Go to Google and type in the phrase “popularity of communism with youth” and you will get numerous results discussing the popularity of communism and/or socialism among millennials. Anarchist “woke” conversations also emphasize the evils of capitalism. If climate change does not destroy the world, then the next generation of revolutionaries might.
Communism usually comes to power with a bloody massacre of the intelligentsia and the elite, because after all, they are the ones responsible for the evil. But it is not just the elite that eventually get snared in the web of revolution, as is clear from the tens of millions that were killed across the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, and other regimes. Whatever someone thinks about the relative merits of capitalism and communism, what should be clear, is that when absolute power is placed in the hands of a few, or worse, one, then horrors follow. The importance of democracy, supported by a military that respects civil rule, is not that it always produces the best results, but that it is capable of correcting the worst results; either through constitutional restrictions, judicial action, impeachment, election, or term limits.
Recently I traveled through a number of ASEAN countries that are communist, ruled by the military, or have a form of democracy where you only get to vote for one political party – sometimes referred to in the region as socialism, which I suspect is not the kind of socialism that Bernie2020 talks about, its more like communism in drag, from what I can tell. Loved the people, loved the food, had great experiences, reflected on the extended family of years past, but was unimpressed with the economic results and the general standard of living, which pales in comparison to most capitalist liberal democracies. There are exceptions of course, liberal democracy is no guarantee of economic prosperity, especially if reform runs into political headwinds.
That is really the last important point here. Communism sucks, but it is also possible to make liberal democratic capitalism look anemic as well. All you have to do is get bogged down in the politics of extremes, the politics of hatred, and getting anything done, addressing any really important issues becomes impossible. In some ways we may be there already in the USA, and maybe this is why millennials and Gen Z are so disillusioned. These generations want lives of meaning, they are altruistic, they want to do good, yet, the system is not living up to their expectations. As a result, their loyalties are at risk, and their radicalization seems more than a remote possibility. Now I am doing my own hyperbolic handwringing 😉
Let’s hope those that engage in the political, business, and science spheres wake to the possibilities of collaboration, and reject the politics of fear and demonization, because communism really does suck, so let’s provide a better alternative. Of course, there is always the possibility that everything is all good, and it is just that the noise on social media, Cable news, and other information outlets is blinding us to what is inherently good – fingers crossed that be true. Communism? SMH.