From our American correspondent, Esteban:
Much has been made over the past year of the fact that young people in America approve of Socialism in rather large numbers, and quite a lot more than their elders. Some explain that this is because they are more idealistic than the older crowd, who have become corrupted and “sold out” now that they have a mortgage and expensive lifestyle. Others argue that this supposed idealism is actually naivete.
It seems fair to point out that if you are 24 with negative net worth, a modest paying job and no reasonable expectation on the horizon to make serious cash, it isn’t idealistic to support redistribution, it’s self-interest. And you don’t change this fact by saying “Well, if I made that much money, I’d be happy to pay a lot in taxes”. If you ever get to that point we’ll see, until then this statement doesn’t fly.
Likewise, if you’re 55 with a couple of million dollars in your 401(k), a big home and an income well into six figures your view may be biased against “sharing the wealth” based on your wallet, not principles.
It seems to me that we had a little test of the idealism of youth a few weeks ago when the quarantines started being imposed. A Hell of a lot of the young idealists who were told to vacate their campus decided to go on Spring break and party on, Dude! They weren’t bashful about it, enjoyed dancing in front of the TV cameras and giving interviews.
Choosing to risk infection is normally a personal matter and at that time it was believed they were personally at extremely low risk from the virus. But the point of quarantine was that the old and immune-compromised are put in danger if the rest of us don’t flatten the curve. So, these very idealistic young people who would happily pay more in taxes had a chance to demonstrate how they were willing to sacrifice for the collective good. I’d like to say we should be surprised, but srsly!