“Millennials now make up the largest generation in America, and we’re seeing some deeply worrisome trends,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a D.C.-based nonprofit. According to its latest survey, one in two U.S. millennials say they would rather live in a socialist or communist country than a capitalist democracy. A disturbing 18% of them have a favorable view of Karl Marx and a surprising number see Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un as “heroes.” “Millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”
But do they even know what it is? The survey, which was conducted by research and data firm YouGov, found that millennials are the least knowledgeable generation on the subject, with 71% failing to identify the proper definition of communism.
Smith explained that this “troubling turn” highlights pervasive historical illiteracy across the country and “the systemic failure of our education system to teach students about the genocide, destruction, and misery caused by communism since the Bolshevik Revolution one hundred years ago.”
Other findings include the belief held by 53% of millennials that America’s economic system works against them, which is the same percentage in the prior study. Meanwhile, 66% of Gen Z, ages 16-20, say the system works for them.
When it comes to the wealth divide, Americans seem to be on the same page, with 80% saying it’s a serious issue, up from 78% a year ago. They also mostly agree (68%) that the highest earners don’t pay their fair share in taxes.
“This report clearly reveals a need for educating our youth on the dangerous implications of socialist ideals.” Smith said. “We will continue to work with educators to build curriculum to address this important need.”