Millennials Think They Support Socialism – Lee Edwards Joins Us to See Its Effects:  Has Socialism Ever Worked? Join us as we take a walk through history to find out what has happened to socialistic nations.

Air Date: 11/19/2019

Guest: Lee Edwards, Ph.D.

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word be misspelled or we may indicate missing words due to not being able to understand the speaker. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture


Welcome to the intersection of faith in the culture, WallBuilders Live, where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, the culture, always from a biblical historical and constitutional perspective. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas Legislature and I am here with America’s premier historian, David Barton. He’s founder of WallBuilders. And Tim Barton is with us, he’s president of WallBuilders. Tim is a national speaker and pastor. And the three of us love the opportunity to take the hot issues of the day and look at them from that biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.

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Alright, guys later in the program, Lee Edwards will be with us from Heritage Foundation. We’ll be talking about how socialism has never worked anywhere it’s been tried and it always harms a nation instead of bettering it.

Millennials Are Drawn to Socialism

But, you know, I mean even with that history that”€™s out there of course most people just don’t know it, but I mean right now, Millennials,not just Millennials, Gen-Z-ers, frankly, in every generation, there’s a rising number of people that are drawn to this idea of socialism. So we really do need a historical perspective on this to find out whether or not it’s ever really worked.


Well, it’s interesting that, as you see the polling numbers are still very high and they vary from year to year. But the numbers I remember from a couple years ago was the 75% of students in college supported socialism, 69% of Millennials and 41% of all Americans. So it is as you mentioned, Rick is across the generations, everybody seems to be enamored with it. But it does not work and but we also understand that most people don’t even know what they’re talking about when they say they like it, they can’t define socialism that they can’t give you a working definition. As Tim  after the 41% of the nation that says they really like socialism. And he followed up and said, okay, so do you support greater government ownership of private property? Do you support greater government regulation of private business? And went through all the things socialism does and at the end, only 2% of the people said, yeah, that’s what we support. So we’re really talking about a real problem with education, a real problem with thinking, we don’t think well and we respond to sound bites.


Well and it’s also because people know that sharing is a good concept, right, that actually, it’s a Christian idea. We’re supposed to treat other people the way we want to be treated”€¦

Sharing Is Good, But”€¦


And I would say if socialism was simply sharing, I’m a huge fan of that socialism.



Right and so this is where there’s now a conflict. Because people go wait a second, I think sharing is good. We should share, care for other people and love each other. All of those are good and valid things. That’s not what socialism is and people don’t think about the economic perspective, where government controls the means of production and government controls distribution and government controls who can enter the market and how you get paid in the market and they don’t understand that this is not a notion that we should share and do good. If that’s what you care about, then what you need to support is Christianity, because that’s what is taught and promoted in Christianity is you should share and do good. That’s not what socialism does and this is why people can’t ever find an example of where socialism has produced the positive outcome and benefits they want.

They might point to some other nations and well, they have socialized medicine. And I’ll just point out, socialized medicine is very different than socialism as a whole. And even looking at socialized medicine, people think it’s great that everything is free and healthcare is free, but the quality of the health care and those free nations is very, very poor. The waiting list is very long. The death rates are much higher for things. That in America, you don’t have the same level of death rates from your breast cancer and from, right. I mean pick things that in America, people are able to be cured from those things.

There”€™s a Lot of Bad Information

In other nations where there’s free health care, there’s this higher death toll. So there’s a lot of bad information, a lot of bad understanding. But if what people care about is sharing and helping others, Christianity is what you want to support not socialism.



And when you look at socialistic governments and you nail people and say, you like socialism, name me one government that’s never done it successfully? And they said, well, you can’t use Venezuela that. Oh but, we can use Denmark, whatever. And so they go through all these nations and there’s a standard five or six or eight or ten on both sides so that, you know, we’ll choose to prove socialism is wrong, they would choose to prove socialism really works good.

And interestingly, I saw an article not long ago where that an economist looked at socialism and he looked at some very modern nations that in the last few decades had tried to be socialistic, it did not work and they came back to free-market. I was not aware of these modern nations had done it. I was not aware that they had tried it and found it to be a failure and had come back. Because I now know these nations of free-market nations. I didn’t realize that experimenting with this in our lifetime for many of us, but we”€™re just talking last few decades.

Special Guest Lee Edwards

And so, when I saw the article that this would be a really, really cool one to talk about, because it really does kind of change the dynamics of the soundbites that both sides tend to throw at each other. This is some information that really kind of shakes the pattern of those who like to support socialism or of those who want to argue against that, these are great examples.


