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.