Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi ‘Murder’: What the Arab world needs most is free expression

Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi ‘Murder’: What the Arab world needs most is free expression

Jamal Khashoggi (Illustration by Alex Fine for The Washington Post)
By Jamal Khashoggi
October 17, 2018

A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor

I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi’s translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post. This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world. A freedom he apparently gave his life for. I will be forever grateful he chose The Post as his final journalistic home one year ago and gave us the chance to work together.

I was recently online looking at the 2018 “Freedom in the World” report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “free.” That nation is TunisiaJordanMorocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “partly free.” The rest of the countries in the Arab world are classified as “not free.”

As a result, Arabs living in these countries are either uninformed or misinformed. They are unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives. A state-run narrative dominates the public psyche, and while many do not believe it, a large majority of the population falls victim to this false narrative. Sadly, this situation is unlikely to change.

The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011. Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries. They expected to be emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information. These expectations were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.

My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.

As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.

There are a few oases that continue to embody the spirit of the Arab Spring. Qatar’s government continues to support international news coverage, in contrast to its neighbors’ efforts to uphold the control of information to support the “old Arab order.” Even in Tunisia and Kuwait, where the press is considered at least “partly free,” the media focuses on domestic issues but not issues faced by the greater Arab world. They are hesitant to provide a platform for journalists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen. Even Lebanon, the Arab world’s crown jewel when it comes to press freedom, has fallen victim to the polarization and influence of pro-Iran Hezbollah.

The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power. During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe, which grew over the years into a critical institution, played an important role in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom. Arabs need something similar. In 1967, the New York Times and The Post took joint ownership of the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which went on to become a platform for voices from around the world.

My publication, The Post, has taken the initiative to translate many of my pieces and publish them in Arabic. For that, I am grateful. Arabs need to read in their own language so they can understand and discuss the various aspects and complications of democracy in the United States and the West. If an Egyptian reads an article exposing the actual cost of a construction project in Washington, then he or she would be able to better understand the implications of similar projects in his or her community.

The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.

SAUDI JOURNALIST JAMAL KHASHOGGI – The Media Today Remembering The Man At Center Of An International Crisis

jamal k|Pete Vernon, CJR |AIWA! NO!|WHAT COMES NEXT in the story of Jamal Khashoggi? As the grisly details of the Saudi journalist’s murder have become public and the focus has shifted to the official response from the White House, The Washington Post is trying to ensure that the man at the center of the story is not forgotten.

The Post’s Thursday op-ed page features an illustration of a smiling Khashoggi above his final column, received the day after he went missing in Istanbul. In the piece, Khashoggi notes the lack of free expression across the Arab world and argues for an independent international forum for Arab voices and stories. “The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011,” Khashoggi wrote, lamenting that grand expectations “were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.” Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about the decision to publish Khashoggi’s column, his editor Karen Attiah said, “We wanted to bring it back to his words. To his ideas. To his thoughts, and who he was as a person.”

Meanwhile, the Saudis’ gamble that the international community would not much miss a single journalist has gone bust amid a deluge of coverage that has been driven by the slow drip of information from Turkish and American officials. Reporting by the PostThe New York Times, and other outlets has unearthed mounting evidence that suggests the Saudi crown prince at least knew of plans to harm Khashoggi and may have been directly involved in the operation that resulted in his murder. Yet President Trump appears eager to avoid any conclusions that would damage the US–Saudi relationship. The Post’s Shane Harris reported Wednesday night that “the Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi—one that will avoid implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is among the president’s closest foreign allies.”

RELATED: Reexamining coverage of MBS after Khashoggi’s disappearance

Trump’s willingness to float the “rogue killers” theory, as well as his insistence that the kingdom’s leaders are being judged “guilty until proven innocent” has focused renewed attention on his penchant for excusing the actions of authoritarian leaders. The president “has had harsher words in the last week or so for Stormy Daniels, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Taylor Swift, than he has had for the Saudis responsible for the likely butcher and slaughter of a Washington Post columnist,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said on the air Wednesday.

As the details of Khashoggi’s murder trickle out and the global implications reverberate, one conclusion seems clear: MBS, a rising star on the international stage, is now tarnished. “If there is any lesson to be learned from this terrible affair,” writes The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, “it’s how blind so much of official Washington and the American press were to MBS’s true nature.”

