25 April 2010

Young voters are not afraid of socialism

Boston.com has an interesting article about how the youngest voters in America do not share their parents' and grandparents' fears of socialism.
But it’s not that the youngest voters don’t know what socialism means. It’s that most aren’t scared of it — and find it bizarre that, decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a political movement would center itself around opposition to it. The fact that both the tea party and the Republican Party have made vociferous opposition to “socialist’’ policies a key part of their rhetoric helps explain the tepid response among young adults.

Republican strategists see short-term advantages in the tea party movement’s passion. But if conservatives can’t wean themselves off of Cold-War-era rhetoric, they risk alienating an entire generation of young people. The tea party is well on its way to doing just that. A recent New York Times/CBS News survey found that three-quarters of the movement’s supporters were older than 45...

And if the health care reform bill actually were socialist? He shrugged off that concern. “Socialism itself isn’t terrible,’’ he said, unless it involves the abrogation of individual rights...
Here's the key sentence, which I think explains it all:
Young people grew up in a post-Soviet world. When they hear “socialism,’’ they think Scandinavia, not Russia.


  1. Though the suggestion about what the young today associate with the term is surely correct, I suspect that rightist rhetoric has also played into it. When you get told enough times that things that sound like a fundamentally good idea -- like universal health care -- are "socialist," you start to think this socialism stuff doesn't sound so bad.

  2. Not all us old geezers are afraid of socialism. The ones on the right are confusing socialism with communism, which is understandable as the terms were used interchangeably during the Cold War. That was a mistake even then.

  3. When my age group hears of socialism (I'm 22) we think of England or maybe Sweden. The only reason we wouldn't like it is that we don't want to pay taxes (but who really does?).


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