Second class citizens

“Some animals are more equal than others.”

A fact of life, not just George Orwell’s fiction (and “how-to manual”) 1984.

Which is why I perked up at the Police Tribune article. An nazgul appeals panel decided 2 to 1 that the federal law prohibiting 18-21 year olds from legally buying handguns was unconstitutional. The law, they wrote, made either the Second Amendment a second-class part of the Constitution, or made those people second-class citizens.

Eugene Volokh over at Reason has a very good analysis; definitely worth reading and pondering. He quotes the dissenting opinion. (I summarize that as “Congress decided to do this a long time ago and so we shouldn’t mess with something that works.” Except, of course, it DOESN’T work.)

(Not that ANY weapons laws work. As we at TPOL have said time and again.)

Still, it was a pleasant surprise, after all these years, that SOME nazgul, government paycheck and all, agreed that Federal laws do this to 18-20 year old folks. Mama and I and many others have denounced this fairly often.

But this law is FAR from the only way that people that age are treated like dirt. So much for our supposed “equality before the law.” One of many areas in which our vision of liberty (and justice) has not been met – and has even LOST ground.

Let us look at just three other examples. First, though, a bit of background, if you don’t mind.

Once upon a time, there WAS no set “adult” age, no “age of majority.” The Constitution DID NOT specify a voting age even for FEDERAL elections. The States were not GRANTED the power to establish qualifications for voters. No, the Constitution ensured that States, as sovereign entities, RETAINED their power to establish qualifications. The older age for voting (21 or even older) was based on the idea that you needed experience as an adult before you could be trusted with the vote. Or so the States reasoned. And established.

That power eroded over the period from 1864 to 1971, as the Constitution was amended and as Congress took more power from the States. (The Constitution take NOT away the power of States or the People of those States to decide who was an adult, fully-functional citizen. At least not until various amendments were passed.)

People became “adults” (and therefore fully responsible for their actions and able to make decisions on their own legally) gradually, in ways that varied from State to State. Yes, most States (but NOT, for example, Wyoming) did not “give” the vote to women. But at the same time, women had/kept the power, often years younger than men, to decide to marry. You might have to get parental permission at different ages in different States to buy and sell things, to go to school (or not) and so forth. Remnants of that situation remain today.

But somehow (I am not sure of the process), the idea developed and was enshrined in State law, then Federal law, that you really became an “adult” – that is, a full-fledged citizen – at 21. Even then it was not uniform from State to State. Even before the 26th Amendment was added in 1971 (allowing me, among others, to register Libertarian in 1973), many States DID allow 18-year-olds to vote. The Amendment was the result of almost 30 years of fussing, after FDR added to his other crimes against humanity by drafting 18 year old men in 1942.

But as usual, governments messed it all up.

So, here are three other ways that people less than 21 years old are treated as second-class citizens. Besides being able to buy handguns.

First, in buying – and drinking – alcohol (and in many states, to buy and consume cannabis products). As with handguns, there is a supposed “compelling interest” reason for this: a lot of 18-20 year olds were getting killed and crippled (or killing and crippling others) by driving under the influence. One big reason was variations in drinking age from State to State. (Example: Colorado prohibited drinking of anything but 3.2% beer under age 21, but Wyoming allowed drinking anything at age 18. So lots of DUI/DWI accidents happened on I-25, US-287 and US-85 between the college towns of Greeley and Fort Collins, Colorado, and the booze stores in Cheyenne and Laramie.) So the Feds used the purse strings to force the States to all go to 21.

Second, and MUCH more recent and more blatant, in 2019 the US raised the age for buying tobacco products to age 21 from age 18. The Donald SIGNED that piece of nonsense.

Third, except in Alaska (intrastate only, not international driving to Canada or Russia), FedGov law requires that you be 21 to have a Commercial Drivers License. That CDL is required to drive larger vehicles: dump trucks, semi-tractor/trailers, school buses, and such. Again, the argument is that driving is a privilege and safety is the reason. But it means that government stupidity wins again: getting out of high school at eighteen you have to do something else for three years before you can drive a big rig (and they are willing to pay the insurance for an under-25 driver, to boot). So fewer and fewer people each year decide to drive trucks.

And of course, the entire reason for lowering the voting age, and de facto the age of adulthood, from 21 to 18 remains: you can enlist and you MUST sign up for the draft (if you are male) at age 18. As an MP, flight crew, tank crew, etc., you can have and carry a handgun issued to you by your wonderful government. But you can’t legally have a handgun off-duty because you are not “mature” enough.

This is all based on the idea that although we can trust 18-20 year old people to VOTE for the parasites and thugs and their ilk, we cannot trust them to make decisions for themselves, on their own.

Stupid, no?

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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