The Instigator
youthrights
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Youth rights (Youth meaning 16-21)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/12/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,701 times Debate No: 17479
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (7)

 

youthrights

Pro

Things such as alcohol, tobacco, driving, voting, must be weened into society as opposed to thrust upon the populace all at once at a certain age (Ie. 18, 19, 21 depending on your jurisdiction). When you keep all of these basic freedoms from an entire group of people then just give them all back at once there are consequances. Take the drinking age. When you keep alcohol from everyone and on their 21st (or 19th) birthday's they suddenly have access to this forbidden fruit, what's going to happen? They are going to get completely plastered and do very stupid things. If you ween it in as they have in europe (16 for beer and wine, 18 for spirits) then it's not a scary thing. When something is made scary and off limits it is a teenagers NATURAL reaction to want to investigate, drink, and possibly die. If it is made to be a seemingly normal part of life in moderation such as in italy and denmark, then the level of drunken youth go down.
Driving age.
I have heard arguement in the US about raising the driving age to 18. The people promoting it say that 16 year olds are inexperianced and drive poorly. So there are two things wrong with this. A) If you raise it to 18 then the 18 year olds will be JUST as inexperienced as a 16 year old. and B) Funny how the people who want to strip rights away from people under 18 are..*gasps* over 18.
To summarize I have two major concerns about youth rights.
The first is so: What society is doing is degrading the quality of life for a group of people based on a condition that is beyond their control to change; age. If a child dies at 14, he will die having never experienced life. Why? Because society deemed him incapable. All the children who are dying in their childhood go without having experienced life. This is just morally WRONG to deprive people of certain rights.
The second problem is that the people making the laws which infringe upon teenagers rights happen to all be of an age that it won't affect them. It is easy for a 45 year old politician in congress to say 'RAISE THE DRIVING AGE! RAISE THE DRINKING AGE! MAKE A CURFEW' and then get into his Lexus, drive to the local bar, and drink whiskey until midnight. It is very easy to sit in a chair and take rights away from a group of people to whom you do not belong, and therefore YOU do not have to suffer with the lack of rights.

Now I ask you how this is right.
Before you go and rant about how 13 year old's are too young for these responsibilities..I agree. I am arguing for YOUTH rights..by which I mean young adults. Not children's rights. My argument is twofold. First of all: If youth (by which I mean 15-20) can be expected to have jobs (off which taxes are deducted), behave like adults, be responsible for household chores, attend school daily for the same amount of time as an adult would work, why are they not allowed certain adult privileges?
In my perfect world, if you can afford something by yourself, you may have it.
16 Year old's may drive (accompanied) and 17 year old's not accompanied.
16 year old' may drink beer and wine, and 18 year old's may drink beer wine and spirits (anything over 14%) and voting age is 16.
It is unfair for hypocritical middle age politicians to take rights away from a group of people to whom they do not belong, and then go exercise those rights.
RoyLatham

Con

The resolution

Thanks to Pro for initiating a topic that will interest many DDO members. Hey, I'm not too keen on all 45-year-olds having full rights, but that's a subject for another day.

To be clear, Pro has the burden of proving: 16 year-olds should have the right to drive accompanied, drink beer and wine, and vote; 17 year-olds may drive unaccompanied; and 18 year-olds may drink spirits. I will focus mainly on the case of 16 year olds. If you are 18 and in the military, for example, I think you should get to drink whatever you want.


Pro makes two arguments in favor of the resolution: 1. Teens have adult responsibilities, 2. It is unfair for older people to deny rights to younger. I will contest those claims, then present the negative case.

C1. Do teens have adult responsibilities?

This is an odd argument in an era when adolescence is prolonged longer than any time in history. The protected environment of schooling over extends to 21 or older. The law provides for children to receive their parents medical benefits until age 26 and "The issued regulations state that young adults are eligible for this coverage regardless of any, or a combination of any, of the following factors: financial dependency, residency with parent, student status, employment and marital status." http://www.ncsl.org... The median age of firs marriage is now 28 for men and 26 for women, the oldest since statistics have been kept. http://www.infoplease.com... About 40% of college graduates in 2006 and 2008 had returned home and were living with their parents in 2010. http://www.newyorklife.com... It's worse for non-grads, "According to the census, 56 percent of men age 18 to 24 and 48 percent of women in the same age group live under the same roof as their parents." http://www.nytimes.com...