Well, when we come back in the break, we’ve got a guest from Heritage Foundation, Lee Edwards. We”€™ve had him on the program before, brilliant guy. And, you know, I think learning from these examples of these nations that have actually done it is the only way to show people factually, this does not work. You can talk theory all day long, but you got to go back into history and look at nations actually did it. And I don’t about you guys, but I didn’t even realize some of these nations had socialism when they did or as long as they did and I’m really curious about how it got turned around. So let’s learn a little bit. We’ll be right back. Lee Edwards is our special guest on WallBuilders Live.

America”€™s History 

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Since the Ten Commandments have formed the basis of civil law in the western world for over 2,000 years and an individual is more likely to find a copy of them in a government building rather than a religious one. Yet, amazingly, numerous rulings over recent years now make it unconstitutional to display the commandments in many public arenas.

Consider what Founding Father John Adams said about this, he declared, “€œThe moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “€˜thou shall not covet”€™ and “€˜thou shall not steal”€™ were not commandments of heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”€

John Adams believed that no society could remain civilized if separated from the Ten Commandments. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

Bernie Sanders and Free Stuff


Welcome to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us today. Lee Edwards is with us, he’s from the Heritage Foundation and author of 25 books on some of our favorites, Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater Ed Meese, all kinds of great folks and Mr. Edward, it’s a pleasure to have you sir.


Thank you, Rick, for inviting me.


Well, a great article on why nations that have tried socialism, it has always failed and why they rejected it and frankly why we should not be headed that direction. And we wanted to get you on the program to talk about, first of all, what you think about the flirtation with socialism that’s happening out there and how to warn people about these historical lessons you’ve shared in this article?


Well, Rick, you know, looking at it, there are a couple of reasons. Let me just mentioned a couple. Number one, particularly for young people right now, they’re a little bit being, not little, but they’re being misled by the Pied Piper of socialism and that is Bernie Sanders. Who is saying, here’s all this wonderful free stuff and of course, young people are saying, great, bring on the free stuff.

Also that the AOC, the congresswoman from New York City keep saying, well, socialism really is just all about community; when in point in fact, is all about centralized government, centralized decision-making and taking away the rights of individuals.

Education is Key

Third, I think we’ve got to admit that the Great Recession convinced a lot of people including young people that capitalism just doesn’t and so they’ve been looking for alternatives. Finally, I’d say that young people know little about socialism. The fact you had have to give up private property, the fact that government controls all the means of production and transportation. So in answer to your second question, I mean there’s just a lot of educating it has to go on.


It does seem like the Pied Pipers message is shorter, easier, pitier, you know, whatever the word is, so that people do tend to falter. To me, that’s kind of been the what we’ve seen in history as well and it takes, you know, you really got to have the foundation of a good education system that’s teaching civics and teaching these things for an extended period of time because it’s hard to do this in 10 minutes on a radio program like we’re trying to do here



Right and we know that. We’ve had some experience with this. We’d have a program with the victims of communism by Memorial Foundation, who bring high school teachers to Washington DC, give them a week training and education and socialism. They go back, so take that message to their students, to their pupils. And this is working, we’re doing for about four years now and every year, the number of teachers keeps getting growing and growing larger and larger. So we think that if we can teach the teachers that they in turn then can take and tell the truth about socialism to young people.

 A Surprising Experiment


One of the things that really surprised me in your article and I consider myself somewhat of a student of this subject. I didn’t realize Israel had tried socialism right after World War II and then”€¦



Indeed! Indeed! But all three of those nations that we talked about: Israel, India and Great Britain it all tried it. And in Israel, yes for the first 20-25 years of its existence down there in the Middle East, because they had been founded by socialists coming out of Eastern and Central Europe about 1 million of them, really were the first settlers of Israel down there in Palestine. And that was something they tried for some 20-25 years, it worked for a while and then they ran out of money.



Yeah. Isn’t that always the story? In fact, that’s an important part of it, is it worked for a while. You know, there’s a great [inaudible 10:02] video, short five-minute video on Brazil, same story. You know, it works for a little while and people get enamored with it and then the, you know, as we used to say, the chicken is come home to roost. And so we saw that in Israel and in India.


Well, in India as a matter of fact that 50% of the people in India were below the poverty line after 25 years of socialism. And funny, the government there which had talked about we’re going to make this a socialist republic and a utopia realize socialism wasn’t working, quite the reverse. It was just drowning people in debt and in misery and poverty.

Israel and India

And so they switched to following a more capitalist road, not the road to serfdom. And as a result of it, the largest middle class in the world today can be found where? In India.



Did they have, because I noticed in your article on the, you know, England example of course, we know Margaret Thatcher was the great voice that came in and almost single-handedly led that turnaround from socialism. Did that happen in India and Israel, I mean were there, because it seems like, you know, getting the right leadership is obviously the key. Is that usually one person or is it a movement, what have you seen in these turnarounds?



