Stupidity Seeks to Franchise Immaturity

George Williams is professor at law at the University of NSW and presumably an adult in the room. Think again. He wants to extend the franchise, as if its extension down the many decades had not caused enough trouble already. Let’s remind ourselves. Left-wing, lately green-hued, governments, wreaking untold harm, would have been far fewer in the number but for sub-21-year-olds voting their cause and propertyless, non-taxpaying recipients of tax-payer largesse doing likewise.

Williams would like to pile misery on top of injury by allowing the vote for those aged 16 and 17. Recall, in their accumulated wisdom gathered in school playgrounds, 16- and 17-year-olds voted to end the 350-year union between England and Scotland. Fortunately, for the Scots (perhaps not for the English, who regularly hand the Scots sit-down money) there were enough older adults around in Scotland, of sound mind, careful with their money, to vote sensibly.

My own view is that the minimum voting age should be 25 and only then when net income taxes have been paid for at least three years. Extreme? I’ll show you extreme. Hayek (“Wither Democracy?”) in a lecture delivered in Sydney in 1976, advocated restricting the voting age to those aged 45 years, with parliamentary members also needing to be at least 45, voted in for a fifteen-year fixed term. Hayek understood the perils of party politics and vote buying.

Now that I’ve established the fact that I’m quite unextreme; I’ll set out what is general common or garden knowledge. Age matters; even though this seems to have passed by some adults. I add that it hasn’t passed by any lefties or greenies. They know a sure-fire vote in the bank when they see one. Give us your young, your poor in knowledge and experience, your huddled teenagers yearning for relevance, the wretched refuse of your teeming schools. And we’ll wallow in power for ever and ever.

Thus, to the specific common or garden knowledge; which, incidentally, most parents experience firsthand? Young people take considerable time to grow up. That’s why they’re often told: Grow up! Here, at random, is Britannica, one source from many:

Though the brain may be done growing in size by the teen years, it’s not done developing and maturing. The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for skills like planning, prioritization, and impulse control, may not finish developing until the mid- to late-20s.

Here’s another source: From age 22 “rational thinking develops with prefrontal lobe maturation”. This maturation is reported to finish at about age 25. How about ages 15 to 17? “Height of identity crisis…May engage in risky behaviours.” As an aside, the ideal time methinks for demonic forces to affirm gender dysphoria and chemically and surgically mutilate young bodies.

Look where you will, the science of brain development is settled. Where have I heard that before? Never mind, in this case it’s as true as you’re going to get. At question is whether you want to allow those whose prefrontal cortex is years away from fully developing to vote. To support his argument, Williams lists a number of things those aged 16 and 17 can do, like leaving school, getting a job, and enlisting in the defence forces. How silly can you get?

Those aged 16 and 17 can engage in amateur boxing and punch each other’s lights out. Then surely, they should be able to vote? Wait a minute. They can’t buy alcoholic drinks in licensed premises. Well, if they can’t be entrusted to drink; surely, they can’t be entrusted with voting? You see how empty is this way of arguing. It’s always horses for courses.

What skills and experience do you need to cast a vote which may change the course of the whole country? That’s the question. That’s a bit different from leaving school and getting a job. Or Boxing. Or joining the military, which is often employed as the ploy to justify lowering the voting age. Carrying a rifle and risking your life entitles you to a range of considerations but not to an assumption that your brain is sufficiently developed to understand the implications of voting this way or that.

You might detect that it’s not simply that I believe Williams to be wrong but that his argument lacks intellectual rigour and common sense.

17 thoughts on “Stupidity Seeks to Franchise Immaturity

  • Daffy says:

    Being able to carry and point a rifle does not require wisdom, only training!
    On the whole I like your criteria for voting. On the tax issue, I’m a little unsure; but would be happy to include non-working spouses with their earning spouse. In fact, the tax system should accommodate non-earning spouses by adding their tax-free threshold to that of the earning spouse, making the tax-free threshold for the household $36,400 (irrespective of number of offspring). Then no more special welfare subsidies (the savings in civil servants should about cover the costs), methinks. And only for married couples, not de-facto, as de-facto unions demonstrate a ‘two-bob each way’ approach to life partnering.

    • Biggles says:

      I don’t know whether you were around, Daffy, but when ‘Nasho’, entry age 18, was abandoned, conscripts for Vietnam had to be 20. I believe the army knew that teenage soldiers wouldn’t cut the mustard. (To any old-soldier reading this, please correct me if I am wrong.)

      • ianl says:


        Menzies just wanted to ensure that those 18 yr olds who were to be included in the conscription/Vietnam lottery were unable to vote in the looming election. The election after that – when they would be so entitled – wasn’t his problem as he was retiring to sit in the Afternoon Light.

