Author Topic: Age of Reason  (Read 6132 times)

charles

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Age of Reason
« on: February 08, 2010, 11:30:50 pm »
Moving this from the Chat room.  It could probably continue there but I think it's good to give these deep discussions a topic of their own rather than have them lost in a larger thread that will eventually change topic.  I've brought UIS' words over here but the rest of you can copy your own responses.

This discussion concerns and surrounds age of consent and responsibility along with a few other topics concerning adulthood and childhood relations, views, etc.

I haven't digested the whole pedophilia discussion in this thread as well as I should, but some thoughts after reading briefly:

1. Everything's OK.  No thought or impulse is inherently "wrong".  However, if acting in some way may cause hurt to another, you may choose another course of action, or inaction.  Of course, this is a philosophical viewpoint, not a practical viewpoint, so it might be easy to disagree with me if you're talking from a different place, such as trying to find rules that maintain social order, etc.

But no thought pattern ever changes or goes away just because of someone calling it "wrong".  If it's not going to change, then you might as well address it with love, caring, and full attention, rather than trying to turn it off or decide that it's wrong.  Can we all agree this is one of the main problems of Christianity?

I get subconsciously attracted to my little students every now and then during class (ok not that little, but still little).  A teacher I used to work with called it "pattern recognition", your eyes just see legs with nylons poking out from a short skirt, and woop!  You look at them in "that way" without any thought at all.  It just happens before you're even aware of it.  I have pervy moments like this every now and then.  Once I was at my brother's high school basketball game, and there was this little probably 14 year old sitting in front of me with a red thong showing at the back of her pants.  I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't stop glancing at it, and it was definitely a sexual urge that kept making me glance.  It's an age-old thing anyway, us old men getting turned on by young girls.  Best just to shrug, remember you're old, and move on.  It's not a big deal.

2. Sexual maturity/readiness - when does it happen?  Nature has not quite caught up with our current human values (which I don't think are bad or wrong, and I think we're evolving to where our nature will catch up).  Hormonally, who here was not hornier than hell by 15?  OK, some of us probably weren't, but some of us were.  I believe that some tribal cultures have mating ceremonies to pair up girls and boys who are around 14 - 18 or so.  The babies they produce are taken care of by the elders.  I think that's about where our nature is, in terms of hormone production, mental responses to sexuality, production of pheromones, etc.  Evolutionally speaking, we're not even physically used to living past the age of 35 yet, though we're getting there.

3. Japanese people in general are under huge amounts of stress (from what I hear).  I think their perverted fantasies (and oh my God do I think they're perverted) to some extent are a result of that.  A successful man should be working around 14-16 hours a day, from what I hear, and jobs are not even that easy to come by (this is in Tokyo), so you always have to be trying to work harder than the next guy.  Also, the cost of living is through the roof.  Insanity reigns supreme.  What I don't get is what all the fantasies seem to fit into like a group of like at most 10 patterns, and people apparently still get off on that.  But whatever, that's kind of an Asian thing, doing what's been done a thousand times before, and having it still be cool.  Probably somewhat a product of having a much older culture than we have in the states.

4. I think what's probably being fetishized is probably innocence?  When you consciously and thoughtfully get turned on by taking someone's innocence away, I think that might be a little sick.  It probably means you don't spend enough time with children, imo, you're not a very well-intentioned person, or maybe you have some childhood issues you need to work out.

5. The flipside of that: losing your sexual innocence probably ought to be a beautiful thing, and well-supported by someone with experience, and maybe that's why we have natural attractions towards young, or specifically innocent-seeming people as we get older.  Getting back to tribal traditions, I know there were some Native American tribes where the young men would spend time with a mature woman learning about how to have sex properly and how to take care of a woman, before they were loosed on the young girls.  I don't know how - it's so hard, almost impossible in our current repressed society, but we really need to get back to that.  I had a good ex-hippie friend in California (not all hippies are bad by the way, or even really hippies.  Some are just thoughtful people seeking a better way of life) who lost her virginity at 16 to an I forget how old guy.  late 20's I think.  And she said it was wonderful and she really treasures that memory.  Apparently he was a friend, and a good guy, and he took good care of her.  They didn't even have a relationship (another perverted creation of our sick society - monogamous relationships :P), they just had some sex.

