Re: Some Game

1

Personal attack is the first thing many of them think of, and almost the only thing someof them think of.

One sort of hopes (though I don't) that decent Americans will reject this creepiness at some point, but one has been sort of hoping that for a long, long time. I'm afraid the decency of Americans is far overrated, by themselves at least.

I personally hope nothing. I've moved over to my own personal dark side.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 2:50 PM
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People shouldn't use children to make political points when children aren't directly relevant (like, for example, ads in favor of measures banning gay marriage), just to attempt sympathetic appeal. However, this is about children. I hope you're not saying that using the kid in the ad was wrong.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 2:52 PM
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I do wish people wouldn't use children to make political points.

So do I, but when the political issue is about children, it seems rather difficult to avoid. And I'm pretty sure that the Frost kid (like mine) has a strong opinion of his own on the issue.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 2:52 PM
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Damn you, LeBlanc.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 2:54 PM
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Our mindmeld is complete.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 2:54 PM
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5: Hott.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:04 PM
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5. "I am a citizen journalist! I am a citizen journalist!" is apparently the cry of a bully.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:06 PM
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One often wonders where the "citizen" part of that title is meant to cut in.


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:11 PM
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2- 4 and 5 are completely correct.

OT, but here is more bush admin incompetence:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/08/AR2007100801817.html


Posted by: Joeo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:15 PM
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Choosing somebody who you know can't be "fair game" to make a political address is a cynical maneuver, whether or not "fair game" is defined as "target for personal destruction."


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:19 PM
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The sliming is not about SCHIP or a budget vote, but about protecting George Bush from the defeat of a veto override. It is only barely ideological, for I can't see that much difference between this Medical benefit and the massive Medicare expansion Bush forced thru in his first term.

The method is distraction, and thrashing out the details of the Frost's economic situation, in some effort to look objective and fact-based, as for instance hilzoy does, misses the point and contributes to the distraction. I also consider it, even if well-intentioned, to be offensive invasion of their privacy. The Frosts should be barely mentioned in the liberal blogosphere. They are not the story. Even if they are damaged, not they, but the wicked should be the story.

I suspect Bush & the Party simply decided that the Democratic Congress would get nothing, zero passed that could not be directly credited to Bush & Republicans. Like all positions of the Decider, it is simple and absolute, and any means to maintain it are acceptable. SCHIP, the Frosts, even Malkin are incidental to the strategy.

This is about Bush.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:23 PM
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There are centrist Senators & blue-dog Congresspersons who would like to get a little pork for their constituents over two years. If the fact that they will get nothing, nothing that Bush doesn't give them is weakened, investigations could get traction. The veto must be sustained.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:28 PM
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6 is absolutely, completely correct.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:33 PM
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I hope you're not saying that using the kid in the ad was wrong.

Using a 12-year old kid? Can't be serious.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:37 PM
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These guys didn't learn much from the Terri Schiavo thing, did they?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:38 PM
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6 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:38 PM
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14: You can't be challenging the awesome power of the Bitch/Leblanc mind meld!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:42 PM
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15: These guys don't learn much. Which is the only hope really, because they are highly organized and very energetic. Since decent (in its usual sense) people apparantly won't or can't out-work or out-organize them, all is lost unless they can be out manouvered.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:42 PM
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If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game.

To do a man's job, eh? Typical keyboard warrior move: invoke the language of nostalgia for a bygone code of manliness in order to justify that which would be utterly prohibited by that very code of manliness.

Bullies and cowards, every last one of them.



Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:43 PM
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17 I have to admit that I'm shaking a little right now.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:46 PM
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Real men deny health care to children by staring down doctors with their steel gray eyes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:49 PM
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14: What's wrong with a kid appearing in an ad? Kids certainly appear in ads for products all the time. Given that S-CHIP means this kid got medical treatment that he wouldn't have otherwise gotten, and the kid seems smart (and I mean, he's 12; it's not like he's 4), he's probably genuinely in favor of the program that pertains directly to him. What's wrong with his saying so in an ad?

Like I said earlier, I think having kids speak out when their opinion is directly relevant and the policy discussed is about them is unproblematic. In fact, I think we should encourage it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:51 PM
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It was not an ad. It was the official Democratic Party Saturday morning radio address. Surely you tune in most weeks.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:53 PM
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Just so I'm not accused of holding this position only because of partisanship (as might be evidenced by my gay marriage ad example), I'll say that if Democrats used a kid in an ad, say, in favor of gay marriage, that would be unacceptable too (Why won't the government let daddy and daddy get married?).


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:54 PM
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McArdle: "Anecdotes, no matter how photogenic, are terrible ways to make policy. ... But argument by anecdote is what we seem to be stuck with ..."

Indeed. Funny how irritating that boot is, now that it's temporarily on the other foot.



Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:54 PM
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It was not an ad.

Then it's even less problematic.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:54 PM
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Also: Graeme Frost is fair game, but any attacks on David Petraeus deserve Congressional censure. Discuss.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:55 PM
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12- Well, the product comparison doesn't work because there's a big difference between shrilling for toilet paper vs. charged ideology.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:56 PM
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Frost is a liberal, and therefore unpatriotic. So attacking him is patriotic. Petraeus is a military man, and therefore patriotic, so attacking him is unpatriotic.

Makes perfect sense.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:56 PM
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Charged ideology my ass. It's an insurance program, for fuck's sake. Even the Republicans don't want this to be about ideology, but about money. If the reason Bush vetoes is because of ideology, then he's in a lot worse position than I thought.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:58 PM
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New rule: the combination of "ae" appearing in one's first or last names makes one fair game. Aesop better watch out.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 3:59 PM
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Yeah, Græme refuses to use the ligature at his own peril.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:00 PM
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I'm trying to figure out the nutjobs' point in smearing the Frosts. Is it that nobody is in the position that the Frosts claim to be in?

Of course not. This is vigilante stuff. The idea is to show that if you threaten their worldview, they'll do what they can to make your life unpleasant.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:01 PM
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30- That's incoherent.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:03 PM
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See Scott Beauchamp and so forth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:03 PM
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Saying this is about either (the government's) money or about ideology gives this administration way too much credit. It's about corporations' interests, and their control over political interest. The government wastes our money on hiring private companies to do work they should be doing themselves, and not for some high-falutin ideological conservatism, but for protecting corporate power.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:03 PM
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To be fair, Milton Friedman and probably at least ten non-dead libertarians are actually ideologically committed to wasting government money on providing capitalists with monopolies to do government work.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:07 PM
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33: They need to slot Graeme Frost into their pre-fab script about "The Middle-Class Welfare Kid Next Door." Krugman called attention to this script about six weeks ago.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:08 PM
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Also: Graeme Frost is fair game, but any attacks on David Petraeus deserve Congressional censure. Discuss.

