During the 2008 campaign, Obama’s critics often called him a “radical,” a “socialist” or even a “Marxist” and were either dismissed as hysterics or condemned for “McCarthyism.” It was not widely noted that, for those too young to remember America’s Cold War struggle against Soviet tyranny, the accusation of “Marxism” doesn’t carry much weight, while “McCarthyism” is at most something they’ve read about in books. (Stan Evans’s Blacklisted by History probably isn’t on the collegiate reading list.) Voters who were 25 in 2008 were in first grade when the Berlin Wall came down. If they have some idea that the Soviet empire was a bad thing, they have little idea of why it was bad. And this ignorance is no accident.
To explain why the Bolshevik experiment failed so spectacularly would require that students be taught the errors of socialism, which would necessarily require an explanation of the superiority of the market economy to the socialist planned economy. And the left-wing orientation of today’s academic establishment — “Down With Capitalist Education!” to quote a sign in a protest today by Cal State university faculty — pretty much prohibits any such explanation.
Seventeen-year-olds taught that they are “the 99 percent” and that advocates of economic freedom are “f–king up our future” have not been merely miseducated, but have been quite literally indoctrinated. But as Buckley said, they would be “outraged by the suggestion” that they have not arrived at their beliefs “by independent intellectual exertion.”
These young people have not been taught Marx and Lenin. Rather, they have had their heads stuffed with nebulous ideas about “equality,” “rights” and “social justice” by teachers (and journalists and movie producers) who cherish romantic mythology about the righteous glories of Sixties radical movements.
The other problem is that Marxism is an emotionally appealing argument, to those who have never been taught how to actually think.
[Update a while later]
“The putrid stench of a century of folk Marxism.”