I gotta tell you, I'm such a fan of sweeping ideas and idiosyncratic solutions to social problems that I'm naturally kind of attracted to Newt Gingrich's new grand scheme, even if it is from one of the more odious people in American politics. Certainly, I think teenagers are much more equipped to maneuver in the world than we give them credit for, and we have such a schizophrenic vision of adolescence anyway-- for example, the routine sexualization of adolescent girls in media and culture, but the absolute horror at actual sex by adolescent girls-- that maybe something like this is natural.
It's sex, though, that would scuttle this idea from ever happening. (I'm sure that Newt is not taking this idea 100% seriously, at least as a policy goal, but still.) If we emancipate children at thirteen or so, it's inevitable that these adolescents would choose their sexual partners as freely as other adults would. Some of them would choose conventional adults as their sexual and romantic partners, and I don't know if society is going to accept that. I'm fairly liberal, as far as those things go, but I certainly don't want thirteen year olds having sexual relationships with thirty year olds.
(via Joe Carter)