If we have 18-year-olds vote for the executive office, why not 17-year-olds? And if 17-year-olds, why not 16-year-olds? And if 16-year-olds, why not 15-, 14-, 12-, and so on?
A child of 5, or 4, or 3, not allowed to vote is not allowed a voice. Rather, that voice must be provided for him by another. A representative, of some kind. A representative may unfairly or incorrectly represent the best interests of the child. Therefore the child himself must decide for whom his vote should be cast.
This argument holds for all children, even though who have not yet escaped their mothers’ wombs. Perhaps an ultrasonographer will invent a polling mechanism to query the emwombed child whether it wants Hillary (or whatever clone) or Trump.
You may not say this argument is stupid unless you are willing to concede that lines must be drawn, and that representatives for some must be found. And you are willing to concede that, you must also allow that the lines and representations we have now are too liberal.
They’re pushing harder for 16-year-olds. Here’s Nancy Deutsch saying some person named Ayanna Pressley is right that 16-year-olds “deserve”—that most popular advertising word—“to vote”.
For our democracy to function as it should, we need to encourage more Americans—from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds and age groups—to vote in local and federal elections.
This is false: the opposite is true. Voting along racial and socioeconomic backgrounds and age groups necessarily leads to increased dissension, anger, tumult, and it hastens the breakup of a democracy.
I have a complete analysis of why this is so in my new book (still in review!), but the idea is simple. When people disagree about direction, for whatever reasons, both the winners and losers are upset by the vote. The losers because they lost and hate the direction the country will now take, the winners because the losers might have won.
Pundits and armchair commentators of all political persuasions complain about notoriously low voter turnout, decrying large segments of the voting public as apathetic, uninformed or even illegitimate.
This is because—does this really need to be pointed out?—large segments of the voting public are apathetic, uninformed and even illegitimate.
Perhaps the most compelling idea, and the most democratic in spirit, is a 2018 proposal, from U.S. Representative Ayana Pressley of Massachusetts, to lower the voting age in federal elections to 16…
Setting aside legislators’ risk-averse decision-making and political calculations, the consensus was that 16-year-olds cannot reasonably contribute to the electoral process.
Even though 16 is the age when many teens can realize the rights and responsibilities of adulthood (such as driving and full employment), we say they somehow lack the maturity and experience to make informed choices at the ballot box.
We do not say that they somehow lack the maturity and experience to make informed choices at the ballot box. We are saying that they definitely and with absolute certainty lack the maturity and experience to make informed choices at the ballot box.
The thing is, we don’t really have a good reason not to allow 16-year-olds to vote. In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite—that enfranchising 16-year-olds would be good for them and good for our democracy.
The skeptical attitude toward the next generation is especially baffling when we see teens like Greta Thunberg, or the students from Parkland, Florida, consistently demonstrate independent thought, deep understanding, clear convictions, and tremendous maturity and poise in the national and international limelight (even amid jarring criticism and judgment from adults).
Thunberg and the students from Parkland are wholly and demonstrably ignorant on the subjects on which they are haranguing their betters. They do not have deep understanding nor maturity. True, they have clear convictions and poise, but that they have them in conjunction with their ignorance, and with their not knowing of their own ignorance, is proof they should not be voting.
These exceptional young people are far more informed than the average adult when it comes to key issues of our time and, of course, are far more engaged than many of their peers. Never mind that the claims about young people being ill-informed and inexperienced essentially reprise the same complaints that were made when women and African Americans sought suffrage.
If you agree ignorant immature kids should not vote you are a racist. Very well, we are racists. And 16-year-olds should not vote.
Incidentally, so Newsweek informs us, “Nancy Deutsch is the director of the University of Virginia Curry School of Education and Human Development’s Youth-Nex Center, which is leading a national conference in November on how to engage young people on matters of democracy, moral reasoning and social justice.”
They got Socrates on the trumped up charge of corrupting the youth. Deutsch does it for real and well rewarded for it.
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