America Remains the Land of Opportunity. For Everything Else, There's Gold

In 1967, a woman then known as Svetlana Alliuyeva arrived by plane in New York. Moments after landing, she held a press conference during which she renounced her native Soviet Russia, describing it as “profoundly corrupt.” She burned her Soviet passport and called her father—who had died in Russia a decade earlier—“a moral and spiritual monster.”

Her father was Joseph Stalin, the former dictator of the USSR.

In case you weren’t around at the time, Svetlana’s defection to the U.S. was a very huge deal. Having changed her name after remarrying, Lana Peters became a U.S. citizen in 1978. She made millions from her autobiography—something that was categorically unachievable in her communist homeland.

In 1991, she got to see the fall of the government her father once had ultimate authority over. Almost exactly 20 years later, Lana Peters passed away in Wisconsin.

Although Lana’s story is a lot more complicated than I make it out to be, I think it’s one that many Americans should remind themselves of and take to heart. She fled her father’s communist regime to seek a better life, and she found it in the U.S.

Communism and Socialism Gaining Favor Among Millennial Americans

I share this with you now because here we are nearly 30 years out from the collapse of the USSR, and the lessons of the past appear not to be resonating with some young Americans.

Need proof? For four years now, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation—a Washington, D.C.- based nonprofit—has been polling Americans on their attitudes toward communism and socialism. What the group found in its most recent poll is that, between 2018 and 2019, millennials’ favorability of communism increased a whopping 36 percent.

70% of millenials say they are likely to vote for a socialist.
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What’s more, almost three quarters of millennials—those aged 23 to 38—said they were “likely” to vote for a socialist-minded politician in upcoming elections. Half of those surveyed said they were “somewhat likely,” while as much as 20 percent said they were “extremely likely” to support a socialist candidate in the mold of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders or New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).

We should all be alarmed about this.

It means, number one, that young Americans don’t feel as if capitalism is working in their favor. And number two, it means we’re not doing enough as a society to educate our citizens of the slippery slope that is collectivist thinking, which includes communism and socialism.