Sharia Law In The USA 101: A Guide To What It Is And Why States Want To Ban It
(RNS) North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday (July 24) approved a bill to prohibit judges from considering “foreign laws” in their decisions, but nearly everyone agrees that “foreign laws” really means Shariah, or Islamic law.
North Carolina now joins six other states — Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to pass a “foreign laws” bill. A similar bill passed in Missouri, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, citing threats to international adoptions.
The bills all cite “foreign laws” because two federal courts have ruled that singling out Shariah — as Oklahoma voters originally did in 2010 — is unconstitutional.
So what’s the big deal with Shariah?
Many Americans think of Shariah as an Islamic legal system characterized by misogyny, intolerance, and harsh punishments. Some anti-Islamic activists warn that Muslims are trying to sneak Shariah into the American legal system in ways that do not reflect U.S. legal principles or beliefs.
Many Muslim Americans counter that Shariah is essential to belief, and that any harsh punishments or unconstitutional aspects associated with Islamic law have either been exaggerated, abrogated or are superseded by American law.
Muslims around the world have varying views about what Shariah entails, and its role in personal and public life. So what exactly is Shariah? Here are five facts that might help make sense of this complex and often misunderstood term.
1. What is Shariah?
Shariah is an Arabic word that literally means a path to be followed, and also commonly refers to a path to water. The term is broad, encompassing both a personal moral code and religious law.
There are two sources of Shariah: The Quran, which many Muslims consider to be the literal word of God and the “Sunnah,” the divinely guided tradition of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
The interpretation of Shariah is called “fiqh,” or Islamic jurisprudence. Because fiqh is man-made, it can be changed Shariah, for many Muslims, is divine and cannot be changed.
Some Muslims use the term Shariah to apply to both the injunctions in the Quran and Sunnah, and the interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah. Islamic law consists of Shariah and fiqh.
2. What does Shariah cover?
While often thought of as a legal system, Shariah covers personal and collective spheres of daily life, and has three components – belief, character, and actions. Only a small portion of the “action” component relates to law. In fact, only about 80 of the Quran’s 6,236 verses are about specific legal injunctions.
- The “belief” component of Shariah commands Muslims to believe in God, the angels, prophets, revelation, and other metaphysical and physical aspects of the faith.
- In terms of “character,” Shariah commands Muslims to strive for traits like humility and kindness, and to avoid traits such as lying and pride.
- “Actions” include those relating to God, such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage, as well as actions relating to other humans, such as marriage, crime, and business.
Some actions relating to other humans can be regulated by the state, while actions relating to God (as well as belief and character) are between an individual and God. Nevertheless, some Muslim-majority countries have criminalized violations of the belief, character, and action components of Shariah.
3. Who is qualified to issue rulings on Shariah?
Shariah was systematized between the eighth and 10th centuries, some 200 to 300 years after Muhammad received his first revelation. Many people believe that, by the end of the 10th century, the core components of Shariah had been exhaustively debated. That said, changes in Islamic society force scholars to look at Shariah anew, with new interpretations expressed in fatwas (religious edicts) and legal opinions.
Interpreting Shariah is done by jurists known as “fuqahaa” who look at the practicality of both time and place regarding how a ruling can be applied. In places where Shariah has official status, it is interpreted by judges known as “qadis.” Fiqh interpretations divide human behavior into five categories: obligatory, recommended, neutral, discouraged, and forbidden.
Over the centuries, Islamic legal analyses and opinions were compiled in books that judges used in deciding cases. Secular courts and Shariah courts coexisted in Islamic lands, with the Shariah courts often taking responsibility for family law matters. With the arrival of European colonization, many of these legal opinions were codified into civil law.
4. Where is Shariah the law of the land?
Professor Jan Michiel Otto of the Leiden University Law School in the Netherlands divides legal systems of Muslim countries into three categories: classical Shariah systems, secular systems, and mixed systems.
