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Charlotte Corday

Minors: Should Children Be Allowed To Vote?

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Who decides whether a proposed law is objective and rational?

Reason. If the premises are correct, applying logic will yield only one (and the correct answer).

A government's job is the protection of individual rights. If any law furthers this goal, it is right, otherwise it is wrong.

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Reason. If the premises are correct, applying logic will yield only one (and the correct answer).

Sorry, but reason cannot decide. That has to be done by a mind, which uses reason to make the decision. In addition, the premises may not be "correct" (certainly true), but it may be necessary to make a decision based on unproven premises.

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"Mr. Ford, where are you going to find even 10 people who agree on every detail about what a car should look like?"

Well, but people almost never like every single detail about a car; they just buy the car that comes closest to their ideal. Plus, different people in the same area can pick different cars, which is not the case with government. For your model to work, there would have to be thousands of tiny countries from which to choose, and even then a lot of people might not find one that suits them exactly.

I do think the proper means of establishing a government is a bit of a problem for Objectivism. Ayn Rand supported the idea that "governments ... [derive] their just powers from the consent of the governed." (Declaration of Independence, as quoted in TVOS p. 110) But how many of the governed? A simple majority, or every single one, as CF seems to want? What if 45% want a proper Objectivist government, but 55% want the current welfare state? Morally it would seem that the minority has the right to use force to establish the correct government, but that contradicts the idea of "the consent of the governed." But majority rule is not a legitimate principle. What then? Ayn Rand seemed to just assume that at some point everyone would choose the correct type of government, and live happily ever after. What if they don't (as is, of course, the case today.)?

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For your model to work, there would have to be thousands of tiny countries from which to choose, and even then a lot of people might not find one that suits them exactly.

There will only have to be ONE country that is 100% capitalist. It will suit rational people perfectly!

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There will only have to be ONE country that is 100% capitalist. It will suit rational people perfectly!

If you are only talking about the basic Constitutional structure, I agree. But you seemed to be requiring unanimity for things like immigration laws.

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Under my proposed form of government, immigration and naturalization--and consequently, voting--would be restricted according to rules unanimously agreed upon by the people who are already citizens. This means that, yes, they could agree to rule out Marxists, Islamists, etc.

What do immigration and naturalization rules have to do with capitalism? I tend to think a capitalist country should have open immigration except for known criminals. Maybe not, though ...

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Now, as I told you on the government property thread, I believe that a truly legitimate government is one based on the unanimous consent of all citizens--so that, in effect, the citizens own the government much like stockholders own a corporation. This gives the citizens the right to limit the vote in whatever ways they agree to limit it.

No government can get unanimous consent, it is practically impossible.

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Voting should be done by those who are competent to make such decisions; namely, those who can make rational and well-informed judgments. Children do not qualify because they are not sufficiently well-informed yet.

The first of these sentences already cuts out a percentage of the population who are adults and vote, but could really care less about the outcome and would even vote "mickey mouse" if it were on the ballot. I guess what originally got me to start this comment was to clarify what your concept of a child is and how long that lasts. I defend this because I am in one of those in between stages where I'm still restricted from voting, but at the same time, I'm more informed and and compelled to be informed and and involved than many adults I know. I won't say that I deserve the right to vote right now nor would I try to change the voting age, but still, there are some extremely intellegent, informed, and mature people I've met as young as 14. I think the problem really lies in the fact that these "exceptions" would only open the door for so many other mindless brutes of the same age who would vote for the "wrong" candidate as a form of joke. I don't disagree with the voting age, yet I do beleive some of the "exceptions" I speak about would at least be given the slightest concideration and not disregarded as we mostly are. At 11 I had the same mentality of most 18 year olds I knew, and now I can't even figure out what the age of my conscience and maturity is anymore, I guess it can only be judged through my overall character. I'd still appreciate being heard, because unlinke most of today's youth, I have upheld my standards of morality and virtue and have defended them throughout my life. Doesn't that mean anything to adults anymore?

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Actually I think this is kinda baseless statement. First of all, not all adults can take all factors into consideration and make a rational and well-informed decisions. And these days 14-16 year olds are not ignorant of what is happening around the world.

At any rate, I think the voting age should be lowered. 18 is a bit too much.

I agree with everything you said except for your final choice. I would appreciate the right to vote, but I beleive it might be more harmful if the voting age is lowered, because like I said, it opens up the door for all the other teens who never thought through their decision or the reasons to support their choice.

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As for voting age, I tend to think there should be some sort of a test rather than an age limit. Even a simple multiple-choice test on the basic structure and function of government would weed out a lot of clueless people.

Wow! I never thought of that, but I strongly agree. Not in the sense of some FCAT- type exam where the fiction storyteller in the school gets a lower grade than the careless suck-up, but something like an IQ test or something that could determine how informed you are and wether or not your views are legitimate and supported by fact, not whim.

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wow.....No! I hate that. Not the comment, just the principle it implies. It actually applies to an aspect of my personal life which I wouldn't generally mention here but, it's relevant.

A few years ago my family structured itself into a small form of government. It isn't legitimate, but it functions in the basic ways. We have cabinet positions, the movement of money(collecting, saving, investing). There is voting and laws, and it was all -ut together so that my current family of 28 people that see each other every 2 weeks, wouldn't fall apart as it expands.

