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Varysblackfyre321

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

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A lot of talk of voting. But that’s not the only privileges adults are entitled to. How would you feel about 16 year olds being allowed to legally hook up with someone twice their age? How would you feel about a 16 year old being tried as an adult automatically regardless of the crime? How about joining the military with non-parental consent? These are all major decisions that don't seem wise to give a 16 year old the ability to do and suffer.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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4 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

A lot of talk of voting. But that’s not the only privileges adults are entitled to. How would you feel about 16 year olds being allowed to legally hook up with someone twice their age?

Start your own thread for ephebophilia.

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33 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

Please no, it’s like, who was that guy who started like 5 nonsense topics a week? Gavo-something? We don’t need that again.

I don't particularly see the problem. If one is not particularly interested in the thread in question, the simple answer for that person is to ignore it. 

 

38 minutes ago, Week said:

Start your own thread for ephebophilia.

This is my thread. Given as it relates to the question at hand(should we lower the age of adulthood to 16 in the US) I find it reasonable to bring up. Honestly, I see it as a point against such a measure. A 16 year old being able to have a legal romantic relationship with someone twice her age is in my opinion ridiculous and wrong.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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4 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

This is my thread. Given as it relates to the question at hand(should we lower the age of adulthood to 16 in the US) I find it reasonable to bring up. Honestly, I see it as a point against such a measure. A 16 year old being able to have a legal romantic relationship with someone twice her age is in my opinion ridiculous and wrong.

"This is my thread. There are many like it, but this one is mine. 

My thtead is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. 

My thread, without me, is useless. Without my thread, I am useless. I must fire my thread true."

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2 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

But it’s ok if an 18 year old does?

They're more mature. Yes, I understand development continues until they're early twenties or whatever but 16 is just too young. You have to have a cut off somewhere, and 18 seems the right number. 

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2 hours ago, AverageGuy said:

Most of the discussion is around suffrage, but are we talking the age of adulthood in general? As in, you're no longer a child. You can sign contracts. You're your own guarantor. Parents have no further legal responsibility; child support/welfare payments stop, they can kick kids out of the house if they don't want you there. They can work full-time jobs without hitting child labor laws. I'm not sure what else. Military service?

I asked that too. 

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3 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

I asked that too. 

I made this thread specificitly in regards to the age of adulthood in general. I have to say I'm leaning towards lowering the voting age, but keeping the age of adulthood in general as is. Honestly, I fear I  have conflated the two(voting age, age of majority), in my mind. 

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3 hours ago, DMC said:

I'm unclear why a theoretical standard needs to be established.  Are >18 year olds required to have a high school degree - or even a GED?  My only practical worry would be criminal justice - would certainly invite douchebag politicians, judges, and prosecutors to try more kids as adults.  Other than that, I don't see much of a problem with everything else remaining the same.

Again, this is another "it's so bad don't make it worse!" argument that is not compelling to me.  Show me evidence that 16 year olds can't rise to the dumbass low bar of the current American electorate in voting behavior.

The age of 18 is a somewhat arbitrary threshold, but it is at least internally consistent: citizens reveive special protections and benefits until age 18, and then have different rights, responsibilities and freedoms from age 18.  Accelerating one of the most important rights without attached responsibilities or loss of special safety nets is a difficult argument to make.  Similarly, universal education is available through 12th grade because less than that is considered insufficient for our citizenry, even if we cannot force all citizens to acquire that basic level of education. You seem to want expanded suffrage but offer no reason why it should be and especially why it would not be consistently integrated with other rights and responsibilities. 

As to the cognitive maturity of a 16yr old, or even an 18yr old, Google is your friend. There are plenty of studies that show the neocortex is not fully developed until around age 25, especially in male brains.  And there is a meaningful difference on average even between 16yrs old and 18yrs old (ask any high school teacher), although individual variation will be very high.  Decision making — especially logic versus emotion, and near term wants versus long term consequences — are especially underdeveloped.  Even if some or many full adults are stupid/uninformed/disinterested/disagree with your political view, that is a false equivalence to claim suffrage for children. 

 

Pebbles made a good point about teenagers who choose, or have thrust upon them, adult responsibility at an early age.  But lots of kids have some earned income, and a summer job flipping burgers or working retail should not IMO bring voting rights.  It also creates a link to a slippery slope that tax-paying is the crucial qualification for voting rights, considering almost half of US adults do not pay any federal income tax.  Universal suffrage removed the property requirements for voting for a very good reason.  

