12 thoughts on “Adulthood”

  1. At 18 (back in 1975), I was old enough to vote and to sign a contract to become an Army paratrooper but not old enough to buy a beer (19 was the legal age in my state), rent a car (but renting an airplane was ok), or sign other types of contracts. I would’ve been prosecuted as an adult had I committed a crime but was still considered a child in other areas. Things are even more scatterbrained today.

  2. It’s like Daylight Savings Time. Pick one or the other and be done with it. In this case pick an age of majority and stick with it.

    Based on the way society has changed since the 26th Amendment was passed, it should be 24 or 25. Just because someone is under adult supervision in armed forces doesn’t make that person an adult. All those weapons systems are illegal if owned/used by private citizens of any age.

    1. That would be interesting. So the left would then be attacking America (and most other Western nations) for recruiting ‘child soldiers’ into their armies.

      The simple reality is that we live in an era where our institutions deliberately infantilize our kids to the point where many can’t be classed as adults until their 30s or 40s. We could just stop doing that.

      But then the ‘progressives’ would lose half their voting base.

  3. A modest proposal: A person of any age with an IQ >100 may attain full civil rights and responsibilities, but only if they so request at a county clerk’s office. Those with IQ <100 get no vote and no guns, and are barred from military and civil service.

    1. Problem: I’ve had direct contact with people who have exceptionally high IQs.

      They’re just as prone to stupidity as those with IQs under 100 — they just have more brainpower to invest in it.

    2. FC, I’m not sure if you understand your proposal. Here are three diagnostic questions:

      1) Roughly (just very roughly), what percentage of 6 year olds do you think would be enfranchised by your proposal?

      2) Roughly (just very roughly), what percentage of adults do you think would be disenfranchised by your proposal?

      3) Less importantly, how common do you suppose it is for someone who scores 99 on an IQ test to score 101 the very next time they take it, or vice versa?

      1. FTR, I think that IQ testing would be a really, really dumb basis on adult privileges. And I have no idea what my IQ is, though I suspect it’s above average. But certainly, age is arbitrary as well. Maybe we need tests and certifications. I’d certainly like some for voting.

        1. Tests for voting got a very bad name in the age of Jim Crow, a problem of uneven or biased testing being used to exclude voters outside a favored demographic. But there is merit if they could be structured to insure objective standards without political bias.

  4. Adults are a problem for those running the country. I’d choose 18 as a reasonable number without arguing that’s adult.

  5. Oddly unmentioned in the linked article there is also the matter of the minimum legal age at which one is presumed able to give consent for sexual relations. Even back in the days of uniformity (21) of legal drinking ages among states, the so-called “age of consent” varied a lot. There were a number of states in the American South as recently as the 60’s where said age was 14. These days, there is no place in the U.S. where the age of consent is less than 16 and relatively few of those. Most places, it’s 18. Just as a cross-cultural aside, the age of consent has been 14 in virtually all of Latin America for a long time.

  6. IQ won’t work, because it’s age-adjusted. An IQ of 100 for a ten year old doesn’t equate to an IQ of 100 for a 40 year old. Children’s IQ tests aren’t the same, either. I would set adulthood with three criteria: 1. Pass a written test roughly equivalent to the citizenship test given to immigrants (I don’t know if this has been dumbed down since I was in high school, 50 years ago…). 2. Pass the medical criteria for puberty. 3. Submit a request to something like a court asking to be declared an emacipated adult. I realize this is racist, sexist, oligosaccharide phobic Naziism, but so what? Maybe we could ask citizens to go through requal every election cycle too? What was that sound? Oh, right. It was SFWA detonating…

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