Liberals should be nice to Petraeus because he's a sympathetic figure and the American people will not stand for abusive treatment of generals.

Twelve-year-olds, on the other hand - well, let's face it, nobody likes them.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:12 PM
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The Dems should ask the Republicans to make a statement about how the attacks on Frost are wrong. Let's see what they say then.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:13 PM
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OT: Your party of ideas, folks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:17 PM
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That may not actually be all that off-topic.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:17 PM
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"Fair game" was the exact language used when the media defended their coverage of the Swift Boat Veterans. If Kerry didn't want to be lied about, he shouldn't have brought up his service in Vietnam.

max linked to Christopher Hitchens on this the other day. Here's a quote:

If Kerry doesn't like people disputing his own version of his own gallantry, then it was highly incautious of him to have made it the centerpiece of his appeal.

Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:21 PM
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There was another "fair game" comment (not including the "fair game" comment Rove made about Plame) that I posted about and now can't find.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:25 PM
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God, Republican opposition to this is just insane. From the Weekly Standard article: "According to the official Maryland web site for its SCHIP program version, Maryland Childrens Health Care, there is no asset test for participation in SCHIP. All aboard the dole train(-wreck)."

So, you're supposed to sell everything you own so your kids can get health insurance?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:27 PM
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One of the differences I had with hilzoy was over her optimism when the Democrats took Congress in 2006. I knew nothing good would get passed. That doesn't mean 2006 as necessarily a Pyrrhic victoey, just that it had to be carefully used to gain further advantage.

Now you may discount John Cole as a former Republican who has retained bad habits, or you can believe he understands something about politics many are missing:

"it is hard to deny what Republicans are- a bunch of bitter, nasty, petty, snarling, sneering, vicious thugs, peering through people's windows so they can make fun of their misfortune." ...JC

Don't argue facts, issues, ideologies, personalities.

Get all fucking TRIBAL on their sorry fucking asses. They are all bad people, and must be disempowered.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:28 PM
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45: what, your house is more important to you than your kids? Typical liberal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:29 PM
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So, you're supposed to sell everything you own so your kids can get health insurance?

Duh. There is one, and only one, situation in which asset tests are inappropriate: rich people with judgments against them have the God-given right to own multi-million dollar homes in Florida.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:30 PM
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44: I think it was Dick Cheney. He was either defending his bloodlust for the canned hunt, or else speaking with reference to that old man that he shot in the face.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:31 PM
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that old man that he shot in the face

How Republicans want the world to work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:35 PM
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Instant classic.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:40 PM
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They are all bad people, and must be disempowered.

You mean disemboweled, right?


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 4:59 PM
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52:That would work.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:03 PM
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They lead from the gut, so it amounts to the same thing.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:05 PM
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Jim Henley, in the comments to the linked post, reproved a commenter for wishing Republicans "shot down in the street like the dogs they are". Henley called it "depraved".

I wouldn't wish to introduce depravity into the hallowed threads of Unfogged, and 52 does represent a sincere attempt to keep all options open in case somethingmore politically possible becomes available.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:09 PM
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I think having kids speak out when their opinion is directly relevant and the policy discussed is about them is unproblematic. In fact, I think we should encourage it.

Amen. They can't vote; voicing their opinions and appealing to the decency of adults is the only political power they have.

Personally, I don't think that should be the case, but I'm not going to be around to argue about it because I have to go pick my husband up and then go look at a cheaper house to rent. I hope.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:27 PM
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56:Wow, another radical kid-libber?

No discrimination on the basis of age seems simple enough to me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:39 PM
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But let's not kid ourselves, this 12-year-old didn't get on the radio first, without it being the adults' idea, and second, without having his message written, or at the very least thoroughly edited and massaged, by adults. These particular adults, too, are as much "fair game" as anyone on earth. So there's a certain sense in which they're shielding themselves behind someone people will be afraid to criticize, in the same way as Bush's guys wrapping him in the flag, or in Gen. Petraeus' brass.

That said, it is a good opportunity for the kid, and it is also completely unnecessary for them to attack the family in this way.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:42 PM
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Amen. They can't vote; voicing their opinions and appealing to the decency of adults is the only political power they have.

But only if they're against bong hits for Jesus. Let's not get carried away.


Posted by: Ross Boffo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:42 PM
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Kids should be allowed to vote. Discuss.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:48 PM
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Kids should be allowed to vote.

More electoral votes for Utah!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:52 PM
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58: Youngsters won't believe this, but there was a time when conservatives used to complain about the tendency people had of promoting false moral equivalence.

If I'm getting you right here, liberals run a newspaper ad with a nasty pun about testimony before Congress, therefore it's understandable for conservatives to harass people at home and work, and to lie about them in public forums. Would it still be morally equivalent if the nut-right had actually hit the child or thrown a rock through his window? Is there a limit to "fair game"?

The other false equivalence is between the child and Petraeus. Moveon specifically objected to the content of Petraeus's testimony. The nut-right isn't rebutting a child - or the arguments of the adults - they are bullying a family.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:54 PM
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Kids should be allowed to vote.

But only if they don't live in the District of Columbia. Let's not get carried away.


Posted by: Ross Boffo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 5:56 PM
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I didn't even hint at any 'therefore' in my post, and I even went out of my way to say I wasn't condoning the harassment, so I assume you're trolling.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:15 PM
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58: Neil, I think that the point is that those people will slime anyone who disagrees with them, including little kids. They slimed Chelsea Clinton a decade ago for nothing. They slimed Desmond Tutu just now. They slimed a guy a few days after he was killed in Iraq.

That said, I suppose that your insistent concern about the horror of using kids at all in politics, a question that only cpmes up if it's Democrats doing it, really isn't completely imbecile and creepy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:19 PM
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Real live blogging professor argues children should in fact vote.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:20 PM
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Kids should be allowed to vote.

This message brought to you by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:29 PM
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Kids should be allowed to vote.

Only if they enlist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:38 PM
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Kids should be allowed to think before they pester me with stupid questions that college students should know.

I hit a new low yesterday. I swear this happened. This student was adding -10 and 2, and she paused and looked at me and said, "What's the rule again for if your answer is positive or negative?"

That's where you keep your therapist face on and say, "What do you think?" and then let your eyeballs roll out of your skull later on when she's gone.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:40 PM
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You can't take three from two, two is less than three, so you look at the four in the tens place....


