Radical Democratic Inclusion: Why We Should Lower the Voting Age to 12

Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 91:185-212 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Democratic societies such as the United Kingdom have come to fail their young citizens, often sacrificing their interests in a political process that gives much greater weight to the preferences and interests of older citizens. Against this background of intergenerational injustice, this article presents the case for a shift in the political system in the direction of radical democratic inclusion of younger citizens, through reducing the voting age to 12. This change in the voting age can be justified directly, with reference to the status, interests, and capacities of younger citizens, and it can also be justified as a remedy to existing forms of intergenerational injustice. This change in the voting age would require a parallel transformation in the role of secondary schools as part of the ‘critical infrastructure' of a democratic society, which would be part of a broader shift towards a more genuinely democratic political culture. The proposal is defended against less radical alternatives (such as votes at 16) and more radical alternatives (such as votes for younger children). The article concludes with some reflections on democracy and intergenerational justice in light of the Covid pandemic and the climate emergency.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,412

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Ethical Considerations on Quadratic Voting.Ben Laurence & Itai Sher - 2017 - Public Choice 1 (172):175-192.
Methods of Democratic Decision-Making.Richard Schmitt - 2018 - Radical Philosophy Review 21 (1):129-151.
Political testimony.Han van Wietmarschen - 2019 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 18 (1):23-45.
Inclusion and Participation: Working with the Tensions.Gideon Calder - 2011 - Studies in Social Justice 5 (2):183-196.


Added to PP

38 (#348,694)

6 months
11 (#107,923)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Martin O'Neill
University of York

Citations of this work

Add more citations

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
What should egalitarians believe?Martin O'neill - 2008 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 36 (2):119-156.
Contradictions of Capital and Care.Nancy Fraser - 2016 - New Left Review 100:99-117.
Survey Article: Philosophy and Public Policy after Piketty.Martin O'Neill - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (3):343-375.

View all 8 references / Add more references