    • lbloveday says:

      “Tax” is often used interchangeably with “Income Tax”, One year I paid zero Income Tax, but $500,000+ in other taxes, surely a more than adequate contribution to the governments’ tax take? Adequate for 20 years contributions?
      PS writes of “net income taxes”. Are they to be calculated for each person each year? How? What government payments are offset against the amount of Income Tax paid to arrive at “net income taxes”?
      Can a year of high Medicare claims mean no “net income tax” that year?

      • Tezza says:

        I think the best terminology for what Peter refers to is ‘net tax paying’, as contrasted to being a ‘net benefit recipient’. This little Centre for Independent Studies paper on ‘voting for a living’ explores the idea, and how the ABS measures net taxpaying and net benefit recipients : https://www.cis.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pp9.pdf

        To see an application of the idea, think of the Labor Government’s trial balloons of cancelling government spending on projects in rural regions while extending paid parental leave. This takes government spending from people who are mostly net taxpayers. Once the median voter is a net benefit recipient, democracy goes downhill fast.

        • lbloveday says:

          Thanks for the reference; I printed it off to read in bed tonight.
          I used a “loophole” to get off the electoral roll after the disgraceful, corrupt, undemocratic farce of the by-election in the SA seat of Norwood in 1980 as I refused to take part in such a voting system again and have seen nothing since to make me change my mind. Any form of voting that allows people to opt out would have my support.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    “the accompanying lack of intellectual rigour.” Spot on Peter. This is the most infuriating aspect of what passes for public discourse in the MSM these days.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Absolutely spot on Peter. I’ve voiced my view on this many times. I had to be 21 before voting, and legally drinking I might add, and never objected to the voting because I simply knew that I didn’t know enough and the argument that if you’re old enough to join the army then you’re old enough to vote never resonated with me. In my view even 16 is old enough to fight for your country, and many men in the first world war did at that age, and one worked at the little engineering shop where I did my apprenticeship in NQ in the 50’s and 60’s, wounded at Villers Bretonneux in 1918. But no way did we think that age was OK to inflict your very immature ideas on your country at the ballot box, or inflict injury to your fellow Australians due to your incapacity at that age to handle drinking beer,.

    • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

      Yairs, 21 is about the right age for legally we had to be that age to drink alcohol (in Qld.) or get married but in actual face the bottom line is one common sense and some people never ever attain common sense throughout their whole lives.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    My wife-to-be required government permission to marry in the 1960s because she was younger than 21.
    I write often about how life used to be back then, because few people now remain to do this comparison from experience.
    As for the big question whether Life in Australia was better back then, I vote an emphatic YES. No need to lock the home, keys left in the car ignition, walk alone down streets at night etc. One-to-one contracts with medicos of choice, who were free to advise and prescribe without Big Brother. Better than widespread fear of drug crazy, knife wielding loonies who cannot even speak English while they slash tyres at random. That sort of difference counts. It is avoidable, with commitment and guts. Geoff S

    • john mac says:

      Yes ,Geoff , I’ve posted the same myself regarding quality of life in the “60’s . Money left out for the milk in the morning , sleeping in the front yard on hot nights completely safe (Beaumont children notwithstanding) and most weekends as a young boy out of the house all day till dark , unsupervised -totally free ! Todays coddled generation have no idea what real freedom is , and are willingly surrendering to state control , as the covert 19 plandemic has shown , and their embracement of the “cashless society” the noose around all of our necks. And Yes Peter , 25 is what I’d like for the voting age too.

  • Larry says:

    I had my first drink at 15 and my first vote at 18. I’m now seventy eight and I still can’t understand how we end up with the asylum called the Senate.

    • Doubting Thomas says:

      Simples! Compulsory Preferential voting.

    • lbloveday says:

      You must have done the voting in a country other than Australia if I can count right – WA was the first state to lower voting age to 18, in 1970 when you’d have been around 26, while in 1966 when the Commonwealth lowered the voting age to 18 for members of the services in Vietnam and Malaysia you’d have been around 22.


    What’s the probability that dino girl was out protesting when she should have been in school learning the grammar rules governing contractions. On the other hand maybe she’s protesting about Dino’s Pizzeria running out of time and not being able to make the pizza she expected.

  • padmmdpat says:

    Kids aged 16 vote? Well, wouldn’t the Greens love that. Bring it on, and also let’s see the Greens push through legislation that kids from the age of 16 can also take out bank home loans, buy guns and be called up for jury service. And be nominated as candidates and stand for election in local, state and federal elections.

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