Should We Apply the Logan's Run Principle, Updated for Inflated Life Expectancies Of Course, to Congress and the Courts?

Denver Post columnist and Reason contributor David Harsanyi goes ageist on the only native criminal class in these United States:

Thirty years after Ted Kennedy griped about Ronald Reagan's advanced age, the man serves as a 76-year-old, nine-term senator recovering from brain-tumor surgery. Really, is there no one else available in the state of Massachusetts who can drop his Rs and vote dependably Maoist?

An average adult would not trust Sen. Robert Byrd (who is 91) to pet-sit their mutt for fear that the unfortunate creature might accidentally turn up in chili con carne. Yet, Byrd sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, where he doles out massive amounts of taxpayer funds for West Virginia landmarks with "Byrd" in the title. Fortunately, this session Byrd has lost his chairmanship to make way for a young whippersnapper in Hawaii's Daniel Inouye, who is 84.

And, sure, there has been some progress in the Senate with the ousting of Alaskan criminal Ted Stevens (85). The youth movement continued in the House with the ejection of 82-year-old John Dingell from his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to make way for Henry Waxman, who comes in at a stylish 69.

Then, says Harsanyi, there's the Supreme Court:

Then there are Supreme Court justices, who in many ways hold power beyond that of legislators. Certainly the position entails a far higher level of intellectual rigor. The average age in that institution is 69. Five justices are over 70 and another two are over 60. Justice John Paul Stevens is 88.

In 2004, six in 10 Americans believed that there should be a mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices - probably because, like myself, they often can't get their childrens' names straight, much less remember what the Third Amendment says. (Though, in the end, we all stand united against the quartering of soldiers.)

The author of Nanny State concludes:

Theoretically, it would be nice to allow citizens to vote for anyone they please, young or old. But since we already have a minimum, constitutionally mandated age limit to serve in place, why not a maximum age? How about at least placing it wherever the average life expectancy falls?

Because, right now, Washington looks more like Del Boca Vista than America.

Whole thing here. I don't agree with mandatory retirement ages, but it is fun to make fun of jerk-off old senators.

Reason on definitively senile and decrepit Supreme Court Judges here.

Reason interviews Harsanyi here.

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  • Travis||

    We should implant crystals in the palms of elected officials. When the crystals turn red they have to be renewed on Carousel.

  • robc||

    The third amendment was placed third for a reason. And unlike the rest of the Bill of Rights, it has stood strong throughout the centuries.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oops. I thought Dan Inouye has already passed away.

  • ||

    Who gets to be a Sandman? I volunteer!

  • Elemenope||

    I don't agree with mandatory retirement ages, but it is fun to make fun of jerk-off old senators.

    Heck, I don't even agree with mandatory minimum ages. If a district really badly wants to be represented by a fourteen-year-old, so be it; whose business is that except those who live in his or her district?

    Also, to further pimp my recently deceased ex-senator Claiborne Pell, he left the Senate at the very modest age of 79. Got out while the gettin's good, so to speak.

  • .||

    Why do these "Is Your Man Gay?" ads keep appearing whenever I visit reason.com?

  • ||

    One of my issues with mandatory maximums is that it seems to miss the point that, generally speaking, it really doesn't matter who our politicians are so long as the American people continue to look to them for the solutions to their problems.

    Because they're not, you know, the solution to our problems. Politicians are not the solution. ...and how old they are has nothing to do with that.

  • ||

    Why do these "Is Your Man Gay?" ads keep appearing whenever I visit reason.com?

    [cough]Episiarch[cough]

  • ||

    If a district really badly wants to be represented by a fourteen-year-old, so be it; whose business is that except those who live in his or her district?

    But that would make a mockery of the august and stately institution that is government. I think they should all go back to wearing wigs to class the joint back up.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Let's see. The minimum age for a senator is 30, right? How about a maximum age of 36?

  • Elemenope||

    Also, completely and utterly OT, but Obsidian Wings had a post recently about how much of an unbelievable douchebag Burris was as a D.A.. Seems like something up H&R's alley.

  • ||

    [cough]Episiarch[cough]

    Look, I was drunk and I was curious.

  • ||

    A Chicago D.A. is douchebag? I'm reeling in dumbstrucked amazament!

    "Hear that 'Lizabeth? I'm coming to join ya!"

  • ||

    Look, I was drunk and I was bicurious.

    Retconned.

  • Elemenope||

    I think they should all go back to wearing wigs to class the joint back up.

