Episode-2170- Listener Feedback for 2-26-18 — 32 Comments

  1. I don’t feel that the government has the right to regulate ‘adulthood.’

    Human beings mature at individual rates and incorporating ‘adulthood’ into legislation is a huge mess.

    • That is a cop out, sorry it is. Even in an anarcho society based on the NAP there would need to be a point of recognition of “adulthood”. Like I said, if I asked you if a 12 year old was an adult, you’d say no, and there is a reason. Lastly GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO DO THIS, so we may as well be honest about what age is truly an adult in our society.

      • That age is a massive range that I don’t feel comfortable participating in the restriction of.

        In the tribal ritual examples you mentioned it was not uncommon for Coming of Age to be around 12 to 13. I know people in that age class who display mental and emotional maturity sufficient to step into the world as adults if they had the opportunity.

        On the other side are the coddled babies our society seems intent on producing that are lucky to reach a semblance of adulthood by 30.

  2. Thanks for answering my question on air.  I keep being drawn back to this gun, the Mossberg SA-20.  Good review at Chuck Hawk’s site.  Maybe it’ll make it’s way into an upcoming show on current shotgun models!

  3. I would say the age of adulthood should be at around 22. The Way I came to this conclusion is I read that the part of you brain that is responsible for reason and impulse control does not fully matured until you’re 24-25. I think that is way too old to differ responsibility and looking back I believe the worst of my bad decision-making was behind me by 22. That seems to be a similar age my friends stopped doing some of the stupid shit they did.

  4. I think 18 is a decent age for the age of majority, even though I don’t think there is any way to set an age for adulthood which is even across the board. My brother and I didn’t really completely grow up until our first child, respectively, was born. For me that was 21, but my brother was 34. Even though we both were functioning as adults prior to that, looking back I can say I was doing some childish and immature crap.

    The litmus test idea initially had merit to me but after thinking about it, there is no way to fairly and evenly apply it across the country and there is WAY to much room for corruption and political taint, such as people of certain political views being denied attaining the rights that attach with adulthood, such as voting. I heard someone, somewhere, put forth the idea of parents choosing but that wouldn’t be even or fair either. Way to many would be emancipated long before they are ready, and as many over possessive parents holding on way past the time their offspring should have been turned loose.

    There is a logical debate for and against any age being the age of majority, at least from around 16 to 25, but I think 18 is a decent age with how our society is set up. By that time, a good percentage of people have matured to the point where they need to get out on their own to continue to grow as a human, most have graduated high school and if they have chosen not to go to college, they need to start their adult life. 18 is not perfect however. My oldest is 17 and he is already ready. I actually feel sometimes like he is being held back in many respects waiting on his 18th birthday, but some of his friends… Not there yet.

  5. Lukkas, that is not an answer to the question.  An answer would be something like this;

    Jack let me start by saying that I know this will never happen because its to radical of a departure from the old system and requires way to much infrastructure to be feasible but it would solve the issue admirably in my humble opinion.

    I think the age of Adulthood debate as a single age is ultimately flawed and I propose a new system, you are an adult at the age of 21 to 24 depending upon when you can show or claim you are ready through a system of emancipation as you talked about.  But that leaves the question of what to do with our 18 to 21 through 24 year olds.

    I propose we bring forth a new definition for this age group.  They are neither children, nor adults.  Call them what ever you wish, Tweens, Major Minors, or any other designation you want.  but they are at an age where they MUST start to receive more and more of the responsibilities of an adult but are not ready for ALL the responsibilities.

    The intensity of this conversation stems from not recognizing this trans-formative stage.  those that say 21 or older say an 18 year old is not fully matured.  True they are not and we all remember, if we are honest with ourselves that is, when we were that age doing stupid stuff for stupid stuff’s sake.  Those that say 18 rightfully stand on the fact that an 18 year old is not a child anymore and can take on some responsibility and to saddle them with the restrictive nature of true children is wrong and the cause of most teen/parent discord.

