Blog or Not?

A statistically improbable polymath's views on politics and culture.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Well, it is constitutional amendment season...
A sixteen-year-old may lawfully:
Operate heavy machinery (in most states)
Drop out of school (in most states)
Manipulate a four-ton hunk of metal down a crowded highway at 70 miles per hour
Have sex with a seventy-year-old (in 28 states*)
Be charged as an adult for capital crimes

A sixteen-year-old may not lawfully:
Run for public office
Serve on a jury

There's a real imbalance here. A sixteen-year-old who is tried as an adult is not tried by a jury of peers. He or she has not, by either voting or refusing to vote, implicitly signed the social contract stating that he or she will obey the laws.

"But," you might say, "a sixteen-year-old doesn't have any chance of being drafted, either." Well, for that matter, neither do I under current law. But let me tell you a little story.

Johnny is born on July 4, 1984. Imagine, after September 11, that Congress had reinstated the draft. Now suppose that Johnny's drafted on his 18th birthday. He's never had the chance to vote, and since his birthday's in July, he won't have the chance to vote until he's already in combat (basic training takes nine weeks). But Johnny's not going to be part of the hunt for Bin Laden as he had wished--nope, our Commander-in-Chief decided to go after Iraq after doing a half-assed job in Afghanistan. So Johnny gets to Basra on September 23rd. On October 10th, his unit is ambushed by the Iraqi Republican Guard and Johnny's hit in the chest with a round from a .45. Now, body armor could have stopped this bullet from penetrating the body, but for some reason the DoD didn't think it was a neccessary expenditure. So after the skirmish is over the unit's medic tries to find a pulse--and there is none. Johnny's dead--dead before he ever got the chance to vote.

Congressional elections are held every two years--hence, if the voting age were moved to 16, everyone would have the chance to vote in a congressional election, if not a presidential one, before they turned 18. Thus, if they were drafted, they would at least have had the chance to change the government before marching off to face the darkness.

UPDATE: And California leads the nation again... (Via The General)

*Thank you,, which incidentially needs to update after Lawrence v. Texas invalidated all anti-sodomy laws.

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