Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Deep thoughts, omphaloskepsis, and other random musings.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Güten Buckel-Tag!

Nothing in particular leaps out at me this early morning, so here are some random notes and thoughts instead.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has resigned, effective at year’s end.  That’s a loss for the Trump Administration; she was pretty damn good in that role.  Seeing who the President picks as her replacement should be entertaining.

Crisper gene-editing tech is now being used to (sort of, but not really) bring back extinct species.  Except they’re really just diddling existing species to have some traits of extinct species.  But here’s the line that caught my eye:

Crispr has produced disease-resistant chickens and hornless dairy cattle.

Uh, breeders have been producing hornless livestock for a century or so.  Look up polled livestock.

For those of you who are of a religious bent:  Of late I’ve been hearing a fair amount of advertising on satellite radio for, a tax-remediation service that advertises to help you with your ta x bills while operating on “Christian principles.”  Serious question here; what Christian principles are involved in solving tax problems?  I lack any religious background but am reasonably well-read on comparative religions, having read such works as Sir George Fraser’s The Golden Bough, the Qur’an, and two or three versions of the Bible.  But I can’t think of anything that might apply to a company of this kind.  Can anyone clarify?  I find myself genuinely curious, but then I’m of a curious nature on all things.

Finally, here’s an interesting take on a side effect of the entire Kavanaugh kerfuffle.

And on that judicial note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Regular readers of these virtual pages will recall that yr. obdt. landed another gig, this one in New Jersey; a couple weeks back you’ll recall the week of travel totty pics put up whilst Mrs. Animal and myself were crossing most of a continent to our temporary lodgings.

Well, today sees us headed halfway back, as we discovered the client company could not complete my IT stuff (laptop) and training at the Joisey site, so we have to go to a place up north of the Chicago metro area to get that done.  That will take 2-3 weeks, then it’s off back to Joisey.

Good news:  In the time we’ve already been in Raritan, NJ, where our temporary digs are located, we’ve found it to be a pleasant little town.  The folks are friendly, there is some great Italian food to be had, and the countryside isn’t bad at all – big trees, a nice river through the town.   It’s acceptable.  In fact, if it weren’t for the state’s bat-guano crazy government, it would be a pretty nice place.

So, this morning it’s back in our little travel car/truck/SUV/something (is the Ford Edge a car or a truck?  An SUV?  What the hell do you call it?) and off to Illinois.  Bright side:  We’ll take a weekend in there and go see our oldest kid and my Mom in Iowa, a 4-hour or so drive from the training site.

Self-employment is not an easy life.  But all in all, in the fifteen years I’ve been doing this, I’ve had a pretty good time.  Complications come with the business and you have to learn to roll with them.

Roll we are.  Tomorrow you’ll be stuck with one more travel totty post, then we’ll check in with you all from Illinois.  Fortunately we’ll be well away from the free-fire zone that is Chicago.

Goodbye,Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!  So, let’s have a few random thoughts and observations this morning.

What with the release of FISA warrant requests and the ongoing drama over the pre-elections actions of Strzok and company, there’s more talk than ever about the Deep State.  Want to do something about it?  How about reining the Imperial government in to what it is constitutionally limited to doing, and thereby removing most of the power from Imperial officials and bureaucrats?

Chicago has been named the rat capital of the United States.  But enough about the Rahm Emmanuel mayoralty; there are a lot of small, pestiferous rodents there too.

The “Democratic Socialist” (a synonym for “Economically Illiterate”) wing of the Democratic Party is doing their best to ensure President Trump coasts to re-election in 2020.  Take a look at the supposedly male person standing speaking in the photo; why are so many lefty males such sad little weeds?

On the Cold War II front, President Trump may have picked up an unlikely ally:  Piers Morgan.  Scanning the sky for flying pigs now.

A new discovery may lead to a revolution in deodorants.  But if the Democratic Socialists like She Guevara and the daffy old socialist from Vermont get there way, you won’t have many choices in deodorants any more.

This story reminds me of the young man who was vacationing in the British Isles.  He was in a charming country pub one afternoon when he encountered two very large women speaking with a thick, distinctive brogue.  “Excuse me,” has asked, “are you two ladies from Scotland?”

“Wales, you idiot,” one of the women snapped back.

“I’m sorry,” the young man replied.  “Are you two whales from Scotland?”