But anyway, I have been pleased, as I get older, to note that I am much more attracted to older women now, and not attracted at all to any girls less than 20.  They just have a "not ready" look to me.  I was never a milf guy in my 20's, and always thought teenagers were hot unless they looked really young, so I'm glad that my attractions seem to have matured a bit.  A lot of it though I think is just from having good experiences with my wife, and therefore desiring a more mature woman (young girls talk so much!)

I'm really sorry for rambling on and on...

edit: but I agree with you that it's weird and I don't know why anime has to be like that.  Sort of gets in the way of its other positive qualities, like you're saying.

edit2: Another thought: there's also the infinite bubbly energy of a young girl for an "old man" to be attracted to.  Not sure about the young boy attraction, but I'm sure someone understands it.
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BeethroBudkin

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2010, 06:48:21 pm »
When I first read the title I thought we were talking about the "age of reason", one of the factors causing the french revolution.

I mostly agree with the first part UIS's post. I may not be the one with the most experience in this area as I'm only 18, but back in the stone ages people did not live past their twenties, and the goal of life was the reproduction of the species, thus any member of the opposite sex who could produce a baby would give a male an attraction, similarily for females. I realize that this is very oversimplified by not bringing in homosexual attraction, but the point still stands that males are attracted to females for reproductive purposes, as well as females being attracted to males for these reasons. So any attraction you feel for people under the age of eighteen is completly natural, but as we evolved as a species and society, we created laws against this kind of behaviour. This is where our ideas split, I do not believe that innocence is what is being lusted, after all there are many kinds of innocence besides sexual.

I'm not advocating the lusting of underage girls/boys, but it is natural to an extent. I find it ridiculous that society deems you may
or may not be able to have sex with someone because of your age. If someone who is seventeen years and 350 days old wants to have sex with a thirty year old, they can't. This example seems okay to many people, but does it make sense that in just fifteen days she can have sex with him without worry? This does not have to be a large difference either, what if a couple who are seventeen were having sex on a regular basis, and they both have their birthday in june, one on the 5th and the other on the 8th. When june 5th comes around, they cant have sex for a few days, but then suddenly its okay again!

The same could be said for drinking, where I live the legal age is 18, so when you're 17 years old and 364 days you cant buy or drink alcohol, but the next day you go and get wasted. But what if this person lived in the united states? He still couldn't drink for another three years!

This is why specific ages should not be set, but in my opinion, certain maturity levels.

Sorry got a little off topic there.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2010, 06:54:12 pm by BeethroBudkin »

CrystalDragonSpaceMarine

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2010, 07:16:02 pm »
Of course, there's the mess of how you quantify maturity levels, which would be much as arbitrary as an age limit and more fuzzy.

How would you measure that? Have a "responsibility test" they'd have to pass? What would that test be?

BeethroBudkin

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 07:41:24 pm »
It indeed would be difficult to quantify maturity, it's not like the government will give someone fifty dollars and if they buy candy they lose but if they invest/save it they lose.

??? I cannot think of a way to universally measure maturity as it is highly dependent on several factors, but disregarding all age requirements but consensual sex I think a "If you think you are ready, you are ready" attitude would work besides the fact that it would not be able to stand up in court and it would be possible to trick people that they are ready when they aren't (but not any harder than convincing someone that you're "legal" when you're not).

charles

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 11:36:07 pm »
A good part of this has developed as a part of our western culture and history.  While tribes had a relatively simple lifestyle and children had a relatively simple role to grow into we developed an education system which eventually saw people schooled until around the age of 18, or it saw them apprenticed until about that age.  In other words, you weren't really able to support yourself, let alone a child, until you were about the age or 18 or more while for many of these tribal groups, a boy could be a relatively useful member of the group by the age of 14-15 with ease.