    A formal petition for emancipation solves the issue of when to let a Tween become an adult and a Tween stage allows for an increase of liberty/responsibility without pushing the chick out of the nest to fly when their wings are not ready yet.

    So then it becomes a question of what rights/privileges and what responsibilities a Tween possesses. What do we do with them between the ages of 18 and 21-24?  First they must either A) get a job, B) Serve in some capacity (read here what ever flavor of service you like, such as peace corps, US military, Religious Mission…ect.)  Second they must start to pay for some of their own bills.  either paying their parents or contributing to a Founding Fund.  The important part of this is giving them a chance to establish themselves as an adult.  You can not just kick a child out of the home when you decide they are an adult and expect them to turnaround the next day and have a place to live, a means of supporting themselves, and the ability to make rational choices.  As a Tween they get the chance to start to work and start to save for their inevitable leaving of the nest.  With out the hazardous pitfalls.

    I know good parents already provide these services to their children and bad parents never will and whatever side of this debate you fall on has a lot to do with how good or bad your own parents were at providing you with the service of easing you into adulthood.  This plan allows for both.  if you have good parents, get a job, pay them for your support and have them help you learn to manage your finances.  If you have less stellar parents, join the military and get a surrogate parent (Read Sargent here), or join another service such as the LDS mission families or Peace Corps leaders.  and they can help you to establish your finances teaching you about paying bills.

    Its this easing of the safety net that is critical to the transition between child and adult.  What ever age you support, you are supporting a sudden withdraw of the net where the consequences of actions is suddenly far more severe.  And again I know if you had great parents, they slowly eased you over this step, but we are talking about a Country that must establish a drop dead day for all without considering the individual because they can’t know all 300+million individuals.   Obviously, we wouldn’t solve all the problems with this inclusion of a new age group, but it would give us a period of time to ease the transition with out just putting it off for a later age, witch does nothing at all to help and just means we have 21 year old children as opposed to 18 year old children.

    I hold the position that it is the act of becoming a legal adult that forces most to in-fact become adults.  And it is messy.  If we implement this system of gradual adulthood then it becomes less messy.


    Just my two cents worth,



  6. Regarding the age of adulthood, I think there are two “poles” that have been mentioned already. One is that in many traditional societies, 13-14 has been considered the age of adulthood. I personally think that it’s totally reasonable to think that a child can be raised to where they can be held to adult standards by 15, and I plan to do that with my kids. That said, I don’t think that our society is raising people who are ready to assume adult responsibilities anywhere close to that age. I think too many people in our society are not fully embracing adult responsibilities till at least their mid to late 20’s, if ever.

    The other pole is that there is research out there that indicates that people’s brains aren’t fully formed till their mid 20’s. I think that’s probably too old to keep people from having adult freedoms and responsibilities. It’s unreasonable to think that “kids” would live at home till say 26, and it would be really difficult for a 24 year old to move across the country, buy a house, get a professional job, and become a functioning member of our society if they couldn’t enter contracts, buy a car in their own name, or get a job without a permission slip from their parents.

    If I could add a third, rail, I’d say that we need to separate out the essence of “adulthood”. I believe that is the capacity to know right from wrong. Once you’re capable of grasping the NAP, I think you’re an adult. You don’t have to be especially wise, or worldly, just understand that your actions have consequences, and you have a duty to not harm others. In creating an “age of majority”, I think we need to look for an age where we can be fairly confident that almost all people have reached this ability to know right from wrong. I think it would also be wise to balance that with people being able to navigate the realities of modern “Adulthood” In a tribal society, when you “Became a man” at 14, that meant that you got to go out hunting with the rest of the men. Dangerous, yes, but you were still under the guidance of your dad/grandpa/brothers/uncles. That’s somewhat different from hoping on a plane to the other side of the country to go to college and rack up 100k in debt, or becoming an over the road trucker, or many of the other potions available to adults today.

