On February 28, 2012, Sam Sloan, a candidate for the 2012 Libertarian Party's Presidential Nomination, came out in support of the five goals of 14 Now!, which are the following:
1. To Lower The Voting Age To 14
2. To Eliminate Restrictions On The Right Of Individuals 14 Years Of Age & Older To Work
3. To End Compulsory Education At 14
4. To Allow Individuals 14 Years Of Age & Older To Join The Military
5. To Set The Age Of Consent At 14
Sam Sloan said the following with respect to his support for the 14 Now! Agenda:
There is no doubt young people have more exposure to adult knowledge now than they have ever had and instead of trying to deny that fact, it is important we teach young adults to make responsible decisions with respect to their lives.
The 14 Now! Agenda, if adopted by policy makers and legislatures, would allow a young adult, 14 years of age or older, to vote, to become emancipated, to work, to quit school, to join the military and to have consensual sexual relations with anyone they wish who is also over the age of 14. I concede that age 14 is an arbitrary number and that some young adults mature more quickly than others. However, most major religions in the world consider a person to have achieved adulthood at 13 or 14 and this appears to be backed up by the evidence nature provides.
With respect to lowering the voting age to 14, you might argue a young adult age 14, 15, 16 or 17 doesn't have the knowledge or interest to make good decisions in the voting booth but given the ever-increasing size of Big Government, it is obvious to me that most voters lack common sense or vote only in accordance with their own narrow interests. On the other hand, I have known many intelligent young adults who are active in their communities and schools and who should be given the opportunity to vote.
Most young people will remain in school because they wish to learn, be with their friends, have a roof over their heads and get the support of their parents as they seek admission to colleges and universities. However, there are some young adults who are gay, who live in homes with emotionally and physically abusive parents and who need to get out of their living situation as quickly as possible. If a 14 year old young adult needs to get out of their bad situation or neighborhood, then giving that person decision-making capacity will enable them to choose to move into a grandparents' home or the home of a friend, to work, to join the military, to become an apprentice to a professional and to be treated as a responsible young adult in all respects. For an inner city kid facing gang influence, bad schools and a sub-culture of violence, giving that person an opportunity to join the military and attend a military boarding school can be a ticket to a better life. In addition, room and board at that boarding school can be provided for free in return for a commitment to serve 5 years in uniform after the completion of their education.
While it is true that having an education is an important tool for success in life, not every student should be expected to complete High School or College. Alternative educational opportunities should be made available for those motivated to learn special skills that can lead to a promising career in a trade. Many students are now being pushed through the school system and when they reach college, they lack the basic knowledge of a 4th grader. If compulsory basic education is ended at 14 years of age, a young adult can leave school, work, study for a G.E.D. and make decisions to get their life on track.
As for the age of consent, teenagers have been having sex at younger and younger ages and I don't think we should deny that reality by keeping the age of consent artificially high. Young people may wish to experiment sexually with partners older than they are, who may actually be more responsible when it comes to protecting themselves from pregnancy, A.I.D.S. and sexually transmitted diseases. As long as both parties consent to the interaction, the government should not criminalize such relationships.
I recognize I am breaking ground by taking these controversial stands on these issues. However, I do believe more and more people will start holding young adults more responsible for their actions. The criminal justice system is trying many more teenagers as adults and giving them adult sentences. In addition, even the identities of young people tried as juveniles are no longer being protected as they once were. This is the reality we must face and I am proud to be a trailblazer in support of Youth Rights.
14 Now! is a Youth Rights Advocacy Organization founded on December 20, 2010.