By Chris Talgo
In 2016, droves of Millennials supported a socialist candidate for the Democratic Party’s nominee in the presidential election. In a poll taken one year later, 58 percent of Millennials stated they would rather live in a communist, fascist, or socialist nation than under capitalism.
It should come as no great surprise that Millennials tend to favor the left end of the political spectrum. Millennials have grown-up in a liberal bubble. The public schools Millennials attend are overwhelmingly staffed by liberals. According to a recent poll conducted by Econ Journal, liberal professors outnumber conservatives 12 to one. Outside of the classroom, Millennials are bombarded with liberal ideology on social media. This onslaught continues in the entertainment industry and across the mainstream media.
Yet upon further examination, it’s ironic that Millennials naively support socialism. In 3 Reasons Millennials Should Ditch Karl Marx for Ayn Rand, Leisa Miller of the Foundation for Economic Education explains how the values of most Millennials actually align more with Ayn Rand than with Karl Marx. Miller begins her piece by encouraging her fellow Millennials to
drop Karl Marx like we dropped cable TV.
We’re a generation that’s sick of wars (and threats of wars), mass shootings, and media sensationalism. As the ambassadors of the sharing economy and investors in cryptocurrency, we hold innovation and entrepreneurship in high esteem.
Karl Marx is not who we think he is. His philosophy doesn’t align with our values at all. We need to look to somebody more in touch with what’s important to us — someone like Ayn Rand.
Miller provides three compelling arguments that should spur any reasonable Millennial to kick Marxism to the curb. She begins with the issue of violence.
Karl Marx advocates using violence to get what you want.
We hate the constant stream of wars the US gets involved in. Whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan, or the threat of the Islamic State or North Korea, we’re just tired of it all. Why can’t everyone get along? Why do we have to topple regime after regime and flex our muscles on Twitter? Don’t even get us started on the mass shootings. It’s 2017, for crying out loud! This violence needs to stop.
If only Karl Marx felt the same way. But unfortunately, he says that the only way to bring about the ideal political state is through violent revolution… Oh, brother… Please: No. More. Wars.
Ayn Rand, on the other hand, is not a proponent of violence. She says violence should only be a means of self-defense. If someone invades your country, you can retaliate. If someone punches you in the face, you can retaliate. If someone tries to steal your stuff, you can retaliate. But there’s no reason you should employ violence other than if you or your stuff are attacked.
Since practically all Millennials abhor violence, why in the world do they support Marxism, an ideology predicated on violent revolution? Perhaps their teachers are glossing over that unseemly aspect. On the other hand, almost all Millennials would agree that self-defense is necessary. It sure seems that most Millennials fall in line with Rand. Next, Miller contrasts the use of emotion by Marx and Rand.
Karl Marx appeals to your emotional indignation.
I groan every time a Boomer rants about “entitled Millennials these days.” We are not entitled. We are not lazy. And when they try to guilt us into going to church more or playing video games less or buying a house or getting married “while we’re still young?” Puh-lease. Emotional appeals are the worst.
And don’t even get us started on media sensationalism. We’ve had enough of the red, shouting faces, the blatant lying and fear-mongering, the “Wars on Christmas.” The media is constantly trying to pit us against each other.
It turns out that Karl Marx uses the same “Us vs. Them” hysteria as CNN and Fox News. He appeals to pathos and emotional outrage to – like we discussed above – try to get us to start a war.
We’re not having any of that though, are we? We’re done being manipulated by outrage and hysteria. It’s time to change the channel to something a little calmer, more grounded, and personally empowering.
Ayn Rand, fortunately, has the peaceful empowerment we’re so desperately missing. While Karl Marx wants you to blame others (the bourgeoisie) for your plights, Ayn Rand wants you to introspect and perhaps reassess your values. Rather than encouraging you to camouflage yourself into a “union of workers,” she wants to empower you as an individual to create a meaningful life for yourself. Mass hysteria, be gone!
Miller highlights how Marx uses emotion to manipulate the downtrodden. Marx sought to breed resentment, envy, and class warfare. Millennials are optimistic and ought to wholly reject this depressing notion. Rand’s rejection of mass mania should be embraced by Millennials who value independence and privacy.
The third and final myth Miller debunks is the topic of work ethic among Millennials. According to Miller
Karl Marx wants mankind to rest on its laurels.
Welp, we’ve got pretty good iPhones, Space X can salvage and relaunch rockets, and thanks to services like HelloFresh and Blue Apron, we no longer have to go to the grocery store. Time to pack up! Call it a day! Everyone, go home! There’s no more need for innovation.
At least, according to Karl Marx.
If Marx had his way, all incentives to improve and create cooler things would be stripped out of our lives along with our private property. Following the logical progression of his communal philosophy, when we’re all slaving away for “the greater good,” and the highest achieving members of society are having the fruits of their labors redistributed to the lowest achievers (insert flashback to the freeloaders of group projects at school), that’s what will happen. Innovation would cease to occur under Marxism.
But with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, our stuff will always remain ours. We don’t have to share our Nintendo Switch with our little sister (who drops her phone 10 times a day) unless we want to. We can rest easy knowing that if we take a big risk (and invest in cryptocurrencies while our parents mutter “Ponzi scheme” under their breath), we have the opportunity for a big reward. And best of all, with Ayn Rand’s philosophy reaffirming our desire to be great and create great things, maybe someday we will have JARVIS, jetpacks, and flying hammocks.
The fact of the matter is that Karl Marx doesn’t align with what’s important to us Millennials. If it were up to him, we’d be starting more violent wars, we’d be widening the gap of distrust between one another, and we’d strip ourselves of all incentives to make the world cooler than it already is. So it’s time we adopt a new philosopher. Let’s look up to people like Ayn Rand.
The innovative and forward-thinking mindset of Millennials is much more aligned with Rand’s vision of self-reliance and personal empowerment than with Marx’s communal philosophy. On all three of the issues identified by Miller, Millennials fall much closer to Rand’s philosophy than Marx.
Despite this apparent case of cognitive dissonance, Millennials seem wedded to liberal ideology. This is not a novel political phenomenon. Winston Churchill once said “If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain”. Only time will tell whether Millennials mature beyond their misguided romanticism of Marx and adopt the more realistic and sensible approach of Rand.