Youth of America Choose Political Philosophy over Character and Experience
I was watching Shepard Smith’s FOX Report on the FOX News Channel tonight and saw a survey that stated the youth of America (ages 18-29) chose agreement on the issues (30%) as their most important criteria for electing a candidate, experience and character only garnered 5% each. Armed with this information, I have to believe that if agreement on the issues are most important to the youth, then that must mean the vast majority of them lean fairly far left, are fairly liberal, and believe in some type of western European socialism since these appear to be the views of Barack Obama.
So then I wonder, do our youth, in general, read our U.S. Constitution understanding its guarantees of individual liberty and freedom and promotion of a limited government? Do our youth now promote socialism over capitalism? Are our youth familiar with or have they read Adam Smith the “father of capitalism”?
Adam Smith was a Scottish born economist who wrote in the 1700s: The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations. As Ed Kaitz wrote in a piece for American Thinker entitled: “Obama’s Adam Smith Problem”
What gives? For years I’ve taken a rather morbid interest in the state of academia by asking my college students if they’ve ever even heard of Adam Smith. Invariably about two or three out of fifty mention something about “a Scottish guy.” When I ask about Karl Marx however every hand in the room goes up. By helping to shed some light on “das Adam Smith problem” though I hope that students might come to appreciate a man who more than any other in modern history has shaped the world in which we live. I also hope to demonstrate to students that it’s entirely possible to entertain a defense of Smith’s philosophy of life even against his harshest critics in these dire economic times.
When I ask students to comment on “socialism” they normally say things like “publically minded” or “selfless” or “thinking of the whole instead of yourself.” When I write “capitalism” on the chalkboard the predictable epithets start flowing: “greedy” or “selfish” or what Barack Obama likes to call in various ways “uncaring” (I did manage to hear “opportunity” on one occasion years ago). We spend some time then reading and discussing the “thinking of the whole instead of yourself” philosophers such as Plato, Marx, Rousseau, and Mao. <snip>Smith is interested in taking stock of human beings and finding out how to both preserve freedom and benefit society within the bounds of our given nature. Justice is there to force good behavior “to a degree” in a capitalist economy but we also need to recognize that the self-preservation instinct is the only dynamic engine for increasing wealth and avoiding poverty. But beneficence, freely given and not forced, serves as another check in the “race for wealth and honors.” It is our common human sentiment says Smith that keeps us from looking “mankind in the face” and claiming that we prefer ourselves to all others.
I encourage you to read Kaitz’ article in its entirety. You may find you have a better understanding of the generosity of the capitalist. And maybe, just maybe after a little further study you may develop a better appreciation for the issues that we agree upon and those we do not. Maybe capitalism will make a comeback and hopefully soon.