Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
FILE - Rep. Chris Stewart speaks at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Stewart wants to combat what he sees as a rise in socialism in the United States.

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart wants to combat what he sees as a rise in socialism in the United States.

To that end, the Utah Republican has formed the Anti-Socialism Caucus to inform lawmakers and the public on the dangers of socialism and to stop the advancement of socialist policies and legislation.

"Socialism is a folly. Not only is it doomed to fail wherever it rears its head, it leaves a wake of destruction in lives and freedoms lost," he said.

Stewart said so much time has passed since the fall of the Iron Curtain that many have internalized or never experienced socialism's "ultimate price."

"If we fail to recall those dangerous times, the primitive appeal of socialism will advance and infect our institutions," he said.

Stewart cites a recent poll that shows 53 percent of American millenials favor a socialist society over a capitalist one, compared to only a quarter of Americans over age 55.

The four-term congressman also quoted a Feb. 14 article in The Economist that says after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, socialism became a "byword for economic failure and political oppression." But "today, 30 years on, socialism is back in fashion.”

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U.S. adversaries want to destroy freedom, democracy and the rule of law because they represent an existential threat to their existence, according to Stewart.

"How can President (Vladimir) Putin justify his despotic hold on power when his people can look west and see that our democracy has given people freedom and opportunity? How can President Xi (Jinping) justify the repression of his own people if they are able to see our example and want the same thing?" Stewart asked.

Stewart said the Anti-Socialism Caucus will play a part in "how we will defeat socialism once again."