Why Can't Minors Vote?

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Have
you ever wondered why minors are not allowed to vote? We have all
met 17 year olds who are more informed, mature and consciences than
many adults. No one can deny that minors are human beings with as
much right to life as anyone else. This is certainly a self-evident
truth. They also have as much or more at stake concerning the decisions
made at the voting booths. How then do we justify denying this important
cohort suffrage?

Essentially,
it boils down to stereotyping, which is a function of good old-fashioned
common sense. It is assumed through thousands of years of empirical
evidence passed down to us from our ancestors that minors, more
commonly known as children, are generally immature. Basically, adults
who hold all the power believe children are not sophisticated enough
to vote.

If
children were allowed to vote, it is assumed, our society would
become imperiled because we would be more likely to elect politicians
that make bad decisions. Children, according to adults, are not
sophisticated enough to understand what is important. They would,
the reasoning goes, vote for unsophisticated politicians who would
make bad decisions for everyone.

Imagine
the spectacle of the political system resulting from adults entering
into an arrangement of political equivalence with children. One
can imagine politicians going on the Barney show – probably giving
Barney a kiss (sound familiar?). There would probably be a push
for a nationally mandated minimum allowance or even universal ice
cream coverage.

Although
these examples are relatively benign in and of themselves, collectively,
an indolent and pathologic process would result from politicians
pandering to the youthful vote. Public discourse and ,eventually,
the essence of society would change. Important issues would be marginalized.
As a result, society would deteriorate. Ultimately, we would be
faced with one of two options: 1.disenfranchise children and have
a chance to save ourselves or 2. embrace the fantasy of equality
for all at the expense of civilization.

If
the loopy left ever decided to start a movement for children's suffrage,
their arguments would be purely factual but utterly nonsensical.
They would argue that the power of the older majority was used to
discriminate against the younger minority. This would be unequivocally
true. They would argue that conclusions about minors are based on
stereotypes, which would also be true. Basically, they would use
facts that appeal to emotions. As always, their arguments would
be devoid of logic and based in superficial analysis. This technique
is what I like to refer to as factual emotionalism.

Their
rhetoric would provide anecdotal evidence of brilliant children
contributing to society. The leftist media would be saturated with
television shows and movies demonstrating the drudgery and oppression
of childhood. Soon age discrimination (maybe called birth order
discrimination in PC language) would be a sin with any proponent
being labeled an extremist. Denying children the right to vote would
be widely denounced and any proponent of this oppressive system
would be an immoral hate monger.

There
would be no way to counter their illogical arguments without presenting
an honest defense of stereotypes as a necessarily efficient thought
process for survival based in the reality of nature. Not only do
groups have tendencies or typical behavior, group averages often
impact society more than behavior by a few at the extremes. Order,
efficiency and pragmatism mandates stereotyping. Ultimately, the
maintenance of civilization itself relies on this much-maligned
way of thinking.

Fortunately,
the left has not (yet) made this argument concerning age discrimination.
It is generally understood, although not explicitly stated, that
the discrimination against and stereotyping of minors is based in
common sense, and ultimately, necessity justifies it. Adults care
about children and have established a system based in pragmatism
to ensure that the best possible decisions are made for them.

It
is my opinion, that if we truly love our children and desire a system
sophisticated enough to plan for the future and disciplined enough
to show self-restraint, we should honestly reassess this experiment
called America. We should realize that the line of suffrage is an
arbitrary one that should ultimately be based in pragmatism rather
than the dreams of utopists. What will it take to accomplish this?
It will take the return of a stereotype that nature has required
for human civility – a society filled with stereotypical men
of honor, guided by common sense, who do not melt when presented
with factual emotionalism and who are willing, if necessary, to
physically resist a tyrannical, internecine system based in anti-logic.

November
14, 2000

John
R. Morgan, MD, is a practicing physician in Atlanta.

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