On that note, we return you to your Monday, already in progress.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I’ve discussed the likelihood of a possible breakup of the United States before in these virtual pages before, but here’s a pretty interesting take on the topic.  Excerpt:

The problem? In short, there are no red states; there are no blue states. There are instead, counties and neighborhoods and streets and the couch versus the bedroom after an argument with a spouse or significant other over political matters.

“And so what?” asks the Pollyanna-ish reader. He (or the rarer idiot she) observes, “We split up and then there’s no more reason to fight?”

That’s wrong for several reasons. One is that it is the moderate and right-wing tendency in the red areas that politically constrains the left-wing tendency of the blue. Remove the red from the blue and the real reds of the bluest blue states run amok, with moderates and moderation suppressed.

Think here: Stalin in Birkenstocks, the spirit of Ho Chi Minh coming down from his gas tank in Boston,4 or a Pol Pot cognate with a degree in journalism from Harvard or Yale, rather than École Française d’Électronique et d’Informatique. Remember, too, that Bill Ayers’ Weatherman expected and, I daresay, wanted to kill twenty-five million Americans, one in eight of the population, one in five adults, to create their preferred society.

It should not need to be said, in a world of bright people, but, sadly, we don’t live in that world: I am pretty sure that the same happens in the red states, where the removal of the political Left leaves all kinds of wingnuts, to include of the white-sheeted, pointy-hatted variety, to create or recreate their own particular fantasies, and run roughshod over moderates there.

Yes, it’s true; a major societal collapse, and a civil war sure as hell would be one of those, would be a shitshow beyond imagining; and yes, it’s very likely that in plenty of areas the nuts would rise to the top.  Plenty of areas would be run, not by elected leaders, but by warlords who managed to accumulate enough guns and followers to cow the rest of the population.

It’s just too bad that some folks have some weird idea that a civil war would be some glorious reclamation of the United States’ founding principles.  It wouldn’t be the beginning of a renewed U.S., it would be the end of the U.S. in any recognizable form.  I’m not saying it will never happen; I am saying I hope I don’t live to see it.

Rule Five Campaign Speech Friday

As this is a busy week with many family commitments, and as this is an election year, today I will present a rerun of my 2016 Presidential campaign speech.  As always, if anyone is offended by any of the statements in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Ladies and Gentlemen – friends – Americans – citizens.

I stand before you on this two hundred and twenty-eighth year of our Republic. I stand before you to announce my intention to seek the Presidency of our Republic. Most important of all, I stand before you to tell you why I intend to seek this thankless, stressful job, and what I intend to do with it.

I’d like to take this time to tell you the undying principles upon which I will base my policies, and upon which I will base legislation that I will propose to Congress:

First: Liberty.

Liberty means you are free to do as you please, so long as you cause no harm, physical or financial, to anyone else.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “If it neither picks my pocket nor break my arm, it’s not my concern.” This is a coin with two sides: Nobody gets to tell you what to do, but neither do you get to tell anyone else what to do.  Marry who you like. Work where and how you like. Start businesses and create new products and services are you like. It’s nobody else’s business – and it sure as hell isn’t the government’s business – until you hurt someone else. We currently live in a nation where you are required to obtain permission from a government bureaucrat to cut hair, to paint fingernails, to sell lemonade. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

Second: Property.

That means the following: The fruits of your labors are yours. They do not belong to some government bureaucrat, nor to some shouting agitator, nor to some ivory tower academic. They are yours. Government, to be effective at the few things they are required – absolutely required – to do, must tax you for some small amount of the fruits of your labors, but that taxation must be strictly limited, strictly fair, simply defined, and some must be collected from every single citizen. Everybody contributes. Nobody skates. There are too many in the nation who have no skin in the game, and our elections have become auctions, with candidates falling over each other promising voters more of other peoples’ property. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

Third: Accountability.

Government, at all levels, serves you. You do not serve the government. I stand here today not as someone seeking to be your master, but as someone applying for a job – and you will be my employers. I am applying for the job of CEO of the world’s largest Republic, and you, the citizens of the Republic, are the world’s largest Board of Directors. I answer to you, not the other way around. Every single government employee, from the President to the third assistant dogcatcher in Leaf Springs, Arkansas, answers to you. And so as one of my first acts in office I will personally visit every office, every facility, and every installation that falls under the control of the Executive Branch. I will personally speak with the Federal employees at those offices, facilities and installations. Any employee that cannot satisfactorily answer two questions: “What is your purpose? What are you doing right now?” will be fired on the spot. Any Executive Branch employee at any level who breaks the law, any law, will be fired and prosecuted. Government employees have, for too long, been held to different standards than the electorate. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

Fourth: Efficiency.

