September 11, 2019
Over at Vox, where leftist brains pulsate, Ms Kelsey Piper has an idea:
The United States should consider eradicating the voting age entirely... There are a host of good reasons to give children the vote… I think voting would be an exciting and meaningful exercise even for children too young to fill out their ballot validly, and it’s a great chance to develop the habit early — just like we have young children brush their teeth even though they’ll lose those teeth in a few years anyway.
I didn’t say it was a good one.
It occurs to me that if you start demanding that small children be allowed to vote in general elections – largely because you assume that their choices, their politics, will tend to mirror your own - then perhaps it’s time to ponder why your own politics correspond with the imagined preferences of children, who are, by definition, unworldly and irresponsible. Such that you grudgingly concede that, “Enfranchising everyone [i.e., including small children] will make the electorate less informed on average.” The rest of us, meanwhile, may wish to ponder whether a leftist’s desire to exploit the ignorance of small children in order to further her own socialist vanities is not only farcical, but degenerate.
We’ve been here before, of course, when Professor David Runciman claimed that not allowing primary school children to vote alongside adults amounts to “an inbuilt bias against governments that plan for the future.” As if small children are renowned for their selflessness and conscientious forethought. As noted at the time,
The irony being that children and teenagers tend to be quite selfish and self-absorbed, to a degree unbecoming in adults, and are accustomed to free stuff, all paid for out of sight by someone else, much to the youngsters’ indifference. It would therefore hardly be surprising if voting children tended to favour policies that pile up unsustainable debt, all left for whatever generations follow them… What comes to mind is an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, in which the boys steal Hal’s credit card and run away to start a new and grander life in a hotel room, making enthusiastic use of room service.
How this sits with Ms Piper’s claim that “Kids have… a greater stake in political issues than adults do,” I leave to the reader.