Many Millennials Claim to be Socialist … But Don’t Know What that Means

When I appropriate a label for myself, I generally attempt to know what it means first. Not so, with most Millennials. According to a recent poll, almost half of Millennials claim to be socialist, but very few of them can give an accurate description of just what being a socialist means:

Forty-two percent say they prefer socialism as a means of organizing society but only 16% can define the term properly as government ownership of the means of production. In fact, when asked whether they want an economy managed by the free market or by the government, 64% want the former and just 32% want the latter. Scratch a Millennial “socialist” and you are likely to find a budding entrepreneur (55% saying they want to start their own business someday). Although they support a government-provided social safety net, two-thirds of Millennials agree that “government is usually inefficient and wasteful” and they are highly skeptical toward government with regards to privacy and nanny-state regulations about e-cigarettes, soda sizes, and the like.

So when Millennials think say “socialist,” they mean somebody with lots of friends on Facebook. Not really. They mean someone who believes the government should be involved in “social” issues. In other words, Millennials are very passionate and zealous about things they know very little about.

I could have told you that. But there are a few aspects of this new poll that I think are exciting. First, a large portion of Millennials are truly independent politically. Second, the vast majority of Millennials are skeptical of the civil government.

So while Millennials may be concerned with social justice—they want to see the hungry fed, the poor taken care of, the innocent protected, and the corrupt punished—and they’ve also been trained to think the civil government is the only institution capable of achieving the justice they crave for, and yet

But Millenials really don’t trust the government. Which means they are ripe for a paradigm shift of worldview. If we could only educate Millennials that there was another way to achieve social justice, the future of the country might actually be secured.

25 responses

      • I have a lot of relatives living in socialist countries. They are all professionals – doctors, lawyers, engineers; they are not in debt for the rest of their lives for their education – state paid for it. They have really nice homes and cars – some even have second homes on the lake. Their food is GMO free. They get 4 weeks off in the summer plus other days off for holidays. They retire at 55. If this is an alternative, I am all for it. The U.S. is far from having the highest standard of living as measured by many metrics.

          • So capitalism to you is the choice between GMO versus non-GMO food. And as to your hard work, I assure you the Koch brothers are rolling on the floor laughing at you. Did by chance you get too many vaccinations as a child – that could have affected your reasoning ability.

          • Everything I have I have earned by paying for it for myself. My house at the age of 21. Owning my own car before I had a license. My college degree. All paid for by me, and me alone. No help from my parents OR the government. It’s called work ethic and pride. I don’t care if you think having everything paid for you then slacking it for a month is paradise, but that isn’t how America does it. You were probably one of the people that hated this car commercial.

          • Stupid commercial for a stupid car. I’ve always driven big, dirty, ugly, diesel pickups – so yeah, I hate that commercial – ha, ha, ha…

        • Do you relatives ever tell you about the people in their countries who are not professionals? Because not everyone can be a doctor, lawyer or engineer.
          How did they get to be these? Did they choose for themselves or were their destinies chosen for them by 12 years old? Do they have the freedom to change if they have a mid-life crisis?
          How are the governments doing? Eventually, they will run out of money to send everyone to college and pay everyone’s salaries and retirement, and then what?

  1. Article: “Forty-two percent say they prefer socialism as a means of organizing society but only 16% can define the term properly as government ownership of the means of production.

    That’s not what “socialism” is but rather, Communism. Western socialism allows for considerable individual freedom and incentives, but understands that no one should be left behind. Your social Darwinism is too brutish for most.

    • “Your social Darwinism is too brutish for most.”

      That’s called life. When you dumb down and drag everyone else to the same level, incentive becomes less of a goal.

      • There is a healthy balance. Though I am generally libertarian philosophically, I recognize that its purest form would constitute anarchy. You have to be practical, and even the Framers knew that extreme inequality in wealth would be fatal to our Republic.

  2. Minkoff: “But Millenials really don’t trust the government. Which means they are ripe for a paradigm shift of worldview. If we could only educate Millennials that there was another way to achieve social justice, the future of the country might actually be secured.

    That would be a difficult sale to make, given the abysmal track record from three decades of Reaganomics. Without proactive government intervention, capitalist societies invariably degenerate into plutocracies, which is good for the plutocrats but lousy for the masses. People see that their counterparts are doing far better in places like Australia and Western Europe, and fairly conclude that a little bit of socialism is probably a good thing.

  3. Millennials say a lot of things, but their basic education is so poor that they seldom fully understand what they are saying. As a group they are extremely ignorant in history and quantitative evaluation methods.

    I don’t pay much attention to their blather.

  4. Minkoff – you showing off your ignorance again or just trying to pass off more 1% propaganda. You are confusing/mixing socialism with communism. Socialism is NOT government ownership of production means – that is communism. Under socialism, corporations are controlled as opposed to being the controllers.

  5. If you want reams of documented research on the problems with capitalism, look up the works of Douglas Dowd – http://www.dougdowd.org/ – I was fortunate enough to actually take a number of his courses during my student days at SJSU. He is probably the most eminent critic of capitalism today.

  6. America’s Millennials have been well indoctrinated into Socialism right under our very noses, while no one was paying attention. It will be virtually impossible to save our nation and our Republic from the upcoming generation of leaders. Most young people associate “socialism” with social networking, they have no clue as to what “Socialism” really is. Why? Because they were never taught it in school, or at home.

  7. Millennials are ignorant and the cause is the lousy militant teaching of ever growing disgusting left wing radicals that infest our school and are making their own history instead of telling the truth.

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