By: VANESSA PRATA
Policies, politics and politicians are three words that cause the vast majority of adolescents to fall asleep. Sure, we learn to be active, informed, purposeful citizens in grade ten civics but for most of us it ends there. Now that’s not to say that adolescents do not have an opinion about Canadian bureaucracy – in fact, that’s what I’m here to talk about.
I want you to sit back and ask yourself where you stand on the political spectrum in terms of equality, wealth and services provided by the government. There’s a good chance that you fall under what society would call a “left winger”. Adolescents tend to share a very common outlook on matters of social justice. They form their opinions and ideas based on the institutions around them and how information is broadcasted to them. As a result of this, a generous portion of people under the age of twenty are supportive of groups such as NDP’s or Liberals. But why? The question still remains. What exactly makes left wing ideologies so appealing to our age group?
Schools. Institutions have been wiring concepts into our brain since we were about five years old. We are taught at a young age that everyone is equal. We are taught to not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, or economic class. But as we mature, the ideas that have been hammered into our brains start to distort the way we think, and build bridges to alternate ideas that in reality have no connection or similarity. For example, socialism sounds like the most obvious, ideal way to run a society…after all, everyone takes part in a co-operative society where capital is distributed “evenly and fairly”. Sounds great, right? Not really.
What teenagers don’t know are the historical problems that have rooted from socialism and communism. For example, look at the Soviet Union, declared a communist state in 1917. As a result, the people of the Soviet Union were stripped of their personal property, which was now considered owned by the government. There was no free trade, no personal property and because of this, there was no incentive; and when a country lacks incentive, it loses efficiency, and when it loses efficiency….well, then it’s chaos. Residents became more and more lethargic, waiting only on the paycheque that came every other week, regardless of your performance. To make a long story short, the economy fell apart.
So why would we ever want to give up our effectively run democracy, in return for losing the free will to be the pilot of our own lives? Capitalism utilizes the will power of individuals; we operate on the basis of self-interest and the initiative to work hard and play hard. That is not to say capitalism lacks equality; equality of outcome is based on equality of ambition. And as my good friend Winston Churchill said, “If you are not Liberal at twenty, you have no heart. If you are not Conservative by forty, you have no brain.”