    I could get behind that. I remember there was a brouhaha some years ago when Rhenquist prettied up his S.C. robe with royal purple stripes in order to preside over Clinton's Senate trial. That was good for teh lulz.

  • ||

    I remember there was a brouhaha some years ago when Rhenquist prettied up his S.C. robe with royal purple stripes

    It's good to know he knew his Roman history.

  • Elemenope||

    It's good to know he knew his Roman history.

    If only he had some grasp of American history...

  • Elemenope||

    A Chicago D.A. is douchebag? I'm reeling in dumbstrucked amazament!

    I draw a bright line between "asshole" and "murderous asshole", and he apparently was the latter.

  • ed||

    Washington looks more like Del Boca Vista than America.

    As a neighbor of Del Boca Vista, that comment disturbs me very much.

  • ||

    I knew you wouldn't disappoint me, LMNOP.

    Retconned.

    This coming from a vegisexual. How'd it go with that eggplant last night?

  • Travis||

    "Oops. I thought Dan Inouye has already passed away."

    Maybe he has & no one has noticed yet. It's hard to tell by looking at him.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Really, is there no one else available in the state of Massachusetts who can drop his Rs and vote dependably Maoist?

    This day is starting off on a good note.

  • Travis||

    "Who gets to be a Sandman? I volunteer!"

    The problem is Epi they've already reached Sanctuary. They've living in the Capitol building with Peter Ustinov & the all the cats.

  • ||

    How'd it go with that eggplant last night?

    It definitely tasted better than your mom. Tighter, too.

  • ||

    Aside from outright senility, I don't think age really changes the nature of these people, just that the culture changes the viewpoint of the people watching the legislators.

    Of course, talking to my fellow mid-20 year olds, I fear greatly for the upcoming 2 decades.

  • Elemenope||

    The third amendment was placed third for a reason. And unlike the rest of the Bill of Rights, it has stood strong throughout the centuries.

    I hope this is you joking. Like Nigel said, it's been an odd morning.

  • ||

    It definitely tasted better than your mom.

    What doesn't? Other than your wife, that is.

    Tighter, too.

    Just because you need a pinhole, you complain.

  • ||

    Sure why not, Logans Run RULED!

    www.web-privacy.pro.tc

  • Nigel Watt||

    The Sandman gets to practice on the anonymity spammer.

  • a name before submitting the f||

    How about just term limits. We can start small. How about five decades. Is that unreasonable?

  • LurkerBold||

    How'd it go with that eggplant last night?

    Cannott wait until noon for your racism can you.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Of course, talking to my fellow mid-20 year olds, I fear greatly for the upcoming 2 decades.

    Please don't remind me how retarded our generation is.

  • ||

    Come off it, Epi. It was like throwing a hot dog down a hallway. But, then, you do have a giant head.

    And leave my wife out of it, or she'll pay some shady Eastern Europeans to rape you.

  • ||

    Please don't remind me how retarded our generation is.

    Nobody brought up Twitter.

  • LurkerBold||

    In my reading of the third amendment it applies only to private property. When the selfish land barons are no longer the owners so much property then the government can quarter soldiers at a more reasonable cost than what the corporations are charging them now.

  • ||

    Why not simply set an expiration date for each politician? In the form of a neck device that explodes if the politician is in DC after the expiration date?

    Oooo. . . . It's the Big One. . . . You hear that Elizabeth? I'm comin' to you, I'm comin' home to Georgia!

  • LurkerBold||

    Strangely this board is all for killing the Progressives, like Kennedy, but an old corporatist like Ron Paul does not even get a mention.

  • ||

    Cannott wait until noon for your racism can you.

    Well, NutraSweet is down with the swirl.

    And leave my wife out of it, or she'll pay some shady Eastern Europeans to rape you.

    Really? Promise?

  • ||

    I think we need to distinguish between mandatory maximum ages for politicians and judges. Pols can be voted out any time. Supreme Court justices, on the other hand, are there for life.

    However, I think it would take a Constitutional amendment to enact an age limit on Justices. And I'd bet the Supreme Court would agree.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    I hope this is you joking.

    Which part did you think was a joke:

    1. That the 3rd was put 3rd for a reason.
    2. That it has stood strong.
    3. That the other amendments havent stood strong.

    All 3 seem very true.

  • jb||

    What's the point of the article? That Senators are old? So what? I can understand the argument with respect to the lifetime appointments on the Supreme Court, but if people are willing to vote for an old guy then what is Harsanyi's problem? Doesn't he at least have a fun "senior moment" anecdote to share?

