According to a new Rasmussen poll, just 53 percent of Americans believe that Capitalism is preferable to Socialism. Even more stunning, among the under 30 crowd, 33 percent prefer Socialism, while only 37 percent say Capitalism is better.
These statistics, if accurate, show that the younger generation is far more liberal than their parents and grandparents. But the question I had when I first read this poll was, “Why? Why would young people be leaning towards Socialism when we here in the US have so little first hand experience with it and there is no real Socialist movement going on?” So I decided to do a little digging. The following articles gave me an interesting perspective.
In the first, Benjamin Sarlin sums it up well:
“The biggest danger to conservative values in America may be that Republicans are a walking “opposite day.” What they praise becomes radioactive and what they decry quickly becomes the hot new thing. It’s not just socialism that’s gaining in the polls due to the GOP’s cratering popularity. Many of the right’s biggest fears are becoming self-fulfilling prophecies thanks to their backfiring attempts at activism. One recent poll, for example, showed a major increase in atheism and agnosticism, which have had their popularity numbers nearly double since 1990. It turns out that when incredibly unpopular politicians present elections as a false choice between god-fearing fundamentalists and godless heathens, people start thinking they just might not be so religious after all. And as for gay marriage, if conservative groups keep running ads like this one, gay marriage might become law all over the red states within months.
In the second one, Harold Meyerson points at that while the current Wall Street meltdown hasn’t helped the image of Capitalism, there has to be more to the rise in Socialism’s appeal. He goes on to discuss some of the possible explanations, but concludes with this:
“Rush and his boys are doing what Gene Debs and his comrades never really could. In tandem with Wall Street, they are building socialism in America.”
Maybe Rush and Co. are good for something after all. I mean, a little European style Socialism in America just might be a good thing. May I suggest we start with healthcare?