Earlier this week, CNBC’s Jake Novak penned a column entitled “Bernie Sanders is the front-runner because of how we raised our kids.” Not surprisingly, the piece has garnered a respectable amount of attention from conservative commentators and has fired discussions around why so many younger voters are aligned with an out-and-out communist who would usurp all of their liberties and enslave them if given half a chance.
The title of Mr. Novak’s op-ed is largely true as a declaration, but there’s a little more to it than that.
Over the last few years, my own children have reached the age where they would be quite welcome in the Sanders camp. They could support Bernie Sanders, attend Sanders rallies, cheer and pump their fists as they condemn “The Man” and delight over all of the free stuff they think they’re going to get.
What, you say? Fat chance that my offspring would wind up hardcore lefties after being raised by a black-belt right-wing nationalist such as myself?
Well, that may not be quite fair, although I’ll gladly accept the compliment. In truth, exposure to reality is never a guarantee that anyone will accept it as such. Many will recall that the children President Ronald Reagan had with his wife Nancy not only fell far from the tree, they rolled down the hill, across the road and onto another orchard. My children went to public schools, and, while we were fortunate in living in an area that was not lousy with communists, I definitely had to do my share of damage control on a regular basis.
That said, in light of the situation at hand, I thought it might be useful to do a bit of a “compare and contrast” (mostly contrast) as regards what young likely voters have to work with compared to what we older voters had to work with at their age.
Now, bear in mind that while I may have come of age shortly after the Earth cooled, I did grow up in New York, which was lousy with communists, even in the 1960s. As a young man, I sat across coffee shop tables from real revolutionaries, left-wing black nationalists and the like. My peers and I knew who was running on the Communist ticket going into every general election because this was always widely advertised.
I’m quite certain that there are a lot of people witnessing the groundswell of support for the angry old communist stereotype (Sanders) and wondering how his young supporters can not know that he’s an angry old communist stereotype, that he’s selling them a bill of goods that has proven disastrous for every nation that has implemented it, and that enacting even one of his major platform policies would send this country into an economic tailspin.
Well … the short answer is that they don’t know these things because they’ve never been made clear to them.
In the 1960s, obviously our culture was quite different. The political left had not yet made the kind of inroads that would effectively influence large numbers of young people in the direction of socialism. Yes, there were young saps who lapped up the left-wing pablum activists and some college professors were selling, but there were still too many competing influences to effectively sway masses of young people.
When I was a child, the Cold War was still very much on, and some of the most popular media fare was World War II movies, which obviously had an unambiguous delineation between the good guys and the bad guys. We grew up with regular air raid drills, which were all about trying to protect ourselves from intercontinental ballistic missiles that might be launched by a certain communist superpower at any moment.
In the ’60s and ’70s, nearly all secular Jews supported Israel, and one didn’t have to go very far to find a Jew (or the relative of one) who had escaped from Russia or Eastern Europe or survived the camps in Germany, and who could set the record straight if one had doubts. We still had real journalists, so the pathetic economic floundering and horrible civil-rights records of communist regimes were laid bare on TV news shows with regularity and relish. And of course the Vietnam War was ostensibly being fought in order to keep communists from gaining a free hand in Asia.
Contrast this with what millennials and the generations following them have had to work with. First of all, there’s been 50 intervening years of leftist insinuation into our institutions that’s taken place since I was a child. These influences have been very effective in implementing revisionist history; consequently, the atrocities of the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and even Nazi Germany have been completely re-framed. The educational system has also been wildly successful in eliminating critical thinking from the tools young people have to use in processing pretty much everything.
We’ve had the purulent sensibilities of MTV, the explosion of cable TV and the advent of the internet, which have given rise to an entitled, profoundly narcissistic culture amongst millions of young people. Then, there’s the anger and frustration of young adults who were convinced (by society and their parents) that higher education was the ticket to success. Many have Master’s degrees now, but they’re living in apartments with two or three roommates, and they need two or three part-time jobs to pay their bills and massive student loan debt.
So when we ask ourselves why young Bernie Sanders supporters don’t know that he’s a profoundly dangerous guy, we have to bear in mind that some of them were children when Barack Obama was elected president. They were never exposed to the depth of his radicalism, and they’re too young to remember the young woman who wept with joy when interviewed on the night of Nov. 4, 2008, because Obama was going to do the same things for her generation that Sanders is now promising his young followers.
I recall a few people I grew up with whose heads were on pretty straight when I left New York at the age of 25. Thirty years later, they’re dedicated leftists, quoting Hollywood celebrities’ deepest insights on geopolitics and trashing me on social media at every available opportunity.
Considering this, perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves isn’t why so many young voters are supporting an angry old communist like Bernie Sanders, but why more of them aren’t supporting him.
Article posted with permission from Erik Rush
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