    All that to say, I think that 18-19 is a reasonable age for legal adulthood. I think though that our society could do a better job of balancing responsibility out both before and after you hit the age of majority. Perhaps looking at somethings that you don’t necessarily need to be an adult for (like holding a job or two) and making it easier to achieve at a younger age, and other things that need a little more wisdom and maturity and having at least unofficial expectations that you be closer to 30 before you take on those responsibilities (such as the constitutional age requirement for President of 35).

    Hope this comes across as at least a bit reasonable and well thought out 🙂

  7. I don’t like this question – this question hurts my head..but here is a take on it and I am not really please with this answer.

    As Jack correctly points out, in our type of society we have to set a hard fixed date that applies to all people, we can’t have a right of passage; though the emancipation process could serve as one I agree and I think that should be explored further.

    So while I find myself incredibly conflicted by this answer – I say 25

    I say that because the only thing I can think of that can really determine an adult – would be brain development. A person’s brain is not fully developed until they are 25. How do we label someone is an adult – as grown up, if their brain is not yet grown up?

    plenty of sources online, here is one:

    That being said – I think too much hinges on this “age of adulthood”.  The biggest sticking point for me is the criminal charges aspect. But part of my problem there is how we handle criminal charges for all people not just children.

    Basically, I think this question is made difficult because of everything else in our system that depends on it.

    Side note: Randolph McCoy was put to death at 15? for his part in killing Ellison Hatfield – just something to think about.

  8. I’m not in full agreement with the assumption that there should be one age threshold that defines where we deny privileges before and allow them afterwards.

    In most topic areas where age matters, the big question is “at what age is a person able to make good decisions about the topic in question?” For many topics, there is another aspect to consider: “if the person were to make a poor decision about a particular topic, what are the consequences?” For some things, like guns, cars, drugs, etc, the consequences of making a poor decision are dire. For other things, like voting, getting a loan, etc, the consequences are more manageable.

    When thinking about this, though, I asked myself, why do we, as a culture, not bat an eyelash at letting a 15 year old get behind the wheel of a car, yet we wouldn’t let that same kid buy a gun? Are not a car and a gun both deadly weapons in the wrong hands?

    To me, the answer is that training and supervision mitigate the risk of bad decisions, allowing the age of permission to be reduced. So, since there is a driver’s training program in place, adolescents are able to drive a car at a younger age. If a 14 year old had to go through a similar training program, where they had to log a certain number of hours under direct supervision, then maybe that mitigates the concerns of them owning a firearm.

    It also potentially answers the questions about why people are allowed to join the army at age 17, yet they can’t drink until 21. I can’t think of an environment that more epitomizes the words “training” and “supervision” more than the military. When a 17 year old enlists, we don’t just hand them a gun the first day and point them in the general direction of the enemy. On the other hand, there’s no training or supervision for drinking; when they hit 21, all restrictions are removed and they are free to go nuts. I think that is maybe why the drinking age is so high; since there is no supervision, we push it back later in life in the hopes that general life experience will have refined their decision making skills enough that they will make good choices when it comes to alcohol.

    Also remember that there are loads of things that you aren’t allowed to do simply because you have reached the magical number of 18. For example, you need a ham radio license to make use of the ham radio spectrum particularly because it can cross international boundaries. Because of this, you wouldn’t hand a radio to a random person and let them go nuts. Yet, my 8 year old daughter has a ham license. She obviously doesn’t have the decision-making capabilities of an adult, yet training and supervision, combined with a low risk of consequences due to a bad decision, make it so that the permissible age can be pretty low.

    For the things where no training or supervision is required or provided, I feel like the overall “adult” age is creeping upward. Traditionally, you graduated high school at 18 and then you were ejected out of the protected school environment into the harsh world where you started learning good decision making skills through hard knocks. With the advent of colleges and universities coddling their students with “safe spaces”, kids are not learning decision making skills until later in life and so some of these age limits may need to drift upwards with the times.

