- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2017

The majority of millennials would prefer to live in a socialist, communist or fascist nation rather than a capitalistic one, according to a new poll.

In the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism,” 58 percent of the up-and-coming generation opted for one of the three systems, compared to 42 percent who said they were in favor of capitalism.

The most popular socioeconomic order was socialism, with 44 percent support. Communism and fascism received 7 percent support each.

Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said the report shows millennials are “increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”

“This troubling turn highlights widespread historical illiteracy in American society regarding socialism and the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.

Millennials are more likely to prefer socialism and communism than the rest of the country. Fifty-nine percent of all respondents chose capitalism as their preferred arrangement, compared to 34 percent who said socialism, 4 percent fascism and 3 percent communism.

Some of communism’s luminaries are admired by millennials. Thirty-one percent said they have a favorable view of Che Guevara, 32 percent Karl Marx, 23 percent Vladimir Lenin and 19 percent Mao Zedong. Joseph Stalin is viewed favorably by just 6 percent.

In the poll, only 33 percent of millennials were able to identify the correct definition of socialism. They fared about as well as the rest of the country, which only successfully identified socialism at a 34 percent clip. Gen Z, the generation after millennials, ―was the most informed group, with 43 percent correctly identifying socialism.

Where millennials struggled compared to other generations was in the identification of capitalism. Just 51 percent correctly said capitalism is the “economic system based on free markets and the rule of law with legal protections for private ownership.” That was by far the lowest of any age cohort. Americans as a whole correctly identified capitalism 67 percent of the time.

Millennials are also less likely to have a negative view of communism. Just 36 percent said they had a “very unfavorable” impression of the system, and only 44 percent said they would be insulted if described as a communist.

As a whole, 56 percent of Americans view communism very unfavorably, and 63 percent would be insulted to be associated with the ideology.

One possible explanation for the millennial infatuation with socialism is that 53 percent of the cohort reports feeling burdened by the economy.

Millennials were the only age group more likely to say America’s economic system “works against me” rather than “works for me.” Gen Z had the most positive impression of the economy, with 66 percent saying it “works for me,” although many of them have yet to enter the workforce.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey was conducted online from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5 by YouGov. It polled 2,300 members of the general public age 16 and above.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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