Time to relearn lessons from the Cold War?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Baby boomers may remember the excesses of the late 1950s, when Sen. Joseph McCarthy saw a communism behind every rock, and a single, unfounded accusation could ruin a promising career.

Now, a couple of generations later, and we’re in danger of going from that extreme to the other.

According to a Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation poll:

-- more than one-in-three millennials have a favorable view of communism (an 8% increase from last year);

-- an overwhelming majority of millennials support socialists;

-- only 57% of millennials believe the Declaration of Independence better "guarantees freedom and equality" over the Communist Manifesto;

-- only about half of millennials believe that free speech is more important than social harmony;

-- and 72% of Americans incorrectly say that communism has killed less than 100 million people in the past 100 years.

“This poll is a warning that America’s got a civics crisis,” said Sen. Ben Sasse in a release.

“America doesn’t work if we don’t pass it down to the next generation and we’re not. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, ‘hey chuckleheads, we’ve got a republic if we can keep it.’ When corporate America – everyone from Disney to the NBA – is parroting the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda, it’s important that our families, schools, and communities teach and celebrate the American idea.

“Griping about ‘kids these days’ isn’t going to change anything, we have to get off our butts and teach our kids and grandkids that commies don’t serve avocado toast in the gulags.”

Coming from an education background, Sasse is probably better equipped to take the political temperature of the upcoming generation that many of us.

The Russians officially abandoned communism nearly 30 years ago, although their official adoption of a “federal semi-presidential republic” has been more about delivering power to a strong man than providing a representative government.

When it comes to evaluating communism as a viable alternative, however, we should learn from their mistakes.

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