First of all: Is this a good-spirited push for inclusion, or a thinly-veiled attempt to push through gun control legislation? Let’s consider the question more carefully.
It seems like this should be fairly obvious. All we need to do is ask, “Why now?” Does anyone think that our endlessly wise talking heads all suddenly came to the conclusion that a more fair society requires more youth voters? To suggest this is to reveal a staggering degree of naivete.
No. This latest push is part of the March for Our Lives madness gripping the country. The Parkland shooting is the latest in a long line of obvious justifications for political action, say the progressives. The only solution to any problem–be it police accountability, drinking water standards, or obesity–is to increase the power of the federal government.
My argument is that this is exactly the problem.
School-age children are raised by government.
Consider the life of a child for most of their formative years.
Go to school. Go back home. Attend extra-curricular activities. Have a rushed dinner. Work on homework. Go to sleep. Repeat.
The life of a child is a life of government control. They spend 7 or more hours per day at the school, to say nothing of the crushing load of homework. It is not merely a part of their day, it is their day.
While the consequences of this are many, all of them are negative. Parents know nothing about their children, and children spend no time getting to know their parents. Learning, discipline, praise, expectations of acceptable behavior. All of these come from the school first, and the parents second.
Children are taught to expect government solutions.
Of course, when a child is learning is learning about government, there is a strong suggestion that the only proper way to affect change in society is by using the political means. All episodes in history are taught with this bias as well. The only way that slavery could have ended was thanks to our Great Deified Leader, who abolished it with the stroke of the Executive pen. Child labor was rampant and uncontrollable until the Wise and Benevolent Federal Government enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act. Pick an issue and see the same story repeated.
- Problem exists.
- Helpless public asks government to fix it.
- Omnipotent government reshapes reality to aid its citizens using the magic of regulation.
Consequently, we cannot be surprised when their response to a tragedy is to appeal to the federal government. Where the most reasonable among us might suggest improvements to security at the school in question, children who have lived their entire lives inside a government institution have no basis for reaching this conclusion. When there is a problem, you ask the government to fix it. After all, localized solutions are barbarous and backwards artifacts of an age long past.
In fact, government solutions are a long history of failures.
The war on poverty hasn’t helped poverty. The war on drugs has only aggravated the drug problem. Monetary stimulus only worsens our economic woes. The grand attempt to fight rising healthcare costs led to a massive increase instead.
A full account of the failures of government is material for a multi-volume book series, not a simple blog post. There are already many fantastic resources available to study on this topic. The short version is that government has nothing to show for itself, and yet it never fails to get a free pass from the public. “They are doing the best they can,” we’re told. “If only we could get the schools more funding, they would be able to do a better job!” Yet, rather than accurately explaining the problem or its solution, these common refrains are generally proof of a mind shaped by public education.
Again: Problem exists? Let’s get government to fix it.
How does lowering the voting age to 16 help the progressives?
I hope it should be obvious. The goal is to get people voting before they have lived so much as an instant in the real world.
Those with lives dominated by government are more likely to vote in ways favorable to the government. These are people who have never owned a home, never balanced a budget, and never witnessed the effects of taxes on their paychecks. In other words, they are wholly isolated from the effects of their voting decisions.
Make no mistake: This is a vile maneuver made by those with a distinct agenda. If we are to be governed at all, it should at least be by adults who are fully responsible for the consequences.
If this is the direction that we are heading, it is more important than ever before that we end government control over as many things as possible. Tyranny is only a stone’s throw away.