Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How Do They Decide the Age When You Become an Adult?

When do you become an adult? Kids think they are as smart as adults, and middle-aged people say they still don't "feel" adult. Maturity is a gradual process, a spectrum in which wisdom is hard to pin down.  The question of when someone is mature "enough" for certain responsibilities has legal ramifications, so we set an age. A number to determine when a person is mature enough to make adult decisions will never be applicable to everyone, but in large societies, we need to treat people equally.

How does a culture set the age of consent? It depends on consent for what, then it depends on the culture, and on the real goal of setting a limit. In America, we let 16-year-old drive but not drink. In some European countries, one can drink at a much younger age than one can get a driver's license. It makes sense when you realize that Europeans can get around without driving, while in America, cross-country mass transit means buying an airline ticket. Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out tackles the question from several angles.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

...while in America, cross-country mass transit means buying an airline ticket.
Actually, at one time America did have a cross-country mass transit system that connected just about every town and city in the country — the railroad passenger trains.  It wasn't until the post WW-II era that we as a society made a conscious decision to dismantle this network in favor of paving the nation for the personal automobile and the promise of air travel ... and some would say that we are now the poorer for it.

Consider the hassles that the average airline passenger must face just to get on the plane — variable pricing, security checkpoints, extra charges for daring to bring along luggage (and petty rules as to what can be brought, such as liquids in bottles over a certain capacity) or asking for a glass of water, and the arbitrary and irreversible confiscation of items such as fingernail clippers, manicure scissors, and cigarette lighters — not to mention the always-present possibility that your flight will be cancelled or delayed because of weather or 'service issues' or that you may, even if you are successfully able to thread this labyrinth, may still be subject to involuntarily removal from your already-paid-for seat at the airlines' whims, and suddenly an alternative like passenger trains (even an emasculated system like today's Amtrak) doesn't seem so bad.


MuddyValley said...

It's worth noting that "mental" age is not a consideration in order to be elected president.

Miss Cellania said...

Ah, I wish we'd bring train travel back.