In countries with classical Shariah systems, Shariah has official status or a high degree of influence on the legal system, and covers family law, criminal law, and in some places, personal beliefs, including penalties for apostasy, blasphemy, and not praying. These countries include Egypt, Mauritania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, the Maldives, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and certain regions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates.
Mixed systems are the most common in Muslim-majority countries. Generally speaking, Shariah covers family law, while secular courts will cover everything else. Countries include: Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Gambia, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, and Syria.
In several Muslim-majority countries, Shariah plays no role: Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Albania, Kosovo, and Turkey.
Some countries have Islamic family law courts available for their Muslim minorities: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, India, Israel, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
In the United States, there are no Islamic courts, but judges sometimes have to consider Islamic law in their decisions. For example, a judge may have to recognize the validity of an Islamic marriage contract from a Muslim country in order to grant a divorce in America.
Some Islamic scholars argue that true Islamic belief cannot be coerced by the state, and therefore belief in Shariah should only come from the individual and not be codified by the state.
5. Does Shariah really prescribe harsh punishments like stoning adulterers?
Yes, but many of these punishments have been taken out of context, abrogated, or require a near-impossible level of evidence to be carried out. For someone to be convicted of adultery, for example, there must be four witnesses to the act, which is rare. The Quran also prescribes amputating the hands of thieves, but (and this is often forgotten or unmentioned) not if the thief has repented.
Other Shariah scholars say such a punishment system can only be instituted in a society of high moral standards and where everyone’s needs are met (thereby obviating the urge to steal or commit other crimes). In such a society, the thinking goes, corporal punishments would be rarely needed.
That said, corporal punishments have been used by Islamic militant groups in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria, and governments in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Aceh state in Indonesia and elsewhere.
From Our Bookshelf: Three New Books Coming Out This FallA101 Team
Forget summer beach reads – there are a few meaty books coming out this Fall that are worth a look. A few of America 101’s top picks:
SEPTEMBER 4: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
You might recognize the authors’ names. Greg Lukianoff is a constitutional lawyer and First Amendment expert, who runs FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). Jonathan Haidt is a social scientist best known for his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Lukianoff is outspokenly politically conservative, and Haidt outspokenly liberal – but they agree on something big: our colleges are failing to teach our young people how to think.
From the synopsis of the book:
Something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and are afraid to speak honestly. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen?
First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker always trust your feelings and life is a battle between good people and evil people. These three Great Untruths contradict basic psychological principles about well-being and ancient wisdom from many cultures. Embracing these untruths—and the resulting culture of safetyism—interferes with young people’s social, emotional, and intellectual development. It makes it harder for them to become autonomous adults who are able to navigate the bumpy road of life.
OCTOBER 16: Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal, Ben Sasse
Senator Ben Sasse is back with a second book. After The Vanishing American Adult took on the disintegration of adulthood in America, he turns to discuss the disintegration of community in our country. From the synopsis:
Local communities are collapsing. Across the nation, little leagues are disappearing, Rotary clubs are dwindling, and in all likelihood, we don’t know the neighbor two doors down. Work isn’t what we’d hoped: less certainty, few lifelong coworkers, shallow purpose. Stable families and enduring friendships―life’s fundamental pillars―are in statistical freefall.
As traditional tribes of place evaporate, we look to rally against common enemies so we can be feel part of on a team. No institutions command widespread public trust, enabling foreign intelligence agencies to use technology to pick the scabs on our toxic divisions. We’re in danger of half of us believing different facts than the other half, and the digital revolution throws gas on the fire.
There’s a path forward―but reversing our decline requires something radical: a rediscovery of real places and real human-to-human relationships. Even as technology nudges us to become rootless, Sasse shows how only a recovery of rootedness can heal our lonely souls.
NOVEMBER 6: John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Supreme Court, Richard Brookhiser
If there is one thing recent appointments to the Supreme Court have taught us, it’s that we all could use a reminder of what the role of a judge is. One way to do that? Study history.
