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Beat the socialism out of them

Leading conservative writer Jonah Goldberg, an old coot beyond his years (43), thinks the current voting age in the US (18) is too low because young people are “so frickin’ stupid about so many things.”

(The voting age in most American states was 21 until it was lowered by Constitutional amendment in 1971.)

Personally, I think the voting age should be much, higher, not lower. I think it was a mistake to lower it to 18, to be brutally honest….[I]t is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity than youth. We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young. And yet there’s this thing in this culture where, ‘Oh, young people are for it so it must be special.’ No, the reason young people are for it because they don’t know better. That’s why we call them young people. [...]

The fact that young people think socialism is better than capitalism. That’s proof of what social scientists call their stupidity and their ignorance. And that’s something that conservatives have to beat out of them. Either literally or figuratively as far as I’m concerned.

I looked for a smile, or a hint of irony, when Goldberg said that last last bit. I detected none. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

I actually think Goldberg has a reasonable point about the “narcissism of youth” and “youth culture,” even if, in a political sense, it’s about 40 years out of date. To the extent that it exists today, it’s mostly a product of consumer capitalism (of the “commodification of dissent” type).

As for young people favoring socialism over capitalism, he apparently was referring to a poll which found that among 18-to-29-year-olds, 49 percent said they had a favorable view of socialism compared to 43 percent with a negative view. On capitalism, their views were 46 percent positive to 47 percent negative. (So should we raise the voting age to 30?)

Of course this may have more to do with the 2008 financial collapse and its aftermath, the current state of the economy and job prospects for the young than it does with innate stupidity and narcissism.