  9. Many may not agree, but I do like 19. Kids seem to start thinking in decades; “Oh shit I’ll be two decades old soon”. Then the ideas of life style and the future start to populate there conversations.


  10. Somehow I missed the adulthood question on FB.

    I would say 19 or 20, with a lean to 19 though if I was in the vote for it I would not be upset at voting for 20.  My reasoning is 2 part.

    One, I would not want the mixing in our high schools.  I know we have some of it now, but not for say drinking.  19 would almost totally eliminate this.  If we had to, rig the age for school so you get the boot from HS at age 19, you would have to go the GED route.

    Second, the teenage brain is more developed at 19, it can even take to 20 or 21, but my other thought here is we delay adulthood too much as it is.  So get more development here and stop the adulthood delay.

    Hope not setting one or the other is not a cop out.  Don’t care if it is. just hope not.




    • Hell no that isn’t a cop out, saying I am not sure, here is the range we should be looking at is one of the few actual answers I have seen so far.

  11. Quote of the Episode:  Sometimes that is putting out a hand and pulling them up on your level rather than standing over them to guard them

    OK: about 47:40 to 50:18 is also the quote of the episode….

    But that that quote expresses one of my thoughts on the ‘when are they adults’ question.  The longer you stand over and guard them, the longer they will not rise to the occasion.  Don’t expect someone to be an adult until they are 21? They likely will disappoint. Expect them to be an adult at 16? They will disappoint, sure, but they will be an adult shortly.

  12. We have had universities for centuries.

    Absolutely, but I would say that the there is some strange trends going on college campuses more recently. It feels like there is a greater disconnect from reality, more entitlement, and a growing resistance to “growing up”. Universities used to be places to become more educated adults, but it seems that they are more and more places used to delay responsibilities and prolong immaturity. So, overall, people graduating from college in, say, the 50’s were likely better equipped to make mature decisions than ones graduating in 2018.

    • Symptom not the cause!  Besides it is mostly high schools being shot up, just sayin.

  13. Just and abstract thought some people who at the age of 50 have alcohol problems have much less maturity than they previously had when they were 15.

    • But I think we’d all agree that if you are 50 and choosing that life you are more than old enough to be held accountable for the results of that decision.


  14. Jack,

    I saw your question on FB, and my immediate thought process went soemthing like this.  The age of 18 or at the most, 19, seems like a decent cut-off because like it or not, by the time nearly everyone reaches that age, they have adult responsibilities pushed upon them.  You’re done with high school and you’re starting to direct your own life (even if you’re doing so stupidly at that point.)

    I also considered the fact that we’re not fully cooked as humans ’til we’re in our mid 20s, but I’m not comfortable with giving “kids” the responsibilities of adulthood without the rewards.  With responsibilities come freedom, and I think the limiting of responsibilities AND freedoms in today’s society is partially to blame for why we are where we are.

    If I’m supposed to buy my own crap, if I’m supposed to provide for my own housing, and I’m supposed to provide for my family, how could I do that with delayed consequences and freedoms without delayed responsibilities?

  15. I would say 17 is a good age to become an adult.  If you’re still doing stupid shit at that age, especially the type that results in harm to others, well then, you better smarten-up or end-up in the slammer.

  16. My initial thought was choosing 18 for an entirely selfish reason… I want my kids to move out then, not at 21 or later! 😉

    Seriously though, one of the tricky parts of asking this question is this… I agree that there are a lot of immature people in their late teens and early 20’s, but how much is that biological and how much is it in how they were raised (by the parents and the culture at large)? My sense of this is that more of it is in how they were raised, and IF that is true then by setting the age of adulthood much higher are we really making things better or just robbing these young people of time and opportunities?  Kind of like how society has dumbed down the schools instead of challenging the kids more?  Yeah, young people do a lot of stupid stuff and I’m sure some of it is partially attributable to hormones and , brains not being fully developed, but mistakes are part of how we learn and grow.  I’m just not sure that pushing the age of adulthood higher would help them grow into their potential any better.

