OPINION: Universities fuel the growth of Democratic Socialism
- The Democratic Socialists of America has grown rapidly of late, recently surpassing 40,000 members, and our universities are largely responsible for its newfound appeal to young people.
- In myriad, often subtle ways, leftist professors exploit their positions of authority to "develop" new socialist acolytes by presenting students with a narrow framework of "acceptable" ideas that disguises socialism as virtuous.
With the left's full embrace of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is in the mainstream media’s spotlight.
With more than 40,000 card carrying members, DSA is a growing leftist force in not only our political system, but in our systems of higher education.
So why is the left, especially in our universities, embracing an ideology that has resulted in the deaths of over a hundred million people? Here are three reasons why socialism is making a comeback on college campuses:
1. It is intellectually appealing
The intellectual appeal of socialism—and postmodern ideology in general—is incredibly strong. There is also no better place to foster that appeal than a university, and professors are the perfect conduits for postmodern thought.
So how do they create such intellectual appeal? It’s actually quite complex, as the indoctrination occurs throughout a student’s career. Professors, most of whom are already well-versed in leftist ideology, begin by setting up parameters for their students. Within these parameters lies an acceptable range of ideas—a relatively easy feat, as students tend to be rather malleable with regard to their own ideology.
Knowing that most students are not politically active as high school students, professors can frame their lectures however they wish. In a course traditionally filled with new students, like a mandatory first year class that aims to acclimate new students to higher education, or an introductory American politics class, the professor can frame lectures along leftist talking points. The goal is to plant those talking points, allowing students to fall under the illusion that they are developing their own leftist ideas. This is done with a fair amount of confidence, considering that ideological diversity is virtually nonexistent at many universities, and most students may be too focused on their own transition into higher education to conduct independent research into the topic at hand.
As students are spoon-fed leftist talking points in class, reaffirmed by the overrepresentation of the left in social media, they begin to develop their own ideology under the framework set by their professors and shallow political awareness through social media.
Students who pursue degrees in the social sciences and other liberal arts are then further “developed” in their ideology. As a student progresses through majors in political science, sociology, or other social sciences, the indoctrination gets progressively more aggressive. Students who have already had the framework provided by previous professors (and other influences) are forced to think within those parameters, which continue to shrink over time. A professor may ask students to write papers on what had previously been nothing more than a political talking point, for instance, in order to forge a more aware leftist.
So where is it intellectually appealing? It’s in that “developmental” stage where students begin to evolve from talking points. They may be asked to develop their ideas of welfare under the de facto parameters of Keynesian economics in that it can do no wrong, or they may be taught that mandating all employers to provide free daycare would help achieve equity among men and women in the workplace.
The same could be done for any other leftist issue, and is rigorously repeated throughout a student’s pursuit of a degree. What happens then is that students become tantalized with using the government as a mean to promulgate policy, and when you have an authoritative government to enforce things like universal day care, the sky is the limit when determining other policies like nationalized healthcare, language control, and the pursuit of social justice.
2. There is a crisis of meaning
The decline of religion has allowed for the rise of secularism, and it has been problematic. It is an issue because it has allowed for the substitution of the community for the state, as the state is often seen as “community” by the left. The Sunday church crowds and the local homeowners association gatherings seem to have faded away to a strangely introverted society. The results of this are indicative in a 25 percent increase in suicides since 1999. The devaluation of life itself is eminent in the rise of assisted suicide in Europe. People are starved for meaning, and they are attempting to find that meaning in politics—and even more so in the Democratic Socialist movement.
Socialism can be intoxicating to those starving for meaning. Its promise of both physical and metaphysical reward from the efforts of the collective can entice those not careful enough to realize the morbid realities it creates.
However, the negatives are swept under the rug, as the left’s idea of socialism involves the pursuit of virtue. Righteous indignation is a powerful drug, and the socialists are heavy users. This is especially true of the younger students on campus. People are trying to discover their role in a world where people are refusing to find meaning in God, but the desire for virtue is still very much alive. The socialists have provided the liquor, and they are playing with intoxication. Students see that the socialists fight for the supposed widespread and devastating oppression of minorities, women, LGBTQ individuals, and those who don’t practice Judeo-Christian faiths. They offer a spot for anyone seeking virtue (within the predetermined parameters) in order to destroy their straw man.
3. They haven't seen socialism in action
It's easy to disregard and revise history as long as it is convenient to do so, such as ignoring the fact that more than 100 million people (that we know of) have been killed by the very ideas that are pushed by socialists every day. They will revise history by saying "true socialism has never been tried,” but even a modern day example in Venezuela, which is by far one of the best (and one of the only modern) examples of the effects of true socialism, is discounted thanks to the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.
Our schools are failing us. Our communities are disappearing. Ideologues knee deep in their own garbage are unable to understand the true evil that is socialism. The far left is a much greater threat to our nation than any neo-Nazi group will ever be, and our universities are the gateways to the left.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @PeytonDillberg