How is this real life?
Tyler M., a self-described socialist, commented on one of our Facebook posts, “9 million people starve to death yearly under capitalism. By that metric alone, capitalism has killed more people in the last 11 years than socialism/communism has in the past 100.”
Tyler wasn’t alone. You see, every so often someone will see one of our pro-capitalism quotes and share it to a pro-socialist or pro-communist group that they’re in. The result is a flood of leftists jumping onto our post to advocate seizing the means of production and throwing around words like “bourgeois,” “comrade,” and “labour” in an unironic way.
In the case of this post, Tyler and about a hundred of his comrades posted a few hundred comments on our page. There were several people who tried to share personal or family stories of escaping socialist or communist regimes in the hopes of educating those who had been raised in relative comfort, abundance, and security, about the realities of the systems they were ignorantly advocating—they told how grateful they are for the freedom and abundance they enjoy in the United States, and how disturbing they find the creeping in of socialism and even communism as viable “alternatives” to capitalism amongst today’s young people.
Each time a survivor tried to share their story, they were mocked, belittled, and slurred by this miniature Red Army. One commenter dismissed a man whose family had escaped Yugolsavia by informing him that only the food-hoarders and landowners were unhappy under socialism and communism, and so if his family had escaped it must have been because they were part of the greedy elite.
Of course I know better than to put any stock in the contentions of keyboard warriors and online trolls, but the comments on that post did give me pause. A few weeks ago, a survey conducted by the Victims of Communism and Socialism found that 70% of Millennials are likely to vote socialist, and that 1 in 3 have a favorable view of communism. Those numbers are staggering.
What I saw on that Facebook thread was a unified and organized group (armed with bad memes, quotes, and links) of young adults who truly believed the things they were saying. I realized that somewhere along the way, a whole lot of kids and teens had been presented with an alternate history of socialism and communism—a purposeful rewriting meant to indoctrinate them against free enterprise and into total submission to totalitarian government as the only way to allegedly solve the injustices of the world.
They had been carefully and purposely taught a completely revisionist history of ideologies which have caused some of the greatest human suffering the world has ever seen, and at the same time, brainwashed into believing that capitalism is responsible for the deaths of millions and the suffering of hundreds of millions of others.
When I wrote The Tuttle Twins and the Search for Atlas, I chose to include a brief account of the selfishness and suffering that accompanies socialism. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that there were a growing number of people who wanted not just “democratic socialism” (eyeroll) but actual, for real, full-blown communism and socialism. Ugh.
These people have been made to believe that our world is dark and miserable and that human beings are incapable of kindness or compassion or generosity in the absence of compulsion by the state. They believe that the best life they can hope for is one where the bare necessities of life are provided for them by the government, and that working hard and getting ahead by virtue of their own merit is a fairytale story with no place in modern society.
What a bleak world-view.
My hope is that parents, grandparents, and good teachers will see these trends and renew their efforts to teach true principles of freedom and prosperity and the true history of failed ideologies to the children within their realm of influence. Because it’s true what they say: you can vote your way into socialism but you have to fight your way back out. And I really prefer writing books and spending time with my family over armed revolution! 😉