National Review senior editor Richard Brookhiser has written a book on the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: John Marshall. Much of how we understand the role of the Judiciary and the process of judicial review comes directly from Justice Marshall.
In 1801, a genial and brilliant Revolutionary War veteran and politician became the fourth Chief Justice of the United States. He would hold the post for 34 years (still a record), expounding the Constitution he loved. Before he joined the Court, it was the weakling of the federal government, lacking in dignity and clout. After he died, it could never be ignored again. Through three decades of dramatic cases involving businessmen, scoundrels, Native Americans, and slaves, Marshall defended the federal government against unruly states, established the Supreme Court’s right to rebuke Congress or the president, and unleashed the power of American commerce. For better and for worse, he made the Supreme Court a pillar of American life.
In John Marshall, award-winning biographer Richard Brookhiser vividly chronicles America’s greatest judge and the world he made.
Re-Evangelizing America 101
April 8 feature on Benedictine College's new missionary institute.
(photo: Benedictine College Facebook)
Taking a page from Protestant evangelicals, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., is creating Catholic America’s first program to train lay undergraduates for missionary work.
The Catholic Church has been complacent in the past, says Benedictine theology professor Matthew Ramage, and it needs to be more pro-active if it’s to be serious about the New Evangelization.
“For us, it was a case of If we build a church, they will come and if they didn’t come, they were damned,” said Ramage of an attitude prevalent in the past. “I think the Protestants have been much better at making the human connection.”
The director and main push behind the Institute for Missionary Activity is David Trotter, who is a Protestant convert and full-time missionary in his seventh year with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (Focus). That group was launched at Benedictine in the late 1990s. It now has more than 250 missionaries working on 58 campuses around the country.
“The New Evangelization is primarily about the re-proclamation of the Gospel among those with Christian roots in Europe and America,” said Trotter. Several organizations have sprung up alongside Focus, including NET Ministries and Life Teen, which send teams into high schools and parishes, just as Focus does with colleges. They need trained missionaries.
Young Catholics who want to be missionaries, whether for life or for a few years’ commitment, have until now had few choices as far as training. “Take theology or go to seminary,” said Trotter. “Those were the choices.”
The institute will register its first students in the fall, with incoming freshmen declaring a three-year track of participation and registering for a semester-long service-learning seminar. But it held a Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization March 23-24. The symposium featured award-winning screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi, who founded Act One in 1999 as a training program for Christians pursuing careers in the mainstream entertainment industry. Her vision is to change the culture of Hollywood as well as the content of its products. Also speaking was Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., who sits on the U.S. bishops’ conference’s Pro-Life Committee and Marriage and Family Life Committee.
“The goal of the institute is to send out the most dynamic Catholic missionaries our country has to offer,” said Trotter. “Benedictine College has founded the Institute for Missionary Activity to train students to be disciples of Jesus Christ in the modern world and advance the mission of the Church.”
Apart from one graduate program, there hasn’t been any place in the U.S. for lay instruction in missionary work.
The institute will combine academics, personal formation and field experience to fully equip graduates for missionary work. It will operate in parallel with Benedictine’s academic offerings, providing practical instruction in theology, Catholic social teachings and fundraising, as well as spiritual formation.
Trotter said many young people enter the missions with a degree in theology but little practical experience in things like human resources, managing budgets, marketing, pedagogy and other things that would make them more effective.
“At the undergraduate level, no other Catholic or secular college or university is formally combining Catholic social teaching and the New Evangelization in a way that trains and places graduates successfully,” he said. Apart from their contributions and prayers, the supporters are “outstanding families whom I’ve learned so much from.”
Trotter himself has organized a circle of 100 families and individuals to financially support his work with Focus. Apart from their contributions and prayers, the supporters are “outstanding families whom I’ve learned so much from.”
This is a method of self-support that future missionaries will be taught at Benedictine.
