Glen Harlan Reynolds decided that on Veterans day of all days to publish a article titled “After Yale, Mizzou, raise the voting age — to 25” in which he asks then answers this question “ How can students too spoiled to tolerate debate weigh opposing political arguments?. They Can’t.”
He writes (emphasis mine):
In 1971, the United States ratified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.
The idea, in those Vietnam War years, was that 18-year-olds, being old enough to be drafted, to marry and to serve on juries, deserved a vote. It seemed plausible at the time, and I myself have argued that we should set the drinking age at 18 for the same reasons
Somehow he thinks that because we are allowing kids on the frontline (I don’t care what a 18 year old says, they’re still a kid) for some war to boost the ego and pockets of those running the military industrial complex and allowing those same kids to vote is a mistake. Somehow being old enough to draft, marry, be on a jury, and the plethora of other “perks” you get at 18 doesn’t mean you deserve to vote.
But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.
But now the evidence suggests that, whatever one might say about the 18-year-olds of 1971, the 18-year-olds of today aren’t up to that task. And even the 21-year-olds aren’t looking so good.
But now he is starting to reconsider. Audience any guesses on why he is starting to reconsider this? Why he thinks those from 18 to 21 years of age just aren’t up to the task of voting?
Because apparently, demanding rights to exist and be treated as a human being is making students too sensitive and too reliant on Mommy & Daddy.
Consider Yale University, where a disagreement over what to do about — theoretically — offensive Halloween costumes devolved into a screaming fit by a Yale senior (old enough to vote, thanks to the 26th Amendment) who assaulted a professor with a profane tirade because the professor’s failure to agree with her made her feel ... unsafe.
As The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf writes: “Erika Christakis reflected on the frustrations of the students, drew on her scholarship and career experience, and composed an email inviting the community to think about the controversy through an intellectual lens that few if any had considered. Her message was a model of relevant, thoughtful, civil engagement. For her trouble, a faction of students are now trying to get (her and her husband, also a professor there) removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus. Hundreds of Yale students are attacking them, some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming. In doing so, they have shown an illiberal streak that flows from flaws in their well-intentioned ideology.”
This isn’t the behavior of people who are capable of weighing opposing ideas, or of changing their minds when they are confronted with evidence that suggests that they are wrong. It’s the behavior of spoiled children — a characterization that Friedersdorf, perhaps unconsciously, underscores by not reporting the students’ names because, he implies, they are too young to be responsible for their actions. And spoiled children shouldn’t vote.
In this instance, Erica Christakis wrote an email that suggested the Halloween guidelines went a little too far and it was in the spirit of Halloween for people to wear things “Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious… a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” The open letter signed by faculty and students, showed that the idea that marginalized students should just deal with it because...Halloween! is just not acceptable and in itself downright offensive.
Now we have Reynolds (and others), who say that these students are merely being sensitive and not at all intellectual. (intellectual here means having an opinion that he has deemed as such.) These Yale students only “well-intentioned” offense was simply saying “Hey! I’m human too!” Somehow explaining how microaggressions toward the marginalized and racism is offensive, unintellectual and being too sensitive.
Reynolds goes on to say that the behavior displayed isn’t, in his opinion, those “who are capable of weighing opposing ideas” or “changing their minds when they are confronted with evidence that suggests that they are wrong” is perhaps aimed at the wrong group of people. The reason why marginalized people do not have to repeatedly “weigh opposing ideas” is because WE’VE BEEN DOING THAT FOREVER! Still in 2015, any arguments against the opinions of those who fit into any category of being a white, cis-heteronormative, able-bodied, and wealthy, who’s opinions generally treat those who do not fall into any of the previously mention as less than human are wrong and being too sensitive. Essentially, those opinions of the privilege are treated as being intellectually free speech while the opinions of the disenfranchised are just annoying that need to be swatted away like a fly.
Remember folks, suffering the consequences for exercising Free Speech that you damn well know is offensive is not censoring. It’s being called out on for being a prick. If anything, the responses saying “but Free Speech [Insert crying emoji]!” are in fact being too sensitive.
Also, if spoiled children can’t vote, that knocks out the 1%ers.
And this is at Yale, where — alarmingly — the students are supposed to represent America’s leaders of tomorrow. But the problem isn’t just at Yale, as the University of Missouri recently saw student protests oust a president for ... well, it’s not entirely clear what he did, but it had something to do with not being sensitive enough to students’ feelings. Nor, sadly, are such events unique; campus craziness has become a standard story line, with new examples appearing almost daily.
As Reason’s Robby Soave notes, student demands for “safe spaces” boil down to a demand that universities fulfill the role of Mommy and Daddy. In the old days — this practice, interestingly, ended about 1971, too — colleges stood in loco parentis (in the place of parents) and, as Soave writes, exercised extensive and detailed control over students’ social lives, sleeping hours, organizing and speaking. Now, he observes, the students are “desperate to be treated like children again.”
Well, OK, I guess. But children don’t vote. Those too fragile to handle different opinions are too fragile to participate in politics. So maybe we should raise the voting age to 25, an age at which, one fervently hopes, some degree of maturity will have set in. It’s bad enough to have to treat college students like children. But it’s intolerable to be governed by spoiled children. People who can’t discuss Halloween costumes rationally don’t deserve to play a role in running a great nation.
I really don’t know why white people have to continually whine about safe spaces that do not include them (Same with any other privilege vs marginalized group). A safe place should allow the voices of the marginalized be free to talk, chat, and share without the gaze of the privilege. I would not be upset that I was excluded from any space I could not identify as (unless Talenti was involved then at point that y’all are just being insensitive until I can get some). It is not a space for me so I would want no part (again unless Talenti is involved) and would support as needed/asked. That right there is being grown. Recognizing that I do not have to assert my opinion everywhere especially in places where is not waned/needed is being an adult.
However, telling people that their feeling of wanting to be safe is wrong and childish is itself childish. Telling people that “well, I think this is childish!” and denying their constitutional right to vote ESPECIALLY when they are able to be drafted (remember Men are required to sign up at 18 or no federal benefits), especially when at this point they can fuck up their credit and have it hunt them til their 60s, especially when at this age they are allowed to provide or deny justice in the courtroom as a juror, especially at this age when they can decided to join the military and then die in the military before they are allowed to legally drink on the principle of America!, is childish.
Asserting oneself to be treated as a human, to request that an institution of learning be an environment where all students can feel safe, to rightly challenge anyone that implies that, well, they are still 3/5 of a person or not really American enough to understand free speech and humanity is not childish. Writing that legit concerns over being safe,being treated as intellectual persons whose opinions are just as valid, and most importantly being treated as a human being are just people being sensitive and is (again) childish.
May we should take away the right to vote from those who cannot recognize the humanity over the age of 25 in others. Because really at 40+, you shouldn’t be upset at students participating in the age-old tradition of protesting.