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:45 PM
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Damn you -- I just got told half an hour ago that our deadline for the Rule 26 disclosure in this trainwreck is tomorrow, and I didn't need to have 'New Math' stuck in my head.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:50 PM
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You can take the girl out of the tens column, but you can't take the tens column out of the girl! Oh, how true.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:50 PM
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I am eating at this moment a soup I just invented. Cream of celeriac and beets with goat cheese! It is a wonderful soup. I don't really want children, but the idea of having some so I could feed them soups and use them to lobby for universal healthcare is terribly appealing.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:59 PM
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71: It's the whole "yes, I really do have to take this bullshit seriously" bit that makes practicing law a lot less enjoyable than it might otherwise be.

In other news, I did my good deed for the week by posting a comment last night suggesting that the author of the ill-considered blog that I didn't link here might want to reconsider how much dirty laundry she was making available to colleagues and clients, and this morning it was gone. Now I can make fun of injured Republican children with a clear conscience.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 6:59 PM
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OT, but every so often I have to surf back over to Slate to remind myself why I stopped reading it regularly. And inevitably, I encounter something like "Eat Crap: Why Americans Should Ingest More Excrement", and I wonder no more.

The occasional gems (Dahlia Lithwick, David Plotz) no longer compensate for the river of dreck emanating from there these days.

Half-baked conjectures causally linking the decline of Slate to its acquisition by the Washington Post are welcome.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:00 PM
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I am eating - was eating actually - oatmeal that I put way, way too much syrup in, and now my stomach hurts like a bitch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:01 PM
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69: she paused

Lawrence Summers would know how to explain this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:02 PM
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It's finally getting cold enough to start eating oatmeal for breakfast again. Is it weird that I'm genuinely excited about it?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:02 PM
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75: I think it was Weisberg vs. Kinsley and not WP vs. Microsoft.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:03 PM
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ipecac ≠ maple


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:04 PM
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Syrup????? In your oatmeal??? God's telling you that ain't natural.

Fruit is good, as is a dollop of plain yogurt to get you through the late-morning doldrums. This morning I made mine with dried cherries, a banana (cooked briefly), and yogurt. Mmmm, healthy. Then I came to the office and spent the day scarfing down leftover pastries from yesterday's coffee hour.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:05 PM
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On the topic of the post, it's not just Michelle Malkin's army of winged monkeys, but possibly a sitting US senator.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:11 PM
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Eating oatmeal at this time of night is not normal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:16 PM
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82 assumes facts not in evidence.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:17 PM
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It was actually grits but I thought I'd get shit for eating grits and syrup, and that oatmeal and syrup would be taken in stride. It was actually kind of gross.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:22 PM
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I've heard of grits and syrup before, but it grosses me out. I love grits, but with butter and jalapeños. Mmm.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:24 PM
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HG, we still love you even though you eat grits.

Sort of, I mean. With the standard grits-deduction, of course.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:25 PM
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Seems to me this Frost thing presents a good opportunity for a Republican Sister Souljah moment. Someone like a Huckabee or a Brownback could get a lot of publicity for a simple "While I oppose SCHIP, going after kids is out of line."

It would piss off the wingnutosphere, but I think the MSM would eat it up because it makes bloggers look bad.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:26 PM
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Or cheese grits (with jalapenos) are awesome too. That's what I'd eaten right before the syrup malfunction. I had parmesan cheese on the grits. No jalapenos though. Then I was still hungry.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:28 PM
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You can take the girl out of the tens column, but you can't take the tens column out of the girl!

I think I have a new euphemism for my swinging cod.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:34 PM
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Grits with butter and syrup is badass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:38 PM
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82 assumes facts not in evidence.

That's why 82 includes the word "possibly".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:47 PM
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I am avoiding work by taking Scots paleography tests. What fun! If y'all ever need some 16th-century Scots legal briefs read for you, you know where I am.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:49 PM
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92: You're misreading me. The assumption I was objecting to was that "Michelle Malkin's army of winged monkeys" and "a sitting US senator" describe mutually exclusive categories.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:51 PM
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Ah.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:53 PM
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Now get out there and drop a house on Mitch McConnell.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 7:57 PM
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What do people mean when they say "let kids vote"? The under 18 demographic is fairly heterogeneous. If you gave my four year old the vote, she'd pull the lever that was pink. If you gave my two year old the vote, he'd toddle into the voting booth, spin around in a circle and collapse on the floor giggling.

Once you specify an age limit you are talking about, we can begin to reason. Articulate 12 year olds make lowering the franchise that far sound appealing. But give PK the vote? Isn't he 7? To what extent is he analyzing SCHIP in his own interest, and to what extent is he pulling the lever that is pink? And don't argue you can say that of any voter who might be moved by superficial considerations, because you know that at least when you get to the four year old, the irrationality and failure to understand what they are doing is qualitatively different than it is for adults.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:00 PM
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Old enough to bleed, old enough to breed participate in representative democracy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:05 PM
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wishing Republicans "shot down in the street like the dogs they are".

There must be enough crazy people on the left to deal with all those crazy people on the right. What else do we pay all those old Maoists and Answerites for?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:05 PM
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I thought the A.N.S.W.E.R.I.T.E.S. were pretty young.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:07 PM
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Are you dumb?

Of course using kids seems 'ew' to you and i. But we're eggheads. Kids in ads is some tame-ass politics.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:16 PM
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Any minute now, someone's going to link to that famous LBJ ad.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:18 PM
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This is the kind of thing we need.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:22 PM
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But we're eggheads.

Speak for yourself. There's lots of chowderheads here and I'm partial to pudding, myself.

But, yeah, kids in ads aren't anything new. Kids and advertising go together like, well, dogs and advertising.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:26 PM
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105

102: You mean this ad?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:28 PM
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I join mrh in being excited by the prospect of weather suitable for hot cereal breakfasts.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:32 PM
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I read this a few weeks ago. Everything you ever wanted to know about the "Daisy" ad.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:32 PM
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105: that's the one.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:34 PM
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97:the irrationality and failure to understand what they are doing is qualitatively different than it is for adults.

Ageist. If no otherwise eligible adult is denied the franchise on the basis of mental capacity the argument fails. Or would you propose IQ tests? Literacy tests? Current affairs?

Every 4 yr old is not qualitively different from every adult in ways that individual adults may not differ from the majority of adults, for the purpose of voting.

No discrimination by age. If a 4-yr-old can pass a driver's test, give her a license, or make the test harder for everyone.

The last vestige of institutionalized oppression.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:36 PM
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You know, I never really noticed before: that little girl sucks at counting.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:37 PM
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109+

Of course, do not re-engineer the tests so that 4-yr-olds are purposely excluded, for instance, a height requirement that does not apply to midgets.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:40 PM
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109: The whole question of how many five-year-olds would it take to bring you down changes substantively if they're in Buicks.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:41 PM
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What else do we pay all those old Maoists and Answerites for?

