Video: Get off of Jonah Goldberg’s lawn, you darned kids

posted at 5:46 pm on May 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I love a curmudgeonly rant, and so this interview of National Review’s Jonah Goldberg is right up my alley. This excerpt of a longer interview with the Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas focuses on Jonah’s issues with the “youth culture,” the obsession with the worldview of the least experienced of our citizenry. Goldberg notes that “we’re all born idiots,” and that some people are a lot closer to that point in time than most of the rest of us:

“It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth,” the National Review Online editor said in an interview. “We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young.”

So why all the focus on the youth vote and “millennials” in politics? Goldberg says young people having so much influence in a society is unhealthy.

“My view is, they’re going to run the country some day, so we should really explain why they’re so frickin’ stupid about so many things,” he said.

Goldberg says in the interview that he would prefer a much higher voting age than 18, and while I agree that these voters tend to be the least sophisticated and informed voters in any election, I still disagree with Goldberg on this point. The law treats 18-year-olds as fully responsible for their actions. The purpose of elections is to form a representative government that binds all citizens and holds them accountable. That includes 18-year-old citizens, which means that they should have the right to participate in the formation of legislatures and executive branches that create and enforce those laws.

That doesn’t mean that politicians should pander to them, or at least at the expense of both older voters and common sense. They may be running the country someday, it is true, but it is equally true that they may be performing brain surgery someday too. That doesn’t mean I want them practicing on my head when they’re 18 and haven’t learned anything about it yet.

In fact, I’d say that a sure sign of political desperation is when a politician has to focus on the least-sophisticated and least-experienced voters to gain any traction. That’s a giveaway that their policies are probably too simplistic and unrealistic to sell elsewhere. One case in point: ObamaCare. Obama got a great deal of support from young voters on this policy — and now they will be forced to needlessly buy comprehensive health insurance at great expense when a simple catastrophic policy would suit their needs much more economically, in order to subsidize the health-care costs of middle-aged and senior voters. Suckers!

Perhaps that experience will have taught the youth culture an important lesson. If so, Jonah will try not to bark at them when their radios are too loud or order them off his darned lawn. Jonah also has a new book out, The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas — be sure to check it out.


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