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15 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

I made this thread specificitly in regards to the age of adulthood in general. I have to say I'm leaning towards lowering the voting age, but keeping the age of adulthood in general as is. Honestly, I fear I  have conflated the two(voting age, age of majority), in my mind. 

Actually it’s weird to disentangle the two.  There are some key tenets about the rights and responsibilities of adult citizens and (from the state/guardians) to minor citizens.  I think these would need to remain internally consistent. 

If a 16yr old is not competent to sign a credit card application, why are they competent to vote?  If a 16yr old is not fully accountable for their criminal behavior, why should they have representation in the legislative process?

So I see the age of majority and age of suffrage as being appropriately connected.  But of course there is no objective imperative that it must be so. 

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54 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Actually it’s weird to disentangle the two.  There are some key tenets about the rights and responsibilities of adult citizens and (from the state/guardians) to minor citizens.  I think these would need to remain internally consistent. 

If a 16yr old is not competent to sign a credit card application, why are they competent to vote?  If a 16yr old is not fully accountable for their criminal behavior, why should they have representation in the legislative process?

So I see the age of majority and age of suffrage as being appropriately connected.  But of course there is no objective imperative that it must be so. 

Hmm. I'm going to have to think more on this. Just tossing it out there, do you think many states in the US should lower its drinking or smoking age to 18? 

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2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

The age of 18 is a somewhat arbitrary threshold, but it is at least internally consistent: citizens reveive special protections and benefits until age 18, and then have different rights, responsibilities and freedoms from age 18.

Certainly to a much less extent, but you could say the same thing about the age of 16.  Hell, in most states you can get emancipated at 16.  Anyway, like you said it's still arbitrary.

2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Accelerating one of the most important rights without attached responsibilities or loss of special safety nets is a difficult argument to make.

I know of no other extension of suffrage in which there are "attached responsibilities."  And I don't know how "loss of special safety nets" has any relevance.  There's no objective reason this is "a difficult argument to make," that's just you making things up.

2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Similarly, universal education is available through 12th grade because less than that is considered insufficient for our citizenry, even if we cannot force all citizens to acquire that basic level of education.

Another thing that has no substantive relevance.  I honestly don't know why voting rights are all of a sudden tied to completing basic education outside of some weird standard you conjured.

2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

You seem to want expanded suffrage but offer no reason why it should be and especially why it would not be consistently integrated with other rights and responsibilities. 

 

16 hours ago, DMC said:

Call me a bleeding heart, but when it comes to extending suffrage I think the burden is on why a group shouldn't be given the vote rather than why they should.  American elections decide who makes policy for the next 2 to 6 years.  16 and 17 year olds have a clear interest in who will be making those decisions.

And, once again, the need for the minimum voting age to "be consistently integrated with other rights and responsibilities" only exists in your head.

2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

As to the cognitive maturity of a 16yr old, or even an 18yr old, Google is your friend. There are plenty of studies that show the neocortex is not fully developed until around age 25, especially in male brains.

Uh, yeah.  Look upthread.  This is literally how the discussion started, I'm not gonna respond to it again.

2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

Pebbles made a good point about teenagers who choose, or have thrust upon them, adult responsibility at an early age.  But lots of kids have some earned income, and a summer job flipping burgers or working retail should not IMO bring voting rights.

Yeah I definitely earned more (legitimate) money my last three years of high school than my first three years of college - and that had nothing to do with responsibilities thrust upon me.  I agree this isn't some great argument for voting rights, but it does again raise the point that 16 is a significant threshold - this time when it comes to child work, according to the FLSA.

2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

It also creates a link to a slippery slope that tax-paying is the crucial qualification for voting rights, considering almost half of US adults do not pay any federal income tax.  Universal suffrage removed the property requirements for voting for a very good reason.  

You're right, tax-paying nor property requirements should be intertwined with voting rights.  That's never been my argument.

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7 hours ago, DMC said:

Certainly to a much less extent, but you could say the same thing about the age of 16.  Hell, in most states you can get emancipated at 16.  Anyway, like you said it's still arbitrary.

I know of no other extension of suffrage in which there are "attached responsibilities."  And I don't know how "loss of special safety nets" has any relevance.  There's no objective reason this is "a difficult argument to make," that's just you making things up.

Another thing that has no substantive relevance.  I honestly don't know why voting rights are all of a sudden tied to completing basic education outside of some weird standard you conjured.

 

And, once again, the need for the minimum voting age to "be consistently integrated with other rights and responsibilities" only exists in your head.