In the early 20th century and before then, sex pretty much meant you were going to get pregnant and have children.  Since a man wouldn't really be able to support a wife and child until a later age in western society and pregnancy before the age of 16 was quite dangerous for women, it first became an unwritten rule, and later a written law, that sex between an adult and a minor was wrong (laws across the world differ on the exact age and differences in age between the younger and older participants which cause it to be illegal). The whole idea of people being able to have casual sex for pleasure didn't really exist until contraception became more foolproof and available in the late 20th century.

But I guess we can all agree that sexual acts should be restricted, enforced and discouraged to a certain extent depending on ages, since maturity is too subjective, and the main debate is where those lines of restriction should stand. Thus I don't see much weight in the argument that there should not be some magick switch at the age of 18 because while there isn't a simple switch that suddenly makes them mature, there needs to be a clear line drawn based on the best information available as opposed to a grey one.

If we argue the age that puberty sets in then I think this can occur in females as early as 9 or 10 years old.  If we're argue secondary school or becoming a teenager thats usually around the age of thirteen. I think if we argue the end of adolescence (i.e. the end of the major changes to our bodies caused by puberty) I think thats around the age of 17.  If its after the completion of school then this can be between 16 and 18 depending on the nations education system and students leaving school to pursue trade apprenticeships.

If the risk of pregnancy is brought to bear then I recall that "the pill" is less effective during puberty due to varying hormone levels as the body undergoes the changes.  Also, condoms are noted as being less reliable than "the pill" but apparently this is mostly due to misuse (and who better to misuse a condom or get complacent than carefree teenagers?).

But the real argument thats used in the law is that minors are considered to be easily influenced or coerced by adults and thus are not considered capable of truly granting consent just as they are unable to sign contracts regarding major decisions or commitments without an adult.  This is usually shown in the laws which often grant exemption to cases where the two participants are both of similar age (within 2 years by Australian law).  While sexual activity is still discouraged to a certain extent, this is an acknowledgment that the older party is not so much older than the younger party that they could use their seniority to greatly influence or take advantage of them.  It should also be noted that even if the law does convict someone of statutory rape, it is not so blind as to not take relatively small age gaps the age of the minor and the minor's willingness together with other factors, into account upon sentencing which, depending on the nation, can be as little as a fine or a suspended sentence.  In this sense, it can be easily seen that while there are hard lines drawn on ages in regards to prosecution and conviction its evident that circumstances and commonsense does come into play in the way of punishments handed out for the breaking of these laws.

So in the example of a 30 year old having sex with someone 17 years and 350 days (presumably this is somewhere with an age restriction of 18) then certainly the 30 year old will be convicted but the punishment would probably be minimal depending on other circumstances (and provided some politician hasn't tied the judge's hands by putting in some minimum punishment clause).I think some parts of Mexico and other nations its about 12 so your argument would be how pointless it is for a 24 year old to be convicted for sex with someone who is 11 years and 350 days old but fine to have sex in 15 days after the minor turns 12.

The simple question of if a "wrong" has occurred needs to be set clearly but it tends to be a constant argument as to where (and possibly how) that line is placed.  The question of how wrong the crime is, generally gets addressed by the sentencing.  Many countries have a law that still acknowledges the sex as consensual and lawful despite one or both members being underage provided the age gap between them is less than a set amount and while that amount can be argued, again it needs to be set clearly.  Defendants often argue that the minor involved appeared older than they turned out to be so imagine the chaos if they argued that the minor seemed more mature than some psychologist (or god knows what test criteria) determined them to be.
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BeethroBudkin

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2010, 04:11:31 pm »
Although it is true that a smaller age difference would create a shorter jail sentence, but the main issue is not the affects of prison but post-release. Being arrested for statutory rape, even with little age difference, WILL result in the adult being registered as a sex offender, which leads to whole new problems.

If they are in any university or college they would be expelled upon being registered. Even if they are not in university, they would most likely be fired from your current occupation and finding a new job would be nearly impossible, even an attempt to obtain a volunteering position to better their community would be rejected. A sex offender in Canada or the United States is required by law to go door to door where they hand out fliers warning them that you are a sex offender. This would not be too much of a problem when the person has just been released from prison, but when this person ages they would probably be suspected of molesting children or other awful things, causing him/her to be hated by all the people living around. In jurisdiction after jurisdiction this “offender” will find that most of the community is zoned off limits to him, offenders are not allowed to live too close to a school, or a park, or really any area where children may be. Not to mention your loss of privacy, as the police could come by at any moment and ask to inspect your house. In my opinion a couple of years difference should not ruin your entire life.

In an perfect world everything would have clear lines. Unfortunately we do not live in perfect world, the world is full of shades of gray, very little is black or white. The unfortunate thing about the clear line system we have now is that it is extremely thin, where there should be some leeway in certain cases.

I agree that maturity is too vague, but perhaps these should be dealt with on a case by case basis, instead of having "one size fits all". Perhaps instead there could be age groups that could have consensual sex, such as 16-21, 18-40, 25-70, etc. Although some may argue that in this method someone who is 50 could not have sex with someone who is 20, but I honestly believe that someone who is fifty having sex with someone who is twenty is worse than someone twenty having sex with a seventeen year old. This is assuming that the legal age for consensual sex is eighteen.

CrystalDragonSpaceMarine

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2010, 04:26:11 pm »
A sex offender in Canada or the United States is required by law to go door to door where they hand out fliers warning them that you are a sex offender.

This may be a surprise given my usually tyrannical views 'round here, but I disagree with this. No one should have to put up with that kind of humiliation, especially if they are trying to reform. Especially if they didn't rape anyone or anything and got the sex offender label off something else.

charles

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2010, 08:08:03 pm »
In an perfect world everything would have clear lines. Unfortunately we do not live in perfect world, the world is full of shades of gray, very little is black or white. The unfortunate thing about the clear line system we have now is that it is extremely thin, where there should be some leeway in certain cases.

Well what I'm suggesting is that we do need (and generally have) clear lines on ages to determine the simple fact of IF a crime has occurred.  Even then It is a valid defense in most nations for a defendant to put forward that they were not aware that the person they had sex with was underage and this has been successfully used to avoid all charges in a number of cases.

But what we need is a lot of gray and leniency in the sentencing.  Obviously the after affects of being labeled a sex offender and having to do such things as visit your neighbors to report yourself are part of the total package of the sentence/punishment and judges, parole officers, etc SHOULD have the freedom to determine who requires these measures.  It tends to be governments, under pressure from the public, who force the law's hands in these matters by setting minimum sentences and requirements.

Flexibility would mean that the law is able to determine which offenders are likely to be a threat to the public and require measures to inform their neighborhood and live far from schools, etc.  No judge is so dumb as to not recognise the difference between a 20 year old who has consensual sex with a 17 year old he's been dating for sometime and a 20 year old who's coerced a 14 year old into pleasing his sexual desires for people of that age, but their hands tend to be tied on what they must serve out.

Maybe we actually need to separate the crimes so statutory rape can still be applied to those who sought a minor or to use their age difference to manipulate a minor into consensual sex while a lesser crime of (for instance) sex with a minor would be applied to cases such as the 17 and 20 year old mentioned before and would involve little more than a fine or something.  It's like the two crimes of manslaughter and murder where in both cases a wrongful death has been caused but only one acknowledges intent to cause the wrongful harm.
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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2010, 03:31:18 am »
A sex offender in Canada or the United States is required by law to go door to door where they hand out fliers warning them that you are a sex offender.

This may be a surprise given my usually tyrannical views 'round here, but I disagree with this. No one should have to put up with that kind of humiliation, especially if they are trying to reform. Especially if they didn't rape anyone or anything and got the sex offender label off something else.

My (least) favorite part is the "sex offender" label is often applied to crimes that are relatively innocuous. Things like public urination or compelling prostitution (basically paying for sex) are misdemeanor sex crimes. Statutory rape, (criminalized sex consensual sex with a teenager), is also a "sex crime". If the prosecution has a weak case against you, they might get you to plead to a charge that is technically a sex crime even if you could have easily beat the original charges, not knowing that the sex offender designation is a far worse punishment then most prison terms are (I know this because this actually happened to a friend of mine). The "sex offender" label is effectively a bar to employment and if you have to go door to door and warn everyone in your neighborhood that you are a "sex offender", you could be putting your life in very real danger.

Everyone always assumes that every "sex offender" is a child rapist, but many are just regular people who couldn't afford lawyers. If many of the laws that sanction sex offenders where only for those that where deemed "predatory," then all this would be far less morally ambiguous(/repugnant).
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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2010, 08:33:20 am »
I think the kind of draconian punishments your "sex offender" label actually represents should only be applied to criminals with a prooven repetitive criminal behaviour in the form of a prior similiar conviction or multiple occation charges sentenced in single trial.
Otherwise that kind of persecution only serves to create real monsters out of people who could have been fully rehabilitated and lead successful lives.

CrystalDragonSpaceMarine

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2010, 10:48:22 am »
Well, I think it reflects our society's overall uptightness about sex stuff.

But, we've hashed those browns before.

charles

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2010, 04:09:47 pm »
Everyone always assumes that every "sex offender" is a child rapist, but many are just regular people who couldn't afford lawyers. If many of the laws that sanction sex offenders where only for those that where deemed "predatory," then all this would be far less morally ambiguous(/repugnant).

I agree.  The simple thing is that the judges should given the flexibility to determine what punishments should be dealt out to what crimes, and as far as I'm concerned, they should also be able to determine which crimes/criminals need to have the further measures taken against them to protect the public.  This is done for vehicles where someone who has caused a serious accident or is known for multiple incidents of dangerous driving, etc is banished from holding a drivers license for life while other cases are only suspended or restricted.  Its the same for these sexual crimes where you know that some of them need to be restricted from jobs that involve children and forced to live away from schools, etc while others are obviously no threat.
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RoninAngel

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2010, 07:29:14 am »
Yes, absolutely. As the French so eloquently put it, NO SHIT!  :) One thing that politicians (and many voters, apparently) seem to be unaware of, is that if a judge isn't allowed to deem the proper punishment for an offender, it fundamentally undermines their ability to do their job, which is, incidentally, to fucking pass judgment.
THEREFORE, MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES  FUNDAMENTALLY UNDERMINE THE WHOLE JUDICIAL PROCESS!  >:(
But as any modern day American politician well tell you, one of the tried and true methods of getting elected is to terrify voters by saying "My opponent would have SEX OFFENDERS run ramped in the Streets!  A vote for him is a vote against children! " Predictably, no one will ever vote for that guy. So mandatory minimum sentences continue to get nastier and nastier and the definition of sex offense gets broader and broader. It would make me cry if not for the tragic comedy of it all.  :( ::) :( ::)

Incidentally, I would like to point out that tougher minimum sentences against child rapists are the vote against children. As I have said before, the less the difference between punishment for raping a child and killing one, the less likely a child rapist is to leave the child alive. Logically it fallows that if someone has already raped a kid, and the punishment is practically the same, the practicality of murdering the kid increases. After all, dead kids tell no tales.   


« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 07:38:56 am by RoninAngel »
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tbeean

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2010, 01:13:24 pm »

Incidentally, I would like to point out that tougher minimum sentences against child rapists are the vote against children. As I have said before, the less the difference between punishment for raping a child and killing one, the less likely a child rapist is to leave the child alive. Logically it fallows that if someone has already raped a kid, and the punishment is practically the same, the practicality of murdering the kid increases. After all, dead kids tell no tales.   

So, would you say higher the minimum sentence for murder or lower the minimum sentence for child rape?