The Maoists are making youtube videos for"Career Opportunities."


Posted by: Observer773 | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:42 PM
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110: Larry Summers would have an explanation for this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:43 PM
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http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/cas/443960060.html


Posted by: The Next Big Conservative Sex Scandal | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:46 PM
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113: I like the part in the middle where they explicitly analogize themselves to the good guys in The Matrix.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:49 PM
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110: She's one of heebie's students.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 8:52 PM
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116: I'd say the weren't up to date on their cultural references, but they're Maoists, so that kinda goes without saying.


Posted by: Observer773 | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 9:01 PM
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To what extent is he analyzing SCHIP in his own interest, and to what extent is he pulling the lever that is pink?

I think more the former than the latter. Kids aren't dummies; of course the better, clearer, and less loaded your explanation of the issue, the better their analysis in their own interest is--but how is that different from adults?

I do think that kids are likely to be heavily swayed by their parents, sure. And that, say, the under-6 crowd is by and large going to be a crapshoot between actual opinions and pulling the pink lever. But again, how is that substantively different between, say, me when I go into the booth and vote on a candidate I haven't heard of simply by straight party-line voting or random guessing? I went to a presentation last night for the school board candidates; there were maybe 40 people attending. You know most people voting for things like judges or school board or city council are doing so more or less at random (and most people don't bother to vote for those things at all).

I honestly can't come up with a good reason to deny kids the vote; and I can come up with a lot of good reasons we shouldn't. The main issue, it seems to me, is one of eligibility: do we just extend it to all children, period? To all children who can read? To all children who can vote without assistance? To all children who are physically capable of marking a ballot? All the means tests are obviously problematic, as there are adults who would fail them (and yet, are allowed to vote). Maybe it should be all children of school age, or all over-5s or over-6s. Not sure where (or if) to draw the line. But 18 seems to be simply wrong.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 9:06 PM
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Kids aren't dummies; of course the better, clearer, and less loaded your explanation of the issue, the better their analysis in their own interest is--but how is that different from adults?

Mmm. They're not dummies, but they're not exactly reliable at distinguishing fact from fiction, depending on the age. When did the bad man touch you, Timmy? Right before we rode on the floating giraffe! I think there's also documentable differences in how kids and adults respond to future incentives. And in all likelihood, the kids just vote however their parents argue it to them.

Plus, while kids aren't dummies, they're not expected to be in charge of other decisions in their life, and we don't expect them to be fully mature agents in other areas. We are more lenient on crimes for those who are underage, and while there isn't a brightline distinction between 17.5 and 18, I'm still glad in general that we don't treat juvenile offenders the same way we treat adults.

That I think is a harder distinction to keep if we think that kids are rational enough to vote.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 9:18 PM
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Eh, there's a whole lot to what B's saying there. A whole lot of adults don't do too well on "rational enough to vote." Maybe the difference is that kids at least have a chance of someday becoming rational?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 9:24 PM
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I don't see 121 as a big problem, really. There are things that children aren't allowed to do for no particular reason except that we've decided that they're not grown up enough yet to incur that responsibility. Medical decisions, criminal punishments, contracts, child labor laws, &c. And we have those laws even though I'm sure there are ten-year-olds who could competently analyze their own medical history and thirty-year olds who can't be trusted with aspirin.

Given that we can't use literacy test or IQ tests or measurements like that without running straight into poll tax problems, we can't ensure that every voter is perfectly rational individually. (There's a separate ethical argument about whether we'd want to.)

But I can draw a line based on the way kids are treated in other cases: you're a person, but you're not a full-fledged member of society yet. Every other aspect of a child's life recognizes that. Voting is for people that we recognize as full-fledged members of society; kids are great, but if we don't expect them to be full responsible for their own lives otherwise, they're not there yet. In other words, I don't think the right to vote is predicated on rationality or literacy or IQ, just on full membership in the republic.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 9:37 PM
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This "full-fledged member of society" category is the thing that looks less than fully worked out. I'm with you on not being bothered by excluding kids from voting, but I'm (tentatively) with B in thinking that the rationale basically reduces to "because I say so," which is less than rigorous.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 9:43 PM
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'Less than fully worked out'? On a blog comment? Heaven forfend.

There's an element of 'because I say so' to it, in that the line isn't at 17 or 16, or based on some theory of rationality. But I'm not sure that puts a voting restriction in a worse place than any other law with a seemingly arbitrary time or age restriction. Is there a reason why a state divorce law might say that people cannot remarry for six months after the divorce is finalized?

Maybe a way to put it is like this: there's lots of reasons we as a society might not want children to be eligible for a draft, or to be eligible to enter into contracts, or to be employable, or to be fully responsible for their medical and financial decisions. And the reasons have something to do with maturity, responsibilities, capabilities, a whole mix of stuff.

We had to draw a line somewhere, and pretty much wherever we draw a line we can quibble with a little bit, but we think that by and large, there are good reasons for not allowing child soldiers or child labor or what have you. The end result of all of those lines is to create a category of persons who are shielded from many rights and responsibilities.

I think that 'fully fledged person', someone who gets all the benefits and responsibilities of being in the society is a better way to understand it than rationality or IQ or fitness, especially if you look at who else we exclude. Non-citizens. Some felons. Even if they're really smart and rational.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:19 PM
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But Cala, how are any of the arguments you're putting forth different than the arguments that were used against granting women the vote?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:23 PM
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It seems like the fact that Cala's conditions are temporary is key. No individual is permanently denied the franchise.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:27 PM
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This is some quality trolling.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:28 PM
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Kids should serve on juries, be able to sign up for the military and eligible to be drafted.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:32 PM
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Clearly I should have read 124.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:34 PM
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Could our society's refusal to grant children suffrage have something to do with the relative ineffectiveness of child soldiers? If four year olds had the physical capabilities and access to munitions that Marines do, I'd imagine we'd have much stricter anti-bedtime laws.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:35 PM
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I'm not going to scroll up. Just tell me who is arguing that kids should be able to vote.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:35 PM
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Anyway, there's a book about how age of consent rules came into being. The reviews I've seen have been favorable; I haven't read it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:35 PM
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Just tell me who is arguing that kids should be able to vote.

Your first guess will likely be right.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:37 PM
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B, oh B.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:38 PM
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And while I'm at it, here's another book I haven't read.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:39 PM
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But Cala, how are any of the arguments you're putting forth different than the arguments that were used against granting women the vote?

