This is my first post here, so here's a short introduction to myself. I'm 17, almost 18, and living with my parents against my will. I feel that at 17, I've accomplished more than most in life. I'm truly happy, found a lover that shares my values, grown philosophically and morally, produced things of value, etc. I pay for all my own expenses, except for those that pertain to my house (electricity, etc because I don't consider it logical to pay to stay somewhere I'm being forced to stay). My parents, and the world as a whole, have done nothing but make it harder to grow by inhibiting my freedom because of my age. I started reading Ayn Rand about a year ago, and couldn't stop. She did as Galt did to many in Atlas Shrugged, told me what few others had: that I was right.
My question is this: Should minors be given the opportunity to earn the rights that everyone else enjoys? Clearly, some minors aren't responsible enough for some of these rights, but neither are most adults. 18 is an arbitrary number to state as the age when one becomes old enough to be able to handle freedom. As a system, it creates an environment that hinders growth rather than foster it. Not only are people encouraged to grow more slowly, but those that are already grown are held back. Shouldn't anyone that can handle the rights, be able to enjoy them? And who really has the ability to take these rights to begin with? What can minors do about it?
As most people I've encountered think (including some minors), the only possible reason we could want complete freedom is to smoke, drink, have babies, and go wild. I am proof that other possibilities exist. I want to be able to enjoy my life to its fullest, and not let people that can't even control their own lives attempt to impose limits on mine. I fully accept all consequences good and bad. I'm hoping that, as objectivists, some of you will have some insight. It is a problem that has always plagued me, and I suspect it will long after I've reached 18. I want minors to be able to live to their best of their abilities, and let them take responsibility for their own lives, as there is no other way to truly live.