“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”–Mark Twain.

I am happy to listen to the young, so long as I am not compelled to obey them. As a youth I marched for several causes, some of which I now regret.

Now I am repeatedly reading that the world’s problems are due to old guys of pallor being in charge.  Being both old and of European descent (but not in charge, because no one is in charge, but I digress) I thought to offer an old white guy’s opinion (having no other).

To begin with, to some limited extent, the people in charge hail from the places where the industrial revolution happened. I realize that many young people now think that the industrial revolution was as bad, or even worse, than the colonization of North America, but so be it, there not being an obvious alternative at this time.

Oh wait; perhaps we need a Pre-industrial Movement, back to basics, but still with electricity and health care. Except young people do not need health care, just electricity. Let me think.

But in fact the despised industrial revolution has gone worldwide, so lots of people of color have risen to the fore. (I suspect that what is objected to is power, not people.) China and Nigeria are great examples, also Japan a long time ago, show us what race means, which is probably nothing.

Plus lots of women are in charge, the UK and Germany come to mind. America was damn close.

But we sure are old. No question about that. Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Me, etc. Boy are we old. As the great Yeats would say,” We who are old, oh so old. Thousands of years, thousands of years if all be told.” (But he was only 24.)

So the question is do we want to rule out old age? I like to think that I know more than I did 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. But according to these young folks I am just getting stupider.

The Constitution presently says you have to be fairly old to be President of America. AOC does not qualify, but maybe that is just wrong. Maybe there should be an upper age limit to the Presidency, not a lower age limit.

What should it be? 80? 70? 60? 50? 40? 30? 20?

A teenage President might be fun for a week or two, but I doubt the charm would last. Neither are all these silly complaints about the wrong people being in charge to be taken seriously.

We are a nation of individuals to be judged not by whom we are, but what we know and what we do.

Don’t knock experience until you’ve acquired some.


  • David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.