Many parents despair when they see their children vote for a system which would not only destroy their savings, but also their children’s future. We see 20 year olds with £700 IPhones march for Marxism. Children, who grew up in the house their parents worked hard to buy, tweet against private property. Oil-rich Venezuela is in the poor house and in flames thanks to Marxism, yet our young think Jeremy Corbyn is cool.
What can parents do? Avoid reading Robin Hood as a bedtime story? I asked around, and came up with a few answers.
I must add a disclaimer. We should be careful not to see ‘the young’ as a collective body of Labour voters. The general election gives a skewed impression, since Corbyn’s tuition fee con misled many. Large herds of left-wing activists occupy social media – but how many in the world out there are actually swayed by it? Not every millennial is a ‘snowflake’, gagging for a safe space where their tender feelings will not be offended – but this makes for good social media stories. There is ample evidence that the young are in fact not socialists, but quite right-wing libertarian.
Teachers are often blamed. Several polls found that they are far more left-wing than the average voter: one YouGov survey found that 57 per cent of teachers vote Labour, and only 16 per cent Conservative. But is this new? I remember walking out of my class as a 13 year old a few decades ago, when my mathematics teacher was explaining why everybody should earn the same salary. He was an avowed communist. This at a Catholic public school. Socialist teachers have been around for decades.
Yet all the left-wing teachers in the world, for many decades, have not been able to wipe out right-wing beliefs among at least some of the young. Why are there still some right-wing pupils left?
I asked around, and came up with four explanations.
Jacob Rees-Mogg believes that teenagers are naturally rebellious. Pupils would be likely to oppose figures of authority, such as teachers.
The strange thing is that pupils generally do not object to non-teaching figures of authority, such as left-wing pop stars or actors. In fact, pop stars and actors seem to be more successful in dragging young people into socialism than teachers or professors.
Michael Clark, a barrister, believes that children are effectively ‘innoculated’ by their parents. Long before they attend school, children from normal households will have heard the views of their parents. The children may reject those views, but at least they will be cognisant of them. When your child comes home from school with the teacher’s communist beliefs, you can offer an alternative view.
This is not about counter-brainwashing your children into right-wing thinking, but rather making them aware that there is an intelligent argument for it, and that they have a choice. Parents should take the time to do this.
3 Objective truth
Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute says that young people are generally intelligent enough to realise that the right-wing view of the world is the correct view. Free market economics work; socialism doesn’t. Marxism, that invented ideology which never worked anywhere, has a tough sell. One only has to look at Venezuela: a prosperous society which was turned into a beggar state after a few decades of socialism. Teachers are but one source of information for the young.
4 Understanding personal economics
Another explanation is something I learned myself. Parents can teach their children the values of work, saving, and financial prudence. Later, the children will realise that the state’s budget is but a macro version of their own. When the great Margaret Thatcher explained the nation’s economy through the imagery of her father’s corner shop, she was onto something.
How to instil financial responsibility and a work ethic into your children? It’s pretty easy. Never give your children anything for free. Reward them when they work. Encourage them to seek summer jobs. Give them a very small weekly allowance, but never pay for any toys, etc upon demand. The small weekly sum will teach them to save, and to postpone gratification.
And what about sharing? Make sure that your child realises that he or she is free to share or not. By all means tell them it would be a good idea, and morally recommendable, but never force them. Never make them share as a matter of course. And never ever take your child’s private property away – except in the most extreme circumstances.
Never allow micro-communism to creep into your household. It will seem tough to the young person, as it was for me when my parents did precisely that. I thought it was unfair when, for example, I had to contribute to buy a new bicycle which I used to go to school; or to buy the desired box of lego. Yet decades later, my account has never been in the red. I never expect anybody else to subsidise my lifestyle. And I have limitless admiration for people who make it in the free market economy and no time at all for socialist rantings.