    After all, people can "vote Maoist" and "direct pork to [their respective states]" at any age. So why gripe about seniors?

  • alittlesense||

    Are the senators going to start running (or hobbling) out of the Capitol and yelling "Damn kids! Get off my lawn! (the mall)

  • phalkor||

    You know, that old person smell, no one likes that.

  • Elemenope||

    1. That the 3rd was put 3rd for a reason.

    This one is demonstrably not true. The "third" amendment was introduced *fifth*. The first two did not pass, though the first is basically obsolete now, having been handled by the twelfth and twentieth amendments (twists and turns aside) and the second was later ratified as the twenty-seventh. The one we call the "first" amendment was introduced *third*, which is why I chuckle when people say "it was first, because it obviously was most important!"

  • ||

    Since no one else has seen fit to mention, let me lower the tone and comment on the hotness of Jenny Agutter:

    Hubba-hubba.

  • Nigel Watt||

    After all, people can "vote Maoist" and "direct pork to [their respective states]" at any age. So why gripe about seniors?

    Because Reason is still under the illusion that government can be good.

  • robc||

    lmnop,

    The other two might have been considered more important than the first :).

    They werent put in random order, that is all Im saying. Im not saying importance - but there does some to be a logical order.

  • ||

    Once again, you show your lack of taste, NutraSweet. What next, a wolf whistle for Charlotte Rampling?

  • Elemenope||

    They werent put in random order, that is all Im saying. Im not saying importance - but there does some to be a logical order.

    That I'll readily grant. The only thing that the history causes me to balk at is assertions of *numerical* intentionality.

  • ||

    The advantages of incumbency are overwhelming. One hears, periodically, that turnover in the United States Congress is lower than in the British House of Lords. The only way you leave the House of Lords is on a marble slab.

    Unfortunately, the only way to reduce the benefits and competitive advantages of incumbency, or (heaven forfend!) establish term limits, is to get the incumbents to approve and agree to those changes.

    Don't hold your breath.

  • ||

    I like cute English girls, sue me. Walkabout thru Equus. That's a solid track record.

  • LurkerBold||

    What about your right to a job, health care and to a home? Pretty odd that our government never gave us those rights, like the truly advanced societies do.

  • Urkobold™||

    JENNY'S BOSOMS ARE HYPNOTIC AND DISRUPT THE URKOBOLD'S CONCENTRATION.

    WHAT WERE YOU SAYING, EPISIARCH?

  • Xeones||

    How about, instead of term limits for senators and congressmen, we send 'em to prison on leaving office, for a period of time not less than the period they were in office? It's not perfect, i know, especially given incumbency rates, but still.

  • ||

    What about your right to a job, health care and to a home? Pretty odd that our government never gave us those rights, like the truly advanced societies do.

    Get off my lawn, ya goddammed Bolshevik!

  • phalkor||

    Get off my lawn, ya goddammed Bolshevik!


    It won't be your lawn for long! It will belong to the workers!

  • LurkerBold||

    P Brooks,

    Just how is it your lawn? Some fancy piece of paper that obscures centuries of theft say it is yours or something?

  • ||

    Just wait until we get card check passed and your grass can finally unionize!

    The union will insure it never gets trampled again!

  • Warty||

    I got Jenny's number. I hope she doesn't change it.

  • LurkerBold||

    I will bet that Brooks uses lots of corporate chemicals on his lawn to make it "green" and pretends that he is not killing the planet.

  • Elemenope||

    Some fancy piece of paper that obscures centuries of theft say it is yours or something?

    If both the thief and the victim are long since dead, how could that possibly matter?

  • Elemenope||

    I will bet that Brooks uses lots of corporate chemicals on his lawn to make it "green" and pretends that he is not killing the planet.

    All those aliens bent on destroying the Earth are obviously complete putzes. The answer all along, apparently, was "Phosphates".

  • ||

    I got Jenny's number. I hope she doesn't change it.

    867-5309? We all have it.

  • ||

    Warty-

    Is it still 867-5309?

  • LurkerBold||

    Elemenope,

    I did not realize that you were one of the Ron Paul fanatics on this board.

  • ||

    No chemicals; just acres and acres of native grasses. Indians make great fertilizer.

  • Elemenope||

    I did not realize that you were one of the Ron Paul fanatics on this board.

    Heh.

  • LurkerBold||

    First Episiarch with his anti Black racism, now Brooks with his Native American genocide.

