09 April 2008

Vote Democrat and Get Free Stuff

The New York Times published an article online called Young Obama Backers Twist Parents’ Arms.  This reminded of something I’ve noticed over the years: kids almost always root for Democrats.

This would be a fairly obvious and unremarkable observation, except that I think it says something about the Democratic platform in general.  Among the many more severe adjectives that can be applied, one that comes to mind for the welfare state mentality of Democrats is... childish.  

Think about it.  If you stuck a bunch of American kids together and asked them to devise a system of government, they would come up with something closely resembling today’s micro-managing, paternalistic, European-style government.  Everything they could think of would go on the list of government functions: free pizza and ice cream, iPods and cell phones distributed to all kids (plus unlimited text messages), longer recesses and better playgrounds in school, a bigger allowance every week, etc.  In addition to this, depending upon what their embittered teachers or favorite MTV stars happened to be jamming down their throats at the time, children would also demand things like the dismantling of tobacco companies, the impeachment of President Bush, the banning of land mines (whatever those are), the elimination of fossil fuels, the severe scolding of the mean people in Darfur (wherever that is), and capital punishment for people who do not recycle their empty milk jugs.

In short, children, left to their own devices to construct a government, would essentially come up with the Democratic Party platform.  

Of course, by “left to their own devices,” I do not mean that they are to be cast into a Lord of the Flies, deserted island scenario, in which everything must be started from scratch.  My thought experiment here is assuming that the kids are left in a familiar setting, the only one they’ve ever known, in which mommy and daddy are there to provide the pizza, iPods, allowance, and anything else they demand as usual.  After all, the resources for their government must come from somewhere.

This outlook was expressed very well by a certain 14-year old named Rebecca Tilsen, who according to the National Youth Rights Association, gave this testimony before a Minnesota House subcommittee, in defense of lowering the voting age to include children:

“If 16-year-olds are old enough to drink the water polluted by the industries that you regulate,… to breathe the air ruined by garbage burners that government built,… to walk on the streets made unsafe by terrible drugs and crime policies,… to live in poverty in the richest country in the world,…to get sick in a country with the worst public health-care programs in the world,… to attend school districts that you underfund, then 16-year olds are old enough to play a part in making them better [i.e. old enough to vote].”

In case it wasn’t clear, that’s the United States that she is speaking of, not Cuba or Venezuela.  Is there any doubt that kids in the twelve- to eighteen-year-old range would vote overwhelmingly for Democrats?  Miss Tilsen’s sentiment could hardly have been better expressed by Ted Kennedy himself - or by either of the two Democratic candidates for President.


C. August said...

This would be hilarious if it wasn't so true.

OK, it is still hilarious. I was chuckling by the time I got to "capital punishment for people who do not recycle their empty milk jugs", and laughed out loud at the conclusion that all of those teen wishes make up the Democratic Party platform.

Great post.

LB said...

Okay, C. August. I thought that line about the empty milk jug was really funny too, particularly in light of the fact that I saw him chuck one right into the trash dumpster the other day! In broad daylight! It was truly shocking. Anyone might have seen him. And he looked so please with himself, too.

I wish I could link to the funny "Vote Democrat and Get Free Stuff" bumpersticker, but I can't find it. I know - I'll have to make one on Cafe Press!

Burgess Laughlin said...

Ideas cause history. My question here is: If we all voted Republican, which principles of the Democratic Party would the Republicans reject and which objective principles would the Republicans offer as substitutes and then actually put into practice?

Judging informally from what I have seen over the last 45 years of adulthood, I would say that their principles are the same. Most Republicans merely champion "better" implementation--e.g., leaner welfare programs but more police, courts, and prisons for arresting street-drug users. We would most likely also get more "faith-based initiatives" and more War Against a Single Tactic Eternally.

SB said...

I agree, Burgess. I may have taken the Democrats to task in this particular post, but I have still harsher criticism for the Republicans.

I see very little difference between Republicans and Democrats today. When I was younger, I used to vote for Republicans because they were supposed to be advocates of limited government (an admittedly ambiguous term). However, in the past four decades they have spent and regulated with a fervor that Democrats would not have even dared. On top of that, they have aligned themselves explicitly with unabashed religionists. For that reason, I ceased to vote for Republicans and I certainly will not vote for John McCain.

Kim said...

How true, how true! When I was in seventh grade, I had a social studies teacher ask the class how we would solve world hunger. Universally the answer was to send all of the food to the North Pole and then send it to everyone equally. Of course he was ecstatic and said "yes--that's called communism and 20 years ago we weren't allowed to even talk about it in the classroom." No discussion of any of the implications.

It also reminds me of the saying 'if you're not a democrat by the time you're 20, you have no heart. If you're not a republican by the time you're 30, then you have no brain.' Of course that saying was from a different era, but the essence was that you should want to use government regulations to help people or else you're mean (an appeal most likely to appeal to kids--I hope), and then you'd better switch to a party that cares more for rights once you've seen the real world.

SB said...

Kim, I’m glad you mentioned that last point because in turn it reminds me of the confession I see from time to time, “I used to be an Objectivist when I was younger...” - as if reason were dispensable when one gets older, and adhering to the facts of reality constitutes naivete. I’ll have to post on that some time.