Some time ago, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18. Reasoned by the fact that if people as young as 18 can serve in the military, they should also have a say in political affairs of the nation, this rationale was broadly accepted, as it linked privilege with service and responsibility. Prudent opposing opinions that warned that the human brain is not fully developed to function rationally prior to age 26 were politely but firmly rejected.
Fast forward to the era of "enlightenment and entitlement," a new breed of crafty politicians is seriously proposing to further lower the voting age to 16. Smelling political opportunity, these "progressives" are discoloring their true intentions with fictional messages.With self-righteous solemnity they boastfully pontificate that since today's young are the leaders of the future, they should also have the opportunity to shape it. Are they kidding?
If youth were the only criterion for leadership, why not let them loose after potty training? It is clear that the only shaping would be done by charlatan politicians while kidnapping youthful idealism and locking it into a utopian ideology where the government is the sole provider to all.
The age of emancipation has a borderline. At 16, children are still in the parents’ domain. They are too idealistic to be realistic. They must be guided with firmness and corrected as needed. They must learn that success demands effort, effort demands passion, and passion demands courage. Left to their own devices, immature youngsters would live utopian dreams, and dig their own graves in the process by surrendering their freedom to charlatan politicians.
Yes, we must listen to the young, but also teach them to accept responsibility, lest we rob them of their rightful opportunities that are open to the disciplined youngsters. Success comes to those who earn it, not to those who look to the government for support. Letting kids vote at age 16 would be like pulling a lever on a slot machine.
B. Schadler lives in Green Valley.