    Perhaps one can argue setting the age of adulthood to 21 or the like but giving the option to be recognized as an adult before that time, something akin to emancipation I guess. But personally, instead of that I’d prefer it to be earlier than that, and if some kids at that age TRULY need more time before going out on their own I think many if not most parents (yes me included, despite my previous snarky comment) would help support their children another couple years or so during that transition just as many already do now. Overall I prefer to err on the side of giving full responsibilities and freedoms earlier at 18 (allowing to choose whether they want to go into it whole hog or ease into it slowly) instead of putting it later where more motivated people would have to struggle and deal with the bureaucracy to attain those responsibilities and freedoms before the official age.  But then maybe the latter might appreciate those things more?… definitely more questions than answers.

  17. The question, “when does one become an adult?” is impossible to answer. Ask any fourteen year old if he can do anything an adult can, and he will quickly snort, “Yes.”  Ask any thirty year old if a fourteen year old is an adult, and the thirty year old will just as quickly answer, “No.” The answer, of course, is somewhere in between.
    In cultures where “adulthood” or “manhood” was determined by the passage of some ritual, that ritual was usually centered around puberty. The Jewish Bar Mitzvah is an example  of this. At the Bar Mitzvah, the boy is considered as passing into manhood, is able to participate in religious ceremonies and is accountable for his actions.
    In our history, when life was simpler (think Little House On The Prairie), people we would consider children were getting married, starting their own families and living (or dying) on their own.
    We, both individually and as a society, have protected our children, coddled them, to the point that they cannot think for themselves. We are talking about people who are eligible to vote, can join the military and yet cannot discern the difference between a Tide pod and a piece of candy. Their actions are based on popular culture, not what is reasonable. We have boys (as opposed to young men) who cannot change a tire to get off the side of the road – never mind gutting a deer to survive. We have girls (as opposed to young ladies) who cannot cook a meal, but can tell you what color underwear some pop-icon wore last night.

    With regard to the current debate (gun control), one must also ask, “at what age does one become a citizen with all the rights of a citizen?”  That is really the core of the issue, isn’t it? We are talking about revoking the right to bear arms from a segment of the population based solely on their age, aren’t we? So, when is it okay to tell someone they do not have a right? Certainly, we can all agree that there are times when one forfeits his rights – such as when one commits a crime such as murder or rape.  But should one be stripped of his rights because he has not attained a certain age?

    If you put a gun to my head and told me to pick an age when one becomes an adult, I would say 14. Why? Because of puberty. Whether you believe in the theory of evolution or the theory of creation (and, yes, they are both unproven theories), either God or mother nature (whichever you prefer) determined that the average 14 year old can bear children and raise a family.  If you can bring a child into the world, you deserve all the rights of adulthood.  Does that mean that the average fourteen year old is as mature as I am? No. But, when I was twenty five years old, I wasn’t as mature as I am now and I am not as mature as I will be (God willing) when I am sixty. Wisdom is acquired with life-experience and age.  If wisdom were a prerequisite for adulthood, how many adults would we really have in America?

    • I do not agree with the age of 14, not at all. However, I want to thank you for sticking to the core issue and making your case with logic and reason.

  18. 18.

    -Physically mature at 18.

    -Government requires registration for selective service at 18 (this is a pragmatic reason; I am personally opposed to slavery).

    -We have been brainwashing and sending 18 year old off to die for 100 years if not longer.

    -An 18 year old can enter into a contract with the government (joining the service) that effectively suspends the individual’s constitutional rights and submits them to the Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ).

    -Can be tried and sentenced as an adult at 18.

    -Done with Government school at 18.

    -Can start higher education or trade/vocation training at 18.

