Everyone knows that the American university is dominated by leftist ideologies, but the most potent is Marxist thought, which is undoubtedly making a comeback in popularity. But to advocate for Marxism to is to fully embrace cognitive dissonance. You would have to ignore the millions of lives that were lost under Marxist regimes, the incomprehensible poverty that Marxist policies created, and the lack of freedom that individuals in Marxist societies experienced.
Marxism, popularized by the German political philosopher Karl Marx, calls for class warfare, the eradication of inequality, an end to capitalism, and the eventual shift to communism. To an intellectually mature adult, each of the goals of Marxism are terrifying given the real-world consequences that have transpired following their implementation. So why are my fellow collegiates drawn to this destructive ideology? The answer is simple: idealism, groupthink, and current societal conditions.
The first reason collegiates are embracing Marxist ideals is because we young people are generally attracted to idealism. Radical Muslim jihadists, hippies committed to communitarianism, and utopian socialists are all examples of groups made up of young people seeking an extreme ideal that is far removed from reality. Living a radically idealistic life offers you the false perception that you are making a difference and your life has meaning in a time when you are seeking purpose. However, the fact remains that idealism removes us too far from mainstream society to make a difference. Further, such an idealistic life is neither sustainable nor societally acceptable. The famous William F. Buckley summed up this idea brilliantly by stating, “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.”
The second reason collegiates are embracing Marxist ideology in large numbers is due to groupthink. The American university is run by liberal professors who preach the false teachings of postmodernism, moral relativism, social justice, and in their view, the world’s most destructive evil: inequality. Universities have become an echo chamber for liberal discourse, and lack of conservative faculty, romanticization of marxist ideals, and cognitive dissonance towards the actions of Marxist governments have made young college students more susceptible to embrace Marxist ideology.
Finally, current events have produced a society susceptible to fall victim to Marxism. Income inequality is striking, racial tensions are higher than they have been in 25 years, and an increasing number of individuals think they are entitled to government services. Advocacy groups like Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and the Socialist Alternative prove this theory. But instead of following the wave of Marxism sweeping universities, those who are falling victim to deteriorating societal conditions or those hoping to improve conditions like these should embrace the ideologies and political government structures that have a proven history of bettering society: capitalism, conservatism, and democracy.
Image by Gwenael Piaser via Flickr.