Uh, yeah.  Look upthread.  This is literally how the discussion started, I'm not gonna respond to it again.

Yeah I definitely earned more (legitimate) money my last three years of high school than my first three years of college - and that had nothing to do with responsibilities thrust upon me.  I agree this isn't some great argument for voting rights, but it does again raise the point that 16 is a significant threshold - this time when it comes to child work, according to the FLSA.

You're right, tax-paying nor property requirements should be intertwined with voting rights.  That's never been my argument.

If the age is arbitrary why not 14, or 12?  

The voting age was lowered to 18, in large part because men were drafted into the Army at 18 during Vietnam.  As such it seemed fundamentally unjust to request someone to risk their life for their Country but deny them the franchise.  

There is no draft now and no one can voluntarily join the military (without their parent’s permission) before age 18.  As such there is no similar situation to the Vietnam War why lower the age to 16, now?

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I think that a lot of of posters are have this weird concept that voting age = adulthood. But this is not at all true, in fact passive voting age (i.e. electability) for certain offices comes much later than 18, drinking (at least in the US) isn't allowed until you are 21 in many states, so having or not having certain rights is not tied to adulthood.

I mean, let's take this from one extreme: a 17-year old turns 18 one day after the election. Clearly there is no moral otherwise justifiable reason to exclude this teenager from voting apart from an arbitrary selected life-span, as if you have to live long enough to "earn" the right to vote. Now we can go down this slippery slope all the way to 16 and there will be no particular day, development or anything else that justifies the age-discrimination. Because that's what it is: if by tragic accident or stupid self-indulgence, your brain never develops beyond the age of 16, you will still be able to vote at 18. So if voting is tied to maturity of the brain, it makes total sense to test this and allow only sufficiently mature brains to vote. And I hope we can agree that voting tests are a really bad idea, that was used for systematic discrimination. So why does the maturity argument still get rolled out? It makes no sense, it's a superficial argument, because we will never test the actual maturity or knowlege of any voter. Do we know how many postal ballots of old demented people are counted in each election, where children or other caretakers actually vote for them? Do we ban illiterate people from the ballot because they cannot read the candidates names?

The only argument for 18 vs 16 so far is that at 18 you get other rights and responsibilities also. But adulthood and suffrage don't have to be tied, it's not a necessary or even logical tie.

So now that we've come down to 16, why not 15 oder 14 or further down?

 

19 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

The voting age was lowered to 18, in large part because men were drafted into the Army at 18 during Vietnam.  As such it seemed fundamentally unjust to request someone to risk their life for their Country but deny them the franchise.   

In the end, voting is a core right for citizens of any democratic state, without the right to vote, you cannot make your interests heard and your rights and duties wil always be dictated by those who vote. Voting is what truly defines you as a citizen, it has nothing to do with adulthood. That's why the arbitrary and one-sided age discrimination is unjust. It is upon you to give a good reason to uphold the injustice, not the other way round. The draft was the argument, but if you were 17 at the time of the election you could still get drafted at 18 and be killed without ever having had the chance to vote otherwise. So from that argument, the voting age should at least be lowered to 14.

Edited by Alarich II

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10 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

They're more mature. Yes, I understand development continues until they're early twenties or whatever but 16 is just too young. You have to have a cut off somewhere, and 18 seems the right number. 

The age of sexual consent is not the same thing as being and adult. There is also not a universally accepted age of sexual consent, even among Western democracies. For example, it’s 16 in the U.K. From memory, so i might be wrong, it’s 14 in Germany and Austria, 15 in Sweden. So lots of differences even just within Europe

Edited by HelenaExMachina

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11 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

A lot of talk of voting. But that’s not the only privileges adults are entitled to. How would you feel about 16 year olds being allowed to legally hook up with someone twice their age? How would you feel about a 16 year old being tried as an adult automatically regardless of the crime? How about joining the military with non-parental consent? These are all major decisions that don't seem wise to give a 16 year old the ability to do and suffer. 

Then don't move to like, half of the United States, where the age of consent is 16. For that matter avoid Canada, the UK, most of Europe, all of South America, most of Africa, most of Asia, most of Oceania. Seriously, and age of consent of 18 is weirdly high for most people. Definitely avoid Mexico where the age of consent is generally 14.

Edited by TrueMetis

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23 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?

Why not forbid the military from accepting recruits younger than 35? Why not forbid them to own a gun? After all, if teenagers are too emotionally immature to vote, surely they are too immature to handle firearms as well.

