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Varysblackfyre321

Should we lower the age of adulthood in the US to be 16?

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I mean we are already seeing the results of people voting on issues they know very little about, working off of intuition and emotion, unable to directly communicate or understand the issues affecting them (especially here in the UK). I don't see how reducing the age limit would make that any better. 

My 16 year old self's opinions on matters was incredibly typical of what you would expect, I was heavily left leaning and idealistic, but also those opinions were not based on any direct knowledge, but on the limited information I was given. I also had zero life experience to judge whether what I thought was based on reality or just some movies I'd seen. I'm not sure my older self is much better now but at least I've lived a lot more life and had experiences to base my judgements on. I wouldn't trust my 16 year old's opinion on most issues.

But then everyone is different, there are a lot of 16 year olds who know more about politics than many 35 year olds. Which is why ideally I think there would be a minimum test for anyone wanting to vote, on their knowledge of the issues being discussed and some sort of minimum level of analytical ability. Of course that whole idea is politically impossible and in reality it would be virtually impossible to make fair or just. But it might be better than what we are seeing currently. 

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1 hour ago, James Arryn said:

I honestly was not too different at 16 than I am now. OTOH I was almost as remarkably mature for my age then as I am immature for my age now.

Really?  I was hugely different at 16 than I am now.  I was hugely different at 25 than I was at 16 or now.  Life is change.  Are most folks really that static?

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12 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

DISagree about the parents voting on behalf of kids. Just speaking personally but that’s would have resulted in my existence giving the likes of UKIP extra votes - which isn’t absolutely NOT something I have ever wanted. I don’t see why parents should have more say over the current government than anyone else. I’m not convinced such a vote is on the child’s behalf, it’s more just giving the parents two slices of the pie.

And since you proposed it, i’ll indulge my curiosity and ask how you would organise it. Do both parents get an extra vote? If not which parent does? What about step parents?

Why stop at 35? Plenty of emotionally immature 35 year olds. Some very noteworthy emotionally immature persons double that age. “More responsible decision making” my left tit, it’s just disenfranchising a major demographic. And one that’s going to be impacted by these policies for the longest

Indeed.  We do not need to go with a gerontocracy.

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23 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I mean we are already seeing the results of people voting on issues they know very little about, working off of intuition and emotion, unable to directly communicate or understand the issues affecting them (especially here in the UK). I don't see how reducing the age limit would make that any better. 

My 16 year old self's opinions on matters was incredibly typical of what you would expect, I was heavily left leaning and idealistic, but also those opinions were not based on any direct knowledge, but on the limited information I was given. I also had zero life experience to judge whether what I thought was based on reality or just some movies I'd seen. I'm not sure my older self is much better now but at least I've lived a lot more life and had experiences to base my judgements on. I wouldn't trust my 16 year old's opinion on most issues.

But then everyone is different, there are a lot of 16 year olds who know more about politics than many 35 year olds. Which is why ideally I think there would be a minimum test for anyone wanting to vote, on their knowledge of the issues being discussed and some sort of minimum level of analytical ability. Of course that whole idea is politically impossible and in reality it would be virtually impossible to make fair or just. But it might be better than what we are seeing currently. 

What could possibly go wrong?

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2 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

What could possibly go wrong?

Almost everything. You'd probably get about 3 people eligible to vote.

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25 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I mean we are already seeing the results of people voting on issues they know very little about, working off of intuition and emotion, unable to directly communicate or understand the issues affecting them (especially here in the UK). I don't see how reducing the age limit would make that any better. 

My 16 year old self's opinions on matters was incredibly typical of what you would expect, I was heavily left leaning and idealistic, but also those opinions were not based on any direct knowledge, but on the limited information I was given. I also had zero life experience to judge whether what I thought was based on reality or just some movies I'd seen. I'm not sure my older self is much better now but at least I've lived a lot more life and had experiences to base my judgements on. I wouldn't trust my 16 year old's opinion on most issues.

But then everyone is different, there are a lot of 16 year olds who know more about politics than many 35 year olds. Which is why ideally I think there would be a minimum test for anyone wanting to vote, on their knowledge of the issues being discussed and some sort of minimum level of analytical ability. Of course that whole idea is politically impossible and in reality it would be virtually impossible to make fair or just. But it might be better than what we are seeing currently. 

