Monday, 20 July 2009

The youthfulness of Thomas Burridge

Young Mr. Burridge is the Libertarian Party candidate in this week’s Norwich North by-election. And he is young - 18 years, 2 months, and 6 days on the day of the election. Some people might just say “too young.” Indeed, one or two have.

This is interesting, considering that we live in a culture which tends to think that being young is a good thing, and where political parties seem to prefer to choose young leaders. Mr. Blair became leader of the Labour Party at the age of 41, Mr. Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party at the age of 39, and Mr. Clegg became leader of the Liberal Democrats at the age of 40 - though all of these gentlemen must give way to Mr. Hague, who became Tory leader at the age of 36. There is no question about it - youth is in, and age is not respected the way it once was.

How different it was in Biblical times. In the Book of Proverbs we are told “Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” (16:31) And in the prophecy of Isaiah (3:4-5), when God warns his people of the judgement that he is going to bring on them, one gets the distinct impression that youthfulness was not exactly prized:

I will make boys their officials;
mere children will govern them.
People will oppress each other -

man against man, neighbour against neighbour.

The young will rise up against the old,

the base against the honourable.

And yet even in Biblical times, there is another side to it. In the Book of Ecclesiastes (4:13), we are told “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.”

And the apostle Paul, when writing to a younger church leader called Timothy (I Timothy 4:12), tells him “Let no one despise you for your youth.” The point of course, is that Timothy may be young, and some people may have doubts about him for that reason, but he has the confidence of the older leaders.

And then, of course, there was the boy David, who, when he volunteered to fight Goliath, was told (I Samuel 17:33) “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy.”

Mr. Burridge may be young, but when I look at the actions and policies of most of our older and more experienced politicians, I see a remarkable amount of folly. Age and experience do not, by themselves, bring wisdom. And when I listen to him, I reckon that he has a lot of sense. And I believe that the policies that he advocates are wiser than those advocated by the older and more experienced candidates. Yes, he is very young. But I do not see that as a problem. I would certainly vote for him. And I hope that many of the voters in Norwich North will do so. It’s time to get begin the fight back against the Philistines who are intent on making us their slaves.


bethyada said...

I think that in a democracy voting should not be allowed until one reaches the age of 25. While there are sensible people under that age and idiots older, democracy is about everyone having an equal vote, thus what people do on mass has a greater impact on vote tallies. I think maturity, while it does not guarantee sense, is more likely to mean sense. And people are possibly a little less selfish.

And candidates should not be below the age of voting.

That being said, one votes in the society he finds himself in, and the best candidate may be a youth.

Young Mr. Brown said...

The voting age is not a subject on which I have any particular views, and I don't see any compelling reason to move it from 18 - either up or down.

It does seem to me that it goes with adulthood - which broadly speaking is associated with social/intellectual maturity and common sense / wisdom. That, to me, implies an age somewhere around 20 - the age for military service in the Old Testament.

And I suspect that those who don't have much sense at 20 - at least enough to vote intelligently - are never going to have it.

On the other hand, I suspect that if the voting age was raised to 25, people who have the right to vote would probably value it more.

measured said...

With your wisdom, perhaps you are not such a YOUNG Mr Brown. There again, maybe you are just learned. After all you do like your books. Are you allowed to vote?

Young Mr. Brown said...

Thank you for your kind comments, Ms. Measured. I do indeed have the grey hair (or should that be fur?) which is a crown of glory.