The West’s Problem and Why Millennials Don’t Get It


A couple of links from Instapundit, this morning, help to frame a question that’s been bothering many of us a great deal lately, touching on issues from the party primaries at the level of presidential politics all the way to the eagerness of Catholic school students and recent alumni to attack their schools to prove their devotion to the official government ideology.

The first link is to a column by Helen Raleigh, who characterizes herself as a survivor of Chinese socialism:

We all know the scary statistic by now: a recent YouGov survey shows that millennials have much more favorable views of socialism than of capitalism. For someone like me who survived one of the worst socialist regimes in human history (communist China), this result is beyond heart-breaking. There’s no doubt that millennials do not understand what socialism is. They never learned about the atrocities and human sufferings socialism has caused. It’s not the fault of the millennial generation, but the fault of our education system. For those of us who lived through socialism, we have a moral duty to reach out to young people and help them learn the truth of socialism. How should we approach this? Speak up and share your personal stories.

The topic blends right into Richard Fernandez’s exploration of the collapsing efforts of a global “market state” system, in which nation states evolve to another level (or so proponents see it), and rather than securing geographic homelands for their people, transition to a global regime that, ostensibly, secures their people’s rights wherever they may go.*  Unfortunately, there’s a major blind spot in the plan:

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” Bobbitt wrote.  But if so, why did the State fail to transition into the Market State?  The key fallacy may lie in his belief that the market state would work to “maximize its citizens’ opportunities.”  This belief rests on the unsupported assumption that such State would continue to act as the faithful agent of its citizens.  Yet once a State has been relieved of what Paul Monk called the duty to maintain “sovereignty within territorial borders … and a public policy of large-scale social security for the population within those borders” it acquires a rival claim to its services: the World.

On its own, this conceptual error would only have brought about a rough, painful spot in history.  What makes it an existential concern is that the people who didn’t foresee that a global elite would quickly take its own status as a global elite more seriously than their people’s right to representation have also been directing the miseducation of the ascendant generation.

Interacting with Millennials, the thing that has most surprised me is that, as a group, they have no apparent concept of what it really means to have rights in a pluralistic society.  As I put it during an extended Twitter exchange, yesterday, they’ve absorbed a sort of secular, materialist understanding of Original Sin in which anything that harms or discomforts people is a result of other people doing bad things now or in the recent past.  They therefore take it as written that it is possible for enlightened people (i.e., them and those who taught them) to, first, imagine an ideal society (or relationship between any two classes) and, second, work backwards to the practical implementation of that ideal.

Even if Raleigh were to succeed in educating Millennials about socialism, as it’s been known, they’ll simply call their beliefs something different and be impervious to arguments that their ideal is inevitably socialism in practice.  Consequently, the younger generation is not well prepared to fix the mess that older generations have made of the world, but rather will continue the march right off a cultural cliff.


* An interesting point to keep in mind for future consideration: Even as the global elite has abandon the actual, immediate interests of the nations that they’re separately supposed to represent, they rely on those nations for their wealth and legitimacy and are highly dependent on geography. Thus, as we’re seeing with the “company state” idea, they pursue policies that grow the need for their own services in the geographic area that they ostensibly represent while not providing representative government to the people who live there.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    There is so much ion what Justin has to say. I hope it is not vanity on my part which compels a long response.
    “about socialism, as it’s been known, they’ll simply call their beliefs something different and be impervious to arguments that their ideal is inevitably socialism in practice.”

    This reminds me of my readings of U.S. history in the 40’s and 50’s. The simple explanations of the elites was that there was nothing wrong with the socialist systems, mainly Russia in those days. It was just the the Russians “hadn’t got it quite right”. The system simply needed tweaking. College professors bragged of being “card carrying” members of the Communist Party. They had seen the light, and the light radiated from socialism. When the Rosenberg’s sold Russia “the bomb”, ideologues gathered around them claiming they had aided Russia in defending itself, or that the Rosenberg’s were victims of a capitalist plot to defame them. Roosevelt’s, and Truman’s, administrations were rife with Communists. This was acceptable as long as they were “socialists”, it wasn’t until they were shown to be agents of a foreign power that trouble began. I think this lingering respect for socialist ideals in Russia lingered on into the 70’s when all was shattered by Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago”, the facts were so graphic that they could not be ignored. Millennials have probably never heard of it. They are probably aware of the “Hollywood Ten”, but never heard of Alger Hiss.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    “the “company state” idea,”

    Not a new idea, Britain and the U.S. used it for “plausible deniability”. Britain with the British East India Company, and ourselves with United Fruit.Co.

    The British East India Company governed an entire subcontinent, at a profit. The “Company” even had it’s own army. For instance “Bengal Lancers” were not part of the British Army, they worked for the Indian Army. Indian Officers (such as Winston Churchill) were scorned by the regular army. “Clive of India” left the British army and formed an army for the “Company”. The Company was expected to turn a profit and had the power to tax, as well as demand tribute. The Company ruled India for over 200 years. As Justin suggests “while not providing representative government to the people who live there”.

    While we did not actually cede real estate to United Fruit, it was understood that what United Fruit said, the U.S. would back up. Through them we favored agreeable dictators and made little in the way of moves to support representative democracy.

  • Mike678

    There is little wrong with the theory of Socialism; all it takes to succeed is a population of selfless people that think and act similarly. The problem is is that we aren’t all of the above.

    But perhaps the young are more selfish/less idealistic than we think? It’s easy to support Bernie–he’s not Hillary and he wants to do away with those inconvenient student loans…

    • Rhett Hardwick

      “a population of selfless people that think and act similarly”

      Perhaps that is why Scandinavian “semi socialism” got along so well before the Muslim invasion. It was 99% blue eyed, blonde, protestants (some with Harleys).

      Muslim invasions, a factoid. In 1683 the Turks had laid siege to Vienna. 15,000 Poles (Winged Hussars, aided by artillery) drove away 300,000 Muslims, killing half of them on September 11, 1683 (i.e. 9/11 1683). The 9/11 hijackers selected the same date as revenge for the setback to Islam on that date.

  • To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, socialism ends when the “idealists” run out of other people’s money, viz. Venezuela. I further elucidated the issue here:
    America’s youth must start reading, learning about their unique past. Be Proud To Be Americans, be proud capitalists. A capitalist is he/she who improves the society by minding out their own business and becoming a better human being. Live by example, become example to others by how you live. Crowds, protests, community organizing… will turn you into nameless sheep with no self-respect, resolve and pride of achievement.