Friday, May 31, 2019

How About We NOT "Raise The Age" For Juvenile Injustice Beyond 18?

For the record, Twenty-One Debunked does NOT support any attempt raise the age for the juvenile injustice system any higher than 18.  Period.

Until recently, no one really took seriously the idea of raising the juvenile injustice age any higher than 18.  In fact, we would often half-jokingly use this idea as an intellectual checkmate against the 21 drinking age and similar illiberal and ageist laws.  But the idea is apparently now really catching on since last year.  Make no mistake, this will NOT make young adults (or anyone) any better off, but it is a Trojan horse that will later be used as an excuse to revoke ALL civil rights from 18-24 year olds, just like people under 18 today.  After all, "you can't have adult rights without adult responsibilities", they say, without even the slightest hint of nuance (or irony), of course.

I mean, we can kinda understand raising the age for the "juvenile" injustice system to 18, only because it is unfair that as long as the age of majority remains 18 and the juvenile age limit is lower than 18, people under that age are hypocritically treated as children when they are good and adults when they are bad.  A few states currently still set the age limit at 16 or 17 to this day, and they should probably raise it to 18 given what we know now about youth development.  But any higher than that is really asking for trouble, and will do far more harm than good.  If they honestly want to make the adult criminal injustice system more rehabilitative and restorative for all ages, fine.  But they really don't, and raising the age limit is both over and under inclusive, and highly counterproductive to both justice and youth rights.

As for the idea of having separate young-adult prisons for 18-24 or 18-25 year olds while still trying and sentencing them as adults, we have no problem with that.  The UK has done that for a while, and now Connecticut is experimenting with this idea as well.  It does make sense to not put those who are young enough still have a chance (however slim) to be rehabilitated in the same facility with older, more hardened criminals who will be a very bad influence on them.  Believe it or not, us youth rights activists actually are capable of nuance.  But trying and sentencing them as anything less than the adults that they are is really taking things too far in that regard.

Indeed, slopes are a LOT slipperier than they appear.  One of the very first things to do to fight this trend is to jettison the term "emerging adult" from our vocabulary, at least in regards to 18-24 year olds.  "Young adult" is the longstanding and preferred term for that age range as well as also 25-34 year olds, and there is no need for neologisms that further divide the youth or young adult demographics.  Language is very powerful, and recategorizing people with neologisms is the first step towards second-class citizenship (i.e. not REAL adults, because REASONS, or something).

And of course, we must recognize and expose the junk neuroscience behind this latest Trojan horse for what it is, as it is literally the same junk neuroscience used to justify abridging the civil rights of 18-24 year olds (to say nothing of those under 18 as well, a fortiori.)

So let's NOT give the ageists any more ammunition by taking the bait here.  Seriously, not even in jest.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Have A Safe And Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Today is Memorial Day, often known as the unofficial first day of summer and National BBQ Day.  But let's remember what it really is--a day to honor all of the men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  And that of course includes all of those who died serving our country before they were legally old enough to drink.  Let us all take a moment of silence to honor them.

As for Candy Lightner, the ageist turncoat founder of MADD who had the chutzpah and hubris to go on national TV in 2008 and publicly insult our troops, may her name and memory be forever blotted out. 

And as always, arrive alive, don't drink and drive.  It's just not worth it, period.  And it's very simple to prevent.   If you plan to drive, don't drink, and if you plan to drink, don't drive.  It's not rocket science.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Who Are The Real Radicals?

The word radical generally refers to a person or group that wants to make drastic and fundamental (that is, radical) changes to society.  Derived from the Latin word for "root", in this way it illustrates just how fundamental such change is called for.  Classic examples that you oldsters reading this may recall from back in the day include Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.  But is Twenty-One Debunked really such a radical group like some may think?

Is it really radical to want all legal adults above the age of majority (18) to have the same rights that people over 21 currently enjoy, including (but not limited to) the right to use, possess, share, and purchase otherwise-legal psychoactive substances?

Is it really radical to believe that alcohol should be legal for all adults, period, like it is in nearly every single non-Muslim country in the world (and even some moderate Muslim countries too)?

Is it really radical to believe that cannabis, which is objectively safer overall than alcohol and tobacco and less addictive than coffee, should be re-legalized (it was not always illegal, only for a tiny fraction of history) for both recreational and medical use, fairly taxed, and regulated no more stringently than alcohol or tobacco (and legally sold and/or used in many if not most of the same places as well)?

Is it really radical to believe that, when it is legalized, the age limit for cannabis should not be any higher than the legal age of majority (18), nor any higher than for the more dangerous and addictive already-legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco?

