Socialism is so incompatible with the American way of life that a public embrace of the ideology would destroy the country, three panelists agreed at a Center for Security discussion.
Among the issues: economic collapse, inability to maintain the national defense and security structure, the need for a coercive apparatus to enforce socialist property confiscation and new behavioral mandates, and destruction of constitutional government and the American character.
Public opinion is swinging toward socialism, according to a 2019 poll, with 70% of millennials saying that they are “extremely likely” or “somewhat likely” to vote for a socialist in the 2020 elections.
Only 57 percent of millennials believe that the Declaration of Independence guarantees freedom and equality better than the Communist Mainfesto, said Juliana Geran Pilon, a professor at American University and Senior Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.
Pilon joined Center President Fred Fleitz and the center’s senior analyst for strategy, J. Michael Waller, in a 90-minute give-and-take on the subject of socialism and national security held at the Center on January 30.
More than a third of millennials – 36 percent – actually support Communism, an increase since 2018, according to pollsters at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Millennials are considered to be in the age 23-38 range, with Generation Z ranging from ages 16 to 22.
Equality before the law, as established by the Founding Fathers, “is simply unappreciated or rejected, ” Pilon said. “Instead, for some mysterious reason, they [millennials] have greater trust in government, as if government was pure and without the profit motive.”
Link between anti-capitalism and anti-Semitism
“The connection between leftism and anti-Semitism is anything but accidental. There are good reasons for it, for which the historical evidence is overwhelming,” Pilon said. She explores the issue in her new book, The Utopian Conceit and the War on Freedom.
“Repeated surveys indicate that anti-Semitism and its twin, anti-Zionism with a progressive face, have increased sharply for some time,” Pilon said. “Self-described liberal Democrats’ net sympathy with Israelis from 2017–19 have sunk to an alarming 41 percent; indeed, nearly as many liberal Democrats now sympathize more with the Palestinians (38 percent) than with Israelis.” Being anti-Israel is anti-Zionism, which is why some Jews are also anti-Zionist.
Correlation between anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism
“That percentage of people who are anti-Israeli are also anti-American,” Pilon said, citing the polling data from late 2019.
“Why do so many American socialists support America’s enemies?” asked Waller, to provoke answers.
“There’s a long legacy of people downplaying the threat from the Soviet Union and for communism and for socialism,” said Fleitz, and people have had to stand up to the threat and go against the grain “to talk about what the evil really is here.”
Warning from Britain
The rising acceptance of socialism and anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom, though rejected in the recent elections, serves as a warning to the United States, Fleitz observed.
“Let’s talk about where this country could go if it echoed what’s going on in the United Kingdom,” Fleitz said. The British Labour Party “is one of the most significant political parties in the free world.” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “could have become prime minister of the United Kingdom. This is a radical socialist who is also anit-semitic. Americans have to understand what Corbyn is promoting.”
This is important because certain presidential candidates and Members of Congress, Fleitz said, “are proposing ideas not far removed from Corbynism.”
Those ideas would destroy the economy. “If the government takes the fruits of your labor, you’re not going to innovate. You’re not going to invest,” said Fleitz. So the means of supporting a national security and national defense is undermined as the tax base shrinks, requiring non-market solutions that might print money, but would drive down the economy even further.
Any overthrow or subversion of capitalism, Fleitz warned, also means “a vast expansion of state power.” That state power is necessary to build a huge government bureaucracy to distribute wealth and control public life, as well as an enforcement mechanism to force citizens to comply.
An all-powerful state is directly tied to anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, Fleitz said: “There is a bizarre development on the far left, among these socialists, where they are somewhere aligned with anti-Semitism.”
‘Destruction of the American character’
“The most dire threat to national security – that of the United States and the free world as a whole – comes from a lack of the most elementary understanding of the principles that lie at the heart of the system of natural liberty,” said Pilon, “which is captured in the Declaration of Independence: the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – the latter implying the sanctity of individual property.”
“We’ve forgotten the importance of getting ahead through hard work, and that this is the land of opportunity. . . it’s really so sad that there are immigrants coming to this country taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity to invest and build businesses and get ahead and build a family, and we have Americans sitting around waiting for government handouts, waiting for their college tuitions to be forgiven,” said Fleitz, who recognized that entrepreneurship is still alive and well among many millennials.
A socialist agenda, if implemented, would ruin the American work ethic and what once was called American ingenuity. Said Waller, “This comes down to the destruction of the American character.”
Below are more video highlights from the event: