15 November 2007

Full-time adult coercion

In spite of efforts to make a noise about this, by myself and a number of other people, I still feel liberty-lovers out there are not taking the proposal to compel seventeen-year-olds to undergo ‘education/training’ (as defined by the government) seriously enough.

This is about more than the liberty of young people; there is a matter of principle involved. I have already written about this here so I won’t bother repeating myself. Suffice it to say, if this one is passed through, or doesn’t at least receive a lot of opposition, we are in for more of the same: coercion will come to be regarded as an acceptable policy response to various ills (real or imagined).

I usually try hard to be scrupulous about not oversimplifying issues or leaving out complexities. However, in this case I am going to make an exception for publicity purposes. Most people in politics seem to do it habitually, so I'm going to allow myself to do it for once.

It seems to me this wholly unacceptable policy is exploiting the grey area surrounding the concept of ‘adult’. If the government were proposing to coerce nineteen-year-olds or thirty-year-olds, one would hope for a lot more opposition. (Wouldn’t one?)

While it’s true that a seventeen-year-old isn’t an adult on some definitions (e.g. voting), it is clear that he or she is an adult for many practical purposes. Seventeen-year-olds can drive, have jobs, start families, and so forth. I am therefore going to start calling such persons “adults”.

What we have, then, is a proposal to coerce adults into full-time education/training, and I shall be referring to it from now on as 'full-time adult coercion'.

If the concept of full-time coercion of adults doesn’t make your blood boil there is, frankly, something wrong with you. Please go away and check your moral compass.

If it does make your blood boil, please help to support the campaign, by linking to it or otherwise publicising it. Pay-off? A link from it to your blog, raising your Technorati authority level by +1. And, perhaps, helping to stop this appalling stupidity from happening. If you don’t have a blog, write to your MP.

If you do publicise the campaign, please don’t bother to mention my name: (a) because I am shy and modest, (b) because it is a collective effort, and more of the credit for setting it up goes to Surreptitious Evil.

Thanks to the Englishman for regularly linking to the campaign.
If you have an article on this issue, or on education or coercion generally, which you would allow us to cross-post, please contact the campaign administrators via Educational Conscription.