“The culture war is fought dirty”
It’s no secret that anti-capitalist politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have attracted a large following among young voters. “Bernie Sanders got more votes under 30 than Hillary and Trump combined,” observed Dr Wolf von Laer, CEO of the pro-freedom organization, Students For Liberty.
Surveys have shown that many young Americans, when asked whether socialism or capitalism is the best system, choose socialism, regardless of their precise definition of socialism. Could the rejection of capitalism by young people be linked to what they learn in their universities?
Liberal professors outnumber conservatives 12 to 1
In his latest book, Panic attack. Young Radicals in the Trump AgeRobby Soave, who is also a Students For Liberty alumnus, writes: “Most people know that teachers are more to the left than the average American: what they maybe don’t realize is that so many professors teach from an explicitly Marxist perspective or at least apply critical theory to the subject matter they teach. Although there are no recent, reliable figures on the extent to which socialism has taken hold in American educational institutions, Soave cites a 2007 study. According to the study, while only 3% of all university professors define themselves as Marxists, in certain subjects, such as sociology, up to one in four professors describe themselves as Marxist.
Dr. Wolf von Laer cites a study by the National Association of Scholars, which reports that 40% of top-ranked liberal arts colleges have no registered Republican professors, adding: “The Econ Journal Watch published a study conducted by professors from Brooklyn College. and George Mason University, which found liberal professors and researchers outnumber conservatives by nearly 12 to 1. According to the department, this disparity could be as high as 33: 1, as the study found in history departments.
It all comes down to a student’s economic situation
Soave sees the influence of universities as an important factor, but not a decisive one: “Many activists became radicalized even before entering university. According to Soave, the deciding factor is the economic situation many young people find themselves in after completing their university education. Many young graduates find themselves facing high debts and poor career prospects. And this is especially true for graduates in humanities, psychology, art and similar subjects. As Soave explains, the economic situation these graduates face is no better than it would have been if they had never attended university and instead found employment immediately after leaving school. ‘secondary school. In reality, they are often even poorer. In many cases, their situation is even worse than that of high school graduates because university graduates are heavily in debt because of their student loans.
“Generation Z and millennials are voting for free education and health care,” says von Laer. And because such demands are often equated with “socialism” by right-wingers of the political spectrum, many young people demonstrably and provocatively refer to themselves as “socialists.” But, of course, very few of them actually want the kind of socialist system once seen in the Soviet Union or other Eastern Bloc countries. Many dream of a “Scandinavian socialism” like Sweden or Denmark. They project their dreams of a better society onto these countries without ever knowing much about them. “At the same time, Sweden and Denmark, like the United States, are among the 20 most capitalist countries in the world according to the Index of Economic Freedom, but many young people don’t know it,” says von Laer.
Von Laer and his Freedom Students are trying to stem the tide of anti-capitalism on college campuses across America. “We’re doing our best to change that and we’ve had over 34,000 people at our events right across the US over the past school year. Our approach is to build future freedom leaders so that the arguments for a freer and more tolerant society are represented in media, business, politics, art and culture.
Capitalism held in high regard by young people in developing countries
Interestingly, young people in Asia, Africa and Latin America often have a more positive view of capitalism than their peers in the United States. This may be related at least in part to the fact that over the past three decades capitalist globalization, especially in Asia, has lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty. “While young people in the United States mainly see their economic problems and criticize the rise of inequalities at home, many young people in Asia, Africa and Latin America also see the opportunities that capitalism offers them,” observes von Laer: “Among our members, the fever with which the younger generation defends capitalism is often stronger in some developing regions of the world. We have seen a huge influx of members in Africa, Latin America and especially Brazil. Especially in the latter, our student leaders were at the forefront of organizing protests for more than 200,000 people in the streets of Brazil. These former students are now often elected to state congresses and even to the federal parliament like Marcel van Hatten. One of our alumni also drafted a bill that will reduce the size of government and lead to the creation of 3.5 million jobs over the next 10 years in the Brazilian economy, according to a government estimate. This bill was enacted in October of last year.
In American universities, leftist and conservative students often clash – and pro-capitalist libertarians are frequently caught in the crossfire. “Leftist domination on campuses has provoked a populist conservative response in several countries, and more obviously in the United States. The war of cultures is done dirty. Denigrating each other, shouting, ridiculing and even aggressive is the norm and it has a deteriorating respectful discourse that has a corollary negative effect on freedom of expression (since freedom of expression loses its appeal if it is is abused by abrasiveness and disgust).
As a result, the battle between “pro-capitalist” and “pro-socialist” students in universities across America is intensifying.