"Don't drink that, it's poison!"
"But you said the other one was poison, and it wasn't!"
[Glug]
[Dies]


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:40 PM
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120/122: Thank you for effectively reducing the aggregate crazy factor of this thread within a mere three comments.

Setting aside for the moment the most excellent arguments-on-principle for letting children vote, perhaps it's worth considering the practical implications. They may not be dummies, but one thing kids are is wholly dependent on adults: financially, physically, and cognitively. I personally can't get excited about adding to the mix, in one stroke, an uninformed and dependent voting population especially susceptible to persuasion, nor with selectively enhancing the democratic representation of whatever various demographics happen to have fecundity in common.

As for being dummies, kids aren't dumb, but they ARE qualitatively different, cognitively, than adults. Because I'd hate to think cerebrocrat:brainz::w-lfs-n:grammar, let me just say that since humans pop their young out so soon, the deal in exchange for being sprung early from the uterine pokey is extra time in protective custody. Those little brains, they're not through cooking yet. Let stand for 2 min. before serving, etc.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:45 PM
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But Cala, how are any of the arguments you're putting forth different than the arguments that were used against granting women the vote?

Well, in one sense, they're not. But those arguments were wrong about adult women, but not about girls (and boys). Arguments which rest on an infantilization of women are wrong not because there's no such thing as infancy or infants, but because adult women are no longer in a state of infancy.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:47 PM
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136: I thought analogies were banned.

one thing kids are is wholly dependent on adults: financially, physically, and cognitively. I personally can't get excited about adding to the mix, in one stroke, an uninformed and dependent voting population

Again, all you have to do is substitute "women". And yes, cognitively there are major differences, but that kind of thing is getting into tricky territory when you're talking about drawing lines, no?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:49 PM
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My dream job: prosecutor in courts with all-child juries.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:49 PM
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But Cala, how are any of the arguments you're putting forth different than the arguments that were used against granting women the vote?

Ooh, I almost added a bit on that. The arguments are exactly the same. Except! We think women should be able to work. To own property. To enter into contracts and conduct their own finanical arrangements. To make their own medical decisions. Etc. So the categories are fine; it's just that women are in the category of fully-fledged citizens.

Now, you say, but Cala, wasn't there a time when women weren't allowed to work or own property or make their own decisions? Yes indeed there was. They put women in the wrong category partially because of wrong beliefs about all those other reasons about rationality, etc. And if we show that all of our beliefs about children and their maturity and rationality are false, then hey, let them vote.

But you notice all these things move together. If you're arguing seriously that PK should be in charge of his own medical decisions, that he should be able to work, that he should own property straightforwardly, then fine, let him vote. But I do think it stands and falls together.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:51 PM
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132: Interesting looking book, thanks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:52 PM
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How would you go about justifying the exclusion of infants from the electorate? If you can't, how do you go about recording their votes?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:53 PM
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Make the vote contingent on passing a civics test and I'll be happy to open the vote to children of any age who can pass it.

Note that, e.g. Orrin Hatch would be disenfranchised by this. That's a feature.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:55 PM
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Rise up young PK! You have nothing to lose but your chains! (and your dinner)


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:56 PM
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Well, IA's 138 is cogent and almost convincing.

If you're arguing seriously that PK should be in charge of his own medical decisions, that he should be able to work, that he should own property straightforwardly, then fine, let him vote.

I honestly think this would depend on what you mean by "in charge of." I get what you're saying and why, but I really don't know about it all standing or falling together.

In any case, I keep coming back to the problem of the rights of children and the way they're treated, it seems to me, basically as property. And there are issues that affect them directly over which they have no direct input, like education funding or health insurance, etc., and I just can't get past the feeling that that's simply wrong.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:57 PM
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In any case, he's wiser than I am because he's been asleep for an hour and I'm still up arguing on the stupid internets. No more!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 10:59 PM
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146: I'm not talking input with you and Mr. B., as clearly whether he's old enough to have input depends on the situation and your parenting style... but as an adult woman, I called my doctor and said 'this antibiotic isn't working, can we change it to something else' without having to talk to shivbunny or my mother. I don't think PK gets that kind of control over his medical care.

(shivbunny looks over my shoulder and says: "Her kid's seven and she thinks he should vote? I'm going to launch my Pokemon platform.")

Anyhow, I don't think children should be treated as property, either. But I don't think not letting them vote on education or health insurance entails that we think of them as property, just wards of their parents.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:06 PM
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Still haven't seen the case that giving 10-year-olds the vote would reduce the quality of the American electorate. We're not talking philosopher kings here.

But yeah, mostly kids voting is just more interesting than portraits of furries.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:10 PM
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Still haven't seen the case that giving 10-year-olds the vote would reduce the quality of the American electorate.

That wasn't the issue; hence, no case given for it. If we're talking about the quality of the American electorate, let's have literacy tests and political knowledge tests and I think there was a whole amendment about this and maybe even some court decisions...


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:19 PM
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Didn't we start from a linked LGM post that was about pretty much exactly that?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:21 PM
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Right, I argued against giving children the vote without having to make any of the points that LGM makes against it. I don't much care whether we postulate that all ten-year-olds would vote for Pikachu or that they'd study the issues; voting rights aren't dependent upon individual competence.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:27 PM
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Yeah, competence as a prerequisite to voting is nice in theory, but in practice the people who define "competence" tend to be rather political. I don't think the American electorate is particularly smarter than your average seventh grader, but children's suffrage is still self-evidently ridiculous. My father, however, maintains, perhaps erroneously, that the newspaper with the best polling serves mainly elementary schools. It must be admitted that the CDC has been shamefully negligent in the area of cootie-prevention.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:29 PM
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My proposed ad: "Many Republicans think Graeme Frost is fair game. The real question: does Republican Mark Foley think Graeme is…fair game."

(too soon?)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:30 PM
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I would vote for Pikachu.

I'd be in the voting booth, yelling "Pikachu, I choose you!"


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:32 PM
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Eh, I don't think you've done that very successfully. OTOH I'm perfectly OK with kids not voting for reasons more or less similar to yours. I don't demand a lot of philosophical coherence of social policy. But it's still interesting that the argument is of the same form as arguments for denying woment hte vote, gays the right to marry, etc. Or at least it's more interesting than furries.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:33 PM
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156 to 152.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:34 PM
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We have a distinction between soundness and validity for a reason, people. 'It's of the same form' only takes you so far. The truth of the premises matters a bit, so I hear.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:37 PM
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As does our history of getting the premises badly wrong in this particular sort of debate, which history has led us to the conclusion that we need to have strong reasons for excluding a class of citizens from full participation in civic affairs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:41 PM
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Such reasons I've tried to articulate. What are your reasons for thinking that we're so badly wrong about the dependent status of children and the special status of childhood, wherever we happen to draw the line?

