“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” – Psalm 14:1
When former President Barack Obama left office in January 2017, his approval rating among Millennials (ages 18-35) was 77%. He has been labeled by many as a leader of “Democratic Socialism”. With such a high approval rating, Millennials must have decided Democratic Socialism has advantages over the main opposing ideology, Christian Conservativism. To understand this culture war, let’s define these terms.
“Conservatism” refers to a political ideology that defends four foundational social values against cultural change. These four values are: 1) limited government, 2) separation of powers, 3) individual liberty with rights that come from God, and 4) moral values and duties based on the authority of the Bible. These are the basis of America’s two national creeds: The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
“Democratic Socialism” is a much more recent ideology, with its greatest growth among Millennials occurring since the 2016 election. Ben Shapiro, in his July 2018 article “What is Democratic Socialism?”, helps us understand it, giving Democratic Socialism as a name for “social democracy”:
“Socialism suggests state ownership and control of all major resources — and generally ends with the complete collapse and destruction of the productive population. Social democracy suggests redistribution of capitalistic gains — more like Denmark or Norway or Sweden.”
A more recent poll, conducted by Springboard America, surveyed 1,006 randomly selected 22-to-37 year olds, asking them the question “What description best reflects your current political leanings, with options ranging from Strong Democrat to Strong Republican to Independent. Nearly one third (31%) identified themselves as a Democratic Socialist or Socialist.
The Democratic Socialist movement is a response to decades of secular humanist education that focuses on personal entitlement replacing personal responsibility, on equality replacing liberty, on meeting my needs replacing charity towards other’s needs, on human value defined by the individual replacing human value defined by God, on life’s meaning based on what I can acquire replacing life’s meaning grounded in a loving, transcendent Creator, on an atheist worldview replacing a Judeo-Christian worldview.
Some of the issues that make up the Socialist platform in America include free Medicare for all, free college for all, repeal of the First Amendment, repeal of the Second Amendment, abolishing ICE, and guaranteed employment. Some of these (free college, free Medicare, guaranteed employment) sound too good to be true… which, of course, they are. Knowing this, how could Socialism be so appealing to Millennials?
One possible explanation is with the demise of the Soviet Union, and the westernization of communist China, Millennials have no experience with the disastrous transition from socialism to communism. But a more plausible explanation was given to Harvard students in June of 1978, and then again in 1983 at the Templeton Awards, by someone who lived through it. His speech was called “Godlessness: The First Step to the Gulag”. His name was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Here are a few excerpts, where he explains how cultures that abandon biblical authority end up in atheism, tyranny, anarchy, and much worse.
“In its past, Russia was steeped in an Orthodox Christianity… faith was the shaping and unifying force of the nation. But in the 18th century Russia felt the first whiff of secularism; its subtle poisons permeated the educated classes in the 19th century and opened the path to Marxism. It was Dostoevsky who said the “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” That is absolutely true. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.
Western societies are losing more and more of their religious essence as they thoughtlessly yield up their younger generation to atheism… Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hatred of their own society. This fanning of the flames of hatred is the mark of today’s free world.
Here again we witness the single outcome, for the same reason: Men have forgotten God. All attempts to find a way out of the plight of today’s world are fruitless unless we redirect our consciousness, in repentance, to the Creator of all: without this, no exit will be illumined, and we shall seek it in vain.”
I pray that America’s Millennial generation, who are the next generation leaders in our country, take Solzhenitsyn’s warning to heart.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance” – Article #322