    My biased / personal opinion is we don’t need to be stretching out child hood into the 20’s; that just feel like part of the problem to me.

    Great question, and great show.  Thanks all.


  19. The question of when someone should be considered an adult in the eyes of the law is an interesting one. (I promise, there’s no cop-out here.)

    One thing I didn’t see anyone mention about the current standards is that they vary from state to state on matters that aren’t set federally. For example, if you want to be a volunteer participant in an experiment without parental consent, you have to be 18 in Georgia, 19 in Alabama, and 21 in Hawaii. So not only are our rights inconsistently recognized as privileges at different ages, but how that happens varies from state to state.

    The best age I can think of that’s not based merely on the status quo, economic convenience, or arbitrary judgments is 25. This is the mid-point between 24 and 26, which is the typical age range at which the development of connections within prefrontal cortex plateaus. We see a leveling off in impulsive behaviors, low-reward risk seeking, emotional regulation issues, and other “childish” behaviors around this age in nearly all adults. This is also right around the age where there’s a sharp drop-off in the likelihood of developing schizophrenia and other severe psychiatric issues. This is also, perhaps not by coincidence, the youngest age specified in the U.S. constitution for which you can be elected to federal office.

    As a thought experiment, let’s consider some potential implications of changing the age of adulthood (and the allowance of all associated rights) to 25:

    Multi-generational homes would become common place. 25 was the average age for women in the U.S. to give birth to their first child in 2006.
    We’d likely see a sharp reduction in tobacco consumption, since people who end up being regular smokers typically start well before age 25.
    We’d probably see a sharp drop-off in alcohol abuse. The probability of ever becoming an alcoholic decreases if you start drinking later in life.
    We may see significant changes in murder rates. 20-24 year olds currently have the highest per-capita rate of murders committed.
    We would likely see a major shift in the results of elections, since there are clear voting trend differences in the 24-and-under group than the 25-and-older. (I’ll leave it at that.)
    If military service required you be at least 25, we might see a significant changes in rates of recruitment, number of reenlistments, and the number of associated suicides.
    This would reshape the adult film industry overnight. (I’ll leave it at that.)
    If you couldn’t sign contracts without the co-signature of a guardian, this would likely reshape the consumer credit and student loan markets.
    We might see some common-sense applied to current age-related restrictions on employment opportunities.
    I would imagine this would lead to slightly more consistent sentencing in criminal cases, at least among individuals tried as adults.

    I don’t think this is necessarily a good age, but if we wanted something based on science, I think that’s a pretty solid number.

    Thanks for posing the question, Jack. This was an interesting topic to mull over.

  20. This is honestly a really difficult question. I’m a supervisor in a corporate office, and at 36 I can honestly say I still (to my husband/in private) refer to employees ages 24 and younger as “kids.” They are kids, more or less – they are very young adults, learning what it takes to be an adult.  But the truth is, it seems the best way to learn how to be an adult is to have the daily routine of, and the ability to make decisions, as an adult. In addition, my 24ish year old employees are outgrowing being able to go out and drink, the fun is wearing off, and they’re starting to look toward the future. So the ability to do things like live on their own, go out and party, have a full time job with responsibilities are the things teaching them how to be successful adults.

    So I guess, in that sense, my answer will be 18. The “perks” of becoming an adult teaches these young adults those last life lessons necessary to mature.


  21. I will stick with my original reasoning for the age to be 20 and here is why. First see adulthood as the age in which you can stand on your own without parental guidance.

    Logically there is no way to set an exact date between 16 and 25 as it would be vary based on the individual.  So my the answer is to set the date artificially high and then leave a mechanism for legal adjustment. This mechanism already exists though it is rarely presently used, emancipation.

    The choice of the age is the standard age most people complete government schools, plus two years to allow for a term of apprenticeship or other job training. All of this could be cut short by early emancipation.  Making the age of automatic adulthood higher than the age of standard enlistment would guarantee that paths would be left open to override overprotective parents.