Post-Vatican II Lull
Trotter and Ramage both think that much of the vitality went out of the Catholic missions after the Second Vatican Council, as Catholic outreach became focused on the “caritas” side of the Gospel to the detriment of the “veritas” side. “But even if you are operating a food bank,” Trotter said, “and you have a deep interior life and a full sacramental life, you will be a powerful spiritual witness.”
As well, when theologians after the Second Vatican Council taught that Christ could save people in other faiths without their formal entry into Christianity, many Catholics began to lose their enthusiasm for the missions, said Jared Staudt, who teaches a master’s-level course on the history of evangelization at the Augustine Institute in Denver.
Lumen Gentium (the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) said, “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator,” such as the Muslims. “Those also can attain to everlasting salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, yet sincerely seek God and with his grace strive to live a good life.” In Nostra Aetate (the Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions), there is a general acknowledgment that there is truth in other religions and that this truth came from God. “The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions,” it said.
Staudt said that after Vatican II, there was a "real de-emphasis on the missions." The evangelical Protestants and other sects came to the fore, he said, while Catholic missionary orders faltered. Staudt said the theology of Karl Rahner, which argued that people could be saved by Jesus in (and even through) religions other than Christianity, a teaching called "Anonymous Christianity," “was devastating to the missions.” Under its influence, “you see many missionaries, as in India, pioneering a theology of religious pluralism, for example.”
A New Enthusiasm
But enthusiasm for the missions is back with a new generation of young Catholics. “Professionals in the ministry field are asking for additional training and preparation beyond what knowledge of theology can provide,” said Trotter.
He reports that Focus missionaries are working with lapsed and lukewarm Catholics but only a few completely untouched by Christianity. Many college students they encounter “are grasping anything they can find to put some meaning and some sense of belonging in their lives — the leading ways being sex, drinking, personal gratification. We challenge them with chastity, sobriety and excellence.”
Campus missionaries need to make a personal connection first with those they meet, introduce them to the elements of a Catholic spiritual life, and then to the person of Jesus Christ.
This reflects the culture-oriented thinking of Pope John Paul II, said Staudt. “He said that faith that is not lived out in the culture will be incomplete. The New Evangelization had to be rooted in two things: knowing Christ and knowing modern man.”
Staudt cited a two-pronged TV advertising campaign he had seen to accompany a diocesan Catholics Come Home campaign: one part stressed the Church and its traditions the other addressed the “brokenness” of ordinary people. For several decades, he added, the American Church at the parish level has been preoccupied with “maintenance” — with serving its own practicing members — and not with evangelization. “But the new thinking is that the vitality of a parish is connected to the level of its commitment to evangelization.”
How Did the New Deal Affect Women?
Thanks to the efforts of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the New Deal included economic relief for women in the form of work opportunities, unemployment compensation and the ability to form unions. Prior to the First Lady's involvement, post-Great Depression economic relief measures focused only on men as breadwinners. Historians say the New Deal laid the foundation for many equal rights victories women experienced in years to follow.
Eleanor Roosevelt received thousands of letters from American women who told her of their difficulties in finding work to feed and shelter themselves and their families. Estimates indicate there were 2 million unemployed women in the United States at the beginning of 1933.
Mrs. Roosevelt convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to instruct Great Depression relief director Harry Hopkins to form a women's division within the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the original government arm of the New Deal, and to appoint a woman to manage it. Hopkins called upon Ellen Woodward to fill this role.
Woodward required every state to hire a woman to oversee its respective relief program. In 1935, at the peak of the New Deal's Works Project Administration era, the program employed 460,000 women nationwide.
The New Deal's sweeping labor laws also made it easier for workers, including women, to form unions in order to demand safe working conditions and living wages.
Which U.S. President Had the Best Work Ethic? Here’s Our Top Five.A101 Team
America’s presidents are the best of the best. Only the most high-achieving and hard-working among us have ever come within striking distance of the highest office in the land – the position that during the 20th century became known as Leader of the Free World and most powerful person on earth.