Pro says that teenagers must do chores, attend school, and that some work. Children 6-13 must also attend school and do chores, and Pro explicitly disqualifies from the rights he claims for teenagers. Some teenagers work, but in most states parents are legally responsible to care for their children until age 18. In addition, "all States but New Hampshire and New York have provisions holding parents civilly responsible for youth crime," http://www.ojjdp.gov...

Those age 16 do not have all the rights and responsibilities of adults. In many states, more of the rights of adults can be obtained through a legal procedure of emancipation, notably for those married under 18. Those cases are rare, and Pro is not claiming rights only for those legally emancipated, but rather that age be the only criteria.

C2. Unfairness to the young by those older?

There is nothing in Pro's argument that especially applies to those aged 16. Suppose the rights were granted to 16-year-olds as the resolution requires. Then 14 year-olds can argue that it is unfair for the 16 year-olds who an jump in their Lexus and go drinking until midnight from prohibiting 14 year-olds from doing the same ... and so the argument can be made for 12, 10, and 8 year-olds. I ask Pro why specifically he excluded those under 16 from the scope of the resolution? His argument applies to all ages.

Pro says that if a person happens to die young they will have missed living live to the fullest. Adult privileges go with adult responsibilities. If 16 year-olds are to drink and vote, then they must also be required to support themselves and pay for their schooling. That means that part of their youth will be missing. Teen mothers experience that most directly. Adulthood is experienced sooner, but youth is lost. It's not a good trade. Many old people would gladly give up the privileges of age to recapture the opportunities of youth. The transition at 18 is soon enough.

Negative Case: Teenage brains are different

There two important differences, one is relating actions to consequences and the other is inherent susceptibility to addiction.

... scientists used to think human brain development was pretty complete by age 10. Or as she puts it, that "a teenage brain is just an adult brain with fewer miles on it." But it's not. ... "It's the part of the brain that says: 'Is this a good idea? What is the consequence of this action?' " Jensen says. "It's not that they don't have a frontal lobe. And they can use it. But they're going to access it more slowly." ...[Also] Their brain chemistry is tuned to be responsive to everything in their environment. After all, that's what makes kids learn so easily. ...But this can work in ways that are not so good. Take alcohol, for example. Or nicotine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy ...

"Addiction has been shown to be essentially a form of 'learning,' " Jensen says. After all, if the brain is wired to form new connections in response to the environment, and potent psychoactive drugs suddenly enter that environment, those substances are "tapping into a much more robust habit-forming ability that adolescents have, compared to adults. http://www.npr.org...

This research is now well established, Consider http://health.howstuffworks.com... Links to the scientific literature are given by the National Institute for Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov...

Referencing the research, an American Bar Association article on Adolescence, Brain Development
and Legal Culpability cites:

“The evidence now is strong that the brain does not cease to mature until the early 20s in those relevant parts that govern impulsively, judgment, planning for the future, foresight of consequences, and other characteristics that make people morally culpable…. Indeed, age 21 or 22 would be closer to the ‘biological’ age of maturity.” http://www.americanbar.org...

Applying the research to the resolution,

Expanding driving privileges for 16 and 17 year-olds should not be done because teenagers have a limited ability to make good judgement, particularly with respect to considering the consequences of risky choices.

Making alcohol more available to 16 year olds should not be done both because of the judgement problem and because of the increased susceptibility to addiction.

Voting privileges should not be extended due to impaired ability to judge issues. Experience also contributes substantially to the ability to vote wisely. Political ideas that seem novel and practical are revealed by experience in past campaigns to have been tried and failed.

In Japan, the legal age is 20 and the 70% of the population is opposed to lowering it. http://factsanddetails.com... A survey of Japanese youth themselves showed that nearly half of young people opposed lowering the age. They are unusually mature.

The resolution is negated.