Well, in the turnarounds, it happened at the political party under Gandhi and there and all the rest of them became along were ruling things and all of a sudden, an alternative party came into existence and said, no we’re fed up with socialism, it just ain’t working. So there was a political turnaround. It began with certain leaders who then formed a political coalition which puts them in a different direction with the case of both Israel and the case of India, both was that’s what happened. But if it had not been for the right leadership, these countries might very well still be suffocating under socialism.



How much harder is it for us when we have enjoyed the fruits of capitalism for so long and still have enough free enterprise that it keeps the system going? How much harder is it for us to keep socialism at bay? When you’re spoiled and you’ve enjoyed the benefits of capitalism and free enterprise, it’s easier for the young people to be enamored with socialism?

An Entitlement Society


So true, Rick. So true that they after all we’ve been living in an entitlement Society for many, many, many years and the bill never seems to come due. It’s now at $23 trillion is the national debt. And even Bernie Sanders, I have to give them credit for saying, well now, my plan not only the health care but everything else I’m talking about is going to cost $26 trillion. Well, when you start throwing these numbers around and I’m hopeful that what we can do is to get people to start paying attention to them. Once they do, they realize look you can tax all billionaires all that you want, you’re not going to be able to come up with $26 trillion. Inevitably, the middle-class ordinary working men and women are going to be taxed as well and I think that’s where people are going to start to say, no, enough is enough.



Well, I’m going to answer my next question first and then let you answer it. And the answer is, follow Lee Edwards articles on is one way to do this. And the question is how do you educate, not just the kids, right but my generation, I mean that every American that maybe didn’t get a lot of this in their education? But you mentioned the road to serfdom. I mean, what are some of the quick ways, if a person is listening today and going, you know what, I’ve got gap in, you know, major gaps in my own knowledge, I don”€™t want to be a student of freedom, where are you point them?

 Turn Over Your iPhone


Let me just give one thought, that is with regard to social. That means it’s the end of private property. That’s what mark says. You know, that the abolition of private property is number one law of socialism. But what does that mean, guys? It means that talking to Millennials, okay, turn over your iPhones and your iPad. No more tattoos. No more lattes. The government is going to determine what you can do and once you start doing that, you’re going to run into an old saying, Barry Goldwater, which was any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.

That’s right. Oh man, so good, so good. Always a pleasure to have you sir, look forward to the next time we get to visit.


Thank you so much, Rick, all the best.


That’s Lee Edward. Stay with us, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Bart.

This Precarious Moment Book


This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.

Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.

These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So, you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at



Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on Wallbuilders Live, that was Lee Edwards from the Heritage Foundation. And man, what a great education back with David and Tim. Now, guys, I love doing this program, in fact, I don’t know if I told you that lately. Thank you. Thanks for letting me be a co-host with you here on Wallbuilders Live. Every day, I get to go to school on a fun way and that was a great example of it. I hope I didn’t embarrass you guys by admitting I did not know that Israel had tried socialism initially after World War II.


Well, this is one of the things, Rick, that we have enjoyed over the years and the miniatures we’re taking to Israel, visiting with some of our friends in Israel. And this was something I learned many years ago from one of our friends in Israel who talked about how Israel still has socialism on some levels and told us some of the economic history of Israel. And so we discovered this not long ago. But it was something that when he said that, no, there’s still there’s still some socialism in Israel, but and some of what we do. I thought this is so counter to what I thought at Israel, because I think of Israel kind of like America where this bastion of freedom and it rewards things. And he said, well, where it’s a little different as where they do promote and encourage some entrepreneurship, but there’s a socialized medicine and the networks.


And he said there’s still a lot of the fingerprints of socialism left, but Israel is a great example of a nation that I mean very much like a China today, where the more they promote freedom and the more they reward the people who are the entrepreneurs being productive, the greater their economy has grown and so capitalism has actually helped their economy as it”€™s moved them away from communism or socialism. So we saw that, we’re seeing it right now in China.

There”€™s something that Israel has discovered. But I mean, Rick, I’m with you. There’s a lot of times we interview a guest and I go, okay, that’s really interesting, I had never heard that before. This just happens to be one of the things that I had heard before. But there’s many times that I have no idea either, so it is very interesting to see some of the background of some these nations. Because certainly, this is not. When you take an economics course in high school or college or if you’ve ever taken one in your life, you don’t often hear about these nations and the background of what they went through and what they did. The reason we love history so much is not just because we like stories, but it’s because you learn so many cool lessons and you see where people did well and it succeeded, where they did poorly and it didn’t succeed. And this is the history of socialism when you look at the history of nations. And so it is fun to learn some of those lessons along the way.