And like I said, if we someday in the future discover that we're badly wrong about all of the premises about children, their dependence on adults, and we think that children have all -or even most- of the rights and responsibilities of adults, then I'll happily be wrong. But I don't think 'being affected by the results of a policy' is sufficient grounds for the right to vote.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 9-07 11:55 PM
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Cala is teh voice of oppression!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:06 AM
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"No discrimination on the basis of age" does not, I think, necessarily exclude all discrimination. If certain attributes or abilities or vulnerabilities very strongly correlate to age, then reasonaable discriminatory rules and laws may be acceptable. But arbitrary rules and laws, without tests or evidenced justifications, should fall under strict scrutiny, and able to be challenged on an individual basis.

By default, MacCauley Culkin cannot control his earnings at 12. MC does have options, rights, and protections to gain independence or change guardians.

I am absolutely unwilling to say *every* 16 yr old should not have some adult rights, or an opportunity to demonstrate need or competence to gain them, in all or in part. It makes no sense morally or empirically. It is an exercise of power for its own sake.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:06 AM
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It might turn out that Pikachu is a perfectly viable leader. Man, will we look like bigots when he(?) assumes office. This whole discussion reminds me of the Ali G:
"Twenty years ago, they di'nt allow bitches to vote; then does you fink twenty years from now, they'll allow animals to vote?"


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:12 AM
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Part, but certainly not all, of my position derives from the problems of child abuse & neglect, and the problem of child sexual abuse. Rather than having a grotesquely intrusive society, I would prefer one where children grow up with some sense of autonomy, and a belief that society respects, will protect and ensure a minimal autonomy.

I have confidence that the consequences would not be dire. The adolescent miffed about a curfew will likely not find the state dormitory so attractive, but every child should have the option, no questions asked, to leave their parents.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:18 AM
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Who's in favor of allowing 17 year olds to be tried as adults & sentenced to execution on a case by case basis? do I hear 16? 15? 14? 13?

There's not a bright line in cognitive function when it comes to crime either--there are probably some 18 year olds who are less cognitively developed than other 16 or 17 year olds. But we can't particularly trust prosecutors or juries to make the judgment fairly in capital cases. I'm sure there are 16 & 17 year olds who could vote just fine--I missed the 1996 presidential campaign by a couple days; believe me I was well enough informed. But we don't trust the gov't to administer intelligence or literacy tests to determine who's smart enough to vote. Much better to have a uniform standard--sure, you'll get the wrong result sometimes, but the alternative is too susceptible to abuse.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:19 AM
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Amen, 165. This is a standard argument; "Officer, how is it that going 66 is $40 more dangerous than 65?" etc... Bitch, however, is arguing a more extreme position: that children (not just 17 year olds) have political agency. Not having the smartest seven year old ever, I am naturally biased, but I'm pretty glad we have an age cutout. Not that it seems to have done us any good: our political discourse is carried out at the third grade level. Limiting suffrage to adults allows us the valuable pretense of a mature and dignified political process.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:30 AM
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Her kid's seven and she thinks he should vote? I'm going to launch my Pokemon platform

not wanting to be a dick here but that ship has sailed - you fellows have elected Reagan, Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sonny Bono, and at least one of those ran on a ticket which had very little content apart from "I'm famous! Hear me repeat my old catchphrases!"


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:33 AM
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Reagan had ideas:

We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:41 AM
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Fun fact! At the age of 16, I had to pay state income tax, because my wages at Sbarro pushed me just over the minimum for a dependent. I wrote then-Governor Jim Gilmore, arguing that I should be allowed to vote, lest we have taxation without representation. Gilmore('s staff) wrote me back saying basically, "Hey, kid. Your parents represent your interests. Take heart!"

My attempted retribution came in that year's mock Senate, when I proposed two constitutional amendments: one to lower the voting age to 15 (the legal working age at the time) and the other to modify the 16th Amendment to exempt anyone under the legal voting age from taxation. Both amendments failed.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:41 AM
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(Note: I had clauses that exluded gifts and other gimmicks to prevent rich-kid parents from dumping money to their 17-year-olds as a tax loophole. I'm sure of it!)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:44 AM
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"No one is free till all are free."

Just...goodnight.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:45 AM
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167 is true. Giuliani's campaign is further evidence of the efficacy of the action-figure approach in American politics.

169-70: Yeah, that killed me too. I entered the work force at 15, and by sixteen I was in theory above the poverty line. My parents cruelly claimed me as a dependent without any justification beyond paying for my food and shelter. When I reached majority I was technically self-employed and had to pay quarterly income taxes. I have never, in all my puff, been able to claim standard deduction. I blame conservatism.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 12:54 AM
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167, Dsquared:

and how many times have Labour been releected now on a platform of "at least we're not the Tories"? The UK has nothing to be proud of here.

(Nor has holland. The only country in the world where a prime minister whose first three governments ended in failure, still get to lead a fourth one.)


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 1:42 AM
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Incidentally "Fair game" != Fair play".

It's "game" as in deer and partridges, and "fair" as in permitted, in open season. They know exactly what they're talking about, and mean every word.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 2:20 AM
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and how many times have Labour been releected now on a platform of "at least we're not the Tories"?

Funny how that platform just wouldn't work while a Welshman was leading the party.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 5:41 AM
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141: But you notice all these things move together.

This comes up every time the Children's franchise comes up, and I just don't get why people feel compelled to say it. Military service, driving, workforce participation (at various levels) consent to sex with people your own age, consent to sex with much older people, alcohol consumption, etc etc etc. Things do most emphatically not move together. We started charging children as adults in significant numbers when, the 80's? Did we give them a bunch of extra rights to go along with that?

I'm not as radical about this stuff as Bob, but I tend to think that the moral starting point ought to be full rights, and we ought to think very very hard about which ones we absolutely must restrict from certain classes of people. With children, we do it the other way around.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:37 AM
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I should also add that most of the arguments against children's voting rights turn on debates about competence, rationality, and so on. There's another, at least equally important way of thinking about what's valuable about voting rights--self defense. The two largest groups of people who are largely excluded from the workforce, and are frequently otherwise dependent on the care of others, are children and the elderly. One has the vote, the other doesn't. Look at how much money we spend on them. It's all fine and good to say we should do better by the other group, but we don't. This is a serious problem that defenders of denying the franchise must deal with.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:47 AM
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An interesting discussion might break out about this after all. Is giving children the vote the progressive position? It seems to me just another way in which children can be robbed of their childhood, being treated as miniature adults way too soon. Theory: childhood is when you grow up; if you don't get one, you never grow up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:50 AM
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This is a serious problem that defenders of denying the franchise must deal with.