This is even more true in modern times, when the U.S. presidential campaign has evolved into the longest, most-grueling job interview ever imagined. Month after month, for more than a year, candidates criss-cross the country making their pitch to voters and facing the hard elbows of their political opponents from both sides of the aisle until the November election – only to undertake the ultimate, solemn responsibility of being commander in chief a few short weeks later.
But what does history tell us about who the hardest-working U.S. presidents were? Here are five whose dogged work ethics shaped America during our most critical periods in history.
5. Dwight Eisenhower
A legendary general who led the Allied Forces to victory in Europe during World War II, Dwight Eisenhower always worked hard, but early in his career, he felt it sometimes worked against him – his superiors were hesitant to send him into the field because his organizational skills were so strong.
But during World War II, Eisenhower worked 14-hour days, fueled by endless cups of coffee and 4 packs of cigarettes a day – which took its toll. Ike said he “realized how inexorably and inescapably strain and tension wear away at the leader’s endurance, his judgment and his own confidence. The pressure becomes more acute because of the duty of a staff to present to the commander the worst side of an eventuality.” Ike knew he had to “preserve optimism in himself and in his command. Without confidence, enthusiasm, and optimism in the command, victory would scarcely be obtainable.” Ike took this attitude to the office of the presidency, leading America in the post-WWII decade as it became the unquestionable world power it is today.
4. Franklin Roosevelt
Despite suffering from an illness that left him paralyzed and unable to walk, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became one of America’s most consequential presidents. He shepherded America through the Great Depression, instituted the New Deal, and was commander in chief during the defining conflict of the 20th century, World War II.
FDR faced the incredible physical struggle of being unable to walk, but maintained a vigorous energy that any able-bodied person would envy. 21st century presidents have remarked how difficult it is to maintain the pace of a presidential campaign, only to face the day-to-day reality of being president, a 24/7 grind that turns men in the prime of their lives gray at the end of eight years – or even four. Yet FDR served a remarkable 12 years in office, winning a record four presidential elections. Only a man of remarkable work ethic and stamina could maintain this pace – and do so while the literal fate of the world depended on his work.
3. Abraham Lincoln
The man who saved the Union during the Civil War relied on a strong work ethic to achieve his accomplishments. Despite battling depression after the death of his sons, along with insomnia, Lincoln honorably fought his inner demons and the demons he found in the institution of slavery inside his nation’s borders.
Winning the struggle for the soul of America depended on his inspired leadership, but could not have been accomplished without the work ethic he learned early in life. Late nights and early mornings in the White House were preceded by back-breaking work in his youth, first by his father’s side and then for his own employment by local neighbors and farmers. Lincoln made his views on the value hard work well-known, most famously in a letter he wrote referring two eager sons of a needy mother for service in the Army: “The lady — bearer of this — says she has two sons who want to work. Set them at it, if possible. Wanting to work is so rare a merit, that it should be encouraged.” It’s clear that Lincoln understood the value of work – and how most people do not.
2. Teddy Roosevelt
Like his distant cousin and fellow president Franklin, Teddy suffered from health issues at an early age. Fighting off debilitating asthma with a diet of strenuous physical exercise, Teddy became the quintessential American cowboy, a masculine ideal of strength and vitality that remains today. But his physical activity was only one aspect of his work ethic. Beginning during his time as a student at Harvard, Roosevelt meticulously scheduled his life, making time for studying along with all of his many extracurricular activities through the use of “deep work,” or focusing on only one thing with your full effort. Through this strategy, Roosevelt managed to finish his studies in only a few hours a day, leaving additional time to spend on his budding affinity for the outdoors. Here’s what he had to say about the importance of work ethic:
I never won anything without hard labor and exercise of my best judgement and careful planning and working long in advance. Having been a rather sickly and awkward boy, I was a young man at first both nervous and distrustful of my own prowess. I had to train myself painfully and laboriously not merely as regards my body but as regards my soul and spirit.
