Some teenagers have the ability to make complex decisions in a time relatively close to that of an adult. Some may say it is the way they were raised and others may say they were born with advanced intellectual ability. But I think these people are missing out because of the other people their age that just can't make good decisions. I feel bad for these people and I think they should have a chance to prove themselves.
Yes, provided that an effective way could be developed to do so, mental tests should replace age restrictions. One's is an arbirtrary number and does not indicate whether one is mentally sound enough and mature enough to view particular content or participate in particular activities. A mental test might better screen when a person is ready in such manners.
I think you have to demonstrate a certain level of maturity, but the competency tests is to ensure you are competent and give you and ID (so the seller of alcohol doesn't have to determine whether you are mature enough to drink, ans that is inconvenient). The tests should be short, simple, unbiased, accurate and fool-proof and should measure independent judgement and foresight skills. We should have a minimum age, and that is 15.
Rather than going on general intelligence we should go on driving-related specific intelligence. Some things will matter more, some less, and some not at all. We should do the same thing with voting except a completely different set of questions based on what would be relevant to political reasoning. Intelligence is not the same thing as age and intelligences in different areas are not interchangeable.
We now have the technology and the research to prove that brain chemistry explains a lot. There are people of all ages that have serious mental problems, and there are people with early onset Alzheimers and people who are 95 who are mentally as sharp as a tack. I'm firm believer in mental tests when it comes to things like acquiring weapons, driving, etc. I do not see it as an invasion of one's privacy, either. Those tests are for protecting the common good.
If the activity depends solely on mental abilities, then yes. It would make more sense to have a basic "political knowledge" test for voting. The test would have to be constructed by multiple parties to make it even.
Better testing is definitely needed for driving. Instead of boosting the driving age to 18, they can just make a better test, which will test every ability. It's a great way to keep bad drivers off the road.
If the activity depends on the body, and not the mind, then no. Smoking kills.
Age is a number, mental maturity is not. Age is gained with every second, every day, every year. As a mortal race, we are always aging - all of us at the same rate as each other. However, mental strength and maturity are gained on a personal level. Each and every one of us gains knowledge at a different rate, and becomes more mature on their own time. This means that some people become ready for activities prior to others, regardless of age.
There could be an incredibly smart twelve-year-old who aces his IQ test. But would that put him behind the wheel? I don't think so. Personally, mental tests wouldn't help. Even if you aren't great in school, you should at least know that being road smart is the most important thing.
Where would we set the cutoff? Would it be a certain IQ that we'd use as the cutoff, or would we be looking for a basic level of understanding? How would we test for the latter? What IQ test would be used to test the former? The reason for and direction of the mental tests would have to be very well defined, without any cultural biases. It would have to be the same test across the board, otherwise different results could be attributed to different regions. They would have to be provided free of charge, otherwise there's a classist undertone. And how we would define what would be allowable under certain mental restrictions and not others is important as well. What is reasonable for having sex with someone may be very different from the mental state required for buying a gun, or for buying cigarettes.
Generally, I think this still overly ambiguous to work. In an ideal world, it would be possible. In this world, it will shut people out who deserve access to any number of freedoms that are related to age restrictions now.
Look, at first glance this seems like an excellent idea -- people are working towards a more well-informed society. -- The problem is how easily corrupted this idea is and what quantifies a "mental test". If we are against people getting something as simple as a $10, even $0 ID for voting, why are we making the requirements even higher?
This will disproportionately affect the same minorities that we were worried about oppressing in the last United States election.