is now the second leading cause of death among ages 10-34. And we’re killing ourselves on opioids. Given all of this, is it any wonder even a vague understanding of socialism sounds better?”
However, as she herself acknowledges literally following that paragraph, these are the effects of government intrusion into the free market. You see, Rachel follows that by saying: “Socialism is no cure, but if we’re going to win back millennials, it has to start acknowledging the problems. Saying ‘free market’ really loudly isn’t going to suffice when much of what plagues millennials is linked to government manipulating the so-called free market – in many cases, with backing from the right.”
And THAT is the real crux of the problem. We are a capitalist nation, no doubt. However, slowly but surely, we have socialized our system more and more through government intervention. As Rachel herself acknowledges, the reason for hikes in tuition, and therefore, student debt, can be traced back to federal involvement in student loans.
And while a college education may have been considered a meal ticket back when the generation that lived through the Great Depression was saying this, it’s no longer the case for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s simply supply and demand. There is quite the supply in college degrees and graduates, so the demand for it goes down. A college education used to be a meal ticket because most people were NOT college-educated.
Another reason is actually the reason ignored earlier: that kids are picking dumb degrees. While I don’t know how many people actually pick those out of the number of people who opt instead for economics degrees or law degrees, etc., the fact that they are so encouraged is an indication that that’s a problem. No one is in need, or demand, of someone with a degree in “Gender Studies” or “Women’s Studies” or “LGBT Studies” or whatever else there may be. Those jobs, if there are any out there, are very few, and so, the people with those degrees don’t find the employment that they want, instead having to settle for minimum wage jobs and as such, subsequently demand higher wages for those jobs because they can’t get the jobs they hoped they would get.
But the biggest hurdle in young people’s way is student loan debt, which is why 2020 Democrat candidates have made it a top issue (even though they helped create the problem).
Rachel also goes on to acknowledge that health care is “an uncompetitive cluster made worse by the government. Financiers on Wall Street benefit and manufacturing jobs disappear as our economic policies allow China to use the dollar against us. The government-backed housing giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, egged on by lawmakers who did nothing in response to their role in the market crash a decade ago, are again loading up financial markets with subprime mortgages. Protecting the status quo is a wholly inadequate answer to the socialist surge when it’s the status quo that has utterly failed millennials.”
And I can’t really argue against that because she’s right. What has caused the Great Recession, and what has caused millennials to turn to a different idea, a different “solution”, is in large part due to the socialization of our capitalist system of economics.
The problem is that not enough people realize this. There are people who think everything is fine and the status quo should remain (usually, these are the NeverTrump types) and there are those who say the “system is broken” regarding capitalism when the system itself is not broken either in theory or in practice, but it’s being slowly replaced by a system these people argue is not broken: socialism.
There are people who will argue that capitalism no longer works, or that while it may have worked for a while, it’s “outstayed its welcome.” Both are explicitly untrue. Capitalism works, but not when it gets infected by socialist policies.
For the most part, as it stands, we are doing quite well economically. With record-low unemployment rates across the board, people are living better off today than at any point during the Obama presidency. That is not by accident. Trump’s sweeping deregulations, coupled with tax cuts passed back in late 2017 that went into effect in 2018 and are still around today – all of which are capitalistic policies – are helping our economy.
What needs to happen is the reverse of what millennials think needs to happen: we need to be even MORE capitalistic, not less and we certainly need to avoid socialism like the plague that it is.
Now, Rachel finishes her article by saying the following: “Capitalism has made us the richest and freest country in the world. But those on the right need to confront the flaws and excesses in the system – and posit means to address them – if they have a prayer of defending it with the rising generation.”
I agree with her first point, but she makes the mistake of conflating the socialistic policies she herself acknowledged were the cause for the problems millennials face as being part of the capitalist system itself. That is a fatal flaw if one is to defend capitalism and excoriate socialism.
The only flaws, as far as I can tell, within the system of capitalism reside in the people that employ it. We are an imperfect people, and as such, cannot create and certainly cannot perfectly employ a perfect system. But capitalism is far and away the best economic system and as close to perfection as one can get. A pure, free market is without a doubt the best way for a society to become wealthy and live well, not only freely.
Now, before you call me a hypocrite because I want the Trump government to intervene regarding social media, allow me to reiterate my overall point regarding that particular problem: there is no free market when it comes to social media. Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all monopolies and can basically do whatever they want to whomever they want. If they want to silence someone on the Right, they very-well can. No other social media company will prop up and be able to reasonably compete with these tech giants precisely because of the type of monopoly status and power they hold.
Monopolies are, by definition, anti-free markets. Monopoly definition: “the exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service.” It’s corporate socialism, which is why I argue in favor of regulation regarding these tech giants.
Capitalism, free market economics, are the absolute best way for people to live. But ignorance, coupled with misinformation and the gradual socialization of our system to cause the problems we are seeing and blaming it on the system itself is the reason for people to be turning to socialism: it SOUNDS like a better alternative to the status quo.
But again, it’s that precise system’s policies that have led to these problems in the first place. Not enough people know this and so, it becomes difficult to challenge the ideologies of the Left, at least in as far as successfully convincing people goes.
Capitalism isn’t the problem. The gradual socialization of Capitalism, aka Socialism itself, is the problem. And as such, Capitalism, and more of it, is the solution (as well as returning to God, but that’s a topic for another time).
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
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