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Consistency matters: Why we shouldn’t create a second class

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Many Republicans are caving into leftist pressure in regards to the Second Amendment. Among the popular grounds from which Republicans are caving is raising the gun buying age to 21. Both Trump and Rick Scott are among the cavers. The belief behind raising the minimum age to 21 is centered on the premise that 18 years-olds cannot think clearly. The biggest fact cited to support this is the whole thing about the brain not being fully developed until 25.

Inconsistencies Rampant

The age of consent varies state to state as does a drivers license. The age to vote is 18. The age to buy cigarettes is also 18 except for a few states that raised the age to 19, and California is 21. Nonetheless one can enter into a contract at 18, watch porn at 18 (a meaningless age barrier with the internet), and get married at 18. Getting married is probably the most adult thing an 18 year old can do. A person can enlist in the military at 18 and men must register for the draft at said age. At 21 you can purchase alcohol, marijuana, and handguns. There is no consistency in our country when it comes to the rights of young adults. The government legislates them as they see fit.

Brain Development

If the premise for alcohol and firearms is the development of the human brain, then the age should be mid-twenties. If brain development is what qualifies a person to make responsible cognitive decisions, why are the most meaningful decisions a person can make, the earliest rights a person receives? Voting, marriage, and military service are three of the most meaningful choices a person can make. I agree that voting isn’t as meaningful, but in our political system, voting is a trusted right to citizens. Alcohol and marijuana are the most trivial of these and are restricted to 21. Handguns are restricted to 21.

Perhaps the person with this argument would specify a level of danger as a premise for denying the “underdeveloped” human rights. Again we see a problem here. Alcoholism is dangerous but not inherent. Small amounts can be beneficial, but alcohol is far safer than cigarettes which you can purchase three years earlier in life. Marijuana, by every metric, is safer than cigarettes and alcohol by most. Military service has the risk of death. Are eighteen-year-olds developed enough for the military? Because how can they be if they aren’t developed enough for the rifles they will be assigned? This argument falls apart at the inconsistencies. Perhaps one would argue that the inconsistencies are flaws in the system that were not implemented using “brain development”, which isn’t true in many of these.

Young adults aren’t developed enough to purchase a firearm but we’ll let them, and push them to, go into debt to attend glorified summer camps to maybe achieve a certificate that says you are somewhat qualified for a job.

Brain Deterioration

If we gain rights due to brain development, the logical flow follows that we should then lose rights as our brains deteriorate. The premise of using brain development follows that cognitive optimization is essential to being trusted and endowed, by the state, certain inalienable rights. As we humans age, our brains shrink. Our memory and quickness become fade. And these are mild compared to degenerative diseases out there. If brain development is the standard than many old people should lose their “majority” status and accompanying rights. The old politician seeing this argument would then respond that “brain development is tied to mature decision making.” But do our young people act irrationally due to biology or culture? I counter with two examples:

Example 1: Chicago

Chicago’s crime should come as a shock to no one. It’s an overused talking point. Chicago not only reaps an atrocious body count but much of the of crime committed is by young offenders. 2011 data shows that 53% of homicide offenders were between the ages of 17-25. The “fully developed 26-35 year olds were 26% of the convicted. What’s unique is that Chicago is above average when it comes to young people committing murder. But it’s not just offenders, it’s also the victims who are young. Compared to other cities, Chicago is an outlier for youth violence. Not being able to trust youth with a gun would reasonably have far more to do with underlying cultural issues instead of brain development. But I’m sure blaming Indiana will solve all of Chicago’s problems… Point being, unless we are to assume that minorities are inferior, which I don’t, I remain steadfast in contending that the poor decision making of America’s troubled youth is far more correlated to cultural issues (fatherless homes, political corruption, big government etc.) than an underdeveloped brain.

Example 2: Alcohol

I raise the argument that denying rights to young adults is bad for the general welfare of our population. Restrictions upon young adults have only worsened our culture and the health of young adults. Pushing the age off alcohol to 21 has rendered, decades later, rampant alcoholism among young people. According to Addiction Resource Approximately 20% of college students meet the medical criteria for having an Alcohol Use Disorder, which includes alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. Not all college students who binge drink end up becoming alcoholics, but they are only a step or two away from developing alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence. Since like to do comparisons with Australia and Switzerland with guns, how are all these other countries with alcohol? Turns out the countries with the most alcoholics are former communist states, uncorrelated with the legal age, of which the US is among the highest. It’s not a faulty analogy to point out that the alcohol at 21 age discrimination has yielded no empirical benefits (reduced drunk driving deaths have many other factors) while enabling a youth worship of the bottle. Good job politicians…

Prolonged Adolescence

Prolonged adolescence is one of the biggest threats to our culture and perhaps our economy. Adolescence was largely a 20th-century invention, whereby society created a period between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers always existed but at what point should adults be treated as, and act like adults? They graduate high school, go to college while not working except when on break. This is a general state of many college students, with the addition of underage drinking. What enables our youth to be so lackadaisical? Young people aren’t treated like adults, therefore do not act like them. We don’t hold young people to higher standards because we can’t trust them. So they carry on adolescence. The partial blame goes to the politicians who regulated the ages between 18-21, the notorious years for prolonged adolescence.

Age of Majority

When rights are protected at the age of majority, those at the arbitrary age selected are entitled to equal protection as those well above the arbitrary protections. This is a consistent platform for all rights to be protected. This is the most logically defensible solution. The age of majority is not only fair, it is beneficial to our culture as a whole.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Don McCullen

    March 1, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Awesome piece Ray!!! Well said.

  2. ed

    March 2, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Well said Ray !

    Though I’m against Trump’s “National Military Parade” idea for a number of issues, if he DOES succeed in squandering the time & money of the military in such a useless exercise, I hope we get to see the soldiers marching down the street carrying broomsticks instead of rifles and frequent explanations by the press narrators is that the broomsticks are the Military replacement for the rifles that the soldiers are too young and not trusted by their Commander-in-Chief to carry because those carrying broomsticks are under 21 and will therefore be shouting “bang bang” at their foes.

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