- - Sunday, March 31, 2019

What will be the end result of the massive failure of public education, the breakup of our families and societal institutions, and the continuous brainwashing of our young people by the mass media?

Have we so failed millennials that they actually believe the empty promises of socialism that have brought misery and death to millions around the world?

Maybe it’s time to reach out, listen to and understand exactly what it is that America’s young adults are seeking. When we do, it turns out that the future holds much hope.

Highly regarded veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen surveys 1,000 voters every night. A recent accumulation of research reveals a few surprises about millennials and their attitudes toward socialism. He has discovered that they understand “socialism” to mean something entirely different than the political and economic systems that destroy freedom and nations.

While millennials are attracted by the allure of socialist language, they do not necessarily embrace the morally bankrupt policies championed by the Democratic Party. In fact, 8 out of 10 millennials believe in the power of free markets.

Other signs for hope in the attitudes of millennials:

A distrust of powerful government and large corporations.

A preference for a community approach to solving problems.

A belief that governing is not the responsibility of government alone. Everyone has a role to play.

An understanding that most change begins outside of politics.

So why do so many millennials support radical politicians like Bernie, Beto and AOC? Simply put, the politicians and their young followers have very different meanings for the same word, and neither of them knows it.

“It’s not just that young people don’t know what socialism has historically meant, it’s that politicians don’t understand that the meaning of the word has changed,” Mr. Rasmussen told me at an event sponsored by FreedomWorks.

When you unpack that reality, it uncovers an incredible opportunity for freedom.

While Mr. Rasmussen is intent on discovering through extensive polling exactly what millennials mean when they say “socialism,” it’s the responsibility of all who love liberty to have conversations with young adults to find out where their hearts are, what they value, and what they aspire to. Early clues indicate that many millennials are equating “socialism” to a sense of community that gives them camaraderie, purpose, and even a “family.”

All human beings hunger for a place of belonging. Social scientist Pat Fagan has said that America used to be a nation of “belonging” — intact families of earlier generations provided not just a physical home for children but an emotional one as well. Parents and children “belonged” together. Families were an inseparable unit, bound by the pledge and loving commitment of marriage.

With well over 60 percent of all children now born either out of wedlock or to families that will suffer divorce, the tragic reality is that millennials have been raised in a culture of brokenness.

Why should we be surprised that young adults, many of whom experienced brokenness as young children, are drawn to “socialism” as a philosophy that they interpret — although wrongly — as a community that warmly accepts them as they are, that promises to take care of them?

In his insightful book “The Sun Is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed But America Will Not,” Mr. Rasmussen reminds us that community has always been a critical component to America’s success. He rightly describes “charities, religious organizations, civic clubs, social movements and more” as “the building blocks of community problem solving.”

The research shows that millennials understand the need for local civic responses to societal problems. The trouble is, while the American family was disintegrating, the Christian church also started failing to “be the church,” and the number of civic organizations espousing timeless American values has been on a precipitous decline in recent decades.

It seems that young adults were perfect victims for the age-old lies of economic and political socialism, dressed up in the form of politicians who speak the language of the belonging they seek. The arrogance of Bernie, Beto and AOC has them believing that their young followers embrace their full socialist agenda, but it’s really more the tone and false sense of security that draws them in. The majority of millennials reject the actual policies that lead to the inevitable loss of freedom, individuality, and even the community they so desperately seek.

Only when we commit to rebuilding our families and our institutions to fulfill our duties to God and to each other can we create a new culture of belonging and launch a new march of freedom. Then, as Mr. Rasmussen says, “We will draw our nation ever closer to becoming a land filled with opportunity, liberty, and justice for all.”

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at rebecca@rebeccahagelin.com.

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