Recently Elizabeth May, formerly the leader of Canada’s Green Party, suggested that the country lower the voting age to sixteen. It should be obvious that this would be a disaster. Quite apart from the fact that sixteen–year–olds lack a fully developed prefrontal cortex and are therefore at a disadvantage in making rational decisions, the simple fact is that they are children, not adults.
So why would May, and she is not alone in this, (the Liberals have tried to make this suggestion too) want to implement such a dangerous and unwise policy? The likely answer is: Pure unadulterated power. Teenagers are easily influenced, and there is more than a little wisdom in the old adage that “If you’re not a liberal at 20 you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40 you have no brain.” Also, as many parents and teachers can attest, almost without exception, children tend lean to the far left. What an opportunity – willing and compliant tools.
May can see a chance when it comes her way. Should she be able to accomplish her goal, Canadians may all have to deal with an irrationality they have never experienced before. This is not an exaggeration. China’s Mao Zedong unleashed the Red Guard, an army of indoctrinated teenagers, on his enemies and as history proves, the result was disastrous. Perhaps one should not leap that far ahead, but the idea that unqualified, immature teenagers could influence politics should cause all Canadians to pause.