By Dr. Derek Ellerman
Poor Vivek Ramaswamy is, at least for the moment, one of those unfortunate victims of time and circumstance.
In any other era, I would consider the long-shot Republican presidential candidate to at least be interesting enough to follow, maybe even support.
Yesterday, Ramaswamy dropped another good idea that does have my full attention: He wants to amend the Constitution to raise the voting age from 18 to 25.
Yes, Yes, and Hell Yes.
The Constitution does not expressly *guarantee* universal voting. This is intentional: we live in a Constitutional republic, not a direct democracy. The 14th Amendment specifically distinguishes the immunities of citizenship from the privileges of citizenship. Voting is a… pic.twitter.com/tx4nbZHGv5
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) May 12, 2023
Raise The Voting Age
Ordinarily, I’m a proponent of just one single age of majority. I’m not necessarily hung up on exactly what age that is, but it should be uniform.
If someone is a legal adult, they should have all the rights and responsibilities of an adult; buying cigarettes, buying alcohol, buying a firearm, full legal responsibility, being able to rent a car, join the military, etc.
These days, there’s a dizzying amount of proposals all over the country to raise this or that minimum age requirement for this or that activity. If someone is an adult at 18, why would they need to wait another three years to purchase a handgun?
I think most rational people view it as not only ludicrous, but plainly immoral to tell an 18-year-old they have to suit up and go fire a 155mm howitzer at strangers in some far-off land, but they can’t buy a little pistol or drink a beer.
Nobody, anywhere, should have to move on to the next life without a sip of the sweet nectar.
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But I’m on a little bit of a rant here. Vivek Ramaswamy’s proposal, which he unveiled during a campaign stop in Iowa, would do two things. Raise the voting age to 25, but also allow people 18-25 to vote if they either do six months in the military or as a first responder or if they pass the citizenship test.
Ramaswamy described his reasoning thusly: “I think it is a problem that young people don’t vote enough in this country. But if you make it something that you actually have to earn, you value it even more. It’s human nature and psychology.”
Fair, and true, as far as it goes.
I’m fully two-thirds in favor of this proposal and I’ll tell you why.
The youngest guy in the audience tonight had a reaction to my proposed constitutional amendment that requires 18-year-olds to pass a civics test or else to meet a national service requirement. Pretty inspiring. pic.twitter.com/gkNUb8WQ3O
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) May 12, 2023
Young People Are Dumb
Of Ramaswamy’s proposal, I would only nix the “national service” requirement part. Not because it’s necessarily a bad idea or that it wouldn’t have a positive impact on citizenship a la Starship Troopers, but because we probably don’t want a sudden bubble of millions of new government employees with nothing to do.
Idle hands, and all.
As for raising the voting age, other than my own internal cognitive dissonance at backtracking on everything I just said about one uniform age of majority, it’s a must.
You only need one reason, too. Look at public school test scores.
American kids can’t even read. Let’s just stop right there. We could go down the whole laundry list – they can’t do math, they aren’t taught and therefore know next to nothing about history, etc – but we don’t need to.
Let’s just agree that we don’t need to go farther.
In a democracy, every voter counts as much as any other. It doesn’t matter if the kid in the booth next to you can’t read. He still has the same amount of power. He can still vote for wanton criminality, theft, disastrous foreign adventurism, etc.
That is the entire problem with democracy. People with no skin in the game still get a say. Malicious actors get the same say as you. Oh, you spent hours researching where your Congressman stands on IMF debt restructuring? That dumb kid got an instruction on who to vote for from a professor.
You work 60 hours a week only to have half your paycheck stolen for Ukraine’s border or cellphones for illegal aliens? That dumb kid didn’t work for a minute, and he just voted to increase spending to Ukraine. Doesn’t matter that he couldn’t tell you what continent it’s on to save his immortal soul. That vote counts as much as yours.
Maybe you can see where I’m going with this. Democracy is stupid. Very, very stupid. Unless there are guardrails.
Now don’t worry, the Earth will be a burnt crisp falling into the sun before I ever get my way about democracy. But the above still makes the case that, so long as people are exercising such an enormous amount of power – and power, my friends, is force – we should at least make attempts to ensure voters have a bare minimum of knowledge and life experience to make such heady decisions.
I don’t have enough space here, but my final argument is just two words: Gen Z.
The Constitution was already amended to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. It can be amended again.
And when schools start teaching kids things besides drag queen story hour, we can think about an amendment to lower it back to 18.
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