by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Stephen Walters writes for the Martin Center about millennials’ apparent fascination with socialism.
Most troubling to the economically literate are surveys revealing millennials’ high level of comfort with socialism: at least one poll suggests a majority might prefer to live in a socialist or communist society. Since many in this age group are also OK with using physical force to silence those with whom they disagree, it’s not unreasonable to fret they’ll transform America into something like Venezuela if given the chance.
But I spend my work days in the company of millennials, and I’m less worried. A recent classroom discussion illustrates why.
My freshmen had averaged a disappointing C+ on their first mid-term exam, and there were plenty of pained expressions as I returned their papers. But I brought forth sighs of relief by announcing that, given how low some grades were, it might be fair to “scale” their scores. A reprieve!
Then I revealed my proposed scaling formula—a tricky one surely used to good educational effect by other professors over the years. As grades were re-calculated, hands shot up and different students wore pained expressions. The problem was that my formula added points to the below-average scores by taking them from those who had done well.
“But…that means my score will go down,” said one of my more conscientious, front-row students. “That’s right,” I agreed, “but, hey, that’s a dose of social justice, isn’t it? As comrade Karl Marx said, ‘from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’” The student frowned. That phrase had always seemed so appealing before.