    Does the ACLU know about this board?

  • ||

    Epi-

    Just this week I started practicing that tune. The sheet music for it is contained in an old 80s pop sheet music anthology book I have had for ages.

  • ||

    LurkerBold-

    Would you second my motion that Baked Penguin's 8:32 post is the thread winner? After all, you wouldn't you be in favor of limiting the ability of our solons to accumulate power through the bribes of big business thereby hurting the poor?

  • T||

    First Episiarch with his anti Black racism, now Brooks with his Native American genocide.

    Now you're just assuming things. He could be outsourcing his fertilizer needs to the subcontinent, y'know.

  • ||

    Elemenope-

    Welcome to the Paultard community!

  • Elemenope||

    Does the ACLU know about this board?

    I know for a fact there's at least one card-carrying member loitering around.

  • Elemenope||

    Welcome to the Paultard community!

    Do you guys have membership cards?

  • ||

    What about a secret handshake?

    I've got my ceremonial mallet, can I hit LurkerBold with it? C'mon, just a friendly little tap.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Do you guys have membership cards?

    Sometimes I get my decoder rings confused. I'm fairly sure a similar problem caused most of Ron Paul's radio advertisements.

  • Elemenope||

    C'mon, just a friendly little tap.

    With a chisel. To the kneecap.

  • ||

    Just this week I started practicing that tune.

    On what? Guitar? Or synth?

    First Episiarch with his anti Black racism

    Did you know Sicilians are part black?

  • Elemenope||

    Did you know Sicilians are part black?

    That movie wins for most uneven film ever. Brilliance punctuated by drivel...or is it the other way around?

  • Ska||

    Just this week I started practicing that tune. The sheet music for it is contained in an old 80s pop sheet music anthology book I have had for ages.

    And here I thought you had the last remaining copy of "Complete Discogrophy of Tommy Tutone for Beginners."

  • ||

    No card, shakes or rings.

    Penis Tattoos:

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    Even with Geneva 12pt, I had enough room left for a few exclamation points and a pirate flag.

  • ||

    That movie wins for most uneven film ever.

    Nope. From Dusk Until Dawn. A movie with no satisfying ending welded to a movie that would have had a boring beginning.

    True Romance really just had a shitty director and a terrible lead actress. I think a decent director could have made a good, but not great, movie from the script.

  • ||

    Sorry: From Dusk Till Dawn.

    Which, you you think about it should be From Dusk 'til Dawn.

  • Elemenope||

    A movie with no satisfying ending welded to a movie that would have had a boring beginning.

    Wouldn't that make it "evenly shitty"? I'm not speaking from experience here, not having seen it.

  • ||

    Are you saying Tony Scott isn't a great director?!?

  • ||

    Sicilians are part everything. That's why their food is so good.

  • ||

    Atlthough I have no pat answer for the inherent advantages of incumbency removing the seniority system in the senate would help shitloads a bit. West Virginians vote for Byrd for only two reasons, pork prefernces granted to senior members and his status as a KKK alumni.

  • Elemenope||

    Sicilians are part everything. That's why their food is so good.

    I just generally give credit to the Mediterranean countries collectively. I've eaten very little from any of those countries that I did not like.

  • ||

    Wouldn't that make it "evenly shitty"?

    No, I'm suggesting that the first two acts of a nihilistic hostage drama and the last act of a B-horror movie welded together is more uneven* than a badly directed movie from a mediocre script.

    Tony Scott is a C+ director on his good days. All style and no substance.

    *But it is a deft way to deal with third act problems.

  • ||

    Mediterranean food is the best on Earth. Italian is my favorite, but the whole region is generally great, cuisine-wise.

  • ||

    If committee assignments were based on "rock, paper, scissors" or "one potato, two potato" it would be an improvement.

  • ||

    This coming from a vegisexual. How'd it go with that eggplant last night?

    I think I've just found a new epithet for Senator Feinstein.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Feinstein can't be a vegisexual. She clearly wants BRAAAINSSSS.

  • ||

    the first two acts of a nihilistic hostage drama and the last act of a B-horror movie welded together

    Doesn't anybody know how to end a movie anymore?

    "Okay, we've gotten this far, now what do we do?"

    "I don't know- I guess we better call the demolition guys, and have them blow everybody up."

  • Elemenope||

    Tony Scott is a C+ director on his good days. All style and no substance.

    Enemy of the State was pretty damn good. Otherwise, I agree.

  • ||

    Tony Scott is a C+ director on his good days. All style and no substance.