Is it really radical to believe that, for as long as tobacco remains legal and readily available, those over the age of majority (18) should retain the right to decide for themselves whether or not to choose pleasure over longevity and indulge in this (albeit dangerous and deadly) substance?

Is it really radical to not want to punish the many (such as an entire demographic group) for the actions of the few?  And to prefer to hold individuals fully and solely accountable for their own misbehavior?

Is it really radical to believe that drinking establishments, and especially social hosts at private residences, should NOT be held vicariously liable for what their adult guests or customers do after leaving the premises following participation in voluntary intoxication on the premises?  And that personal responsibility for individuals should still be a thing?

Is it really radical to believe that, as John Stuart Mill believed, that individuals are fully sovereign over their own bodies and minds, at least as far as consenting adults are concerned?

Is it really radical to believe that our own bodies are NOT property of the state or any other entity besides ourselves, regardless of what the state or entity may claim or choose to provide us with?

Is it really radical to believe that adults should NOT have to be baby-sat?

Is it really radical to believe that if you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to go to the bar?

Is it really radical to believe that under a system of federalism, the federal government does NOT get to force or coerce states to raise their own legal age limits for alcohol (or any other legal substance) higher than their own ages of majority?

Is it really radical to believe that under a system of federalism, the federal government should have far LESS (if any) latitude in terms of micro-managing authority over We the People than the state and local governments do, and when in doubt should really stay in their own lane?

Because if you think that these ideas are somehow radical, we've got news for you:  they are actually quite conservative and in line with both international and historical norms, even in our very own country before 1984 if you can believe that.  This shows just how far the Overton window has shifted both rightward and in the authoritarian direction, and just how far down the rabbit hole we have gone.

As Five Finger Death Punch would say, it's stranger than fiction, how we've decayed...

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Still No Increase In Stoned Driving Post-Legalization In Canada

Cannabis has been legal in Canada for everyone over 18 (or 19, depending on the province) since October 17, 2018, and yet six months later there has still been no noticeable increase in stoned driving and related crashes overall according to police.  While it may still be too soon to tell, that is still very encouraging news that takes much of the wind out the sails of both prohibitionists and ageists alike.

This adds to the growing body of evidence that legalization of cannabis was NOT a disaster after all, and that there is no good reason to set the age limit any higher than 18.  Food for thought indeed. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

What Does Big Tobacco Really Hate? Hint: It's NOT Tobacco 21 Laws

Clearly, Big Tobacco (including the quisling JUUL Labs who sold out to them) does NOT oppose raising the age limit for tobacco and vaping products to 21.  In fact, they now openly support Tobacco 21 laws, including the latest attempt at the federal level.  It appears to be a cowardly, treacherous Trojan horse to scuttle and pre-empt any laws that they oppose.

But what laws and regulations DO they really, really vehemently oppose these days?  That is the real question here and the answer is:
  • Higher tobacco taxes of any kind, especially on cigarettes but also on other tobacco and vaping products as well.
  • Flavor bans of any kind, whether menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, or fruity and candy flavors for vape products.
And it is very telling indeed that they oppose those laws so vehemently.  Additionally, as far as age limits go, they also historically have preferred purchase-use-possession (PUP) laws over sales-to-underage (STU) laws, since the former put the onus on young smokers/vapers themselves while the latter put the onus on vendors, and Big Tobacco really HATES the latter even if they pay lip service to it. This has been true with an age limit of 18, and probably will still be their quasi-official stance under an age limit of 21.

Given what we know about what Big Tobacco likes and dislikes, it should be pretty obvious how to combat them effectively.  Don't take the Tobacco 21 bait, Congress!  Keep it 18, and enforce it better by strengthening the Synar Program for retailer compliance checks, ban kid-friendly vape flavors, consider banning menthol cigarettes, cap nicotine levels of vape products down to European and Israeli levels, phase down nicotine levels in cigarettes to a non-addictive level, and raise the taxes on tobacco products (and add a more modest vape tax too).

To sum up Big Tobacco's thought process:
  • Raise cigarette or other tobacco or vape taxes?  HELL NO!
  • Flavor bans?  HELL NO!
  • Restrictions on nicotine content?  HELL NO! 
  • Raise the age limit for tobacco and vaping products to 21?  HELL YEAH!
Remember, anything that Mitch "Awkward Turtle" McConnell (and Big Tobacco) supports has to have some sort of sinister ulterior motives.  Twenty-One Debunked opposes raising the age limit any higher than 18 on principle, regardless of why they want to do it.  But now add in this sinister Big Tobacco dimension and it only becomes all the more repugnant overall.  It truly must be opposed.