A new national poll of Americans ages 18 to 29 (aka “Millennials”) was completed by The Reason Foundation and the Rupe Foundation, and Nick Gillespie wrote about in the pages of Time. And after reading through all 100+ pages of it, all I can say is:
Because paradoxically, even though this generation is the most educated in our country’s history, far too many of ’em apparently haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.
The answers from the 2,400 representative 18-to-29-year-olds in the survey range from liberal, to moderate, to fiscally conservative, and back again. But more than anything, the very disparity and/or dichotomy of their answers seems to signal a critical disconnect in their thinking, as some answers simply don’t jive with others in any logical or coherent way. For instance, check out the quote below:
In fact, when asked whether they want an economy managed by the free market or by the government, 64% want the former and just 32% want the latter…”
16% actually know what “socialism” is? Sixteen?? That’s pathetic, by any standard. Especially when you compare that result to the 30% of Americans in toto who can accurately define “socialism”, and then to the 57% of folks who can who also self-identify as “Tea Party”. Plus, merely the re-wording of the question (“whether they want an economy managed by the free market or by the government“) generates a 12% variance. These people are either currently in school, or just got out fairly recently, and THIS is our result? They didn’t realize that it’s the same question? Or maybe, “free market” got a 12% higher response than “capitalism” because they don’t actually know what “capitalism” is? Based on our “socialism” example previously, that certainly seems possible. Can you begin to see why I’m sorta depressed here?
Of course, it’s not much of a mystery why over 40% of this generation purports to “prefer socialism”, yet barely a THIRD of that number can accurately define what it is. Since grade school, I’m betting they’ve heard “socialism” described repeatedly as “good” or as a synonym for “fairness”, and simply internalized it accordingly. Who needs the actual definition, when you’ve absorbed its meaning contextually? Which is yet another sign of just how completely our education system has failed our children. There’s more, of course. When the survey asked about government size relative to tax rates, 54% of Millennials favored a “larger Government with More Services“, yet 66% simultaneously acknowledged that Government is “inefficient and wasteful“. Huh??? Somehow, a sizable chunk of the “Government is too wasteful and inefficient” crowd inexplicably also wants …MORE of it? Really? Like I said originally: we’re doomed.
We’ve known this was coming, of course. A couple years back, we highlighted the following findings:
“…In particular, schools in America do an incredibly poor job of teaching our students subjects such as history, economics and geography that are necessary for understanding the things that are taking place in our world today.
For example, according to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find Iraq on a map of the world. According to that same survey, 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can’t even find the state of New York on a map.
If our students cannot even find Iraq and New York on a map, what hope is there that they will be able to think critically about the important world events of our day?…”
That last sentence is now eerily prophetic, wouldn’t you agree? We’ll leave you with a clip which we’ve linked years ago, from late night comedian Craig Ferguson. It’s still funny, and it’s funny because it’s true. And it’s getting truer (yet scarier) every day.