Below, more on the latest developments in the Khashoggi case.

  • In the newsroom: Khashoggi’s death has galvanized the Post in its effort to spread his words and hold his killers accountable, reports Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo. “Khashoggi, as a contributing columnist who had only been writing for a year, didn’t have extensive ties or relationships throughout the newsroom, which operates separately from the opinion side,” Pompeo notes. “But his fate—the gruesome reports of what happened to him, the international implications, and what it means for a free press—has subsequently set the Post into a frenzy.”
  • Secondhand information: CJR’s Amanda Darrach writes on the difficulty reporters have faced in covering of Khashoggi’s(still not independently verified) murder. “The struggle to double check evidence when the only sources of information—the Turkish government and closely intertwined Turkish media—are politically biased has been a challenge for journalists reporting the Khashoggi case,” Darrach writes.
  • A cover-up in plain sight?: Commenting on the Post article about the White House’s attempt to spin the story, Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall tweeted: “This is a remarkable piece. The first graf openly states as a matter of fact that the White House and the royal family are working together on a cover up of MBS’s role in Khashoggi’s murder.” The Post’s first sentence: “The Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

US – If you want to know the ‘functional’ meaning of the word ‘VINDICTIVE’ don’t check the dictionary; don’t look further than President Trump

Donald Trump –  ‘Anything Obama must go, regardless of whether it’s a good idea or it isn’t. It’s Obama!’trump-august-18

‘VINDICTIVE’

adjective: UK  /vɪnˈdɪk.tɪv/ US  /vɪnˈdɪk.tɪv/ disapproving

having or showing a wish to harm someone because you think that they harmed you; unwilling to forgive:

In the movie “Cape Fear”, a lawyer’s family is threatened by a vindictive former prisoner.

adjective: If you say that someone is vindictive, you are critical of them because they deliberately try to upset or cause trouble for someone who they think has done them harm.

[disapproval]

How can you be so vindictive?
…a vindictive woman desperate for revenge against the man who loved and left her.

vindictivenessuncountable noun

…a dishonest person who is operating completely out of vindictiveness.

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|US President Donald Trump  seeks to repeal anything with  ‘Obama label’ on it. Not because it were bad policy but because it was formulated and implemented by someone he despises.

Take tax reforms for instance; ‘Repeal and Replace Obama Care’, Military Spending, NATO and ‘America First Agenda’; the media, as fourth estate included among many targets.

Trump’s relentless attacks on  ‘fake media‘ and freedom of the press gets noticed – 

2 – August 2018 – UN and Inter-American experts on freedom of expression condemn U.S. President Donald Trump’s repeated attacks on the free press and urged him and his administration to cease efforts to undermine the media’s role of holding government accountable, honest and transparent.

“His attacks are strategic, designed to undermine confidence in reporting and raise doubts about verifiable facts,” said David Kaye and Edison Lanza, the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression for the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, respectively.

The President has labelled the media as being the “enemy of the American people” “very dishonest” or “fake news,” and accused the press of “distorting democracy” or spreading “conspiracy theories and blind hatred”.

“These attacks run counter to the country’s obligations to respect press freedom and international human rights law,” the experts said. “We are especially concerned that these attacks increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence.”

Kaye and Lanza said that, over the course of his presidency, Mr. Trump and others within his administration have sought to undermine reporting that had uncovered waste, fraud, abuse, potential illegal conduct, and disinformation.

“Each time the President calls the media ‘the enemy of the people’ or fails to allow questions from reporters from disfavoured outlets,” the experts added, “he suggests nefarious motivations or animus. But he has failed to show even once that specific reporting has been driven by any untoward motivations.

“It is critical that the U.S. administration promote the role of a vibrant press and counter rampant disinformation. To this end, we urge President Trump not only to stop using his platform to denigrate the media but to condemn these attacks, including threats directed at the press at his own rallies.

“The attack on the media goes beyond President Trump’s language. We also urge his entire administration, including the Department of Justice, to avoid pursuing legal cases against journalists in an effort to identify confidential sources, an effort that undermines the independence of the media and the ability of the public to have access to information.

“We urge the Government to stop pursuing whistle-blowers through the tool of the Espionage Act, which provides no basis for a person to make an argument about the public interest of such information.