Such “knowledge tests” were abused systematically in the South to exclude Blacks from voting.  As such they are legally impermissible because they are abused.

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36 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

I don’t see why parents should have more say over the current government than anyone else. I’m not convinced such a vote is on the child’s behalf, it’s more just giving the parents two slices of the pie.

Yeah all that would do is disproportionately advantage people that happen to have children.  The Christian right would love it.  And Mormons would absolutely dominate if you get a vote per kid.

27 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Are most folks really that static?

Just kids these day *shakes fist*

5 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The old expression applies: “If you are young and not a socialist you have no heart. If you are old and not a capitalist, you have no brain.”

Dumbest adage ever.

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1 hour ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

The old expression applies: “If you are young and not a socialist you have no heart. If you are old and not a capitalist, you have no brain.”

I've heard similar formulations but never socialist vs capitalist. Sounds like a moneymonger trying to be clever, and failing. But I can see why you think it's profound.

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2 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I would increase it to 21. Teenagers are emotionally immature. In fact, as a thought experiment, why not raise the voting age to say 35? It is no discrimination, as everyone would be equally disadvantaged until they reach that age, but all would get the vote at that point.

What would be the negative side of such a policy? More responsible decision making? A slower pace of social change over the generations?

Age discrimination, taxation without representation for a significant part of your life.

As for emotional immaturity, I'd look at the WH or the ranks of Congressional Republicans -- no age can assure emotional maturity.

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It sounds like you are proposing to lower the age of suffrage to 16, not necessarily the age of adulthood.  E.g. juvenile versus adult courts of law, age of consent, eligibility for military draft, eligibility to sign legal contracts & take on debt & directly own material property, end of foster care/ward of state, etc, etc.

So do you actually mean only lowering the age of suffrage, or do you mean to bring forward to age 16 all of those other rights and responsibilities of legal adulthood?

As to voting/suffrage at age 16, since the constitution as amended has already embraced universal suffrage, then I would suggest that the age be tied to the completion of universal public education (which is effectively the current standard) -- this at least seems internally consistent rather than arbitrary.  Although that would raise an interesting question if we follow the Bernie Sanders policy of expanding universal public education to undergraduate level too. 

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1 hour ago, HelenaExMachina said:

And since you proposed it, i’ll indulge my curiosity and ask how you would organise it. Do both parents get an extra vote? If not which parent does? What about step parents? 

Parents, step parents, or whoever is the legal guardian are already entitled to take all the important decisions for their children on the basis that the kids are to young to decide for themselves, and they are already have the responsibility to care for their best interests. Allowing them to cast a vote on their behalf is just an extension of this job, since the underage still have real interests in the governance.

I confess I hadn't thought on which parent would get the extra vote. I think that counting "half votes" would make the process too complicated, so you'd probably had to go with whoever casts the vote first.

I am aware that this would cause conflicts between some parents, and as you say, some parents may vote against the child's wishes and/or interests. But it's no different than with all of their other duties: they can disagree among them and with the kids in relation to the education, diet, extra curricular activities, allowance, curfew limit,...

 

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2 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

Parents, step parents, or whoever is the legal guardian are already entitled to take all the important decisions for their children on the basis that the kids are to young to decide for themselves, and they are already have the responsibility to care for their best interests. Allowing them to cast a vote on their behalf is just an extension of this job, since the underage still have real interests in the governance.

I confess I hadn't thought on which parent would get the extra vote. I think that counting "half votes" would make the process too complicated, so you'd probably had to go with whoever casts the vote first.

I am aware that this would cause conflicts between some parents, and as you say, some parents may vote against the child's wishes and/or interests. But it's no different than with all of their other duties: they can disagree among them and with the kids in relation to the education, diet, extra curricular activities, allowance, curfew limit,...

 

Yes but this isn’t just affecting the child or acting in their child’s interests, which is where the comparison with education, diet etc. falls short. This isalso giving their vote greater weight than someone without kids and saying what they think has greater importance than others. 

I’ll admit a bit of  personal stake in this because it brought to mind my post-Brexit experience in a leave constituency. I.e. many older people saying “we’ve done it, voted to take the country back for our kids.” Uh, no...

