The unofficial leftist credo "If it feels good, do it" can be a problem when what feels good is cracking heads. This comes to mind with a new survey indicating that almost half of American socialists - 47 percent - believe that "citizens taking violent action against the rich" is sometimes justified.
The survey, by the Cato Institute, explored Americans' beliefs on wealth and found that, contrary to the American Dream of striking it rich, the leftist dream is too often to strike the rich down. As Cato reports, "About a fifth (17%) of Americans agree that ‘citizens taking violent action against the rich' is sometimes justified; 82% say it's never justified. More than a third of strong liberals (36%) and Americans under 30 (35%) and nearly half (47%) of those who have very favorable attitudes toward socialism say violent action against the rich is sometimes justified."
Helping to explain this is British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's observation that socialism is "the gospel of envy." Cato's research bears this out, too. As the institute writes, "Envy is highly correlated with resentment of high achievers" and resentment is highly predictive of "hostility toward capitalism."
Given the indoctrination effected via entertainment, schools, and media and the waning of virtue, it's no surprise that Cato also found an attitudinal generation gap. "Across the board, young Americans are more likely than older Americans to hold negative attitudes toward the rich," the institute also informs. "People under 30 are about 20-30 points more likely than Americans 65 and over to:
- believe the rich got rich by "taking advantage of other people" (52% vs. 27%)
- believe billionaires are a threat to democracy (51% vs. 26%)
- feel "angry" when they read or hear about rich people (44% vs. 11%)
- believe it's "immoral" for society to allow people to become billionaires (39% vs. 13%)
- believe that citizens taking violent action against the rich may be justified (35% vs. 10%)
- support redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor (53% vs. 20%)
- support raising top marginal tax rates (62% vs. 43%)
Explanation? As Consumerism Commentary reported, summing up research in a July title, "Millennials Want to Be Rich More Than Anything." This materialism correlates with loss of Christian faith - which wanes more with each succeeding generation - as perceiving nothing beyond the material world often makes the material preeminent in one's mind and, more significantly, one's heart.
Moreover (and it's hard doing this justice in a few sentences), the young today usually aren't raised with biblical injunctions such as "Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth," but "lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven." They also aren't likely to be warned that envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins and should be mitigated with the contrary virtue of kindness. In fact, the young's ignorance of faith is now so extreme that one undergraduate recently interviewed couldn't even recognize a picture of Jesus.
Cato's research also reflected man's emotionalism-born irrationality. For example, 61 percent "of Americans favor raising taxes on families with incomes over $200,000 per year," the institute tells us, while almost the same percentage, 62, oppose redistributing wealth from the rich to poor. But where do they think money stolen from the wealthy goes (aside from politicians' cronies)?
One also wonders how many people know that earning 200k places you in the top five percent of wage earners, a group that already pays 58.23 percent of the total income-tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation.
Even more strikingly, fully "50 percent of Democrats say that President Donald Trump has made them ‘like capitalism less,'" writes Cato, as if eternal economic principles change with the president. Reflecting this, Democrats transitioned from slightly favoring capitalism over socialism 58 to 56 percent pre-Trump to favoring socialism 64 to 45 percent now. (But the Democrats are the "party of reason and science.")
Of course, it would help if we ditched the word "capitalism" - originated by socialists for the purposes of demonizing "economic freedom" - and embraced the latter quoted term instead. It polls far better, do note.
As for the other fruit of emotionalism, violence, it's merely an old leftist tradition. The very first "leftists," the French revolutionaries, claimed tens of thousands of lives with their "Reign of Terror." The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) slaughtered at least 20 million people, socialist Chinese despot Mao Tse-tung murdered approximately 60 million, Cambodian socialist leader Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge exterminated one-fifth to one-third of their nation's population (1.4 to 2.2 million), and socialist North Korea has claimed more than one million lives thus far. All told, socialist governments' 20th-century body count is somewhere between 94 and 110 million.
(Read more about this in my 2017 essay, "The Bloody Left: The Dark History of Untrue Believers.")
How many will be added to this number in the 21st century? With both socialism and its attendant violence coming into American fashion, we have to wonder.
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