The Federal government has become a bloated Colossus. Washington is littered with extra-constitutional agencies, the purpose of which is to regulate, to dictate, to interfere with the free citizenry. There is no constitutional justification for many of them, and many of them actually work at cross purposes. The result is that every single business enterprise in the nation has to have an army of accountants and attorneys to help them navigate the twisted pathways of regulation and taxation; that every citizen has to puzzle through pages upon pages of Federal guidance in so prosaic an action as filing their annual tax return. The Federal government has only a few, a very few, legitimate roles: To protect private property, to ensure liberty, to protect the citizens from foreign interference. That’s all. But not today; no, not today. The Federal government has indeed become a bloated Colossus, but I intend to cut it down to size. As one of my first acts in office I will call upon Congress to eliminate the Federal Departments of Commerce, of Energy, of Education, and any others that I deem to be extra-constitutional and that add no value to the proper roles of government. Our government is too big. I call bullshit. This has to stop.

So, if you value liberty and property, and want accountability and efficiency in your public servants, vote for me. If you want Free Shit, vote for someone else. That’s all.

Disclaimer:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have absolutely no intention of ever running for any elected office.  I’d sooner shovel shit – the odor is better and at least shoveling shit is honest work.  But if I were to seek office, this would pretty much sum up my platform, with one addition:  If I sought and won the top spot, within my first 100 days as President I would submit a budget to Congress that consisted of four words:  “Fuck you, cut spending.”

Rule Five Fourth Annual Commencement Speech Friday

It’s that time of year again, when high school and college graduates all over the country are trying on caps and gowns and making post-graduation plans. Today, for the fourth year, I will present here my own carefully prepared commencement speech to those grads – presented here because there’s damn little chance of my being asked to deliver it in person to a group of impressionable yutes.

So, here it is. Enjoy.

“Graduates of the Class of 2018, let me be the first to extend to you my congratulations on this, your day of entry into reality.

For the last four years you have been working towards this goal, towards this day. That’s a good thing. One of the most important skills you will ever need, one of the most important ways to achieve success in the world into which you are about to enter, is the ability to formulate goals, to plan how to achieve those goals, and to see things through until you reach those goals. Today you’ve shown you can do that. Congratulations and good job.

Now, before you go out to enjoy the rest of this day, before you go out to celebrate this goal you have achieved, let me tell you a few harsh truths about the world you’re entering. I’m not going to give you any trigger warnings; if you can’t handle what I’m about to say, there’s damn little future for you out there in the real world, so cowboy up. Moments ago I congratulated you on your day of entry into reality, so to get you started off right, here is a hefty dose of reality for you.

In spite of what you may have been told during all your years of education, nobody owes you anything, and you aren’t special. Any perceived ‘need’ you may have does not entitle you to anything – most especially, not to one red cent of the product of anyone else’s effort. If any of your professors have told you that, then they are economic illiterates, moral frauds or outright charlatans.

Our wonderful Constitution, which has stood for well over two hundred years as the founding document of our Republic, guarantees you the opportunity to your pursuit of happiness. It does not require anyone to provide you the means to your happiness at their expense. You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You have no moral claim on anyone else’s productivity. Accept that fact and you are already one step ahead of most of your peers.

You are entitled to what you have earned through your own efforts, and not:





If you are accepting a degree today in LGBT Studies, or Women’s Studies, or any of the other assorted bullshit Underwater Dog Polishing degrees our universities crank out today, then you have my sympathies. You are the victim of a fraud perpetrated by our university system, a vicious and cynical fraud that has resulted in you spending a lot of money for no gain. But more importantly, you are the victim of your own poor judgement. You decided to pursue a useless degree, and now you’re stuck. Here is another harsh reality: You are responsible for your own situation. It’s not anybody else’s fault. Nobody else is responsible. You are.

Your university experience had one goal – producing a young adult with marketable skills, someone who can provide value to an employer and to the economy. In this your university has failed, and in choosing this degree, so did you. You have relegated yourself to uselessness in the workplace, and when a few years from now you are working as a barista or checkout clerk and crying over your six figures of student debt, remember what I said a few moments ago: You and you alone are responsible for your own life. You made a decision; now you get to deal with the consequences of that decision. Pull yourself up, look around at the other opportunities around you, and figure a way out of this mess your youthful indiscretion has landed you in.