Well the point is that when all of this was first established, the adults were trying to settle a voting age. Many of my aunts and uncles wanted to set the voting age near the low teens so that I could vote back then. The problem was that my sister who is a year older and with a mental disability would not have the rational capability of understanding the decisions being made or how to choose therefore my father wanted to have a right to my sister's vote. I threw an outrage (well within myself), because my dad is the balck sheep in the family and only looks to manipulate minds. In this sense, it's very eveil to think that just because they're your children they're going to have the same opinions as yourself. With me, it's mostly been the opposition. I've g2g. I've leave it on that note.

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As for voting age, I tend to think there should be some sort of a test rather than an age limit. Even a simple multiple-choice test on the basic structure and function of government would weed out a lot of clueless people.

Wow! I never thought of that, but I strongly agree. Not in the sense of some FCAT- type exam where the fiction storyteller in the school gets a lower grade than the careless suck-up, but something like an IQ test or something that could determine how informed you are and wether or not your views are legitimate and supported by fact, not whim.

I don't think you can test whether someone's views are "legitimate." I was thinking more about simple stuff like the 3 branches of government, the powers and functions of each, the main points of the Constitution, etc; basic high school civics stuff.

By the way, please try to use the quote function to reduce confusion about who said what. You need to click the REPLY button, not the QUOTE button.

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I guess my highschool experience was very different from your's. In my school all of the 14-16 year old guys were interested in video games, pot, and "getting laid", not world issues and politics. The girls weren't much better. Frankly I'd rather not have people in middle school deciding the fate of the nation.

I agree with you for the most part, because that's how it is in general at my school but that doesn't mean there isn't a select few who are informed and do care about the fate of the nation.

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+

This is not philosophical, but I like the idea of granting teenagers around 16 years old a "quarter vote."

Well, that's an interesting idea, but you have to consider the historical implications. In the original version of the Constitution, the only mention of slaves at that time was the "three-fifths" rule, meaning that slaves only counted as three-fifths of a person. You didn't imply that similarity on purpose, but to consider a teenager as only a quarter of a person would create a huge uproar among all age groups. However, it was an interesting idea, like I said. :)

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Immigrants have to take a test so that they can vote, why not citizens?

I think if everyone took an immigration-style exam, we would have a much better informed pool of voters. Then we could lower the voting age to 14 or so, assuming the 14-year-old would make the effort to learn about the government sufficiently to be a well-informed voter. I would personally love to have that kid decide the fate of the nation rather than the idiot who has dont nothing for his right to vote besides stay alive in America for 18 years.

Someone suggested giving parents the right to vote for their children. Horrible idea, because:

a) most young children don't have political beliefs, or, if they do, they are exactly the same as their parents because they dont know anything else. this is basically giving the parents multiple votes

:D do you really think that there wouldnt be a vast number of parents who would exploit this? if someone's second grader tells him or her to vote for the guy running against his or her candidate, who the parent dislikes with a passion, how many people do you know would cast the kid's vote for the opposing side?

and

c) Places like the Bible Belt would be a major issue. religious fanatics, no contraception, myriads of underage children, this would multiply votes for people like Bush tenfold overnight. shudder.

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I think if everyone took an immigration-style exam, we would have a much better informed pool of voters.

Many of the folks I disagree with politically would score better on such a test than many of the folks I agree with. So, for now, I'm not pushing for the test. :D

As for the one given to immigrants, let me give you some details. The US government has a list of 100 publically-available questions, ranging from "What is the name of the President?" to "How many amendments have been made to the consitution?" I think the Justice department must have this on their web-site, but there are many published books that contain the list. People who wish to become citizens are asked 10 of these 100 questions and they must be able to answer a certain number (6 or 7). Take a look at this list for yourself and see if you think it would make for a better electorate.

I do not think being informed is the real issue. For instance, could you not go around the US and find judges who disagree on most of the major political issues of the day? You would find judges who disagree about Iraq, abortion, immigration, individual rights, free speech, and so on.

Therefore, even if one were to devise a better test (which is being attempted for citizenship) I do not see how that would change anything.

Someone suggested giving parents the right to vote for their children. Horrible idea, because:

a) most young children don't have political beliefs, or, if they do, they are exactly the same as their parents because they dont know anything else. this is basically giving the parents multiple votes

I agree strongly. Kids ought not to vote, neither by themselves nor via their parents. In a proper political system, I doubt that voter turnout would be too high. Problem is that as the US moves away (ever so slowly) from being a constitutional republic and more toward being a democracy, voting becomes more and more important.

I often see politicians sponsoring some bill that is somehow related to children, and they will have children at the signing ceremony for the bill. I often see people bringing their kids to political rallies. Personally, I do not like talking to my 7 year old in very specific terms about politics. I appreciate that one might want to teach one's child that politics and philosophy are important. One might want to teach them that is is right to demonstrate peacefully when appropriate. However, if I ever take my kid to a rally, I will insist that she not hold a sign or chant slogans. She may help, bring her I-Pod, see how emotional mommy and all her friends can be. I draw the line there. I am not sure at what age I would let her be an active participant rather than an observer -- maybe 14.

A few days after the election, my daughter was telling a friend that she was glad that Bush won! She got a talking to for doing so.

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Immigrants  have to take a test so that they can vote, why not citizens?

No they don't. They have to take a test to become citizens. After that, you may register to vote without any further testing. Most immigrants who have become citizens know that, btw.

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No they don't. They have to take a test to become citizens. After that, you may register to vote without any further testing. Most immigrants who have become citizens know that, btw.

Sorry, I wasn't exactly clear about that. What I meant was in order to become citizens and have the right to register to vote, immigrants are given a test.

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