"You'll understand when you're older." Ever had anyone say this to you? Maybe sometime when you were much younger?
At least I bloody hope it'll be when you're much younger. It's one of the most offensive things someone can say, really. It's basically declaring you're too stupid to understand something.
I saw a brilliant reply on Reddit that made the same point, but honestly, I don't need to quote someone speaking common sense. Whenever someone resorts to attacking your age, race, university or whatever, they're committing a fallacy in order to avoid exposing their position to logical deconstruction. In short, it's a pile of shit. If they had a good point, they'd tell you it.
Where it gets really offensive though is when its applied to legitimate debates. You see, here's a little secret folks: the people you call stupid are probably not stupid at all. They might be assholes but that's another thing.
What I mean is, in the abortion, gun-control and gay-marriage arguments, no "side" is strictly speaking wrong. Generally, they might be factually incorrect but logically sound, or vice versa (i.e., they might simply be misinformed or have made a logical error, we all do this, all the time!) or more likely: they have a slightly different value set than you.
Abortion, for instance. I'm an atheist, so why am I against abortion? God has nothing to do with it. I don't give half a damn if you want to have sex every hour of every day, in fact I support your right to. But I do place a lot of value on the life of a baby, and there's significant evidence that after a very short period of development the fetus does in fact feel pain. Basically, you ARE killing someone.
Now, someone who is opposed to my point of view will start talking about "a woman's right to her own body" as if I'm somehow saying she has none. Of course she does, Jesus Christ, if anyone knows me they'd realize how much I support that. In fact, the issues involving youth-rights that bother me the most have to do with denying young people the right to their own minds and body. Chill, I get that. Neither of us are stupid, we don't need to insult one another -- and I'm hardly unreasonable. My position isn't extreme.
It's a question of values. Usually you'll find that both sides are logical and the truth probably lies somewhere between the two extremes*. The only reason we're arguing still is that some of us obstinate wankers or have ulterior motives -- like religious folk, who usually have decent arguments for their views until you systematically chop them all down, and realize it's all because "the Bible says so." Then, to save yourself the headache, you get the hell out of there.
This is why the abortion arguments get so heated. One side accuses the other of murdering babies, the other claims their opponents are misogynistic religious sex-haters denying a woman the right to their own body. That's a pile of crap.
So, given that (as always) these issues are far, FAR more complex than the average opinionated fucktard thinks, why the hell do so many people get off on saying "you'll understand when you're older"? No, bullshit, explain your position and let's see you defend it. While you're at it, explain why adults of all ages are still divided about these matters, if age magically grants clarity and veracity to a particular viewpoint. Oops, you can't, because you're just playing the "age-card". Bite me, you musty old fart.
My dad does this whenever we discuss evolution. It's hilarious because I didn't come up with my pro-evolution arguments on my own; my sources are Ph.D.-holding academics, some of them triple my age, who know far more about the topic than my father does. In fact, this is the ultimate example of the problem: my dad gives me the "you'll understand when you're older" shtick, but he himself has confessed he literally doesn't even know what the mechanisms behind evolution are claimed to be. He doesn't even know what he's denying! His only argument is based on a vague appeal to authority fallacy that just makes him look twice as stupid as admitted ignorance would.
Tangentially: that's usually the cause of all the brainless hate that crops up whenever people discuss political issues. How many of you have even truly read the arguments of the side you disagree with? Are you open minded enough to ever look at both sides? This is a common, almost amusing one with youth rights: we say "America should lower the drinking age from 21!" and some idiot asks why we'd want toddlers to drink booze. Someone's a fucking numbskull...
You know, once or twice I've outright HAD to use this fallacy myself. Those times were very different though. I couldn't explain my position, not even the slightest. It pissed me off, but the alternative would've been a little disastrous. Yeah, don't ask, it's not what you think. *cough*
In all seriousness though, it's a fallacy, and you're just going to look like a retard if you continue to abuse it. It's such obvious nonsense, especially because whenever it's employed on a kid, the kid will either know there are adults with the same views as him (likely older and smarter than the person using this rhetorical bullshit on them), or recognize that it's just being done to stop him from debating the issue fairly. You're not fooling anyone, except... maybe yourself.
Age does not give you a Get Out Of Rationalizing Yourself Free card. In fact, it does the opposite. Youths are supposed to be able to expect their elders to educate them. You have a responsibility to explain your position, not a carte blanche to be a condescending asshole. Explain yourself, give us all the benefit of your wisdom.
Or just confess you're full of crap and outdated information.
PS: No, I do not wish to discuss abortion. You likely don't even know my position on it anyway (it's changed recently, because I'm not an obstinate wanker, just a wanker.) Now excuse me, I'm off to go give my two-year-old nephew a Budweiser.
* -- I feel compelled to point out that is not always the case. Sometimes, that factual inaccuracy or logical mistake I mentioned can compromise an entire stance on an issue. For instance, creationism is the most obvious example. Their entire "theory" (it's not a "theory", scientists use the word "theory" to mean a specific thing) is built around a dismissal of the scientific method and evidence (both factually and logically unsound), and a desire to support the Bible as opposed to find the truth (there's that ulterior motive). Though I suppose that some would proffer "intelligent design" as a compromise, but there are issues with that too.
Oh, yeah. Read this: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/01/09/on-ha... Give the comments a look too. You might spot some of the better ones, such as: "I feel like even progressive communities often have very traditional ideas about the attributes and roles of children, and are often very jarred or horrified by ideas like: kids can be sexual & have sexual experiences already, kids can be directly affected by & can engage in politics, kids are not growing into potential monsters any more than adults are, kids have the need & right to physical and emotional autonomy and agency, the so-called division between kids and adults is much more complex and socially constructed than we may realize, our ideas about what childhood is and what it should be can mess up kids (i.e., childhood is a time of purity and magic and innocence so I’m not going to teach you how to negotiate consent), etc etc." -- "Saurus".