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Let's Raise the Voting Age to 30

Every year I get closer to seeing Democracy as more of a dogmatic faith than a sensible system of government for grown-ups. Universal suffrage is the worst idea that any society has ever come up with.

Consider the 26th Amendment of the U.S. "Constitution." It lowered the voting age to 18. Why? It was probably aimed at redressing some unfairness during the unpopular Vietnam War debacle. People asked how the government could send 18-year-old "boys" to their deaths in soggy rice paddies, when they couldn't even vote on the war, back home.

It is easy to sympathize with that argument. But historically this amendment was obsolete by the time it was ratified, because the military establishment has shifted over to voluntary enlistment. And it seems permanent. 

Perhaps the Vietnam draft argument was only part of lowering the voting age to 18. The Media and the advertising industry focused on the huge demographic bulge of Baby Boomers becoming consumers, and after all, voting is just another example of "consuming." Perhaps both parties thought they should get out ahead of the trend, rather than be seen as retrograde opposition. Youth-worship was part of the zeitgeist of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

I'm not suggesting going back to 21 as the voting age. From a "good government" perspective, it makes more sense to raise it to 25 or 30. What is the rational and philosophical basis for any age limit? Surely it must be connected with most people's idea of being an "adult." Do you think that college students of any age are adults?  Only biologically.

Humans used to grow up faster. Adolescence was brief. A couple generations ago, an 18-year-old would have been earning a living, struggling with the rent, getting married, and having children. They were more adult at 18 than a 28-year-old graduate student is today.

A college student, no matter how old, will never be more than a senescent adolescent. We live in a society of rampaging diploma inflation, guaranteed with government loans. Adolescence now consumes 1/3 of a human lifetime, say, from the age of 10 to 30. Even at 30, many college graduates can only get a part time job at the Dollar Store or as a Starbucks barista. They live in Mommie's basement. Any sensible definition of adulthood must include a person supporting themselves and being responsible for their actions.

There seems to be no end to this trend of lengthening adolescence. At the very least, our voting age should reflect this by increasing, not by being lowered to 18.

In theory the argument I'm giving is non-partisan. But in practice the Democratic party would oppose it the most. The college-town culture that people are brainwashed with at State U is 98% left wing:

  •  the local media in college town. NPR rules the airwaves there.
  •  the old hippie hangers-on who stay in college town all their lives.
  • the PC rules on campus.
  • the biases of left-wing -- and tenured! -- professors in the liberal arts classes that Junior is forced to take the first couple years.
  • the sexual frivolousness of college "women" who are very serious about wanting abortion to, not only stay legal, but be paid for by the rest of society.
  • entire academic departments are set up to promulgate benefits to the Democratic party, such as Black Studies, Feminist Studies, Environmental "Science." Who was the wit who first said that "environmentalism is 'school prayer' for liberals?"

The left wing brainwashing that people get at the university is universal, predictable, and stereotypical. Think of all the people you know who froze their worldview at the level of a college sophomore.

Therefore diploma inflation and the lengthening of adolescence is a huge demographic win for the Democratic party. It might even be more lethal to the survival of the Republican party than Mexican immigration is. 

Perhaps the Republican party will go extinct like the Whigs and Federalists. Imagine the one-party interregnum that will ensue for a couple years before another opposition party is created: the USA will still be bombing, invading, and occupying countries around the globe, with the usual ostensible reasons such as bringing "Democracy" to them. Meanwhile, back in the good ol' US of A, they would barely need elections, since only one party still exists. Would anybody even notice the irony?


edlfrey said…
I have been of the opinion that we have had only one party for years. There is the Establishment Party with politicians from both 'sides' as members. I think this quote best explains what is happening in the 2014 mid-term election.

Each party steals so many articles of faith from the other, and the candidates spend so much time making each other's speeches, that by the time election day is past there is nothing much to do save turn the sitting rascals out and let a new gang in. - H L Mencken
Jim and Gayle said…
I will give you the kids if you give me the angry old white people.

But seriously, going back to the kids and military service. Here are the statistics based on age.

Given those numbers and the propensity of an ample supply of politicians who are happy to send other people's kids to die in pointless conflicts these kids should have the right to vote.

Frankly, I see no evidence that age improves anyone's knowledge when it comes to voting. We are either too lazy or too busy to be informed. We are too busy being ideologues rather than employing any research or critical thinking. We have to label someone first as democrat, republican, libertarian or independent so that we may presume to think we know what they believe and sadly.

Who can say what the appropriate test would be. Should it be an arbitrary age limit or perhaps education. Of course, in our country we take pride in denigrating education and especially science. We believe in our gut and guesses not facts.

While your comments regarding current education are popular you present no evidence to support your statements and I certainly don't claim to have those answers as I haven't researched it.

I can say that where once we offered free public access to a college education we no longer do and we seem to be paying the penalty as we lose our lead in the sciences.

I recently watched an interesting documentary entitled "Inequality for All". It is worth viewing with a skeptical mind which can be said about most things in life.

Elections are always a great time to re-read some Mencken.
John V said…
Try another idea. How about awarding a certain number of "votes" to people based on how much they pay in taxes. Wealthy people who use the tax code to eliminate their tax burden - no or few votes. The middle class who pays the bulk of the taxes - the most votes. The dependent class whose vote can be purchased by political parties but who also end up not paying taxes - no or few votes. The elderly, who pay little in taxes - no or few votes. Those who feed the pig, I mean system, should have the most say in who gets elected to spend (waste) the money.
Let's take your argument at face value, and make sure we apply it consistently. "How much they pay in taxes" should take into account how much of their income is parasitic. An executive at a university or defense contractor or General Motors or an ethanol company might be paying a lot in taxes, but their large income is completely parasitic on the body politic. Government employees, including the well-paid ones, are parasites, as well.
Only a tiny fraction of 18-30 year olds are fighting in wars. OK, let them vote.

That leaves the other 99% of young "adults", who are hanging around college campuses, piling up useless diplomas, eating too much beer and pizza, and trying to get laid.

There is a difference between older adults and adolescents: adolescents are swept away with grand idealistic schemes; they are prone to wild flights of optimism and hope; they believe in the perfectibility of Man.

Oldsters have been disappointed many times. They have become humble and realistic about the kind of improvements that homo sapiens is capable of. They distrust wild schemes and innovations.