Jonah Goldberg, writer and editor for National Journal, talked a big talk recently at the American Enterprise Institute. Huffington Post has video of his comments concerning the current voting age.
Mediaite has the quote:
“I am not particularly enamored with the youth,” said Goldberg employing air quotes. “I don’t think youth politics is something very special or enviable. Personally, I think the voting age should be much higher not lower. I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest.”
Goldberg said that many young people view socialism as a viable alternative to capitalism and that is proof of “what social scientists call, ‘they’re stupidity.’”
“That’s something that conservatives have to work hard to beat out of them, either literally or figuratively, as far as I’m concerned,” Goldberg concluded.
Personally, I think there is a high probability the average 18-year-old who actually bothers to register and vote has a higher IQ than the average 40-year-old voter. Americans as a whole are not exactly a beacon for intellectual fortitude. Even voters in Goldberg’s demographic are worrisome in their utter lack of basic political understanding. Video evidence supporting my hypothesis can be found here, here and here.
Older Americans have also perpetuated a system that seems to fall short, no matter what side of the political spectrum one falls. In the past few years alone, our political system nearly came to a grinding halt on multiple occasions at the hands of elected officials–most of whom have been in power longer than the lifetimes of today’s youngest qualified voters. Yet, incumbents continue to occupy safe seats in the nation’s capitol and in state capitols across the country.
By politicizing his argument on the American right to vote, Goldberg sounds like he’s more threatened by the fact many 18-year-olds, and other young citizens, don’t seem to vote the way he would like.
As of 2008, 1,196 or nearly 30% of US military causalities in Operation Iraqi Freedom were younger than 22 years old. Youth unemployment rate for adults 18-29 years old currently rests at 12.1 percent. Changes to the environment, social security and health care alter the life of an 18 year old and as an adult, they should have every right to be heard.
To lament an entire demographic as “stupid” is absurd and only showcases Goldberg’s own intellectual shortcomings.