My Idea: The Adult ID Card

Like most normal people, I often spend my free time dreaming up policies that I think could improve society. Just as nearly everyone else does, I type up my ideas, debate myself, and expand upon my ideas in as much detail as I can.

I really love this one idea, and I have decided to share it with the world (“the world”= the 8-15 people who will read this). Here it goes…

One of the laziest and most detrimental aspects of human nature is how frequently we generalize people, things, and actions. While we all know it’s ethical to judge individuals independently, we often refuse to put objectivism into practice. Instead, we create blanket laws that recklessly lump people or activities together based on one or a few common denominators. For example, weed is illegal throughout most of the world. But only some people respond negatively to using marijuana. Others become more creative, focused, or happy. Depending on where you are, if you live in the US, you can go buy a gun at Wal-Mart right now. Only certain states and cities require background checks and other screenings, so people with violent pasts or mental handicaps abide by the same laws that women who are being stalked and farmers with coyote problems do.

Racism, classism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia are some of the most recognized forms of discrimination and prejudice, but I don’t think enough people talk about how judgmental we can be when it comes to how old we are. I think we’re ‘age-ist’. I know I have been in the past. I’ve declined friendships and experiences with people strictly because they were too old or too young. It seemed weird because I was more prejudiced at the time, but when I think about those situations reasonably, I had no real cause to be so selective. I regret every instance in which I did something like that.

We have many laws based on age, and most of them are stupid. You have to be a certain age to drive a car, vote, see movies, drink, buy cigarettes, run for office, and to be tried as an adult. It’s easy to understand the concepts behind most of these laws, but I think they’re having a negative effect on our society.

If I had my own country, set age limits and requirements would not exist. Instead, individuals would have an opportunity at age fifteen (the exact age is debatable) to obtain an ‘Adult ID Card’. Being granted the card would give holders all of the privileges grownups are entitled to, and would also force them to be held accountable for their actions in the same way adults are. In other words, having the card would allow you to join the military or order a beer, but if convicted of a crime, you would skip all forms of juvenile detention and go directly to jail (or pay a fine or whatever).

Applicants would have to meet several criteria to qualify for the card such as being able to read, write, and do basic math, having a clean behavioral record, and several letters of recommendation from respected members of the community. Parents’ permission would not be required because some people have abusive parents or no parents or religious parents. Honoring thy mother and father is biblical law, not a real law. And in a free country, kids sometimes have to make decisions on their own.

While applying for the card as a teen would be an optional, personal choice, the card would not be granted to anyone until they are twenty-five (again, the age is debatable). Since all of us take different amounts of time to mature and awaken from our childhoods, it would be unfair and hypocritical to hand out cards to people just because they’ve existed for a certain amount of years. This would keep immature people in their early twenties who are not capable of behaving in adult situations out of said situations, and would also limit punishment doled out to those same youths if they commit crimes as they are not legally old enough to be tried as adults. A young person from a horrendous upbringing who causes harm by acting out would have an opportunity to redeem himself, while adults would not be subject to dealing with unruly young people in bars or other age restricted places.

The main point of the Adult ID Card policy would be to instill and encourage a sense of responsibility and independence within young people. Our current societal systems often promote entitlement instead. Rather than set arbitrary age limits which restrict or empower individuals, this policy would enhance liberty and freedom while teaching young people that they are the masters of their own destinies. Instead of sneaking out of the house to drink in sumps in high school because waiting to turn twenty-one is like waiting for paint to dry, kids might consider doing community service and getting good grades in order to be rewarded with the right to relax and play beer pong over the weekend.

That’s the slim and skinny of it. I have thought about this idea in much greater detail, but I’ll spare you the minor tidbits. If you agree, disagree, or have any sort of comment, please post it on my website.

My Idea: The Adult ID Card