But you still have one thing going for you. You have shown that you can set yourself a goal and achieve it. Do so now.

So, where do you go from here?

Because nobody owes you anything, including a living, one of the tasks ahead of you now is finding gainful employment. If you’re going to find employment, it will only be because you can demonstrate to the employer that you can provide value to him or her in excess of your costs of employment. Employment is an economic transaction. In any free market transaction, both parties have to realize a perceived gain in value or the transaction won’t happen. If a prospective employer doesn’t think you’re able to provide value to his/her business in excess of your cost of employment, which includes not only your salary but all the extra taxes, fees and other various government extortion that you never see in your pay stub – then they won’t hire you. So be able to present yourself as someone who can provide value, in whatever field you have been studying these last few years.

Once you have gained that employment, once you are in the workplace, remember these three rules for success:

Show up a little earlier than the other guy,
Work a little harder than the other guy,
Never pass up a chance to learn something new.

Words that should never pass your lips include such things as “that’s not my job,” and “I don’t have time for that.” Your reputation in the workplace should be, to put it bluntly, the one who can get shit done. Results matter. Be the one that the boss can count on. Be the one who brings things in on time. Be the one who finishes the job. Be the one that produces value and you will never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

Bear in mind also that you are entering the workforce as a tablua rasa as far as potential employers are concerned. You’re not going to leave these halls and be CEO of General Motors. You will be working in an entry level job, probably not making a lot of money, probably doing work your longer-term co-workers don’t want to do. Suck it up. There are no lousy jobs, only lousy people. Any work that produces value is worth doing. How do you know if your work is producing value? The answer to that is trivially easy: If someone is willing to pay you to do the work, then you are producing value. Bear in mind also that the job belongs to the employer, not to you, and if you don’t meet the employer’s expectations, someone else will.

How do you meet those expectations? Better yet, how do you exceed them? When you are doing that job, keep these things in mind:

Be known for your integrity. Don’t say anything you don’t believe and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who means what you say and who delivers on your promises.

Be known for your reliability. Show up on time, every day, for every event. Show up on time for meetings. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who will always be there when you’re needed.

Be known for your responsibility. If you take on a task, finish it. If you commit to a timeline, meet it. If you accept responsibility for something, own it. It’s yours. Don’t expect anyone else to take care of it for you. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who, when put in charge, takes charge.

Be known for your dependability. Plan your tasks to bring them in on schedule. If that means long hours, work them. If that means working a Saturday, work it. Your employers and co-workers must know you as the person who can get the job done.

Success isn’t a mysterious thing. It’s not that elusive and it’s not even all that hard. I did it, and you can too, but it does involve one four-letter word:


Thomas Edison once said “people often fail to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it usually shows up in overalls and looks like work.” At these commencement events it’s common to be told to follow your dreams, and that’s nice, flowery stuff, but in most cases nobody is going to pay you to follow your dreams. They will pay you to produce value, and that means work. Follow your dreams on your own time.

Finally, I will leave you all with some unsolicited advice:

All through your life, people will promise you things. Most of them won’t deliver. Many of those people will be people seeking political office, and many more of them will be people pushing some sort of supposed business opportunity. Some years ago the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein observed a fundamental law of the universe, which law is represented by the acronym TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Remember that; if someone offers you something for nothing, they are lying. If someone is offering you something at someone else’s expense, they are offering to commit theft on your behalf. The only moral answer to such offers is outright refusal.

There are only three types of economic transactions and only one of those – a free, unfettered, voluntary exchange of value – is morally acceptable. If a transaction is done by force, that is theft. If a transaction is done by deceit, that is fraud. Have no interaction with anyone who advocates either.

Accept responsibility for your own successes. Accept responsibility for your own failures. Learn from both. Rely on yourself. Rely on your own skills, your own abilities. Many other people will let you down, but you can always rely on yourself.

In her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand presents the protagonist, John Galt, describing his decision to solve society’s troubles by an epic act of creative destruction. He describes the ultimate moment of his decision process with two sentences, two sentences which I have found more inspiring than any long-winded ethical or political monologue ever delivered since the times of Plato and Aristotle. These words are the very essence of the self-directed man of achievement:

‘I saw what had to be done. I went out to do it.’

Those are good words to live by. Now, today, you graduates see what has to be done.

Go out and do it.

Thank you and good luck.”

