And your driver’s license, too. Because the same applies to both: the old endanger the young. What we need is an epistocracy of youth.
Dear baby boomers, we under 30 would also like to have some of this prosperity Photo: Stephan Scheuer/dpa
"Senior citizen crashes into shop window," "Pensioner drives into crowd." We all know these accident reports, there were also this week. After all, driving licenses in the EU now have to be reapplied for every 15 years. But compulsory driving ability tests? Oh no.
In Germany, a country of drivers, we not only want to retain the freedom to speed down the A100 at 222 kilometers per hour (although that was a 20-year-old), but also the freedom to steer an automatic sedan through a pedestrian zone, and if the accelerator pedal suddenly sits where the brake was just a moment ago, well, that’s that. "I’m betting on personal responsibility," says cutely Federal Transport Minister Scheuer, supported by the ADAC, while the many experts who tirelessly point out that not only eyesight but also self-assessment deteriorate with age quietly despair.
Endangering the lives of others is one thing. The other is endangering the future of others. On Sunday evening, when the results of the European elections came in, it became clear that people under 60 voted with their eyes on the street, and those over 60 with their eyes in the rearview mirror. Support for the Greens – who were ahead among the under-60s and won as many votes among first-time voters as the CDU/CSU and SPD combined – fell disproportionately to the age of the voters. For the CDU, it was the other way around.
Now I don’t find this alarming because the Greens are great in principle. You can have good reasons not to vote for them, and the attention to the climate issue owes far less to them than to the kids who have been taking to the streets for months.
Littered with coal-fired power plants and plastic bags
The clarity of this mood is all the more frightening: Those who are young vote for the Greens because they see an awareness of climate change only in them. Because they know what is at stake. And above all, because they are affected by it themselves. One or two generations before that, on the other hand, are chasing the narrative of the CDU/CSU: it’s all scaremongering, you’d better go to school properly, after all, it’s about our well-being (the CDU’s favorite election campaign buzzword).
Dear voters over 60, we under 30 would also like to have some of this prosperity, not least because we are already poorer than our parents’ generation ever was, shimmy from one temporary contract to the next and never really have any time off because we spend our weekends trying to find the last affordable apartment (of course, we are still happy to finance your pensions).
Unfortunately, you have not only left us a precarious working world and a Europe with a collective identity crisis and nationalism problem, but also littered the planet with coal-fired power plants and plastic bags. And you want to determine our future?
You can see that I’m getting a bit carried away. So I’ll make it short: Driver’s licenses should be surrendered in old age. Why not the right to vote? Yes, I know – a human right. But surely there should also be a human right for us young people to live to at least our late seventies like the average person in Europe today, and to do so without being alternately hit by storm surges and forest fires.
Speeders, pensioners and climate change
What we need is an epistocracy of youth: lower the voting age and set an upper limit – or at least provide clear incentives to delegate one’s vote to younger people. To put it bluntly, this would mean protecting the innocent from an electorate that is incompetent on fundamental issues. You may find this anti-democratic, but I think it is reasonable to at least think about it.
This text comes from the taz am wochenende. Always from Saturday on the newsstand, in the eKiosk or immediately in the practical weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter.
In the end, of course, there is also a connection between speeders, pensioners and climate change. In Hamburg’s Grob Flottbek district – if you Google it, pictures of magnificent villas and posh gardens appear almost exclusively – 20 (in words: twenty) such shop window accidents have already happened in one and the same shopping street.
Police and district office convened a crisis summit on Wednesday and now want to ban "angled parking" at one point. Meanwhile, the Hamburger Abendblatt is investigating. And finds out: "Almost all of the people who caused the accidents were older people driving new, automatic-driven cars with relatively high horsepower, including SUVs and heavy sedans."
According to an expert at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, the declining eyesight and incipient dementia of some accident perpetrators are compounded by "the inability to operate modern, sometimes highly technical cars correctly. Let’s hope that digital democracy doesn’t reach Germany’s voting booths too quickly.