By Marco Torrez
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Conservatives attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on Friday said socialism is an unsuccessful system that uneducated millennials are hooked on.
“Socialism does not work and all it will do is enslave people more than they already are,” said Susanne Allen, a 65-year-old retiree who came to National Harbor from Nashville. “These people that believe they are going to get this stuff for free are crazy.”
Allen said she has two young nieces who believe in everything being said about “free this and free that,” including health care and education. Allen said one niece is a college student whom she believes is racking up plenty of debt. However, Allen said her niece thought that former President Barack Obama was going to “forgive those debts.”
“Socialism promotes that kind of thinking, so you just don’t have to work hard,” Allen said.
Timothy Falter, a 21-year-old junior and president of the student chapter of Turning Point USA at the University of Arizona, said he is helping advertise and support an anti-socialism motto printed on shirts and for sale at the conference.
“With millennials, they pretty much don’t know what it is,” Falter said, referring to socialism.
Falter said socialism focuses on over-regulating the economy and that people may get some of the free things they want but in return their taxes could shoot up. Falter said that when millennials learn about the downsides to socialism, such as the increase in taxes, he noticed they usually always pull away from it.
Socialism has been in the spotlight of late, mostly due to two high-profile politicians who identify as democratic socialists: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a freshmen member of Congress, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who officially launched his second presidential campaign on Feb. 19.
Jeremy Holst an 18-year-old senior at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York City, said he’s “not a huge fan of socialism.” Holst explained that he doesn’t think the country is in danger of being overtaken by socialism anytime soon, but that instead socialism could happen through a slow change over time from within the government and through future laws that are passed. He said that eventually this change could grow and end up catching the country by surprise.
While some conservatives at CPAC referred to socialism as just a joke, Holst had a different take on it.
“I don’t think it’s a joke; I think there are people that seriously believe this and think that it’s the future for America,” Holst said. “I just don’t think it’s the majority, but just a small minority.”