As I discussed over at the Tyranny Blog over the weekend, my Daily Caller interview continues to elicit a lot of clownish nonsense.
Here’s the latest. This guy at Media Matters, Joe Strupp, who constantly (though unsuccessfully) seeks comment from me whenever he wants me to bad-mouth other conservatives failed to actually seek me out for comment in a story about … me.
As a follow-up to the Daily Caller nterview, Strupp posted an item headlined “Young Republican Groups Criticize Goldberg’s Higher Voting Age Idea.” “Goldberg’s views sparked harsh criticism from leaders of young conservatives and young Republicans groups.” Yes, well, Strupp “sparked” the criticism really. He went and called these guys and asked them for comment. That’s fine, journalists — and even the staffers at Media Matters — do that sort of thing all of the time. But the effort, as is so often the case with MMFA’s schtick, is more theater than anything else.
For the record, while I do think the voting age should be higher, I’m not in fact in favor of a national push to raise it, and I never said I was (I’m in favor of all sorts of things that I wouldn’t waste political capital on). That said, I certainly would argue for fighting any effort to lower it, which some leftwing activists want to do.
Anyway, since I actually do care about what young conservatives think and spend a great deal of time and energy working with them, I’ll address the concerns laid out in the article. The young Republicans Strupp talks to offer three objections. I’ll take them one by one:
Brian Matos, spokesman for Chicago Young Republicans, said he understood Goldberg’s frustration, but did not agree with his idea for change, citing the need for military personnel to be able to vote.”About half of the enlisted military personnel are under the age of 25 and so when somebody suggests they don’t matter, that people are too young in their judgment, 18-year-olds, 19-year olds; well if they are old enough to serve our country overseas in two wars, they have the right to go to the polls,” he said. “They do deserve the right to go to the polls.”
I agree! Here’s what I say in my book about that:
The argument that carried the day when America was debating lowering the voting age to eighteen from twenty-one was that it was outrageous for young people (men, really) to “fight and die” to protect democracy but not participate in it at home. To which I say, fair enough. If you sign up to wear the uniform, you can have a waiver and vote early. I don’t think that reform alone would put us in Star Ship Troopers terri- tory. Besides, I believe that nobody should vote unless they pass a basic citizenship test. That goes for eighteen-year-olds and eighty-year-olds. If you can’t pass the test we require of immigrants to become Americans, you shouldn’t be able to vote either. One man, one vote, should be changed to one man, one opportunity to vote. But that’s an argument for another time.
Here’s the second objection:
Then there is Emanuel Patrascu, president of Orange County (CA.) Young Republicans, who said young voters are well-informed.”Our organization doesn’t see that,” Patrascu said when asked about Goldberg’s views. “All of our members are very well-informed, many of our members have just joined recently, young people who have finished college and are getting into new jobs and realizing the economy is bad.”
I suspect Strupp is either being dishonest or lazy here. Which is it? Young people or members of the Orange County Young Republicans? I have no doubt that members of the OC Young Republicans are well informed (I also would expect members of the College Democrats to be informed). Members of political activist groups are not necessarily representative of young people generally. The simple fact is that surveys show that young people generally are less knowledgeable about current events, news and the government generally than older people. Is anyone honestly shocked by this?
Finally there’s this:
Christopher Sanders, president of the Atlanta Young Republicans, stated: “Mr. Goldberg has the right to express his opinion. However I disagree with him on an age increase. It is our civic duty to help educate those younger than us about the issues, not strip them of their right to vote.”
To which I say, Exactly! That’s the point of the whole interview. We shouldn’t pander to young people just because they’re young, we should educate them. That’s the core insight and job of conservatism. Civilization is a process, a verb. It is something we do to the jumble of glandular impulses we call young people. We are invaded every generation by barbarians, Hannah Arendt said, “we call them children.”
Which brings me to this nonsense about me being serious about beating the socialism out of young people. Even the write up at the Daily Caller made it very clear that I was joking. But thanks to dishonest write-ups and obtuse misreadings, vast hordes of immature buffoons are tweeting and emailing me about how I should fight them or some socialist vegan comic who’s challenged me to a boxing match. It’s all so juvenile (and unoriginal. Al Franken tried to pull this stunt on Rich Lowry over a decade ago). Moreover, it seems lost on these kids that “You hurt my feelings! Let’s fight!” is the response you’d expect from young and immature people — the same people whining that I said young and immature people are — wait for it — young and immature!
Anyway, keep it up kids. I love it when you prove my point.