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2010, 02:31:58 pm »
I think that mandatory minimum sentences at all are bad. To tell you the truth, I can't tell you one good reason why they should exist. Discretion should be in the hands of a judge as far a sentencing goes, because every case is a uniquely different animal. Sometimes, an offender is deserving of a harsher punishment because of the circumstance and sometimes the offender is deserving of a softer punishment because of circumstances. That's why a judge is supposed to oversee the sentencing of a criminal in the first place. If we can't trust a judge to come up with just punishments, perhaps that judge is corrupt and needs to be fired (and perhaps is criminally liable in the most egregious examples). But as far as I am concerned, a human being (especially one such as a judge who is practically required to be a lawyer for years before they can sit in judgment) will be better equipped to understand the needs each individual case then a law ever could.
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charles

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2010, 03:35:36 pm »
I tend to think a good solution would be to allow for sentence reviews/appeals to ensure judges aren't too soft or too hard in cases.  Effectively these would mean that the conviction or guilt is not in question but rather the sentence.  Either the prosecution could elect to try for a tougher sentence with another judge, or the convicted could try for a lighter sentence if they feel they've been hard done by.

Anyone want to get us started on other point of age restrictions and maturity?  How old you must be to buy alcohol, live away from home, sign contracts without adult supervision, be convicted of any crime and lower punishments for lesser crimes, get married, etc?
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RoninAngel

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2010, 06:45:11 pm »
I don't really know. Age is so subjective. I wasn't really ready to make any kind of adult decisions until I was 20 or so years old. But Some kids are mature enough to make those kinds of decisions when they are 12 or 14 years old. Maybe all this stuff (including sex) should be given a license. In order to make any of these decisions legally, you need to get a license from the government. Probably a possible citizen should be eligible to get a permit at between 12 to 14 and during that time should only get a limited version of these rights, such as being able to sign a legal contract with a parent and a witness present or in the case of sex being legally able the consent to sex with people that are up to 4 years older then you or in the case of someone younger then you, four years your junior as long as they also have a permit or license. In each case you would have to take a written and or practical test to see if you are intelligent and informed and responsible enough to do the thing in question. 
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charles

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2010, 10:05:43 pm »
Yeah, thats the main problem. Maturity can't be measured in pure age but varies between people.  Even then someone might be considered mature or intelligent enough to handle alcohol but not live away from home so even things like that vary greatly.

But then you've got the chaos of how to determine who is and isn't mature enough for what levels of responsibility.  Do you also develop some standard courses in each area to teach someone all they should know before granting them permission or some sort of license and how big a job would it be to develop these standard courses, make them available across a nation and determine how to test for responsibility?  If we take driving as an example, even that tends to have an age limit before you can be taught and granted a license.

I guess the beauty of age limits is that its very easy.  You get psychologists to work out at what age a reasonable majority of people are likely to be considered mature enough to handle the responsibility of various things from sex and alcohol to marriage and contracts, then you draw the line there and everyone has a very clear system to follow.  Of course, those ages are often debated and some things such as marriage and living away from home can be stretched back if courts or approved organisations approve.

In Australia, our sex age is 16 but before that it allows up to two years age difference between the participants which is fairly good IMHO.  Contracts must wait until the age of 18 but naturally parents or guardians can act as guides and approve.  Marriage must wait until 18 but a court can approve it between a younger couple if they consider it a special circumstance (pregnancy is NOT considered a special circumstance).  I think you can live away from home as early as 15 (might be 16), 'cos I recall that you can enlist in the army that early (only a few trade jobs and they're not sent overseas), and courts or government family-type departments can approve either that or earlier.  You can't buy alcohol or tobacco 'till your 18, I think it's illegal to give any kid tobacco 'till 18 but I'm pretty sure parents can give their kids alcohol in the home after a much earlier age and as part of rituals/religion after an earlier age (But let them get drunk or abuse it and you could be seen as irresponsible parents by a court).

Unfortunately abstinence from alcohol until the age of 18 is still strongly pushed and recommended by government and other groups.  While I'll acknowledge that it can have stronger, developmental affects on those under 18 in reasonable quantities, I think we need to encourage parents to teach their kids to drink responsibly and both respect and appreciate alcohol.  Too many today think that the point of drinking is to get drunk, to the point that they're doing stupid things like going all day without eating so they can get drunker on less.  It just makes sense to me, either adults can teach kids HOW to drink appropriately, or kids can teach kids to drink.
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RoninAngel

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2010, 11:21:49 pm »
Yeah, thats the main problem. Maturity can't be measured in pure age but varies between people.  Even then someone might be considered mature or intelligent enough to handle alcohol but not live away from home so even things like that vary greatly.