“We stand with the independent media in the United States, a community of journalists and publishers and broadcasters long among the strongest examples of professional journalism worldwide. We especially urge the press to continue, where it does so, its efforts to hold all public officials accountable.”

The experts encouraged all media to act in solidarity against the efforts of President Trump to favour some outlets over others.

“Two years of attacks on the press could have long term negative implications for the public’s trust in media and public institutions,” Kaye and Lanza said. “Two years is two years too much, and we strongly urge that President Trump and his administration and his supporters end these attacks.”

Paris Climate Agreement; views on law and order, human rights, gender equality – not because it were bad policy but because it was formulated and implemented by someone he despises.

Barack Obama breaks his silence to attack Donald Trump, asking ‘how hard is it to say Nazis are bad?’

Barack Obama has launched an unprecedented attack on Donald Trump’s presidency as he returned to the political spotlight for the first time since leaving the White House.

As he returned to the political spotlight ahead of November’s midterm elections, the former US president accused Mr Trump of “cosying up” to Vladimir Putin and adopting the “politics of fear and resentment”.

In a speech that lasted more than an hour, Mr Obama delivered a series of attacks against Mr Trump’s policies since entering office, from tax cuts for the “wealthiest Americans” to repealing climate change legislation.

Charlottesville

Mr Obama rebuked Mr Trump’s response to a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, asking a crowd at the University of Ilinois: “How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”

Mr Trump said there were some “very fine” people on both sides of the protests, in which neo-Nazis clashed with anti-racism demonstrators leaving one woman dead and several injured.

Mr Trump claimed the “alt-left” bore some responsibility for the violence and refused to condemn the “alt-right” activists. 

In a reference to the incident on Friday, Mr Obama told the audience: “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up, clearly and unequivocally, to Nazi sympathizers.  How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”

Economy

Mr Obama also poked fun on the issue the current president frequently heralds as one of his greatest achievements – the strong economy.

Mr Obama was eager to “remind” voters that the economic recovery – one of Mr Trump’s favourite talking points – actually began “in 2015” under his presidency.

“When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” he said.

The Republican party

Mr Obama also hit out at the current face of the Republican Party, calling it a “radical” organisation which has embraced conspiracy theories, attacked voting rights and rejected climate change.

He said: “What happened to the Republican party? Its central organising principle in foreign policy was the fight against communism and now they’re cosying up to the former head of the KGB, actively blocking legislation that would defend our elections from Russian attack. What happened?”

He went on to attack the administration’s repeal of climate change legislation, saying: “They’ve made it so that the only nation on earth to pull out of the global climate agreement, it’s not North Korea, it’s not Syria, it’s not Russia or Saudi Arabia. It’s us. The only country.”

Pressuring aides

Mr Obama was especially stern in his condemnation of Mr Trump’s pattern of pressuring law enforcement officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called on Mr Sessions to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and earlier this week blamed the Justice Department for charging two incumbent Republican members of Congress, arguing the moves could jeopardise their seats ahead of the election.

“It should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents,” Mr Obama said. “Or to explicitly call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution because an election happens to be coming up. I’m not making that up. that’s not hypothetical.”

‘Bigots and ‘fear-mongers’

Noting the history of former presidents avoiding the rough and tumble of politics, Mr Obama acknowledged his sharp critique of Trump was something of a departure from tradition. But he said the political moment required a pushback and called for better discourse.

“Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us or don’t sound like us or don’t pray like we do – that’s an old playbook,” he said.

“It’s as old as time. And in a healthy democracy, it doesn’t work. Our antibodies kick in and people of good will from across the political spectrum call out the bigots and the fear-mongers and work to compromise and get things done and promote the better angels of our nation.”

In a preview of his message on the campaign trail over the next two months, the former president said: “In two months we have the chance… to return some semblance of sanity to our politics. Because there is actually only one real check on bad policy and abuses of power, and that’s you”.

SAUDI JOURNALIST’S ‘DISAPPEARANCE’- An Imperfect ‘Murder’ or Saudis’ ‘I Dare You’; Taunting Turkey?

The journalist’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz said she had waited outside for 11 hours, but he did not come out.

Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice waits in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 3 October 2018

Jamal’s fiancée fears that he has been kidnapped or killed. The authorities in Istanbul believe he was murdered by Saudi agents and say they have evidence to back this up. Saudi Arabia insists that he left the consulate shortly after he arrived

|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|According to sources the ‘murder’ of Washington Post Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brazen as it was ‘gory, grizzly and gruesome.’