Voluntary Sharing


One of the things he pointed out about Israel that thought was so good was that yeah, right after World War II when Israel was founded, they came out of all these European nations and they came in a socialist. They had what were called Kibbutz and these Kibbutzim were socialistic

systems. They still have some of those today, Tim and I have stayed on some of those. But he said the difference is today that even the Kibbutz, they are really pretty much free market things, they’re free market in thinking. He said, but what it is and the reason it works is the people that are on there are on this Kibbutz is voluntarily and they themselves have made the decision that they and their family will share what they have with all the other families. And that works pretty good when everybody has the same intention and the same willingness to share and everybody is willing to work and do a good job, then that works. So it is a voluntary limited amount of socialism in some very small regions where they still have these Kibbutzim, but Israel itself has completely moved away from that notion of socialism that they had right after World War II.


And then to look at India, I did not realize India had been a socialist nation in recent decades. And the fact that they now have the largest middle class in the world after having moved away from it, the statement at least said that really got me was that they were drowning people in debt and misery and poverty when they were in socialism. I thought that’s the reprinting negative words that goes socialism.

And the fact that you have Great Britain and that you have Israel and that you have India who all experimented with socialism in recent years and have abandoned it because it was a failure. That’s a pretty good argument for why we shouldn’t be doing this today.



Well let’s learn a little more from it. I got to take a quick break first though, so folks with us, we’ll be right back. You’re listening for WallBuilders Live.

America’s Hidden History


Hi, this is David Barton.


And, this is Tim Barton, and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night, there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History.

And, this season is called “€œAmerica’s Hidden Heroes.”€ The reason is, we highlight heroes from American history. For years we’ve been focusing on the forgotten history and heros of the nation.

And now, we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.


These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location to the sites and show you where the events happened. It’s the stories of folks like Bronco Charlie, Stagecoach Mary, Jedediah Smith, Robert Smalls, and so many inspiring folks.


Now, this happens every Thursday night, and the time is gonna be different based on where you live. Either way, we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you in learning some of these great stories from America’s Hidden History.



Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. We’re back with David and Tim again. Guys, we’re learning from this to this article in this interview with Lee Edwards. We’ll put that on our website today for folks to be able to read a little further in depth especially the study on all three of those countries and their experience, failure with socialism and then moving towards capitalism.

But, you know, think about what he said, it’s the leadership. I mean, whoever, the leaders of a country are going to drive that policy, we the people have to want that policy to call out for it. But that’s a very important lesson for us to learn especially now in a presidential year.



It really is. One of the things that I’ve seen recently, it was all over social media, it wouldn’t be hard to find people to go look for right now. But there’s a little history of Venezuela. And Venezuela, if you go back just a couple of decades where one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Their productivity, how their people were living and then they decided that they wanted to do some things differently.

So back in the 90s, they started embracing some socialism. They started moving away from capitalism. They started moving away from things that had helped them be productive and in one generation, now they have people starving the streets. So they took away the guns. Now the military is putting down some these protests with violence and with force and so many terrible things you see happening in Venezuela.

Don”€™t Be Deceived

But it shows the history of how one generation when you choose leaders or even as a people, when you begin to embrace an ideology and you put leader in positions to follow through that ideology, if it’s not the right kind of leaders, not the right kind of ideology, you will reap the fruits of the seeds that you plant. Some seeds grow faster than others and unfortunately, the seeds of socialism when you plant a lot of seeds, what you reap, you will not enjoy. So, this is even of those biblical principles that whatever man sows, he shall reap. And actually Paul said, don’t be deceived, God is not mocked, right. Don’t think that you can embrace socialism and you’re going to reap a different fruit than what socialism produces.

The reason we should always live in nations that have gone socialist, they can see how it’s worked for them is because if we start embracing socialism and we plant those seeds of socialism, we will reap the rewards of what socialism produces. And it’s not prosperity, it’s not freedom, it’s not stability, it”€™s chaos, it”€™s starvation, it”€™s frustration, it”€™s tyranny. Things that we don’t want in America which is why we have to stay away from socialism.


And I’ll throw in, Tim, using analogy you used of planting seeds. If you plant the seed for an apple tree and expect to get a banana tree out of it, you’re crazy. And if you plant the seeds of socialism and expect to get prosperity out of it, you’re equally crazy. It will only produce what that seed will produce and it is debt and misery and poverty.

Help Educate Your Friends!


We are out of time for today, folks such an important lesson on socialism versus free enterprise. We encourage you share this program with as many people as you can. This is one of those messages that and is not being taught in schools anymore. It’s hard to get this message out. It is vital to the nation being free, private property, free enterprise, fundamental principles to us being able to enjoy all of our other liberties and freedoms.

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Lee Edwards “€“ Millennials, Socialism, and History    

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