Yesterday the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) announced some astounding statistics in its upcoming “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes towards Socialism.” The survey reveals that a surprising number of millennials are supporting communism in greater numbers. In her report on the survey, writer Nicole Russell concludes,
These numbers show a generation sadly misinformed about the historical and present realities of life under communism and socialism.
VOC executive director Marion Smith echoes Russell’s conclusion, saying, “An emerging generation of Americans have little understanding of the collectivist system and its dark history.”
The survey found that:
- Only 55 percent of millennials believe communism was and is still a problem.
- According to Russell, “Only 37 percent of millennials have a “very unfavorable” view of communism.”
- 45 percent of millennials say they would vote for a socialist.
- 64 percent of Americans agreed with Marx’s declaration of “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
This last statistic is especially frustrating. As I wrote in “Why We Shouldn’t Salvage Marx,” this statement and other ideas Marx put forth were adopted by some of the most vicious central planners in history and resulted in untold devastation and destruction of human flourishing. Marx’s ideas led to violent consequences on ordinary people. Many were starved to death or executed in gulags.
The devastation continues today. Just look at Venezuela! Could there be any clearer illustration in the present that collectivist ideas are dangerous failures? If you aren’t familiar with what’s happening, Russell’s assessment will get you up to speed:
Socialists’ demands for the most productive citizens to pay for the bulk of Venezuelan taxes and other socialist measures has directly led to starving citizens waiting in bread lines to eat, looting stores, and killing each other in street brawls that include trampling children to death.
What is going on here? Why are so many young Americans responding positively to an economic system that has only resulted in death and destruction? There are many reasons, but Elise Daniel gets to the heart of things when, in writing about the four twisted truths of Marx, she says this of communist Christians (something that could probably be applied to communists as a whole):
Communist Christians past and present have disconnected Marxism from the atrocities of communism.
Though Marx’s ideas come from a place of concern for human dignity, his view of labor is incongruent to a biblical understanding of God, human nature, and work.
We need to restore this biblical understanding. A whole generation is virtually ignorant of the truths of faith and economics. They aren’t aware of what truly brings flourishing. They need to know that pursuing greater biblical flourishing requires having the right means at our disposal:
- Fostering good stewardship over all life’s choices.
- Encouraging value-creation and the service of strangers through voluntary trade.
- Not limiting the choices of others to steward their lives.
- Fostering sound economic thinking enabling us to live in a society where we all serve each other, believer and non-believer alike.
Marx’s system of thought and its followers have decreased, not increased, human flourishing. It’s imperative for all people, not just millennials, understand this. Communism can never bring true flourishing.