Debate Round No. 1
youthrights

Pro

Con
I am new to Debate.org and this is my first proper debate here, and is a bit of a learning experience so you will have to forgive my possible lack of structure! I will learn eventually!
C1: Do teens have adult responsibilities?
It is true that teenagers (16 and over) may not yet have full adult responsibilities, which is why I am not asking for full adult rights. I do not foolishly pretend a 16 year old should be allowed to sign contracts, sue, and move out on their own. I argue instead that 16 year old's do have a certain set of adult responsibilities which do not apply to the aptly mentioned 14 year old's. A 16 year old is required to attend a high school in Canada, and in several states in the USA. This level of secondary education is much higher and more difficult then elementary education required by those under 15. The work load is higher, approaching that of university when in the senior grades, the hours are long and start very early, and the stress is many times more then that of an elementary schooling system. 16 year old's most often require jobs, to afford things they need. In my opinion if you can afford something (IE. Wine, a car) with your own hard earned money, it should be available to you. You mention that adolescence is prolonged more then ever. Do you think this is right? We as a society are keeping our young adults children, in effect, dumbing them down and thrusting them suddenly into a world of adult responsibilities and rights at a given age. This is a recipe for binging on all the things previously unavailable, and being unable to handle the weight of the new responsibilities. While the argument of age of majority is a different one, I would like to maintain my argument about the drinking age and driving age. Con say's that children 6-13 must attend school but are disqualified from the argument. This is because children 6-13 have not usually reached even adolescence yet, and all of them are both too young to have a job (and therefore pay taxes) and still within elementary schooling, where they are not expected to act as adults and the work load and stress is considerably lower then high school. Con say's 16 year old's ought not receive full adult rights because they do not have full adult responsibilities. I heartily agree, which is why I ask for PARTIAL adult rights (drinking, driving, absence of curfew) in exchange for the PARTIAL adult responsibilities laid upon them.

C2. Unfairness to the young by those who are older?
Con say's that none of my argument pertains ONLY to those aged 16.
I disagree. Those under age 16 typically are in either a junior grade in high school (9) or are still within the elementary schooling system. Further, people under 15 are typically not allowed to have a job (and pay taxes) as they are not physically developed enough to handle the task (usually). My argument is that most rights are suddenly given to a person at one age. As one advances through childhood and adolescence, one gradually receives more and more responsibility, until at 18, one has received all of them. responsibilities culminating in your 18th year when you are given all of them. I advise that as a teenager advances through the rungs of responsibility he or she ought be given matching rights. A 16 year old is probably going to be working harder then a 10 year old in the fields of school and career. Also a 16 year old is expected to act mature and behave as an adult does and is punished if he or she does not. This does not apply to a 10 year old, especially in a schooling environment. I am not asking for full right's at 16, I am only asking for ones rights to match ones responsibilities and contribution to society, as opposed to ones age.
RoyLatham

Con

The resolution

(Note: I don't have a problem with the format of the Pro response, although I suggest that leaving an extra carriage return after each paragraph improves the readability.)


Pro must prove that 16 is the correct age to grant voting, drinking, and driving rights. Why 16 and not, say, 18 .. or 21? In the negative case I cited scientific evidence that maturity in terms of brain development is not reached until at least 21. Until that age, individuals inherently are more subject to addiction and they lack the full ability to relate actions to consequences. I pointed out that Japanese society, where alcohol is more enshrined s a social activity than in the US, is well fixed on 20 as the legal age.

Drinking, driving, and voting are serious responsibilities and both the science and the evidence points to having a legal age closer to 21, than to lowering the age to 16. So unless there is compelling factual evidence to the contrary, which has not been presented, the legal age for the specified rights should not be lowered.

Pro did not contest any of the evidence or arguments presented in the negative case, so the negative case stands. The resolution includes voting rights, but Pro has not made an argument that 16 year-olds have sufficient experience to vote.

C1: Do teens have adult responsibilities?

Pro grants that 16-year-olds should no be granted full adult responsibilities. Pro says he does not "foolishly pretend a 16 year old should be allowed to sign contracts, sue, and move out on their own." However, if it is "foolish" to allow 16 year-olds to sign contracts or move out, it is even more foolish to allow them to drink, drive, and vote. The damage to themselves and to society is greater. A nuisance lawsuit can be quashed, and a runaway can return home upon reflection, but alcohol abuse and vehicle accidents are not so easily undone. Young voters can damage society by promoting irresponsible self-interest -- youthful brains to not link up consequences.

Pro argues that high school case have a great deal of stress. I agree with that premise. However, alcohol use is not the right way to attempt to reduce stress. It isn't the right way for older people either. It is worse for youth because of their inherent susceptibility to addiction. There are better ways to cope with stress than alcohol (or drugs). A philosophical attitude is the best, but if that cannot be managed, then video games or any hobby fulfilled with a passion. (Sex is better than alcohol, ... sometimes even the kind involving another person.)

Pro argues "if you can afford something (IE. Wine, a car) with your own hard earned money, it should be available to you." That's not true at any age, e.g., prescription drugs (antibiotics as well as dangerous ones), automatic weapons, high explosives, poisoned gas, exotic pets of various kinds, infectious agents, radioactive materials. Those are perhaps obvious, but local ordinances forbid all sorts of things from advertising signs to flags on flagpoles. Soon, you won't be allowed to buy an ordinary light bulb, no matter that you an afford one. Some prohibitions are reasonable and some are unreasonable, but the argument that if you can afford it you should be able to have it is invalid.