They must, but they won't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:51 AM
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It seems to me just another way in which children can be robbed of their childhood, being treated as miniature adults way too soon

the women didn't seem to object that much to losing their feminine innocence and treated as miniature men.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:57 AM
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Theory: childhood is when you grow up; if you don't get one, you never grow up.

I think you're going to have serious problems defining "grow up." There are plenty of kids who are pretty responsible, well-behaved, and decent when compared with older folk. Maybe it depends on how long you think childhood extends.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:58 AM
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Nice try, double-d.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:58 AM
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176: You'll find a lot of arguments that, say, the drinking age should be lowered based on the idea that 'we think they can vote', or that the driving age should be raised. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close. And I think the main argument behind lowering the federal voting age to 18 was that if they could be drafted, they had the right to vote on whether they wanted the war.

In any case, that might be an argument for lowering the voting age, or for consistency. But we were discussing having no voting age at all.

With children, we do it the other way around.

I submit we do this largely because we recognize childhood as a protected state. It has most of the rights, and significantly fewer responsibilities. It's different from adulthood. We can argue that childhood should start sooner or end later, but if you're going to draw a line at all, age is pretty much the only way to do it (especially with voting, for surreptitious poll tax reasons.) Either that, or you're essentially giving the parents of young infants an extra vote.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:00 AM
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180: dsquared's position is that women are cognitively identical to five-year-olds.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:02 AM
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So still nobody likes my "grass on the field" proposal? Anybody who brings one of their own pubic hairs to the polling place can vote.

No?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:03 AM
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Anybody who brings one of their own pubic hairs to the polling place can vote.

It would have to still be attached, or else you will just feed the pubic hair black market.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:05 AM
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Surely any idea being tag teamed by both B and McManus is some kind of nexus of crazy, to be only observed from a great distance, lest ye be sucked into it like a black hole.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:05 AM
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Theory: childhood is when you grow up; if you don't get one, you never grow up.

Saladin and Aquinas explained with one sentence.
Kids now are expected to manage a mixture of dependence and responsibility, with interpersonal responsibility coming early and economic responsibility late. The rationale is the importance of education, but public schools and low expectations for all but the most competitive fields in college lead to years spent not learning much.

Allowing a no-fault separation from parents is an interesting idea that would curb much severe child abuse, and allow a clear way for young independent people to get the rights that go with autonomy.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:11 AM
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I'm for lowering the drinking age and possibly for raising the driving age, because in each case there is good evidence and reasons behind each argument which have little to do with how much they coincide with the current age at which people are allowed to vote. Missing: evidence or a convincing reason why walking into a voting booth once or twice a year if you want to would significantly and negatively alter the character of childhood.

184: D2 can speak for himself, but I think what he's doing is reminding us about how perversely certain lines of reasoning have been successfully used in the past because they line up with widespread prejudices a useful corrective to the way current widespread prejudices might be informing the debate today, which is an important and useful exercise.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:12 AM
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It seems like every way in which the US election system would be improved has in fact been enacted in some other country with successful results.

Is there any place where there's no minimum voting age?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:14 AM
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It seems to me just another way in which children can be robbed of their childhood, being treated as miniature adults way too soon.

Yes.

It also strikes me as yet another manifestation of an especially (although not exclusively) American fetish for autonomy. The notion that each and every one of us is, or should be, a fully autonomous individual self. Which we none of us truly are, though some of us get to pretend to be. We have a real problem acknowledging interdependence, much less dependence.

Children are necessarily dependent upon adults. I think we all know this, but it makes us profoundly uncomfortable because we now see dependence as an almost sub-human state (and/or as the condition that characterizes drug addiction or something).


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:16 AM
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If we're talking about lowering the voting age to 16 or something, fine. But arguments to let 5 year olds vote I find about as compelling as the push to get chimps legal status as persons because they're "beings with interests."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:17 AM
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Theory: childhood is when you grow up; if you don't get one, you never grow up.

You can certainly get away with a lot less childhood (grandfather going to work at age 13), and grow up just fine. And you can get away with an aborted childhood (family tragedy, had to grow up too fast.) So maybe this is just a question of what is ideal.

I'd be very happy if we could get rid of the teenager category.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:17 AM
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D2 can speak for himself, but I think what he's doing is reminding us about how perversely certain lines of reasoning have been successfully used in the past because they line up with widespread prejudices a useful corrective to the way current widespread prejudices might be informing the debate today, which is an important and useful exercise.

And while D2 surely will recognize that I was teasing him, it's a useful corrective to point out qualitative differences when people make silly analogies about the past.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:19 AM
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We have a real problem acknowledging interdependence, much less dependence.

Interdependence constrains freedom; you can't go shopping or improve your sport performance if you give your difficult but dependent parents the time they deserve. A culture revolving around consumption and career (actually income) has a problem acknowledging responsibility, I think.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:24 AM
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88 sounds interesting and moving, sort of like the idea for some movie like "Bulworth." (Hey, I liked it.) That is, until you realize that Huckabee or any other candidate who did so would promptly lose his party's nomination, because the wingnutosphere makes up (or at least, accurately represents) a majority of the Republican Party.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:25 AM
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165: Katherine, that reminded me of something I heard on NPR last night on my way home -- the EU wasn't able to declare EU Anti-Capital-Punishment Day because Poland insisted on tying it to anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia, so the Council of Europe, which doesn't require unanimity for this kind of thing, did it instead. This includes most of the EU countries plus several others, including Russia and Ukraine. I was surprised to hear that Ukraine hasn't executed anyone in ten years. My god, we're barbarians over here.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:29 AM
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Children are necessarily dependent upon adults. I think we all know this, but it makes us profoundly uncomfortable because we now see dependence as an almost sub-human state (and/or as the condition that characterizes drug addiction or something).

I think this causes a lot of interpersonal difficulties between children and parents in this country, especially during adolesence. Kids are also socialized into this attitude, and as they come to understand it some of them find their dependence on their parents almost unbearable.

But this seems less common among young people today than it used to be, perhaps since people who had this attitude most strongly in the previous generation were less likely to have kids.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:29 AM
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(Point being, maybe when we give children the vote, we can also decide not to execute anyone.)


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:29 AM
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Sorry, I should have recognized the tongue in cheek nature of your response there.

191 is correct in all kinds of ways. But we need to think hard about the ways in which the myth of autonomy actually helps and hurts us.

I can attest to the fact that extending the franchise down somewhat doesn't destroy childhood. I've been voting since I was 13* and those years weren't any less carefree or childlike for it. Again, if you think this will be an actual consequence of lowering the voting age, you have to explain how this will work. I don't see it.

