Why do millennials favor socialism?
Religion & Liberty Online

Why do millennials favor socialism?

It isn’t news that a large number of millennials gravitate towards socialism. Older generations who have lived in the shadow of socialism and similar ideological regimes however, may wonder why. Why do those who have experienced the benefits of capitalism wish to live under the kind of governments that slaughtered millions in the previous century?

One reason young people support socialism is that they desire justice, says Acton Institute Research Fellow Michael Matheson Miller. “Young people rightly feel frustration with our current crony, managerial capitalism. It rests on free market slogans. But it often excludes the poor and makes it hard for small and medium enterprises.”

While desire for justifiable change can be healthy, some millennials don’t know what socialism would really look like. “Many young people were never taught about the reality of socialism in practice,” explains Miller. “Teachers skip lightly over the evils of communism. Of the undergraduates I’ve taught, many had never heard of Joseph Stalin. Or the gulags. Why wouldn’t they think that “socialism” simply means “fairness”?

Not only do many millennials lack thorough knowledge of what defines socialism, but they also support it unaware of the fact that it would place their favorite goods and services under restrictive regulations.

Young people value choice and opportunity. Everyone likes new phone apps and different kinds of food. A socialist economy stifles these things. Want to enjoy specialty coffee? Read a book on your Kindle? Text your friends? Socialism didn’t produce any of those innovations. And it won’t let the next ones happen…Economic freedom is not the highest freedom. It is not the most important thing in life. But it plays an essential role in the flourishing of families and individual persons

Read Miller’s article in its entirety, “Young People Think They Want Socialism. But They Don’t.”

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Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts is a managing editor at the Acton Institute and produces Acton's weekly podcast, Acton Line.