Without his hard work, Roosevelt would have been unable to achieve his lasting presidential legacy of breaking up industrial monopolies, improving food safety standards, protecting our natural environment, and so much more.
1. George Washington
America’s first president was also our hardest-working, spending years putting his life on the line as the leader of the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War, then serving as our first president and selflessly abdicating his power when his countrymen urged him to remain.
He commanded American troops fearlessly, hardened by the ultimate objective of freedom from tyranny. But his strong work ethic was borne from a difficult childhood. Washington grew up poor, and his father died young, leaving him to care for his mother and siblings and unable to receive the sophisticated education he yearned for. Nevertheless, he taught himself to write, laying the groundwork for a successful life. Later, he realized the value of learning from men who had the education he did not – American icons including Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison.
As a military commander, Washington understood hard work and discipline were the only ways to prevail in battle: “Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.”
Joe Biden's godless prayer sounds alarms on socialism
Joe Biden just made history by becoming the first president in history to omit “God” from his legislatively ordered National Day of Prayer proclamation.
So much for Biden’s so-called deeply held Catholic beliefs.
But as a nation’s moral compass goes, warning: so goes society. Godless nations are the mark of the socialist beast.
“Why would President Biden omit God?” Christian evangelist Franklin Graham wondered on Facebook.
He posited on Fox News that perhaps Biden didn’t even know — that “probably a staff person” “wrote it and maybe to even ran it by him.”
So give Biden a benefit of doubt? That’s fine.
But it still doesn’t change the red-alarm warning a godless prayer brings to all of America.
The fact is, if this nation hadn’t turned such a dark corner toward secularism, no national prayer proclamation would ever have dared gone forth from the desk of the president of the United States that didn’t carry the all-important mention of “God.” Even Barack Obama mentioned God in his proclamation — and Barack Obama was the president who mockingly referred to devout Christians during the resurrection season as “Easter worshippers.” That’s one step up from bunny worshippers.
“I was deeply saddened to read that President Biden is the first president to omit the world’God’ in his proclamation,” Graham wrote on Facebook. “That speaks volumes doesn’t it?”
It says that America, the nation that pledges an allegiance that’s “under God,” doesn’t actually truly believe its people are under God — or have to be. It says that polls showing the growing secularization of America’s youth, and that surveys showing the failure of today’s believers to attend church, aren’t just skewed polls or surveys, but growing truths. It says that America, a nation founded on the principles of Judea-Christianity, where rights come from God, not government, is now a nation that blithely tosses the Creator to the side — as if unnecessary. Socialism, anyone? Communism, perhaps? It says that America, a nation with individual rights that are utterly reliant on the inclusion of God in government — as a means of keeping government in its subservient-to-the-people role — has come perilously close to the era of mocking the Creator.
And God, as the Bible plainly states, will not be mocked.
If we want this country to remain free — if we want the liberties vested in the individual to remain unchallenged by an overreaching government — then we must, must, must keep God at the helm. We can’t have rights that come from God if we fail to recognize God.
Why Do Millennials Prefer Socialism? Because They Know Nothing About ItA101 Team
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1991, advocates of individual liberty and freedom around the world cheered its destruction. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union collapsed. As a result, hundreds of millions of people broke free from an ideology that resulted in 100 million deaths in the 20th century.
To many, the collapse of the Soviet Union (USSR) signaled the permanent victory of liberal democracy over the forces of communism and totalitarianism. Francis Fukuyama, a political scientist and Stanford professor, referred to Western liberal democracy as the “final form of human government” and proclaimed the “end of history.”
Unfortunately, Fukuyama spoke too soon — liberal democracy has not replaced communism wholesale. Communist regimes across the globe still oppress their populations and restrict individual rights. China, Venezuela, Cuba, and others still oppress their people and violate human rights. Socialism is growing popular again, particularly in the United States.
Communist and socialist ideologies — responsible for over 100 million deaths from Cambodia to Ukraine — are taking hold in the United States. Politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders and incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — self-declared “Democratic socialists” — have popularized socialist policy proposals such as a federal job guarantee and universal healthcare.
