February 03, 2009
More on lowering the drinking age
I've blogged before about the Amethyst Initiative, and the arguments for and against their efforts to lower the minimum legal drinking age from 21 to 18 to combat what they call "a culture of dangerous binge drinking" on college campuses. Whatever you may think of this, some state legislatures are paying attention. The Thicket reviews some of the legislative action so far, and has a short podcast that discusses the reasons why this has gained traction, and the potential consequences from a federal funding perspective for any state that takes the plunge. Check it out.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 03, 2009 to Society and cultcha
I think it a worthy suggestion. We allow people to vote at 18. We require people - well, men at least, to register with selective service at 18 but we assume that they are not mature enough drink a beer?
I was 19 the last time they lowered the drinking age to 18. A club in Dobie Center in Austin, called Every Night is New Year's Eve, celebrated the day of the change with 18 cent drinks -- yes, mixed drinks, not watered down, for less than 1/5 of a dollar. I never got so drunk on a dollar ... talk about binge drinking! Many, many students were barely able to stagger home. My date was only able to stand up because I held her up -- and that was just waiting in line to get in!
Kids that age will binge-drink regardless of the circumstances, if they are inclined to binge-drink at all. If the concern is how to avoid it, it defies common sense to say we can avoid binge drinking by providing easier access to alcohol. After all, you could use that logic to say we should lower the drinking age to 12. That way they would have their binging behind them by the time they get to high school! If they make it to high school at all, that is.
After all, you could use that logic to say we should lower the drinking age to 12. That way they would have their binging behind them by the time they get to high school! If they make it to high school at all, that is.
Dale, the issue to those who wish to keep the age at 21 is "binge drinking", but that shifts the focus away from I think is the real isssue - At what age do we consider a person responsible for their actions?
At age 18 citizens of this country are allowed to vote, they can be drafted into military service, enter into legally binding contracts, or even take off all their clothes for a porn flick. But to have a beer, they have to wait 3 more years? As far as I can tell that is the only legal milestone that occurs at 21.
Our definition of what constitutes the age of responsibility needs to be consistent. And if we need to do a better job of preparing young people for how to deal with alcohol and avoid binge drinking at age 18, then so be it.
We make it worse by making it a taboo.
Patrick, I am not disagreeing with you. I am just making the point that the logic of lowering it for the purpose of solving the binge drinking problem, is absurd. Is it working in Russia, where alcoholism is a public health crisis? It would be like trying to lessen gun violence by giving teenagers full-auto assault rifles.
Your arguments for lower the drinking age are quite different, and much more logical. It is the same position I have had since - well, since I was 18.
When the state and country go bankrupt within the year or two the drinking age will not be enforced, PERIOD END OF DISCUSSION.
Most countries don't even enforce drinking ages if they have one (the two glaring exceptions are US, and to a less extent Canada). It is expensive to enforce any type of 'crime'.
If you go to immigrant neighborhoods anywhere in the US, (they are usually poorer) they come from a world where children become adults upon puberty which is why they don't see any problem with selling 'minors' alcohol. Look at the demographic/political/economic future of the US, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE OUR LAVISH LIFESTYLE FOR MUCH LONGER.