Was it, is it meant to be a ‘warning shot’ to  Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? If it is. For What?  And Why?

Turkey’s currency went into a tailspin recently and was no accident: US President Donald Trump announced a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey earlier, piling economic pressure on the NATO ally after its currency went into a tail-spin in September.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against a shadowy international “interest rate lobby” which, he suggested, was “campaigning” to harm Turkey’s economy, after the lira fell more than 14 percent overnight.

Otherwise the whole thing doesn’t make any sense – and makes the killing of the journalist evil and barbaric.

Mike Pompeo with crown prince Salman
Donald Trump sent Mike Pompeo to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Salman (Image: AFP)

The 15-men Saudi ‘Hit Squad’ descended on Istanbul, Turkey via two privately hired planes on 2 October 2018 to attend to affairs at the Saudi Consulate. Forensics expert and former diplomat was among ‘Saudi Team.’

On the same day Jamal Khashoggi visited the same Consulate in Istanbul for a scheduled appointment to obtain his divorce certificate.

Before entering the building he gave his Turkish fiancee two mobile phones and told her to call an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he did not come back out.

She waited for him for 10 hours outside the consulate but never saw him again.

Meanwhile the 15 – men Saudi Squad who had arrived at the Consulate left for Saudi Arabia later that same day.Maps showing the location of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and the Saudi consul's residence

The events leading to and after  the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi suggest a plan; not so much of a careful plan though, for the murder squad didn’t seem keen on hiding their intentions or the aftermath – consequential incriminating evidence.

For the Saudis, though the ‘murder’ was imperfect, it was fat accompli.

Saudi suspect in Journalist Khashoggi ‘murder’ ‘dies in car accident’: Multiple News Sources

Saudi suspect in Khashoggi case ‘dies in car accident’: Reports

Saudi suspect in Khashoggi case ‘dies in car accident’: Report

Mashal Saad al-Bostani, a 31-year-old lieutenant of the Saudi Royal Air Forces, was among the 15 suspects who arrived and left Turkey on Oct. 2 after going to Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate when Khashoggi visited there, according to daily Yeni Şafak.

The newspaper said sources did not release any details about the traffic accident in Riyadh and Bostani’s role in the “murder” was not yet clear.

Daily Hürriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi claimed on Oct. 18 that Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consul Mohammad al-Otaibi could be “the next execution” as Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman “would do anything to get rid of evidence.”

Turkish daily Yeni Şafak reported Oct. 17 that Al-Otaibi’s voice could be heard in one of the recordings, which Turkish authorities are believed to have, of Khashoggi’s “interrogation” at the consulate.

According to the report, after Al-Otaibi told the interrogators to “do it somewhere else outside or I will be in trouble,” he was told to “shut up if you want to live when you are back in Saudi Arabia.”

Al-Otaibi returned to Saudi Arabia on Oct. 16 before his residence in Istanbul was searched by police for more than eight hours on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18.

IN PHOTOS: Turkish-Saudi team completes probe at Saudi consulate, residence

Turkish-Saudi team completes probe at Saudi consulate, residence

Meanwhile, Sabah newspaper released stills from security camera footage of another suspect on Oct. 18.

According to the report, 47-year-old Maher Abdulaziz M. Mutreb, an intelligence officer who previously served at Saudi Arabia’s London embassy, landed in Istanbul at 3:38 a.m. on Oct. 2 and went to his country’s Istanbul consulate at 9:55 a.m.

Hours after Khashoggi’s arrival and disappearance, Mutreb left the consulate and visited the consul’s residence at 4:53 p.m., left his hotel at 5:15 p.m. and arrived at the Atatürk Airport for his return trip on a private jet at 5:58 p.m.