Pro challenges, "You mention that adolescence is prolonged more then ever. Do you think this is right?" I think that adolescence should not be prolonged beyond 21, but up to 21 rights and privileges need to be considered case by case. Even for young children, society has too much of an attitude of entitlement, and that is carried well beyond age 21. So in that are, maturity should be pressed sooner. But drinking, driving, and voting are not in the category of things that ought to be put to younger ages. What sots out the cases is the penalties to the person and to society by the privilege being carried out irresponsibly by a person not able to evaluate consequences.

Because individuals mature at different rats, I think there may be a place for testing to determine qualifications. Perhaps I stringent simulator test that includes applying judgment in dangerous situations might qualify a younger person to drive, for example. I suppose even a voting test is theoretically possible. However this debate is solely about rights determined by age. Alcohol would not fit under any circumstances.

C2. Unfairness to the young by those older?

Pro argued that a reason for giving additional rights to 16 year-olds is that it is unfair for older people to deny them. That is the second of the two arguments advanced in Pro's case. My rebuttal to that argument is that it applies equally to any age at which rights are denied. Pro dropped that contention, so it stands refuted.

Pro separately argues that having drinking, driving, and voting rights all granted at 18 poses problems of adjustment. He says that people may use too much alcohol if the privilege is long denied. I don't see any arguments for driving and voting privileges causing problems.

First, the greatest adjustment, by far, is in providing for one's own well-being. That's not just earning a living, but making all the decisions about where to live, how to budget, and what to do with one's life. that'sthe real difficult adaptation, not drinking privileges. Driving is often necessary for independent living, but eighteen works fine for driving. Many people get by fine without drinking, but having a brain better suited to appreciating consequences makes maturity helpful, not harmful. The potential for addiction is also reduced.

In terms of fascination with forbidden fruit, that can be satisfied by drinking in private, presumably under some supervision. " ... only a few states prohibit minors and young adults from consuming alcohol in private settings. As of January 1, 2010, 15 states and the District of Columbia ban underage consumption outright, 17 states do not ban underage consumption, and the remaining 18 states have family member and/or location exceptions to their underage consumption laws." http://en.wikipedia.org...

Pro must prove each of the three elements of the resolution, lowering the age to 16 for drinking, driving, and voting. He has not met the burden of poof for any of the three.
Debate Round No. 2
youthrights

Pro

youthrights forfeited this round.
RoyLatham

Con

Ah, Pro has left the building. Too bad. My arguments stand unrefuted, and he should lose Conduct for the forfeit.

I am sympathetic to Pro's notion, insofar that some young people ought to receive more privileges. I thin the error is in supposing that age alone should be the qualifier. During the debate I suggested a driving simulator that posed dangerous situations demanding good judgment. Some young people could pass them, most could not. ... and some older people couldn't pass them. Another approach is to license 16 year-olds on scooters and low powered motorcycles. That gets the job done, but poses minimal hazards to others. There is a strange new three-wheeled vehicle with two wheels in front that might serve in places that get snow and ice, unsafe for two wheels.

I'm suggesting that the right avenue is to be more specific and rely on cost/benefit analysis.

I hope readers find the debate interesting. I thought it was good while it lasted.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by youthrights 6 years ago
youthrights
Also I can assure you I did not mean all of those liberties being reduced to 15. I ask only for CERTAIN rights to be reduced to 16 and the rest to remain the same.
Posted by youthrights 6 years ago
youthrights
I have reviewed edited and reposted my argument under the title Drinking and Driving ages being raised will not benefit society.
Posted by devilin 6 years ago
devilin
I may give this a go if you made your stance a little clearer. Sum up what you are arguing in one sentence. From what I've read there it looks like it would be something like, "the age requirements on alcohol, voting, tobacco, driving, and pornography should be reduced to 15."
Posted by Deathbeforedishonour 6 years ago
Deathbeforedishonour
I would accept, but I kinda agree with pro. lol
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 4 years ago
Ore_Ele
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Erick's until an RFD is provided. If one is, or if her vote is removed, please PM me to remove the counter.
Vote Placed by Erick 4 years ago
Erick
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: tre\ue
Vote Placed by jewgirl 5 years ago
jewgirl
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: F.
Vote Placed by Rockylightning 6 years ago
Rockylightning
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 6 years ago
ApostateAbe
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: interesting and necessary debate, shouldn't have forfeited
Vote Placed by Meatros 6 years ago
Meatros
youthrightsRoyLathamTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF. Con's arguments were left standing.