On Monday’s episode of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” Shapiro talks about the decline in patriotism among younger generations in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Video and partial transcript below:
Over 80 percent of Republicans say patriotism is important, compared to just over 40 percent of Democrats. Part of this, by the way, has to do with who’s the president. There have been polls that show that Democratic feelings about patriotism vary with the president’s. When Obama was president, Democrats were super patriotic — but Republicans, by the way, didn’t become unpatriotic. Like 70 percent of Republicans felt they were patriotic. Then Trump became president, and that jumped about five to 10 points for Republicans and it dropped off like 40 percent for Democrats. If you’re patriotic based on who the president is, you’re doing patriotism wrong.
Belief in God — about 70 percent of Republicans say it’s important, only 40 percent of Democrats do. Under 60 percent of Republicans say it’s important to have kids, which is a shocking number. Under 40 percent of Democrats say it’s important to have kids. Many more Republicans than Democrats believe in hard work. When it comes to tolerance for others, about 70 percent of Republicans say that that is a high value, as opposed to nearly 100 percent of Democrats. Because, obviously these are the values of difference and self-fulfillment, Democrats outrank Republicans there as well.
So the emerging generation just does not have the same values. What does this say about our politics? It says our politics are about to get a lot uglier. Because the fact is that [Carl Von] Clausewitz, the famous military strategist, he used to suggest that war is simply politics by other means — meaning that you are attempting to get something done, you can’t get it done politically, so you go to war. Well, the problem is when you don’t share values with the people you live with, what ends up happening is that is that politics tends to be war by other means. Meaning, the only thing stopping war is the fact that we’re jawing at each other right now, that may be better than war. I mean as Winston Churchill famously said, “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” That’s true. It is true to talk, and it is to war on one another, but the line is getting very thin. And if you really believe that the values that distinguish you from your neighbor are worth going to war over and that the thin veneer of civilization is all that keeps us from being at each other’s throats that’s not much of a veneer.
You need a revival vacation of American values. You need a belief in patriotism. You need to re-educate your kids about what being American means — and yes with all the ugly parts, and yes what the ugly history. But we have decided that we can’t even face up to a narrative that allows America to be the good guy in the world — which, by the way, America is the good guy in the world. America is good. And we’re not teaching young people anything. I mean our educational system is such an enormous failure. Parents are failing their kids in teaching their kids.
There’s another poll out today that shows that young Americans are warming to socialism because they don’t know what the hell it is. According to ABC News…more than half of Americans reject socialism in a recent Gallup poll. Forty-three percent surveyed said some version of it would be good for the country — that sentiment was held by fifty eight percent of respondents aged 18 to 34, compared with just 36 percent of those 55 and older. Why? Because they don’t know what socialism is. They really don’t know how to define it. These polls always ask, “Can you define socialism?” And then they just define it the Bernie Sanders way. [Bernie Sanders Impression] It means being nice to each other. It means sharing our money a little bit.
No, that’s not what socialism means, guys. [It] means the nationalization of the means of production and then use of that nationalization to cram down whatever distribution of wealth you find fair, usually with a few people at the top to get rich off of it. What we are watching right now is a complete failure of education — a complete collapse in the inculcation of American values — and I think part of this has to do with the fall of the Soviet Union. I do not think that it is a coincidence that the generation born during and after the fall of the Soviet Union is abandoning core American values and embracing socialism. Part of that is because there is no existential threat from a Soviet Union type state, an evil empire that is threatening nuclear annihilation against the United States while simultaneously keeping its people in poverty and poisoning them with nuclear fallout a la Chernobyl.
It’s a lot easier to defend your own system in opposition to another system than to defend your own system in opposition to a vacuum. It’s very difficult to justify every action you take in a vacuum because, after all, we all sin. The United States has sinned. The United States has some grave, awful sins on its record. But when you face up to the Soviet Union, it’s pretty obvious who the good guys and the bad guys. Well the Soviet Union falls and suddenly the United States is asked to justify its own its own system against nothing, or against dreams — against utopian dreams of the Left. Well, turns out that’s pretty difficult to do, because the other side — meaning people who don’t like the American system — don’t have to defend anything. They can just club, they can just beat down people.
And this is sort of the same attitude when it comes to the Middle East — where you ignore Israel’s opponents and you just focus in on Israel as you say, “Well look at all these bad things Israel is doing.” I’m sure Israel does bad things. In fact, I’ve criticized Israel for doing some bad things, but you can’t look at them in a vacuum. You can’t look at the United States or capitalism or free markets in a vacuum. If you do, you’re doing it wrong. But this is what we’ve taught our kids to do. And again, the Left believe that America is bad mainly because they’ve never lived anywhere else, they’ve only ever seen the opposition to the United States and that is dis-unifying the country.