In a recent video produced by Red Alert Politics, a reporter took to the streets during Spring Break to ask college students if they preferred socialism or capitalism. It should surprise no one that many of the students believed socialism was preferable to capitalism, as this has recently become a trend in our country.
However, as we have addressed previously, the students’ answers gave credence to the speculation that many Millennials are unclear as to what socialism really entails.
Perhaps, the most shocking element of these street interviews was the fact that many Millennials believed socialism to be an ideology that empowers its people. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
The guise of “democratic socialism” has led many young minds to believe that throwing a “D” in front of a term that has historically represented oppressive governments and bloody revolutions will somehow remedy its reputation. However, there are still many Millennials who know better.
Whether we choose to refer to it as socialism, communism, or democratic socialism, the fact remains that these are ideologies in which power is concentrated into the hands of a very few politically elite.
In fact, all these political identities all represent collectivism, where group rights are favored ahead of individual rights. Since civil liberties exist to protect the individual against government abuses, in collectivist governments, civil liberties are the first thing to go because they threaten its very existence.
Though many view socialism primarily as set of economic principles where the collective wealth of its citizens is redistributed “fairly” among the people, there is so much more to it than that. It is important to remember that there has never been a nation in existence in which all its citizens agreed with each other unanimously. Our Founders were not blind to this fact, this is why they were specific in creating a Constitutional Republic. 100 percent consensus was an impossible feat, but with small groups of individuals being represented by statesmen who lived among them, they believed this would lead to a government derived from the consent of the governed and one which required the least amount of force.
Socialism, or collectivism in general, is an ideology that, by its very nature requires massive amounts of coercion. Since the power rests with only a few individuals, the power structure is extremely fragile. If the people realized that they greatly outnumbered those in power, the entire government could be overthrown easily. The former Soviet Union is a great example of this. As such, if collectivist governments want to survive, they have to institute a fair amount of force.
It doesn’t matter where you are located on the globe, there will always be at least one person, though usually many, who do not believe it is just to take someone’s hard earned money, and redistribute it others. The power of the individual is, perhaps, one of the strongest forces on the planet. Like a ripple in the water, the action of one can cause a domino effect, where more and more individuals join together. This is why it is so important to control the message in collectivist regimes.
Collectivist governments have always recognized this, which is why freedom of expression is never held in high value for these types of ideologies. One person speaking out could lead to more and more citizens questioning the legitimacy behind a government that takes what is not theirs and redistributes it as they see fit. In order to convince an entire nation that collectivists policies are the only path to prosperity, you MUST control the message, and squash any message that threatens the existence of those in control.
If collectivists governments feared the power of the individual in the days before the internet, imagine how much greater of a threat the individual is today.
Even Sweden, which Senator Bernie Sanders has praised as being a beacon of democratic socialism, has limits to free speech. For example, in order for a publication to be protected under its Freedom of the Press Act, it must be registered with the state. That means that if a publication, not registered with the government, chooses to speak out against something the Swedish government has said or done, they are not protected under free speech laws.
Millennials in America have been incredibly spoiled when it comes to free expression. Even though free speech appears to be under attack on many college campuses across the country, the United States still enjoys an unprecedented amount of freedom when it comes to expression, which is why it is so important to protect that right.
If Millennials are serious about wanting socialism in America, they need to take a good hard look at civil liberties under collectivist rule. Though many are drawn to socialism because of the lure of free government handouts, Millennials need to realize that they are trading in their precious civil liberties in exchange for “free stuff.”