If anyone was offended by anything contained in this hypothetical speech, too damn bad.

Dad (1923-2018)

Dad, 1950

No Blue Monday post today.  It doesn’t seem appropriate.

Early last Friday morning, my Dad passed away.  He was 94.  A few weeks ago, he came down with an acute gall bladder blockage and infection; they operated, removed his gall bladder and some stones, but the surgery weakened him badly.  Pneumonia followed and last Friday, at 4:30AM, he faded peacefully away in his sleep.

I will not mourn my Dad.  He wouldn’t have wanted that.  He would have wanted us to remember the man he was, to remember all the lessons he passed on to his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren.  He would have wanted us all to move ahead, to look to our futures, to our work, to our families.  He would have wanted us to remember how lucky we were to have shared our lives with him for so long.

So, this morning, I’ll tell you what kind of man he was, because he is the reason I am the man I am.

In summary:  Dad was the finest man I’ve ever known.

Dad in 1945.

Dad was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1923.  He grew up on a small farm until he was 16, when my Grandpa took a job as a Ford mechanic in Cedar Rapids.  He met my Mom when he was 13 and she was 8, at the wedding of Dad’s older brother to Mom’s older sister.  Mom and Dad were happily married for 71 years.

Like most of his generation, Dad served in World War 2, a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps, a navigator in B-25s before making the transition to B-29s, a transition he was still making at war’s end.  His father had served in World War I and I served in the late Cold War years, including in the first Gulf War; Dad was very proud of our three generations of service.  He spent the rest of his life navigating the way forward for our family.

When he came home from the war, he took up a small farm near Independence, Iowa.  He and Mom were married in March of 1947 and started a family that was to include my three sisters, my brother

Dad and me, 1964

and myself.  They farmed near Independence for only a few years before moving to a larger farm near Fairbanks, where they stayed until 1965.  At that time Dad was climbing the ladder at the John Deere works in Waterloo and couldn’t see the logic in trying to keep a big farm going on top of a full-time job, so they moved to a house in Cedar Falls.

Living in town appealed to neither of my parents, so after a few years they bought 60 acres of timber in Allamakee County and built what I have always considered my childhood home there.  One of the Bear Creek homestead’s primary appeals was also its weakness, that

Dad at Bear Creek, 2002

being Bear Creek itself, a beautiful trout stream that ran only steps from the front door.  After the floods of 2007 and 2008, Dad was 85, and determined that he could no longer rebuild after such damage, so they moved again to a house in Cedar Falls, where Dad spent the rest of his life.

Dad was a farmer, a quality engineer for a major manufacturer, and an artist of some renown who for years had his own space in the Iowa State Capitol where one of his paintings always was on display.  More important, he was a good husband, a wonderful father and grandfather, an old-fashioned country gentleman, one of the finest wingshots I’ve ever seen, a self-educated man conversant in subjects from particle physics to paleoanthropology to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  He was a wise man, a fine man.

That’s the what.  But more important is the who, and I’ll tell you about that by passing on some of the bits of wisdom he gifted to me over the years:

Mom and Dad, 70th Valentine’s Day
  • Work comes first.
  • Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  • A man takes care of his family first, then himself.
  • There are no lousy jobs, just lousy people.

Dad taught me how to find my way in the woods, how to fish, how to shoot, how to do so many things I couldn’t possibly list them all.

More important, he taught me how to be a man, a husband, a father, and a grandfather.  One day I hope I’ll be as good at those things as he was.

Now he’s gone, but his family, in accordance with his wishes, will pick up and move on.  We will look to our futures – even Mom, who will be 90 in October.  We will all miss him, but we will all feel gifted, knowing we are better people because of him.

I’ll spent the rest of my life trying to live up to him.  I have to – because, now, I’m the Old Man.

Two generations of service.

Animal’s Daily Balkanization News

Continuing on yesterday’s theme:  America Faces One of Three Inevitable Paths: Unrest, Tyranny, or Divorce – Pick One.  Excerpt:

In a piece for The Federalist entitled, “It’s Time For The United States To Divorce Before Things Get Dangerous,” writer and former Marine Corps combat veteran Jesse Kelly ruffled more than a few feathers with his contention that the time for the United States as a united nation may be nearing an inevitable end. 

Comparing the Left and Right in America to “the couple screaming at each other all night, every night as the kids hide in their room,” Kelly cites a congenial divorce as the best option for a country that’s “hopelessly divided” on seemingly every important issue. He even tweeted a helpful accompanying map with a hand-drawn red line ceding the Left coast and the northern states to the liberal governance they deserve.

