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Young Americans for Socialism

April 23rd, 2009

American adults under 30 are almost evenly divided on the question

Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?

37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. For the US population as a whole, only a bare majority prefer capitalism (53% prefer capitalism, 20% socialism, and 27% are undecided.)

Granted that socialism can mean anything from “Policies adopted by Joe Stalin” to “Policies deplored by Joe the Plumber”, these are quite striking results, and certainly help to explain why the invocation of the socialist bogy by JTP and other Republican hacks has been so ineffective (to the point that JTP has recently taken to adding a “neo” prefix, which certainly made both “liberal” and “conservative” scarier).

A couple of random observations. First, I’ve seen occasional (both pejorative and positive) uses of the term “social democrat” in the US context, but it hasn’t got anywhere near establishing itself yet.

Second, this is yet another observation that suggests to me the end of US exceptionalism. My impression is that Americans aged under 30 are much more like young people elsewhere in the developed world in terms of political, social and religious attitudes than were previous cohorts. More precisely perhaps, the large group clustered around evangelical Christianity/traditional Southern white values that makes the US so exceptional doesn’t seem to be replacing itself.

Hat tip: Commenter Hannah’s Dad at Larvatus Prodeo

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  1. Salient Green
    April 25th, 2009 at 13:24 | #1

    TerjeP #46 if you’re a man, act like one and stop telling tales.
    If you’re a woman, that’s right dear.

  2. Skepticked
    April 25th, 2009 at 14:04 | #2

    Heart in the face of all evidence to the contrary, more like it. Watching second and now third-generation welfare cases grow up with no dignity and no hope I have no doubt what socialism does for people.

  3. rog
    April 25th, 2009 at 14:10 | #3

    In Italy socialism must also include fascism, the christian democrats existence was by way of a coalition of socialists, nationalists and other minorities. After the corruption trials of the 1990′s, which found many socialists in all forms of govt to be corrupt (mayors, MPs, cabinet ministers etc) the socialist prime minister resigned and the socialist party collapsed.

  4. Alice
    April 25th, 2009 at 14:37 | #4

    46#Terje – Ive seen you be rude to quite a few people also including me.

  5. jquiggin
    April 25th, 2009 at 14:45 | #5

    OK, please no more meta-discussion about the rules. Please leave enforcement to me, and email me privately if you have any complaints about comments or other matters.

  6. Monkey’s Uncle
    April 25th, 2009 at 15:55 | #6

    JQ @40, it may be true that Italy has not had that many years of officially socialist government during the post-war period. But the Christian Democrats were always a corporatist regulatory party. Moreover, the Socialists and Communists have controlled a number of regional governments for a long time. So genuine free market policies have had hardly any influence.

    In that sense, it is not that much of a stretch to cite Italy as an example of the failure of government intervention in the economy.

  7. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    April 26th, 2009 at 06:27 | #7

    JQ – sorry about the snark. I know from personal experience that moderating comments is a total pain. I’ll try and cop it sweet because thats probably the option with the least cost all round.

  8. Semjaza
    May 6th, 2009 at 21:09 | #8

    The trouble with socialism is simple. it can’t work. The Europeans got a free ride because they didn’t have to finance their own military defenses for the last sixty years. That makes their versions of socialism more like the false socialism found on every college campus. Without the US military their governments will collapse in the face of a weaker but determined power…ISLAM. Everybody better wake up. If the US wants to live like Europe who will be defending the so-called free world?
    God always gets the last laugh at every arrogant generation that comes along and thinks they have got the world figured out. Sorry young people, but you are not special.

  9. jquiggin
    May 6th, 2009 at 21:14 | #9

    Oh, dear.

  10. Alice
    May 6th, 2009 at 21:27 | #10

    oh my goodness…JQ. It gets worse?. Just when you think you educate one….oh dear is all that is left to say…there are more where they came from. Its sad actually. The media has a lot to answer for.

  11. Monkey’s Uncle
    May 6th, 2009 at 22:17 | #11

    Methinks someone has logged in under a sock-puppet identity “Semjaza” to poke fun at the lunar right.

    Come on. Own up. Who is behind this? :-) .

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