The New York Times had reported on Oct. 16 that Mutreb had travelled extensively with the crown prince, perhaps as a bodyguard.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Saudi royals didn’t want to discuss facts of the Khashoggi case and he doesn’t either

Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi journalist ‘had fingers torn off one by one’ as ‘consul tells hitmen: “Do this outside”‘

Mr Khashoggi vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2 – here’s all we know so far about the case

Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.Leah Millis/Reuters
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the Saudi royal family on Tuesday to discuss the disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi.
  • But afterward he refused to talk to the press about the facts of the case.
  • Pompeo wouldn’t say whether Khashoggi is alive or dead, and said the Saudis didn’t want to talk about it either.
  • Pompeo said the Saudis would investigate and hold themselves accountable, but Saudi’s royal family is notoriously opaque.
  • It’s not clear whether the public will ever get any evidence of what happened beyond Saudi Arabia’s word.
|AIWA! NO!|US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the Saudi royal family on Tuesday to discuss the disappearance and alleged murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, and outright refused to comment on the facts of the case to the press.

… and more details have emerged of the grizzly and gruesome ‘murder’ of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi;

Missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi had his fingers ripped off before he was decapitated by a 15-strong hit squad, it is claimed.

Mr Khashoggi, 60, a critic of the Saudi leadership, was last seen entering the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.

Once inside, he is said to have been tortured by the squad – allegedly including a ‘Dr Death’ and a man with ties to the Saudi Crown Prince.

He had his fingers brutally torn off as his killers spent seven minutes murdering him and dismembering his body, media reports claim.

Pompeo, like President Donald Trump, has put faith in the Saudi royal family to investigate themselves regarding Khashoggi’s disappearance.

While Pompeo said the Saudis would conduct a “thorough” investigation and hold any guilty parties completely accountable, he flat out shut down any conversation of the facts of the case.

Asked point blank if Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, was alive or dead, Pompeo said: “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts. They [the Saudis] didn’t either.”

Turkish officials spoke to several media outlets on Tuesday, claiming to have audio tapes that capture Saudi officials taking part in the gruesome torture-murder of Khashoggi.

America’s Young Voters Are Warming to Socialism Because They Don’t Know Its History

  • 47% of Democrats view capitalism positively, down from 56% in 2016
  • 57% of Democrats now view socialism positively, little changed from 2010
  • Republicans very positive about capitalism; 16% positive on socialism

Democrats More Positive About Socialism Than Capitalism

Annie Holmquist, GALLUP POLL|AIWA! NO!|November 6, 2018 is approaching fast which means is US elections are on the horizon and individuals young and old are making their list, checking it twice, and… deciding which candidates are worthy of support.

The younger generation is especially getting into the spirit of things, most recently evidenced by Taylor Swift’s endorsement of candidates in her home state.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wins as a Democratic Socialist With a 21st-Century Vision
With a values-based campaign that championed Medicare for All and the abolition of ICE, the 28-year-old Latina beat a top Democratic incumbent.

Naturally, this surge of civic responsibility seems like a good thing. But are today’s young Americans equipped with the knowledge they need to make sound, sensible decisions in the voting booth?

I thought of this question while watching a new video segment from John Stossel. Stossel stepped away from the microphone for once and gave his place as host to young Gloria Álvarez, who explains her experience growing up in the shadow of democratic socialism. She explains:

I’m from Guatemala. I’ve seen the impact of socialism.

My father escaped Cuba. My grandfather suffered under communists in Hungary before escaping. As a child, I was taught socialism was wrong. I grew up mocking it. But democratic socialism sounded okay. It made sense to me that government should take care of the economy.

But then I watched socialism fail in Latin America. I learned that every time a country started down the socialist path, it failed.

Álvarez has had enough experience to recognize that democratic socialism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but many of her young American counterparts haven’t come to this conclusion. In fact, a new survey suggests the opposite.

In September of 2018, Maru/Blue and BuzzFeed News performed a random survey on the political views of young millennials aged 22 to 37. Particularly striking was the question on socialism, which asked young people whether they would call themselves “democratic socialist, a socialist or neither.”

A solid third responded by saying they would never identify with that label. However, another third of respondents were happy to identify with some facet of socialism. Perhaps even more revealing is the fact that a quarter of respondents pleaded ignorance, recognizing that they needed to know more about the viewpoint before claiming it as their own.

Where does such ignorance come from? Thomas Jefferson would likely suggest it stems from the minimal instruction today’s students receive in history:

“History, by apprising them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve.”

Only 12 percent of America’s high school seniors are proficient in U.S. history. If we made this subject a bigger focal point of the education system, would the next generation of voters be more aware and able to discern the pros and cons of socialist government, democratic or not?

This article was reprinted from Intellectual Takeout.

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