The next class to receive emancipation
is the only one in America that remains indentured: children.
When the coercive activity of restricting
action brings up the question of where to draw the line, do not
draw it at all! If the question can be somewhat rationally
debated, there must therefore be sound arguments on both sides.
Just as courts in a civilized society operate on the principle
of innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, the
rest of a civilized society’s laws must operate on the same principle.
To restrict a person’s non-aggressive actions is to find them
guilty of being incapable of performing those actions. Might
it be reasonable to doubt the guilt of every single person of a
We have all heard about many grandiose
class-action lawsuits against corporations. But have we ever
heard of class-action lawsuits against a class’ actions? This
is civil war, with judges and legislators on the front line fighting
against the youth. The lawmen cannot win the battle against
America’s youth without the support of America’s elders, who have
been bribed by the lawmen though the generous “granting” of superior
rights. Remember when kings would grant noblemen land, title,
and treasure in exchange for their support and cooperation? Times
have not changed. Democracy has simply expanded the number
of noblemen into a majority.
Every person cannot drive a car
competently at the age of fifteen, cannot vote, have sex, purchase
guns, or enter contracts competently at seventeen, cannot consume
alcohol responsibly at twenty (or heroine at the age of one thousand
years), and cannot drive a rental car competently at
twenty-four. The government asserts this lunacy, and much
Bastiat’s thoughts apply here: “The
law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along
A fairly reasonable individual will
accept that there has existed, on this very planet, Homo sapiens
under the age of eighteen that have the rational capacity to responsibly
enter into voluntary contracts. In fact, a reasonable individual
could extend this possibility to other activities, and other ages.
Flash! Reasonable doubt has been proven for this class
of young individuals, and any judge worth his position would never
be able to convict anyone for crimes of “underagedness”!
All seventeen-year-olds have been
found guilty of being too stupid to enter contracts. But why
set the limit at eighteen years? Why not use months? Wouldn’t
that be more accurate? How can legislators look their citizens
in the eye when they are carelessly toying with our lives? A
more accurate measurement of when a child becomes an adult by government
standards could very well be 211 months, which is 17.58 years. For
convenience, let’s just round up to eighteen years. Actually,
the number eighteen is quite ugly. Maybe we should round up
to a nice even twenty.
The unit of years is arbitrary.
What is a year? One lap around the sun. How does
completing an exact number of laps around the sun grant someone
more rights? On planet Earth we experience these laps as cycling
through the seasons, so perhaps living through these cycles many
times is what grants us rights.
This thought is easily proven invalid,
because not everyone experiences these cycles. What of Floridians
who never see snow? What of obsessive-compulsive nomads who
coordinate their travel north and south in order to never experience
any seasonal fluctuations? What of the Mysophobe family who
never leaves their home and is oblivious to the weather outside?
Do the lifestyles of these people disqualify them from earning
Are the commonly used ceiling numbers
of sixteen, eighteen, twenty-one, and twenty-five arbitrary? The
PhD snobs will cite large-scale studies with fancy statistics related
to probabilities and standard deviations, but unless they cite a
100% probability of failure, the restrictions are incompatible with
civilized society, and are therefore arbitrary. Is it legitimate
for the state to grant us rights so gradually? It is not within
the state’s authority to grant any rights at all. Rights cannot
be granted, traded, or sold. We are born with the same rights
we die with, whether we want them or not.
Americans gathered in colonies and
created their own states. Then the states created the federal
government, framed within the Constitution they authored. How
could something of our own creation turn around and convincingly
pretend to grant us something we already have? Besides, nothing
new or additional has been created. A portion of society has
simply been siphoned off and tossed into the category of government
to provide the people with organized collective force with the purpose
of maximizing liberty by punishing injustice.
But now the wolves of democracy
have a stranglehold in the civil war against America’s youth.
What is the solution?
All government-sanctioned age qualifications
need to be erased from big brother’s books. All of these heinous
laws must be declared null and void. They are incompatible
with civilized society.
When does adulthood really begin?
It doesn’t matter. There is no sudden instant when you
become an adult, just as there was no specific instant when man
evolved from its preceding species. One logical definition
of adulthood that has been given is when a person moves out of their
parents’ home and into their own, beginning to live independently.
It is a nice definition, but government intrusion through
laws and propaganda distorts the natural timing of this event. Therefore,
this definition cannot be used for legal purposes. The only
solution is to abolish government-declared childhood*!
*Not to be confused with the natural
period of human development, for only a socialist would attempt
to abolish nature!
Barry Kuzay [send
him mail] is a civil
engineer, freelance neoclassical musician, and libertarian activist
living in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.