But then you've got the chaos of how to determine who is and isn't mature enough for what levels of responsibility.  Do you also develop some standard courses in each area to teach someone all they should know before granting them permission or some sort of license and how big a job would it be to develop these standard courses, make them available across a nation and determine how to test for responsibility?  If we take driving as an example, even that tends to have an age limit before you can be taught and granted a license.

I guess the beauty of age limits is that its very easy.  You get psychologists to work out at what age a reasonable majority of people are likely to be considered mature enough to handle the responsibility of various things from sex and alcohol to marriage and contracts, then you draw the line there and everyone has a very clear system to follow.  Of course, those ages are often debated and some things such as marriage and living away from home can be stretched back if courts or approved organisations approve.

In Australia, our sex age is 16 but before that it allows up to two years age difference between the participants which is fairly good IMHO.  Contracts must wait until the age of 18 but naturally parents or guardians can act as guides and approve.  Marriage must wait until 18 but a court can approve it between a younger couple if they consider it a special circumstance (pregnancy is NOT considered a special circumstance).  I think you can live away from home as early as 15 (might be 16), 'cos I recall that you can enlist in the army that early (only a few trade jobs and they're not sent overseas), and courts or government family-type departments can approve either that or earlier.  You can't buy alcohol or tobacco 'till your 18, I think it's illegal to give any kid tobacco 'till 18 but I'm pretty sure parents can give their kids alcohol in the home after a much earlier age and as part of rituals/religion after an earlier age (But let them get drunk or abuse it and you could be seen as irresponsible parents by a court).

Unfortunately abstinence from alcohol until the age of 18 is still strongly pushed and recommended by government and other groups.  While I'll acknowledge that it can have stronger, developmental affects on those under 18 in reasonable quantities, I think we need to encourage parents to teach their kids to drink responsibly and both respect and appreciate alcohol.  Too many today think that the point of drinking is to get drunk, to the point that they're doing stupid things like going all day without eating so they can get drunker on less.  It just makes sense to me, either adults can teach kids HOW to drink appropriately, or kids can teach kids to drink.

I would argue that it may seem easy, but just allowing or disallowing people to do things based on a arbitrary age requirement has had many unforeseen and rather unfortunate consequences for society (I would point to every supposed convicted sex offender that had consensual sex with a minor that was within 4 years of their own age and became a "statutory rapist"). And lets not forget that licensing is required for many dangerous things that need to be regulated (such as driving or hunting or flying an airplane) so why not sex and reproduction or marriage or property rights? I'd say that teen pregnancy and credit card debt is at least as big a problem in the United States as poaching is. 

I would also point out that you could go further, such give limited rights to someone who has a "permit" and full rights only after they have held a permit for a predetermined trial period, such as a year.

Drinking and other controlled substance use may be a special case, as there is very real physical consequences for consumption of controlled substances that is tied to age. The brain is not fully developed until a person is out of their teens and they can damage their brains if they use controlled substances, regardless of how mature they act. I feel that restrictions on alcohol and recreational and prescription drugs should be much tighter for this reason. If you wanna get me on a rant, ask me about doctors, teachers, and parents that push prescription drugs (specifically of the psycho-active kind) on their elementary school kids without the kids being able to consent or even fully understand the nature of the effect that said medications might have on their fragile brain chemistry.
One caveat: In the army, any permanent party soldier is allowed to drink and buy alcohol regardless of age (soldiers being able to enter the military at age 18 or 16 with parental consent of course), provide he stays on base. This is because of the conflict of interest in keeping soldiers safe that happens when you encourage young people to consume alcohol away from the safety of home. If I was to write the laws their might be several caveats like this, such as teenagers being legally allowed to consume controlled substances at home with adult supervision.
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Selan

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2010, 01:38:16 pm »
Anyone want to get us started on other point of age restrictions and maturity?  How old you must be to buy alcohol, live away from home, sign contracts without adult supervision, be convicted of any crime and lower punishments for lesser crimes, get married, etc?