American socialism by the numbers
Millennials prefer socialism to capitalism. 44% of millennials surveyed would prefer to live in a socialist country, while 7% would prefer to live in a communist country. Only 42% prefer to live under a capitalist system — like the current United States.
Millennials responses stand out in stark contrast when compared to the adults surveyed. 59% of adult respondents preferred capitalism and only 26% of Baby Boomers said they would prefer living under a socialist regime. On the surface, it appears that socialist policies and ideas have widespread appeal among American youth.
Most young Americans don’t know what socialism is.
When asked to define socialism by a Gallup poll, 23% of Americans responded with “equality” and 6% of Americans defined it as “being nice or social.” Additionally, 10% of Americans defined socialism as providing enhanced benefits and services. Only 17% of Americans chose the traditional definition of “government ownership or control.”
This means that 29% of Americans have no idea what socialism entails — including 6% who think it just means being friendly and collegial.
America’s loose grasp on socialism is a new phenomenon. In 1949, Americans defined “socialism as state control of the economy over “equality” by a three-to-one margin.” Gallup’s poll is a shocking reminder that if we don’t study history, we are doomed to repeat it.
Why do young Americans favor socialism?
At a recent Victims of Communism Foundation event, panel members were presented with these poll numbers. The moderator asked them why socialist ideas were finding a foothold in American politics.
The panel — made up of politicians and diplomats who had lived under and fought against communist regimes — delivered a powerful response. Panel members argued that widespread ignorance of the historical suffering caused by communism and socialism drove the acceptance of these ideas among American youth.
America 101 took a closer look at the average American’s knowledge of past and current communist regimes. After looking at the data, the panel’s explanation begins to ring true.
Six out of ten Americans aren’t familiar with Venezuela’s communist dictatorship or Nicolas Maduro. Almost half of all millennials have never heard of Mao Zedong — the communist dictator responsible for the deaths of almost 60 million people in 20th century China.
America’s youth are advocating for policies they know little about. They have no idea what these policies mean and are not familiar with the tragedies they have caused.
Communism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people over the last 100 years. Americans have died fighting to free captive nations from oppressive Communist regimes. Yet these policies are still popular with America’s youth.
What does the trend towards socialism mean?
Millennials are the largest generation in America. Their voice matters and their political preferences will play a role in shaping the future of American government. Unfortunately, they are championing dangerous ideologies that they know nothing about.
We cannot risk ignoring the rising popularity of socialism among America’s youth. Socialism and communism have lead to famine, death, and disaster. It’s imperative that America does a better job educating our youth on the dangers of failed ideologies from the past.
America 101: Who Is Next in Line After the President?
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.
Lara Spencer from "Good Morning America" explains what the first lady does.
With the first debate just days away, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau tells us why presidential debates have become so important during elections.
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America 101 is run as a not-for-profit organization. It is a Christian educational organization that presents public seminars and events on topics that explore our God-given rights, American Liberty, our Constitutional roots, and America's responsibilities in return for God's many blessings.
What Is The Role of Congress?
Rep. Trey Gowdy gave an address which considered this and related questions:
Mark Cuban on the FCC Internet Takeover:
". if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
You paid how much in school taxes?
Minneapolis is fifth highest per-student expenditure in the U.S., with a 43.7% high school graduation rate. How is your school district doing? What do your children know about American history and institutions?
- Joy Overbeck, Obama, Mao, and the revenge of the sparrows
- John Daley, Ben Stein is Wrong
- J.D. Wright, On Tyranny
- Jonah Goldberg, It's Obamacare, All the Way Down
- Bill Glahn, The Banana Republic of Minnesota: Now It Can Be Told
- Mark Steyn, Obamacare's Magical Thinkers
Are you Smarter Than an Eighth-Grader (in 1912)?
And how far have we come in education, in the United States? What is the return on all of the tax dollars invested in our government schools?