But even aside from that, I don’t think anyone, regardless of their views, should be given a more meaningful say than others when it comes to voting. I can even foresee some legal challenges already - for example, you can’t have kids because of a disability, is this discrimination on that basis (using disability here as it was the easiest PC to think of a rationale to challenge with)

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@HelenaExMachina

It's not that some people's votes count more than other's. It's still one person=one vote, with the only caveat that underage persons are still persons, and the their parents represent them until they are mature enough to decide on their own.

When thinking of these kind of questions, I try to reduce it at a very small constituency. Let's imagine the extreme case of a really small town where the only inhabitants are a single parent with four underage kids, and a couple without children. Which would you say that is the fairest representation of the community? One where the single parent has the majority of the votes, or one where the majority vote is controlled by the couple?

I tend to believe that the former is preferable to the later.

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1 hour ago, Week said:

Age discrimination, taxation without representation for a significant part of your life.

As for emotional immaturity, I'd look at the WH or the ranks of Congressional Republicans -- no age can assure emotional maturity.

“Taxation without representation” (ironically) is not illegal in the US.  It happens with surprising frequency.

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Yeah, so I should have less say in politics because I don't have children or because my partner doesn't want kids? That's some breeder nonsense right there. It does give people's votes more value than others as well. Sure it's only 1 person = 1 vote, but it also means that a person effectively gets extra votes because those kids aren't voting their parents are for them meaning that it's entirely formulated by the parent.

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So are we discussing lowering the voting age to 16 or lowering the age of a legal adult to 16? Because it seems to have jumped straight into discussion about voting. As far as voting goes, I don't think the age should be lower than 18. You should at least be of an age to have graduated high school before being allowed to vote, granted some people don't even make it through high school, or some turn 18 when they're still in high school. Now what the cause of it might be is probably a whole other discussion but I feel like this day and age people aren't maturing as young as they use to say 50 years ago, more and more people are staying home not leaving the nest until a much later age. Of course it all depends on the person but I feel in general for the most part what 20 year old was in the 60s and 70s is more like what a 30 year old is today. So no, I don't think the legal age of an adult should be lowered to 16.

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27 minutes ago, Lord Dracarys said:

Yeah, so I should have less say in politics because I don't have children or because my partner doesn't want kids? That's some breeder nonsense right there. It does give people's votes more value than others as well. Sure it's only 1 person = 1 vote, but it also means that a person effectively gets extra votes because those kids aren't voting their parents are for them meaning that it's entirely formulated by the parent.

I don’t support giving parents proxy to vote for their children but “breeders”?

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31 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

“Taxation without representation” (ironically) is not illegal in the US.  It happens with surprising frequency.

Correct - I did not say otherwise. 

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2 hours ago, DMC said:

Yeah all that would do is disproportionately advantage people that happen to have children.  The Christian right would love it.  And Mormons would absolutely dominate if you get a vote per kid. 

No, it would only reduce a disproportionate disadvantage. It is unsurprising that the left would frame the issue in the religious/ideological context, the right-wing would make the same argument with a classist spin (OMG, the breeder-underclass, too stupid for birth control and now they get a voting privilege). But it's basically just defense of a privileged status quo.

If we accept that children are citizens and have rights, then why should their vote not count? Just because their parents have to vote for them if they are too young? I mean, okay, you could say: if you are not able to cast a ballot by yourself, you should be excluded from voting, but there's no reason to make age a barrier to full citizenship because any cut-off is entirely arbitrary. We could just as well say that anyone beyond the age of say 70 should be excluded from the vote.

The terror of the (some) childless (OMG, the breeders are coming!!!) is comical, it reminds me of the 19th century argument against giving the landless the right to vote or women, because obviously women were way to emotional for a responsible ballot, and well, the proletarian masses are too easily agitated. It's just the defence of their privileged position.

Wrt to the OP: The argument that because the brain is still developing you should not be allowed to vote is IMO ridiculous, it's basically a variant of the IQ-argument that If your mental facilities are not quite there, you cannot be allowed to vote. The logical step from there is the implementation of IQ-tests to certify full citizen rights. And what could possibly go wrong with that?

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