Capitalism According to Teen Vogue
Before everyone signs off for a long weekend, I want to show you guys something.
Teen Vogue has an article out right now called, What ‘Capitalism’ Is and How It Affects People. I made the mistake of reading it, and now I’m sharing it with you because I think it’s important for parents to know this stuff is out there. Also because I don’t want to suffer alone.
The article starts out claiming to define capitalism but they show their hand in the first sentence with their little add-on to the actual definition when they say,
Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which a country’s trade, industry, and profits are controlled by private companies, instead of by the people whose time and labor powers those companies. The United States and many other nations around the world are capitalist countries, but capitalism is not the only economic system available.
Call me crazy, but I don’t recall “… instead of by the people whose time and labor powers those companies” being part of any real definition of capitalism. So here we are, only one sentence into an article meant to educate teens on capitalism and they’ve already thrown in some Marxist catch-phrasing..
And people say real journalism is dead…
The intro finishes with the author assuring the reader that they are being presented facts and unbiased information so that they can make their own decisions:
But it’s important to explore what capitalism actually involves and the arguments for and against it, so you can make your own decisions about the world you’d like to live in.
No pressure, kids—make sure you choose wisely. No pressure, kids. (Cue dramatic music)
The first paragraph under the heading, Where Did Capitalism Come From, paints a super-rosey picture of the origins of free trade. And of course manages to blame it for slavery, colonialism, and imperilaism.
The origins of capitalism are complicated, and stretch back to the 16th century, when the British systems of power largely collapsed after the Black Death, a deadly plague that killed off up to 60% of Europe’s entire population. A newly formed class of merchants began to trade with foreign countries, and this newfound demand for exports hurt local economies and began to dictate overall production and pricing of goods. It also led to the spread of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism. The death of feudalism — a hierarchical system often seen as oppressive that kept poor people bonded to their masters’ land, which they farmed in exchange for a place to live and military protection — also left rural British peasants with no homes and no work, which eventually funneled them away from the countryside and into urban centers. These former farm workers then had to sell their labor in a newly competitive work environment in order to survive, while the state worked in concert with the new capitalists to establish a maximum wage and “clamp down on beggars.”
So far, so good, right? Teens reading this now believe that capitalism is responsible for all of the western world’s worst offenses. Somehow, competition and trading of labor for life’s necessities and comforts is painted as unfair or bad. Working for what you want/need—oh, the horror!
Next we are treated to the writer’s opinion of “what it means to be a capitalist.” This is rich:
Individual capitalists are typically wealthy people who have a large amount of capital (money or other financial assets) invested in business, and who benefit from the system of capitalism by making increased profits and thereby adding to their wealth. A capitalist nation is dominated by the free market, which is an economic system in which both prices and production are dictated by corporations and private companies in competition with one another, and places a heavy focus on private property, economic growth, freedom of choice, and limited government intervention.
Just in case kids are deaf to the dog whistles thus far, things are clarified in the next sentence with what amounts to a, “this is what team you should be on” breakdown.
Generally, those to the right of the political spectrum tend to be pro-capitalist; those on the left veer toward anti-capitalism.
Honestly, someone could go through this entire article and refute every single line of it. I’ve worked in politics for a long time now, and I know a lot of Democrats—I wonder what they would say about being labeled “anti-capitalist?” I know there is a lot of disagreement right now between Republicans and Democrats, but I think it’s a stretch to imply to young people that if they support capitalism then they are on Donald Trump’s team. That just seems incredibly dishonest.
The article goes on to paint capitalism as selfish and greedy and harmful to society. It uses the word “collective” at least a dozen times in a positive way, and, of course, makes socialism sound like the answer to all the injustices of the world—the obvious only way forward for a progressive, caring, and socially just society. And yes, Marx is quoted liberally.
Sometimes I still have to pinch myself. How—in just one generation—did socialism become something that people are actively and passionately (and successfully!) vying for? It’s hard not to feel like we are on a collision course with truly dark times if something isn’t done to stop the maniacs driving this train.
Kids are fed on a steady diet of this drivel in their schools, their music, their movies, and their magazines. This isn’t just “a narrative” out there—it is THE narrative. Teen Vogue has over three MILLION followers on each of their social media accounts. Young people are reading this stuff, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone (except concerned parents) countering it. Kids aren’t even being given a chance to learn the truth about socialism and communism. They don’t even know all of the misery, starvation, and death these ideologies are responsible for in every single country they’ve ever been implemented.
No one is teaching them the truth.
When I wrote The Tuttle Twins and the Search for Atlas, I thought the inclusion of the circus calliope player and his tales of life in Soviet Russia would offer an interesting subplot that would add some depth to the story and maybe spark some good conversation between kids and their parents—I had no idea how soon we would find ourselves quite literally fighting to preserve our liberty and right to live our lives without ever having to experience bread lines for ourselves.
The messages in our books just keep proving their timeliness. I have to be honest—I kind of wish they didn’t. Every day I get emails from parents, thanking me for giving them these resources, and sharing horror stories of the worksheets their kids have brought home from school, or the overreach they’re fighting in their communities. Our readers are out there fighting the good fight—you guys inspire me to keep writing books and looking for new ways to share the principles of liberty and the free market.
As disheartening and downright frustrating as these types of articles can be, at least we have a clear picture of what the enemy looks like. For a long time, talk of The Great Reset, and the socialization of America, were viewed as conspiracy theories and those who were pushing these agendas had to do so with great subtlety. At least now we know what we are up against and can fight it head on and in broad daylight.
I still think we’ll win.