I like the Dutch rules, probably because i grew up with them,
Alcohol 16+
Strong alcohol 18+
Driving a scooter or moped 16+
Driving a car 18+
Move out of your parents house 18+
Going to a club 16+
Sign contracts 18+
Be convicted of a crime i'd say 5+ but over here it's 12+
Get married... well that's a whole other story as i believe marriage to be the biggest lie in the world. (yeah i'm not the romantic type)
But if i have to put a minimum age to it, i'd say 21.

People need restrictions wether we like it or not, it's because we tend to be selfdestructive beings and while self destructing we occasionaly destruct the ones around us. (drink and drive and stuff like that)


CrystalDragonSpaceMarine

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2010, 05:39:29 pm »


People need restrictions wether we like it or not, it's because we tend to be selfdestructive beings and while self destructing we occasionaly destruct the ones around us. (drink and drive and stuff like that)



I always found the idea of marriage vows insulting. But that's a whole different topic.

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Re: Age of Reason
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2010, 10:54:06 pm »
I would argue that it may seem easy, but just allowing or disallowing people to do things based on a arbitrary age requirement has had many unforeseen and rather unfortunate consequences for society (I would point to every supposed convicted sex offender that had consensual sex with a minor that was within 4 years of their own age and became a "statutory rapist").

I wouldn't point two hard at a 18 year old who had sex with an 14 year old, or a 15 year old (about 3 years into high-school) who had sex with an 11 year old (last year of primary school).  Granted, some of those 11 and 14 year olds might be mature enough for their age not to be easily manipulated by someone 3-4 years older than them, but its not hard for me to believe that the vast majority aren't.  Again, however, I have no problem with automatic convictions in these cases based on a clear distinction of ages rather than a disputable measurement of maturity.  PROVIDED that the judge has the ability to deal sentences as low as a warning or suspended sentence where there was obviously little or no intent by the older party to influence, mislead and manipulate the younger party.  Possibly, we also need a separate charge for the more minor cases, just so they don't carry the stigma often associated with the term "statutory rape" ("statutory misconduct", "indecent dealings" or something else sounding a little less alarming than something with the word "rape" in it).

Don't forget that there are minimum ages for learning to drive and fly in most countries as well as tests to confirm knowledge and competency once they do reach the right age.  Even then, I've known kids as young as 8 to be driving around on a farm property, but I'd be far less comfortable with trusting those same kids, or even someone as old as 14, to be driving a car alone on public roads where a false move or bad decision could spell disaster for others let alone the driver.

I think the psycho-active medication can do some great good in a lot of kids and while there are limits and exceptions, I think parents are usually the best suited to make important decisions for their children (seriously, some times you just need to tell a kid "NO, you cannot try to - climb that tree - swim in the deep end - eat rat poison, etc" *lol*).  The ones who need to answer for themselves are the doctors who get it wrong through negligence or who pile multiple drugs into the mix to solve symptoms created by other drugs they've already been prescribed.  My Granny had to deal with a number of cases like that where they had to ween them off all the drugs before they could accurately diagnose and determine the appropriate medication.

I'm not sure about alcohol and other drugs but I remember reading that the one confirmed, health  problem caused by using marijuana is that it increases the chances of developing schizophrenia about 6 times if taken, even very casually, before the age of 15 or 16.  After that age it appears to have no effect on the chances of developing the condition, but if we're to believe that it indicates there can be strong manipulation of the developing brain by any substance up to that point then I guess 16 or 17 is the earliest we should be allowing any consumption of  alcohol, etc.

@Selan:  There was some debate here in Australia about a new law that would mean people get charged for leaving their car doors unlocked.  That plus a law requiring us to wear seat belts are some good examples of laws which only cover our own self destruction.
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