Rasmussen: Only 53% of Americans believe capitalism is better than socialism
It's the under-30 crowd that is most confused. I'm not the least surprised by this. Over and over during the presidential campaign I heard Americans on talk radio ask, "What's wrong with socialism? What's the matter with the way they do things in France, or Canada?" I've tried to write posts about it but have done a poor job of trying to explain to a hypothetical citizen just what is wrong with socialism. The bottom line is that many people frankly don't know what socialism is.
Here's part of a post I started last fall:
A civil, well-spoken woman called a conservative talk-radio show a few weeks back and asked the above question. All her life, she's been hearing that Europe is more culturally evolved and sophisticated than the U.S., and she hasn't probed beyond these assumptions. She wondered, what is so bad about France, for example?And there it abruptly ends.
Her question originated in the "spread the wealth" controversy brought up during the presidential campaign by Joe Wurzelbacher.
The answer she received from the host, about long waits for inferior medical care, super-high tax rates, and the injustice of turning your hard-earned pay over to the government, was all right as far as it went. But it wasn't going to break through her long-held unexamined opinions.
This woman needed to hear some of the following:
Socialism kills vitality and creativity. The nanny state, with all its entitlements, is the super-sized enabler of a dependent, malcontent, apathetic populace. Like the over-indulgent parent who is heavy on the material things but light on the time-investment that leads to real maturity and independence, socialist governments oversee populations of disaffected Peter Pans.
Why would we want to emulate Europe? I suspect many Americans, without being fully aware of it, hold on to a romanticized view of a culturally superior Europe. This image doesn't hold up to an examination of the real life in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Spain, etc. Or Canada, so close to us but so infrequently on our radar screen. Why have conservative leaders failed to make better use of Canada as an example of the failures of socialism? Perhaps it's because there are so very few conservatives who are willing to articulate a real 'no' to socialistic policies.
One reason socialism is hard to fight is its power to co-opt people by creating a sense of entitlement in their minds. Voters who choose higher taxes and vote for the candidate who offers to take care of them have been seduced by socialism. Like the White Witch's turkish delight, it creates a desire for more and a blindness to the damage it inflicts on the human will.
Europe as we once knew it is nearly extinct. The cause of death is demographic suicide from low birthrates. Europe is not creative artistically, either. Its popular culture is mostly derived from America. Europe's scientists do not remain in Europe, but settle in the US to do their work.
Europe's people aren't happy. Socialism has sapped their vitality. Work is not rewarding. Content to let the government handle the important decisions, the people focus on entitlements and leisure, but don't gain satisfaction from them. From Mark Steyn's America Alone:The European Union got rid of all the supposed obstacles to happiness -- war, politics, the burden of work, insufficient leisure time, tiresome dependents -- and yet their people are strikingly gloomy. (p. 110)He cites number to back this up. Asked in 2002 if they were optimistic about the future, the following said yes: 43% of Canadians, 42% Brit's, 29% Frenchmen, 23% Russians, and 15% Germans. Contrast that to Americans, who answered 61% in the affirmative.
Someone, somewhere, somehow, and it won't come from the public schools and even less from the colleges and universities, needs to educate our children on the meaning of socialism. That means parents. I haven't read it yet, but I wonder if Liberty and Tyranny might be a good tool for this effort.
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