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July 17, 2018


Lately the business press has been lamenting the move of millennials to socialism and are telling us that such a move will ultimately mark the end of capitalism, noting scattered upset victories in Democratic primaries of leftish candidates and the rejection of Feinstein for reelection in the nation’s most populous state as harbingers of that future. I disagree. Such candidates are Democrats, not socialists, and may (with a considerable stretch) be fairly considered to be the Tea Party of the Left by today’s standards though still Democrats, just as those of the Tea Party of the Right in the Republican Party remain Republicans. Big Tents harbor those with varying approaches to government, even among libertarians, since even no government is government by anarchy (whatever that entails).

The fact is that millennials are reacting to the hard right Republican giveaway artists to the rich which ignores the wants, needs and rights of ordinary Americans, and of course, such a move is vulnerable to claims by capitalists in shutting them off at the pass that such reaction suggests that the end is near. It isn’t. The further fact is that we have had an admixture of socialism and capitalism since we became a country; the only argument between those in the political class being to what degree of either is tolerable in the mix. Thus Social Security is socialistic, Medicare is socialistic; social welfare is socialistic etc., but so are tax giveaways to the superrich. Some pundits have even opined that we now have socialism for the rich and brutal capitalism for the rest of us.

Political stands today seem to be determined not on principle but on political contributions, a standard at great odds with the view of Madison and Jefferson that public service is “noble.” The idea of “principle” as practiced today seems to be guided by “whose ox is being gored” and moneybags rather than doing what is right and just for the greatest number, and herein lies the millennial plaint.

Millennials today are moving to the left, but what is left? Thus the Republican Party has long since sold it soul to the moneyed class and, unfortunately and under the new standard of seeking “campaign contributions,” the Democratic Party has moved to the right as well, though not so far as Republicans. My thesis is that millennials who describe themselves as “socialists” are not socialists at all but reactionaries to the current thefts of public monies for redistribution to the rich and what amount to payoffs for political campaigns – and I agree with them. I think the millennials want to return to the days of FDR’s New Deal where the American people were valued above Wall Street. They have found the current “mix” of capitalism and socialism as practiced by Republicans intolerable – and I agree with them though I am not a socialist nor, I think, are the millennials who describe themselves as such. As I frequently write, I am trying to save capitalism, if the capitalists will let me.

Solution #1? I think we simply need to readjust the mix. It is now too one-sided in favor of the few over the many and will not in the long or even medium run politically succeed irrespective of Russian assistance, Trumps, McConnells, Ryans, and other such purveyors of socialism for the rich. With such a readjustment a drastic move to socialism will be unnecessary, but without it such is possible – something current Republican leadership should consider in their oblivious drive to further enrich the already rich – and thus drive the millennials (our future) further yet to the left.

Solution #2? Public financing of political campaigns. This will take money (read Kochs, Mercers, Wall Street et al.) out of control of the public will. When the people finance campaigns those elected will look out for the people rather than former vote-buyers, thus perhaps returning to the Madisonian-Jeffersonian view that public service is “noble.” Millennials would like that – and so would I.      GERALD           E





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