A poll that has been in the news cycle the past two days is that commissioned by the Centre for Independent Studies, a free-market think tank in Sydney and conducted by YouGov Galaxy. It aimed to survey Australian millennials’ attitudes towards socialism. The results of the poll were not surprising as it found 58% of Australian Millennials polled viewed socialism favourably while less than a fifth 18% viewed it unfavourably. The demographic with the highest favourable view of socialism was of course university educated millennials with 63%.
Millennials were also not aware of some of socialism’s greatest killers. 51% didn’t know who Mao Zedong was, 42% knew nothing about Vladimir Lenin. While 34% knew who Joseph Stalin was two thirds didn’t know he was responsible for the deaths of 43 million people. Contrast 73% knew about Adolf Hitler.
The survey also asked millennials whether ‘Capitalism has failed and the government should exercise more control of the economy’ with 59% agreeing. Millennials in regional areas where industries have been decimated 64% agreed with this statement. Other statements that had a majority of those polled agreeing with was ‘ Workers are worse off now than 40 years ago’ and that ‘Australia spends less on education and health than we did 10 years ago’. The overall findings of this poll are consistent with those conducted of millennials in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Given the leftist bent of both the school and higher education system where children are taught about social justice, the wickedness of western society and cultural marxist ideas this poll as only confirmed what we all suspected. Young people can be seen at rallies for refugees, Black lives matter and against university reforms.
Other polling has shown young people are more likely to vote for Labor and the Greens. With millennials making up 22% of the Australian population it is likely one of the factors why the Turnbull Government is consistently behind in the polls despite an economy which is recovering and the budget on its way back to surplus.
Millennials who despite the state of the economy are aware wages are stagnant and permanent jobs are becoming a thing of the past. The world is not becoming what their parents told them it would be. This why Bill Shorten’s vow to fight inequality and promising more wealth redistribution through higher taxes and spending resonates with them. As does the ACTU’s #changetherules campaign under Sally McManus’ leadership.
Despite the hardship some millennials feel they have experienced they have never lived through the horrors of communism or a severe economic depression. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989 with pure totalitarian socialism confined to Cuba and North Korea. Australia last experienced a recession in 1991 well before many of these millennials were born.
Because of the good economic times they enjoyed growing up and the Eastern Bloc joining the free world millennials believe what socialism promises them on paper and think that our standing of living would continue under its system and that all we need to do is a simple bit of wealth redistribution to achieve a fair society. Economic illiteracy is rampant among today youths.
Many have asked what can be done about such poll results? What does the future of Australia look like if the young are set to vote for economic policies which have proven to be a failure? Answers have included having the youth experience a recession or it might even take 50 years of socialism to teach them to value freedom and free markets.
A solution that has been embraced on the right is greater economic education. However Fixing the left wing orthodoxy in our education system is a monumental task. As the Australian National University’s rejection of a Bachelor of Western Civilisation demonstrated the academic and student establishment still control the curriculum.
One successful step in the right direction is by the Institute of Public Affairs, another free market think tank with its Generation Liberty program aimed at promoting the ideas of liberty to young people, especially on university campuses. It has co-hosted a series of Capitalism vs. Socialism debates with the Socialist Alternatives at campuses all around Australia and won over many curious students.
Is that enough to stop Australia’s youth continuing to lurch to the left? Probably not. But it’s a start. Now that we have confirmation that millennials view socialism as not that bad the task now is to find a way to prevent it manifesting itself in an electoral force.