According to the polls, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is doing very well with the younger voters in the Democratic Party – those under 35 years old. This is not the first time that that has happened. Septuagenarian Ronald Reagan was also popular with younger voters in the Republican Party some 40 years ago.
The question is why have young people been partial to two old white guys who represent the opposite ends of the philosophic continuum? The simplest answer may be that both offered hope of a brighter future – and after all, young voters are legitimately more concerned about the future. Older voters tend to base their election choices on past knowledge and experience – serving as a counterbalance to the youth’s more intangible assessment of things to come.
For the most part, Reagan delivered on those dreams of a better future. Reaganomics – despite the carping from the left – brought America out of the malaise of economic inflation and stagnation and into an age of unrivaled prosperity.
Today’s young Democrats – at least somewhere around 66 percent of them – are hoping that Sanders socialism will bring them a better future. What could be better than free education, forgiveness of student loans, free healthcare, guaranteed income and a smart phone in every pocket.
Those of us old enough to have seen – and even endured – the realities of socialism are a bit alarmed. And we may wonder why the best and brightest of America’s youth are so taken in by the false promises of socialism and Big Brother government. After all, it is the young people – not us oldsters – who will pay the price for being wrong.
To see how wrong they will be, one only need to look at those nations that travelled down the road of socialism in its many forms – including Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. We can see the end result of fascist and communist socialism in the World War II axis powers of Germany, Spain and Italy. And more importantly, how free-market capitalism restored the vitality of those nations to the benefit of all their citizens.
The argument that socialism is beneficial to the people remains a dogmatic belief – not a matter of fact. That is why much of the embrace of socialism among the younger generation is based on what they learned in the theoretical world of academia. They have been taught theories of socialism – which paint a very pretty picture, indeed – but not the realities.
In many ways, socialism is the Santa Clause of the young voters. They get everything on their list without knowing that mom and dad are paying for it. It is all free stuff.
When Sanders offers free education and free healthcare, he is lying. Teachers and doctors still must be paid – and someone has to do the paying. It winds up being those young people who think they are getting something for nothing. They will be paying a high price for the rest of their lives in the form of confiscatory-level taxes.
On the other side of the coin, they will suffer from a decline in education, healthcare and just about every other facet of their lives. Government does nothing efficiently. It is fraught with enormous waste and fraud –and that is because government is the worst supervisor of expenditures.
The only answer as to why young people would limit their future potential – individually and collectively – by embracing the provable failure of socialism is because they are gullible or greedy. They either uncritically believe the claims on the label or they just want to acquire the essentials and luxuries of life without having to exert too much effort.
In a sense, people of the older generations – who speak out against the evils of socialism – are working for the young people. Folks my age will live out the rest of our lives on the positive momentum of a free-market capitalist society. The under-35 crowed will live long enough to suffer the consequences of their youthful misjudgment. Let us hope that there are enough rational voters of all ages to save the younger generation from itself.
So, there ‘tis.