In 1971, the United States ratified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.
The idea, in those Vietnam War years, was that 18-year-olds, being old enough to be drafted, to marry and to serve on juries, deserved a vote. It seemed plausible at the time, and I myself have argued that we should set the drinking age at 18 for the same reasons.
But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.
This evidence suggests that, whatever one might say about the 18-year-olds of 1971, the 18-year-olds of today aren’t up to that task. And even the 21-year-olds aren’t looking so good.
– Glenn Reynolds
I’m surprised – I didn’t think we would see these calls for more unchecked government surveillance until the start of the new week. But hats off to Dan Hodges – by publicly freaking out in his newspaper column and calling for the Investigatory Powers Bill to be passed, he has opened the door for Theresa May, David Cameron and a parade of GCHQ ex-chiefs to hit the TV studios and make the same demands.
Of course, what Dan does not do is explain how new government surveillance powers would a) have prevented the Paris attacks of 13 November, or b) might realistically prevent any future attacks. And if you pushed him, I doubt that he could explain the scope of current surveillance laws in any detail, or describe the ways that the British security services currently do or do not make use of those powers.
– Samuel Hooper
If the Conservative Party really still believed in national sovereignty, a strong defence, smaller government, less regulation and helping people to improve their own circumstances, they would look at the rise of Jeremy Corbyn and the return of political ideology and see it as license to start espousing their own philosophy instead of continually apologising for their beliefs.
That so many conservatives are desperate to stick to the centre ground and view Jeremy Corbyn as a clear and present threat to Britain says a lot more about the soft Right than it does about the Labour leadership candidate.
– Samuel Hooper
Journos: UK officials don’t want to “ban encryption” — they want to ban encryption that *works*.
– Edward Snowden
Call me a traditionalist if you wish, but I can muster very little enthusiasm for Halloween, particularly the current neutered Americanised version of it. For me, it does not hold a candle to Guy Fawkes Night on the 5th of November or Krampusnacht on the 5th of December.
Liberal economics, wanton consumerism, or an overregulated and brain-dead citizenry — zombies can epitomize whatever alleged mindlessness the critic most strongly objects to
– B.K. Marcus
None of the real difficulties are to be discussed. And yet it is just now, in Islam’s encounter with Western democracy, that discussion is most needed. Muslims must adapt, just as we all must adapt, to the changed circumstances in which we live. And we adapt by putting things in question, by asking whether this or that belief is true or binding, and in general by opening our hearts to other people’s arguments and attempting to meet them with arguments of our own.
Free speech is not the cause of the tensions that are growing around us, but the only possible solution to them. If the government is to succeed in its new measures to eradicate Islamic extremism, therefore, it should be encouraging people to discuss the matter openly, regardless of who might take offence.
– Roger Scruton
Dear NHS worshippers, sorry to be a killjoy, but look, the NHS is not ‘yours’, and never has been. You have no control over it. You feel like you are in control when you spin your little toy wheel, but try steering the car in any direction other than the one where it is already heading, and see what happens. The ones who really drive the car are the political class and the medical establishment. ‘Democratic accountability’ is a mirage. All it really means is that healthcare managers answer to bureaucrats, who answer to other bureaucrats, who also answer to other bureaucrats, who, after some more detours, answer to some politician. That’s democratic accountability. Feel powerful now? Accountability through the political system is about the weakest form of accountability one could imagine, and in healthcare it is even weaker than in other areas.
– Kristian Niemietz, who stonks the NHS in an article from 2014 called The Maggie Simpson delusion: the NHS is not ‘ours’
The point of free markets is to allow free action in the economic sphere so that people (individually and working together) can achieve their objectives. For some this might be more family life and less work; for others an interest in eating organic produce; some people might want to work for a co-operative (even if their productivity and wages were lower); and so on. All sorts of people – not just women – make choices that reduce their measured productivity, hours worked and wages and so do not maximise measured economic growth.I work for a charity and not a hedge fund; my wife teaches French and decided not to be a lawyer. My wife works shorter hours than me. We both work shorter hours than the Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs. Would Nicky Morgan have a problem with this?
In a free society, labour market outcomes are a product of preferences. Women may well prefer to work more flexible hours, shorter hours, closer to home, in jobs that fit in better with child care, and so on. Some women may wish to give up work altogether for a period of time (perhaps for life). Others might not. But, if women choose to combine family-friendly work with family life, this does not damage the economy or reduce productivity. It is the outcome of people’s own preferences: and, acting in accordance with their preferences, people maximise their welfare. These decisions are often taken despite the fact that the state heavily weights the dice against women choosing to work at home, both by the shape of the tax and benefits system and the existence of state-subsidised childcare.
– Phil Booth, knocking it for six at the IEA
These bureaucratic new rules will not improve your ride. They’re designed to address the concerns of black cab drivers, who feel under pressure from increased competition. But the answer is to reduce the onerous regulations cabbies face today – not increase them for everyone else
– Uber spokesman