Originally published November 17 2015
Why it's time to raise the national voting age to 25
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) It'll likely never happen – at least not in today's overhyped, overly sensitive, politically correct environment – but it needs to: The voting age should be reset to 25 years old, and the sooner the better.
"How can students too spoiled to tolerate debate weigh opposing political arguments? They can't," begins a recent USA Today column by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, in his assessment of less-than-adult behavior by students on the campuses of Yale University and the University of Missouri.
Reynolds, author of the book The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself and an op-ed writer for USA Today, noted that the requisite number of states ratified the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1971, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, but "in retrospect," he says, "that may have been a mistake."
Back then, he says, the Vietnam War was in full swing and becoming more unpopular by the year. As casualties mounted in a U.S. military that was, at the time, mostly filled with conscripts because the draft was still in effect, the popular thinking was that, if young people were old enough to be sent to war, they should be old enough to vote for (or against) those who send them. For the same reason, many Americans believed that the drinking age should also be set at 18.
"But now I'm starting to reconsider," Reynolds said. "To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It's necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I'm doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence."
The ultimate 'crime'The evidence suggests, he says, that whatever you might think about the 18-year-olds of 1971, today's 18-year-olds are not at their level and are unable, then, to participate rationally in political discussions. What's more, he says, "even the 21-year-olds aren't looking so good."
"Consider Yale University, where a disagreement over what to do about — theoretically — offensive Halloween costumes devolved into a screaming fit by a Yale senior (old enough to vote, thanks to the 26th Amendment) who assaulted a professor, Nicholas Christakis, with a profane tirade because his failure to agree with her made her feel ... unsafe," said Reynolds. "His wife, Erika, who's a Yale lecturer on childhood education, had challenged a campus-wide request that students be sensitive when considering costumes that could be offensive."
The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf wrote: "Erika Christakis reflected on the frustrations of the students, drew on her scholarship and career experience, and composed an email inviting the community to think about the controversy through an intellectual lens that few if any had considered. Her message was a model of relevant, thoughtful, civil engagement.
"For her trouble, a faction of students are now trying to get the couple [her and her husband, also a professor there] removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus. Hundreds of Yale students are attacking them, some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming. In doing so, they have shown an illiberal streak that flows from flaws in their well-intentioned ideology."
'People who can't discuss rationally shouldn't participate in running a great nation'Personally, I question the "well-intentioned" description of their behavior, but The Atlantic is a bastion of liberalism so I get it. But like Reynolds, I agree that the irrational outbursts and intolerance prove that such students (and there are many of them) aren't ready for prime-time politics, because they are incapable of rationally considering ideas different from their own.
"This isn't the behavior of people who are capable of weighing opposing ideas, or of changing their minds when they are confronted with evidence that suggests that they are wrong," Reynolds wrote. "It's the behavior of spoiled children — a characterization that Friedersdorf, perhaps unconsciously, underscores by not reporting the students' names because, he implies, they are too young to be responsible for their actions. And spoiled children shouldn't vote."
"People who can't discuss Halloween costumes rationally don't deserve to play a role in running a great nation," he concludes.
Read the entire column here.
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