On the strength of a capitalist economic system, America created a material standard of living for the world to envy while providing its citizens with high levels of personal freedom. But today capitalism, and attendant freedom, are being systematically dismantled in America (and being depth-charged in Europe), while understanding and appreciation of these things are receding. Gallup provides proof of this, and confirms conservatives' fears and suspicions.
Loyal elves in the media wing of the Democratic Party establishment -- aka the mainstream media -- hyperventilate when Barack Obama is identified as a socialist, or the Democratic Party is accused of promoting socialist policies. "Vile and unfair accusations," they wail, before retiring to their fainting couches.
But if a survey released last week by Gallup is any indication, it's hard to see what all the indignation is about. A majority of people -- 53 percent -- who describe themselves as Democrats or leaning Democrat, admit to Gallup's pulse takers that they have a positive image of socialism. Only two percent more -- 55 -- say they are positive about capitalism. A robust 75 percent of Democrats say they have a positive image of the federal government.
These numbers should not surprise anyone who has talked to a Democrat over the last couple of decades. A majority of the political party currently in the ascendancy in America holds a positive view of an economic system that has been tried countless times in countless places, has never delivered prosperity, but has always diminished personal and economic freedom.
There is, as one would expect, a significant partisan divide in voters' views about capitalism and socialism. But even here the numbers are disquieting. Of those who identify themselves as Republican or leaning Republican, 72 percent say they have a positive image of capitalism. Could it possibly be that more than a quarter of the party of the bourgeoisie doesn't fancy capitalism? A surprising 23 percent of Republicans tell Gallup they have a positive view of socialism.
Again, surprise is not in order. After several decades of left-wing indoctrination in lieu of education in the nation's schools and universities, it would be more surprising if there were little support for an economic system, the principle products of which, in practice rather than theory, are poverty and tyranny. What you don't know can hurt you.
In the same survey, Gallup probed attitudes toward other institutions. The numbers suggest that while a significant fraction of Americans have a positive view of socialism, they have no understanding of how it works. The majority pro-socialist Democrats, when asked about small business, free enterprise, and entrepreneurs, say they approve of these things by 94, 88, and 84 percent, just slightly smaller numbers than Republicans.
Say what? That's right. The same group, 53 percent of which hearts socialism, also says it approves of capitalism by 88 percent. Tilt! This strongly suggests that an unknown but large percentage of this group has no idea how either economic system works. It also easily explains the high level of support for our current president (54 percent job approval in the latest Rasmussen) who has demonstrated clearly and repeatedly that he not only doesn't know how wealth is created, but doesn't care, so long as his statist and class envy policies are adopted. He also says he respects capitalism and American business, which his tax and regulatory policies are undoing at an alarming rate. Fewer and fewer Americans see the blatant inconsistency between Obama the rhetorical capitalist and Obama the policy statist.
Americans are used to and take for granted lives of material plenty, including but not limited to automobiles, comfortable housing, AC in the summer and heat in the winter, markets bursting with affordable food, pain-free dentistry, ample and affordable clothing, and frippery such a cable television, all enjoyed in safety behind the strongest military shield the world has ever seen. When these things become increasingly dear, or disappear from the scene altogether, many will have no idea how this sorry state of affairs came about. Those charmed by the socialist delusion and who are obsessed with redistributing wealth in a more "fair" way never seem to wonder where the wealth came from in the first place.
I was born when America was just shaking free of the grip of the Great Depression and was gearing up to kick some fascist butt. Attitudes like those recently parsed by Gallup make me fear that I may die as a member of the European Union. Let us pray the American eagle is not replaced by a gerbil approved in Brussels.