Bernie’s Illusional Gift to the Young

Bernie Sanders galvanizes the young. This seems amazing to many. I will explore one thread here that may make his appeal clearer.

I share one biographical fact to help persuade on the point I make. I taught for many years and at one point in a major university. I was rather shocked in my first year there to find that many of the faculty and the authors of various textbooks were admitted Marxists. We generally accept that the faculties of most colleges and universities are liberal and left leaning in their politics. But living within that environment, attending department meetings and university inspired colloquiums, it soon became apparent that the left leaning was commonly at the very far left of the spectrum.

These are the cadres that have educated your young.

Now back to Bernie. He inspires the young with his antagonism to the wealthy and powerful, and his promise to breach that citadel and level the playing field making opportunity and wealth equally shared by all. His brand of socialism is not far off from communism. This is the same kind of social promise that was sold to the oppressed innocents in the 1900’s.

Back to the professors. Communism under the theories of Marx and Engels began as a promise to end class distinctions and warfare. It got a bad name under Stalin and the Cold War. After it crumbled, it was resurrected under the name Marxism to purge it of its awful realities in the Soviet Union and other oppressive regimes around the world. This Utopian version was once again taught in the universities as the new dream. Our young, our recent grads were taught Marxism and Socialism as the dream solution the same way that energized the disenfranchised when first proffered by Marx and Lenin. At that time no one conceived of the oppressive version, the version that simply didn’t work and couldn’t deliver the promises in the history that was about to unfold.

Bernie sells this same dreamy version of socialism/communism to the young who by virtue of their education by Marxist professors are ready-made for the moment. They’re too young to have lived through and seen the vicious tyrannical days of Communism…..the purges, the genocides, the millions of dead sacrificed to an idea that didn’t work. They equally don’t seem to notice that the great socialistic experiment in most European countries is no longer working there either.

That doesn’t stop Bernie. The American Great Recession plus all of the above has made our young population a ready embracer of the utopian dream that the older crowd knows doesn’t work. Bernie thrives on this innocence. Bernie thrives on this learned naiveté.

The sins of greed and capitalism were all too revealed in the mortgage crisis of 2008. That is a history the young lived. They deserve some slack for their revolutionary love of the Sanders’ solution. Subtleties do not prevail in presidential campaigns.

Marxist Socialism was sold as a dream in the early 1900’s. It is being sold again as a utopian dream to the young today. We must all work to bring the naiveté of the young up to a more mature currency. We must continue their education beyond their professors. This upcoming election is a chance to do just that.

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3 thoughts on “Bernie’s Illusional Gift to the Young

  1. Beautifully written & right on target. Can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been in the College environment w/ a radical Faculty. Thanks for sharing. Jim

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  2. Marxism circa 1900 and as it played out in Communism and Stalinism were based on context and precedent. There was no escaping the preconditions of authoritarian monarchies or corrupted dynasties. Whatever type of government that followed Russian monarchy with its horrific repressions, serfdoms and pogroms was going to recycle those same means. The same equation holds true here. Democracy is a child of parliamentary government. Marxism, as you sited, doesn’t work. Why? I propose because it’s an academic creation. That’s why it’s cherished in academia. I took a course called “Neo-Marxist perspectives in art criticism”in 1983. Marxism had found its rightful place. Not as a political formula, but as a means to critique thought.

    I wonder if Marxist agendas have not already been absorbed into our system a long time ago. Teddy’s and Franklin Roosevelt’s influence still resonates.

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    1. Sam, it’s good to see your comments again. They are incisive as always. You are right, Marxism is an academic trope and little more these days. It is however pervasive in our colleges and universities. It sounds good, and gives its cliques a rush of adrenaline. There is a new book called Fools, Frauds and Firebrands by Roger Scruton that analyses the various contributors to the now classic Frankfurt School and “Cultural Theory” crowd. (Incidentally, I taught a course in CT at a local university for several years) I agree with his every critique. (not an easy book to read, not well written, but learned and esoteric nonetheless) He calls much of the output by the famous cultural theorists nonsense. I don’t fault the now young for feasting on the same dream, but I do fault Bernie, now old enough to know better, for foisting this nonsense upon the naïve.

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