Are millennials libertarians? Well, according to a Reason.com poll, video, and article, the answer is a resounding yes. This finding is true, according to the 105 page report, even though 42% of millenials favor socialism over capitalism.
The dishonesty of Reason (a generally wonderful source of news btw) exposes itself when the authors of the article try to change this statistic by simply changing the definition of socialism (or at least molding it to meet their conclusion).
According to Reason (and others), socialism is the full government management of the economy. But, I would suggest, the more likely popular definition of socialism is quite different; probably something to the effect of "government run as an efficient business" - you know, similar to the governments in Germany, Sweden, Norway, etc (though, of course, the truth to this statement is definitely arguable).
And I think this is the problem of some libertarians, including the authors of the Reason.com article: what you think of as Progressive (or socialism) is not how others would define it; similarly, what you think of libertarianism (or anarchism, or anarcho-capitalism, or minarchism) is likely not how others would perceive or define it (just listen to the below video to see the likely differences in opinion).
This seems to show the importance of both defining key terms and understanding different perspectives. However, for me, defining socialism is becoming extremely difficult. In Capitalism vs. Socialism, Ludwig von Mises defines socialism as:
- "Full government control of every sphere of the individuals life and the unrestricted supremacy of the government in its capacity as central board of production management."
But there are some problematic choice of words in this definition, specifically "full", "every", "unrestricted" and "central board of production management." After all, I can't name one country - anywhere in the world - that comprises this definition. Nor, could a country likely even fulfill all of these requirements.
Von Mises makes it even more complicated when he writes:
- "There is simply no other choice than this: either to abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way."
Of course, this may be the end result of (insert whatever one calls the United States, Germany, Norway, etc.), but what in the world do I call what most governments are today? Minarchism is one solution, but that includes only "night watchmen" services; not free education, health care, etc.
So, I will, like the likely ultra-majority of Americans, continue to place the countries above (and those alike) in a box labeled "socialism." I don't mean this in any negative sense; instead, I wish to help people understand that millenials are not libertarians, but rather socialists (who support the intervention of government). Additionally, I will choose to define socialism as: "non-limited government intervention." Moreover, I will define minarchism as "limited government intervention."
And, to help Reason determine if millenials are either socialists or libertarians:
There. ::brushing hands:: That should end that debate.
How would you define socialism?