*My mom found deciding how to vote really taxing and stressful, and recognized that I followed politics far more closely and carefully than her, so she let me decide how she should vote. Afterwards, I managed to resume my childhood in the manner to which I was accustomed.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:31 AM
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you should have seen how offensive that analogy was when I was trying to use a racial analogy for people who were considered by someone with more rights than them to be benefiting from their carefree innocent state of rightslessness.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:37 AM
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Poland insisted on tying it to anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia

I'm sick of these immigrants trying to enact religious law in our country.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:38 AM
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I'm not arguing that there's something magical about the voting booth that strips your childhood of innocence because of the weightiness of the decision. So that can't be what you meant by the fact that you voted when you were thirteen and it didn't hurt you, because that would be a very silly strawman to make. (And where are the goalposts? I thought we were talking about no voting age at all.) So the question is: what would lowering the voting age en masse, not just a kid voting 'for his mom', affect how we think of childhood?

If the republic is a giant social contract, then I think the effect wouldn't be insignificant. (We don't allow illegal immigrants, or legal permanent residents, or tourists to vote, even if their lives are more affected by the legislation at hand, not because we think they're incompetent or less than fully rational, but because they're not owners of the contract.)

The ability to vote shows that you're a full participant in the contract. All the rights, and all the responsibilities. That sounds like adulthood as a citizen. Practically speaking, it's hard to say what the effects would be. But I'd be willing to bet if we pushed the voting age back two or three years, military recruitment of 15 or 16 year olds would be hard on its heels, and I think juveniles being tried as adults would be right after that.

That might not be enough of a reason not to grant fifteen year olds the right to vote, but it's not because changing the voting age wouldn't change anything about how we look at childhood. It's that we don't think the changes are a problem.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:58 AM
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After the voting age was lowered to 18, the Federal government strong-armed states into a uniform 21 drinking age. In general, since the voting age was last lowered, I think we as a society have come to see and treat 18-20 year olds as less adult-like, rather than more. So color me skeptical about the empirical consequences you expect to result from this.

(I do switch back and forth between lowering and eliminating the voting age, which are two separate issues. I think the latter is defensible in theory but presents serious practical problems, so I advocate for lowering as a imperfect second-best policy; sorry for any confusion).


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:15 AM
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Despite the fact that I 100% agree with 192 (and maybe 187) on this one, I agree that there are clear benefits to extending autonomy downwards, and that after reaching grass-on-field status, young adults are better able to represent their interests than generally given credit for*. But there are also advantages to postponing autonomy that are less obvious and potentially growing in importance; protection from the responsibilities of autonomy allows an extended developmental period.

*Although, prefrontal circuits involved in impulse-control aren't finished getting wired until the late teens; watch for this science to come up more often in criminal defenses of juvenile offenders.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:35 AM
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I would also add that 203 is wrong at least some of the time about permanent legal residents; cities can let them vote on local matters, and there's a long history of this. Which is neither here nor there regarding children, except to observe that the whole social contract metaphor, with a bright line between members and non-members, is a flawed way if thinking about politics (as are all the rest of course)


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 10:56 AM
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To pull away from the kids voting discussion (final answer: insane) and back to the post topic, the front page at michellemalkin.com is pretty amusing right now. Not intentionally amusing, of course, but amusing all the same.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 1:41 PM
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I don't think not letting them vote on education or health insurance entails that we think of them as property, just wards of their parents.

No, but we define "wards" in a way that's awfully close to property. Parents can hit their children, for example. They can deny them necessary medical care. They can insist on unnecessary medical care. They can deny them an adequate education.

I'm really bothered by the argument that, say, because kids can't own property or work full-time jobs, it's okay that they can't vote. It's simply not true that rights depend on responsibilities; the entire point of civil rights is that they are *independent* of one's responsibilities and whether or not one fulfills them. Kids are directly affected by a lot of social policies that they have no voice in, and the argument that their parents--who *as* parents (and adults) will often have interests that conflict with the interests of their children--represent those rights really is as problematic as the argument that husbands represent the rights of their wives; I don't see any difference.

The argument that voting would destroy the innocence of childhood is self-evidently ridiculous.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:33 PM
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I don't see any difference.

Look harder. It's there. What age would you recommend as the age of franchise?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 8:42 PM
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I don't really want kids voting, from a partisan perspective, but the awful way in which kids are treated by the school institutions makes me want the vote.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:38 PM
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Voting rights are the antidote to getting fucked over, which is why poor uneducated need the vote, not just their betters.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-10-07 9:39 PM
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Parents can hit their children, for example.

I often think that in 100 years or so, this might look like one of the most appalling things about the current status quo. We (adults) condone and even encourage violence against children, despite the research on the issue. Children, not unsurprisingly, oppose it. The research shows that children are, in fact, correct to oppose it. This state of affairs seems to bother absolutely know one. There's something fucked up about this.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:19 AM
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212: really? Over here violence against children, even the mildests of smacks on the wrist, is less and less tolerated.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 4:53 AM
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It's perfectly legal, and practiced by something a significant minority of parents. It's actually legal in 22 states for schools; hundreds of thousands of children are legally hit in schools every year as punishment. It may be looked down upon amongst certain classes and social groups, but it's broadly tolerated.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:16 AM
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By the way, everybody must read Malkin's response to Ezra's offer to debate her on S-CHIP. The woman is barking mad.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:32 AM
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I think people are underrating the therapeutic effects of violently disciplining children. Beating your child works at least as many muscles as deadlifting, and once the child has reached ten and picked up some speed, it has aerobic benefits as well.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 8:59 AM
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Doing it in water is much easier on the joints, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:02 AM
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djw, is this your cite for the hundreds of thousands figure? Do you know anything about their methodology? I don't, and am not trying to impugn it, just wondering. Also, post more at LGM.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 9:05 AM
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The National Association of School Pyschologists says here there are 1.5 million acts of physical discipline in schools "reported" in the US per year. I've assumed that schools keep records (or are at least supposed to) and they just counted them. Maybe they're using the old figure from the 70's, which explains the disparity with your link. I suppose this could be all wrong, and I don't know enough to stand behind their methodology, but if they are counting official reports, it seems more likely that would result in an undercount than an overcount, as I can imagine more reasons to keep teacher violence against students off the books than to claim it did happen when it didn't. But I don't purport to be an expert, those numbers could be all wrong for all I know.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 11:47 AM
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I've got a few posts in the hopper.


Posted by: djw | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 12:20 PM
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215: OK, the first few paragraphs were more than enough to establish that she's barking mad. Do I really have to read the rest?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-11-07 3:24 PM
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