Rachel Campos-Duffy: We must start young (and be fearless) when teaching our kids about dangers of socialism

A few weeks ago, Marquette University’s Young America’s Foundation club (YAF) invited me to speak on campus. The title of my speech was “Defending the American Dream: The case against socialism.”

Not surprisingly, campus socialists and Antifa groups were unhappy with my invitation. If there is one thing progressives hate, it’s a minority woman who defends American exceptionalism and (gasp!) American capitalism.  To them, I’m a traitor to my race and gender.

One person was caught on camera tearing down the YAF posters advertising my event. I was ready when the woke, social justice warriors (SJWs) showed up to challenge me during the Q&A portion of my presentation.

The questions asked by the SJWs were largely predictable and full of all the politically correct buzz phrases young college kids are trained to use. Words like “climate imperialism,” “systemic racism,” and other terms that both disparage America and serve as a protective, virtue-signaling shield they believe will give them a racial and moral advantage in any debate.

There was one student, however, who wasn’t interested in trying to trip me up or generate a viral moment.  This young man, a Chinese foreign exchange student, taught all of us that night a lesson in the dangers of romanticizing socialism and communism.

If you aren’t talking to your kids -- even those in elementary school -- about the evils of socialism/communism versus the morality and efficacy of American capitalism, you can be sure someone else is.  

After asking a thoughtful question, I asked him if he would explain to the students in the room how the Chinese social credit system worked.

He did. He described how the Communist Chinese government tracks its citizens’ phones, internet use, attendance to Communist party events and other activities and uses this “score” to determine your family’s financial fate, the quality of education your child receives, and whether you will be arrested or punished for thinking the wrong thoughts.

I was alarmed by how many of the students in the room were unaware of this fact of life in Communist China.

After the speech, the young man confessed that before answering my question he instinctively scanned the room to make sure there were no other Chinese students for fear of being reported.

Thanks to political superstar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, socialism is trendier than ever – especially among college students. Membership to the Democratic Socialist Party of America has surged since her stunning congressional win in 2018. The socialist wing of the Democratic Party that she effectively now leads is driving policy, political strategy, and the Democratic presidential primary.

Before you say, “Hey, AOC isn’t talking about Communism, she’s promoting ‘Democratic Socialism’” (whatever that is), consider Ayan Rand’s warning that there is no real difference: “Communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism by vote.  It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.”

During the last Democratic debate, when journalist Jorge Ramos asked Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, about his support for Venezuela and its socialist dictators, Hugo Chavez and now, Nicholas Maduro, he lied to the American people!

Sanders said he meant Sweden, not Venezuela.  But Sanders is on **record** as a huge cheerleader for the socialist revolution in Venezuela (he is also on tape cheering Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution too).

Sander’s website once stated that the American Dream was more likely to be found in Caracas than the United States of America.  Then one day a few years ago, he quietly removed that statement from his website.  The media never followed up with him on that important edit, and in the end, even Jorge Ramos (who knows better) let him get away with it.

Today, once middle-class Venezuelans eat their pets and dig through garbage cans for food.

Desperate Venezuelan mothers cross the border into Columbia to sell their bodies for groceries they cannot find or afford in Venezuela.

Socialism always leads to hunger, despair, indignities, repression, and death.

Twenty years ago, Venezuelans were sold the same empty lies and promises of “free” everything that Bernie, AOC, and Elizabeth Warren are peddling.

Sadly, my experience on the college speaking circuit has taught me that college students are falling hard for these lies because they are historically and economically illiterate (exhibit A is AOC who graduated from Boston University with a degree in economics) and they take their freedom and prosperity for granted.

So what can we do? It’s overwhelming and demoralizing to think about singlehandedly taking on the education monopoly, Hollywood, big tech and the formidable social media influence of AOC and other cheerleaders for socialism. But you don’t have to!  Like most things, the answer lies close to home. It starts with parents and grandparents who often don’t appreciate that they are the first and most powerful teachers in a child’s life. But we must start early because the indoctrination starts early.

If you aren’t talking to your kids -- even those in elementary school -- about the evils of socialism/communism versus the morality and efficacy of American capitalism, you can be sure someone else is.

The family dinner table and the ride to school or soccer practice are more effective venues than the classroom.  Don’t be afraid to tell your kids about the millions of people who have died in the name of socialism in the 20thcentury – their textbooks won’t.

Talk to them about the real-time tragic demise of Venezuela from the richest to the poorest country in Latin America – Bernie and AOC won’t.

Tell them also the good news – how capitalism delivered the historic economic boom Americans are currently enjoying -- the media won’t.

Remind them that this is a “blue-collar” recovery being most felt by minorities and the working class, the very people socialists claim to speak for.

What’s most important is that we make our case to our children and grandchildren with passion and emotion, not just with facts and figures.

Capitalism is not a bad word! It’s a beautiful word. Own it.

Capitalism married with Judeo/Christian ethics is a very, very good thing.

In all of human history, no other system has lifted more people out of poverty and into the ranks of the middle class and beyond.  And no country has done a better job than the United States of America to secure the freedom of its citizens to work hard, prosper and achieve their American Dream.

If we don’t pass these ideas and values on to our children, there’s a generation of desperate Venezuelans and a young, Chinese college student in Wisconsin who can tell us what our future will look like.

Rachel Campos-Duffy is a Fox News Contributor and a mother of eight. Her debut children’s book, “Paloma Wants to be Lady Freedom”  – inspired by real-life events - is a story about a little girl’s adventure inside the U.S. Capitol where she learns lessons about patriotism, courage and her immigrant father’s journey to citizenship (Regnery Kids, 2019).