    I guess I should have added some smartass tags. I think C+ might be too generous for the lesser Scott brother. C- is probably more accurate.

    Even Ridley oscillates between excellent and awful.

  • .||

    You all were doing so well, ignoring the troll's repeated attempts to hook you, then Elemenope, as usual, rose to the bait. Shame on you, Elemenope. You are officially part of the problem.

  • robc||

    Doesn't anybody know how to end a movie anymore?

    I always preferred the Monty Python method.

  • ||

    EOTS is not bad. Crimson Tide is not bad. But you notice how his best movies are the ones he keeps his stylistic tics to minimum? Ever seen Domino? It's like being fucked in the eyes.

    My take on Tony Scott is that he's a mediocre director who manages most of the time to not totally fuck up really good scripts. This has fooled some people into considering him a good director. It's like someone who serves Kobe beef medium well, smothered in gravy and is hailed as a great chef.

  • Elemenope||

    Even Ridley oscillates between excellent and awful.

    Well, there was Alien, and, um...hm.

  • Elemenope||

    You are officially part of the problem.

    What, I can't be a whole problem, all on my own? This is commie crap, having to share being a problem with some troll...

  • Elemenope||

    Ever seen Domino? It's like being fucked in the eyes.

    Well, that one's off the list, now. Thank you for saving my eyes. Yes, Crimson Tide was also decent, in that way where if you are flipping through channels and you happen upon it, there is an odd compulsion to watch it to completion.

  • ||

    Ele,

    Blade Runner and it was all downhill from there. And it was a steep hill. Did you ever see Legend. Dear merciful Jeebus that was bad.

    More on Domino, even though I have you convinced... you know that wavy, line-repeating, white screen, flash transition he likes to do? Imagine an entire movie of that. No kidding. And the cinematographer must have been told "You know how every thing looks after you stare into the sun for 15 minutes? Make it all like that."

  • ||

    White Squall is actually quite good, and I enjoyed Gladiator for what it was. Black Hawk Down was also well done.

    But Hannibal was an abomination.

  • Elemenope||

    Of course, Blade Runner.

    Did you ever see Legend. Dear merciful Jeebus that was bad.

    Word.

    you know that wavy, line-repeating, white screen, flash transition he likes to do? Imagine an entire movie of that. No kidding. And the cinematographer must have been told "You know how every thing looks after you stare into the sun for 15 minutes? Make it all like that."

    Yech.

  • ||

    Enemy of the State was pretty damn good.

    I couldn't agree more.

    I'm Robert Clayton Dean, and I approve this message.

  • T||

    Enemy of the State was pretty damn good.

    All that movie did was feed my paranoia. I don't need fiction to add to my psychoses, reality is doing a fantastic job as it is.

  • ||

    Epi-

    Piano.

  • ||

    Elemenope,

    I see that you've recanted and added Blade Runner, so replicants Episiarch and highnumber need not be sent to your home to retire you.

    I thought Gladiator was okay, though it went way too long and way over the top. I'm an Oliver Reed fan, though, so maybe that colors my impression.

  • ||

    Enemy of the State was one of 1998's best. Would I be wrong to think that some of you folks would have dismissed, in 1998, the premise as conspiracy theory tripe?

  • Syd Henderson||

    "Matchstick Men" was fun too, and I liked "Kingdom of Heaven" better than most people.

    "Body of Lies" is an awful movie which resembles "Syriana" all too much, and I didn't care for "Syriana."

    I didn't realize he directed "1492: Conquest of Paradise." Now that one was a true turkey among turkeys.

  • Elemenope||

    I liked "Kingdom of Heaven" better than most people.

    The Director's Cut was pretty damn sharp, though the theatrical was decent enough. One of the few movies I can think of that benefited from having an entire subplot or two reinserted.

    I didn't care for "Syriana."

    I found it improved greatly on the second viewing.

  • ||

    Kingdom of Heaven. Meh.

  • Kolohe||

    Crimson Tide is not bad

    I have extremely pedestrian tastes in the arts, but Crimson Tide is *awful*. And not just because I am familiar with the source material (but mostly that).

  • Kolohe||

    I liked Man of Fire. But it is also another example of 'unevenness'.

  • Karl Lembke||

    If you've ever read Logan's Run, you may recall the analysis offered by the people at the safe haven. The society Logan ran from was on the verge of failure, because everyone who had accumulated any reasonable amount of experience was too old to live. There's only so much amateur management a complex society can endure before collapsing.

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