In his piece, Kelly cites issues from gun control to border security, issues that, while both sides hopelessly disagree, will soon prompt increasingly intolerant Leftists to “start coming for the careers (and lives) of any normal American who sees things differently.”

But here’s the part that provoked my interest:

And these days, the idea isn’t just coming from the Right. The Calexit movement would secede California from the United States entirely, and it’s more financed and organized than you might think. Perhaps it’s time to give them what they want.

“[Conservatives’ reasons for splitting] would be a major cultural shift toward the left and half the country refusing to go along with tyranny,” writes Kelly. Liberals’ reasons might be a desire to run things their own way without the adults in the room interfering. But either way, the way I see it there are three possibilities for America’s future – unrest, tyranny, or divorce.

Out on a limb.

Look at loony Californey these days, and the solution may be obvious:  Let California go, and let “progressive” folks in the country go with them.  Encourage leftie emigration to the new Left Coast socialist state, but off California with their big block of Electoral College votes and their Democrat supermajority – oh, after collecting fair value for all the Imperial lands and installations in that state – and let them lie in the bed they’ve made.

With California gone, the political Left in the United States will be set back several generations.  Of course, that has us stuck with the GOP, who thus far has shown not one iota of testicular fortitude; but who knows that with confidence in majorities and the White House, maybe even the current soft-shelled creatures in the Imperial City might grow some semblance of a spine.

In any case, it beats the hell out of a civil war.

Rule Five Age of Majority Friday

Florida has raised the age for purchasing a long gun to 21.  The drinking age is technically set by the several States, but back in the early Eighties the Imperial government used highway funds to blackmail the states to raising that age to 21.  Imperial law has for years stated the age to buy a handgun at 21, and now croakers in the Imperial City are talking about following Florida in the case of long guns.

I’m wondering if that’s such a bad idea.

Now, before you square away at me, let me explain.

Our society seems to have arrived at the conclusion that kids from 18 to 21 years of age are fundamentally irresponsible.  We don’t allow them to drink, to gamble, to purchase handguns; we don’t allow them to adopt children or (in most states) rent cars.

But at 18, we allow these kids to sign contracts.  We allow them to drive; we allow them to join the military.  We allow them to vote, for crying out loud.

Last month, over at, A. Barton Hinkle weighed in on the whole gradual age of majority issue.  Excerpt:

The U.S. already has raised the drinking age to 21. But as is often noted, you need be only 18 to enlist in the armed forces—i.e., to volunteer for missions that could entail not only losing your own life but taking others’.

The age of enlistment offers two rationales for not raising the age at which someone can buy a gun. If you’re mature enough to enlist, goes one, then you’re mature enough to own a gun. (Rebuttal: Enlistees’ lives are regimented to a ridiculous degree. Unlike civilian 18-year-olds, they’re not being given free rein.)

The second rationale holds that if you are old enough to sacrifice your life in America’s defense, then you should have access to all of America’s constitutional rights. Indeed, that was largely the rationale behind lowering the voting age once the age of conscription had been lowered.

Of course, nobody ever died because somebody picked up a ballot in a moment of anger. Nor has an improperly or accidentally used ballot ever killed anyone. People die from gunfire under those conditions all the time. So there might be some sense in leaving the voting age at 18 but raising the age of access to devices that can kill.

Except that most states let teenagers drive without supervision at age 16—and sometimes earlier—even though the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that “teenage drivers have the highest crash risk per mile traveled.” In fact, the Institute says, the fatal crash rate for drivers age 16-19 is “nearly three times as high as the rate for drivers 20 and over.”

So, the answer is obvious.  The age of majority should be regularized.  Teenage drivers are dangerous, it seems; obviously the Tide-Pod Eating Generation can’t handle rifles or shotguns, or a glass of beer.  Good, then; take this to its obvious conclusion.  Congress should immediately act to raise the age of majority overall to 21.  Prior to that age youths will not be allowed to drink, to drive, to sign contracts, to join the military, to purchase firearms and, most important of all, to vote.

At least then our idiotic graduated-age-of-majority system will be gone; at least then we will have some damned consistency.

And, yes, I am being sarcastic.  I actually am in favor of regularizing the age of majority for all things.  At eighteen.  But occasionally it’s useful to take an argument to its ultimate, ridiculous conclusion.