Why not forbid them to marry? After all, marriage is a major decision which requires emotional maturity. If they become parents, surely that child should be taken away from them and given to a responsible older couple?

Edited by Gorn

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10 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Hmm. I'm going to have to think more on this. Just tossing it out there, do you think many states in the US should lower its drinking or smoking age to 18? 

I'm honestly conflicted on this.  I for many, many, many years thought yes.  And I'm still inclined that way.  However, I'm more willing now to listen to research suggesting that it is a very bad idea.  I still come out the door that, while it is probably a bad idea for an 18 year old to drink/smoke for lots of reasons, including cognitive, if we are giving the 18 year old other sorts of rights, it is arbitrary to hold out the right to slowly destroy themselves until 21.

9 hours ago, DMC said:

And, once again, the need for the minimum voting age to "be consistently integrated with other rights and responsibilities" only exists in your head.

 

Actually, it's in my head too, and I think that other people have made this argument upthread (including me).  

1 hour ago, Alarich II said:

I think that a lot of of posters are have this weird concept that voting age = adulthood. But this is not at all true, in fact passive voting age (i.e. electability) for certain offices comes much later than 18, drinking (at least in the US) isn't allowed until you are 21 in many states, so having or not having certain rights is not tied to adulthood.

I mean, let's take this from one extreme: a 17-year old turns 18 one day after the election. Clearly there is no moral otherwise justifiable reason to exclude this teenager from voting apart from an arbitrary selected life-span, as if you have to live long enough to "earn" the right to vote. Now we can go down this slippery slope all the way to 16 and there will be no particular day, development or anything else that justifies the age-discrimination. Because that's what it is: if by tragic accident or stupid self-indulgence, your brain never develops beyond the age of 16, you will still be able to vote at 18. So if voting is tied to maturity of the brain, it makes total sense to test this and allow only sufficiently mature brains to vote. And I hope we can agree that voting tests are a really bad idea, that was used for systematic discrimination. So why does the maturity argument still get rolled out? It makes no sense, it's a superficial argument, because we will never test the actual maturity or knowlege of any voter. Do we know how many postal ballots of old demented people are counted in each election, where children or other caretakers actually vote for them? Do we ban illiterate people from the ballot because they cannot read the candidates names?

The only argument for 18 vs 16 so far is that at 18 you get other rights and responsibilities also. But adulthood and suffrage don't have to be tied, it's not a necessary or even logical tie.

So now that we've come down to 16, why not 15 oder 14 or further down?

 

In the end, voting is a core right for citizens of any democratic state, without the right to vote, you cannot make your interests heard and your rights and duties wil always be dictated by those who vote. Voting is what truly defines you as a citizen, it has nothing to do with adulthood. That's why the arbitrary and one-sided age discrimination is unjust. It is upon you to give a good reason to uphold the injustice, not the other way round. The draft was the argument, but if you were 17 at the time of the election you could still get drafted at 18 and be killed without ever having had the chance to vote otherwise. So from that argument, the voting age should at least be lowered to 14.

I don't find this particular line of argument particularly compelling at all, and I see no compelling justification based on this argument to lower the voting age to 14.  Sometimes the law needs bright line rules.  Bright line rules by their nature cause some sorts of superficial inequities, like the ones you mention above.  However, the bright line rule has the equitable benefit of being easy to understand, clear, and consistent, so long as such rule is based on a very simple and easy to understand metric (here, number of years on earth).  This is fair in that it applies equally to all people.  As you imply (I think) it would be absurd for my 4 year old to have the vote (in a lot of ways that would be equivalent to giving me another vote because at a very snuggly 4, he would pretty much do what I suggest, and thus is inequitable).  Equally, I do not want to be in a world where voting is tied to someone's idea of cognition, property ownership, sex, race, or what have you.  And thus you are brought back to a bright line rule that is based on a clear rule of general application.  Age is great for such a rule.  However, bright line rules are more acceptable when they are tied to something else that also makes sense - here indicia of adulthood such as the ability to conclude contracts, to be drafted, etc.  I'm not big on creating exceptions to such rules for whatever reason, because I believe the existence of such exceptions undermine the fundamental fairness of a bright line test.  Thus, a line drawn at 18, of general applicability seems fair, administrable and equitable to me.  I would much rather spend my energy expanding the franchise among those who are so eligible (e.g., eliminating barriers to voter registration, making sure that felons regain the suffrage at a minimum after they have served their time, etc.).

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