The drinking age debate appears to be flaring up again. Thoughts?
CNN.com wrote: (AP) -- College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus.
The movement called the Amethyst Initiative began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age.
"This is a law that is routinely evaded," said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont who started the organization. "It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory."
I think its valid to bring up. While groups like SADD and MADD have their place, they act like theirs is the only opinion that is germane to the discussion. Given we know the accidents, fights, domestic disturbances etc. that come from alcohol but also have it in the Constitution, says that some amount of "fallout" from it has been deemed ok by society--it ain't going to get banned again. I can't stand that some of these groups just shout over a question that is really valid to ask. These young adults are doing it anyway. These are the same young adults who can exercise other Constitutional rights, who can be locked away for life (and every other tired argument that exists.)
What I don't get is if they concede the law won't be enforced, then why don't they lower the law and make it enforced? Especially since these are technically state laws at play (although I am aware of how they REALLY get made). Will be interesting though, because these schools have a lot of clout at the state level.
And to be honest, the status quo has the twin problem of being unfair/unjust and pretty much ineffective once youth make it to college.
This is like several debates going on (sex ed comes to mind) that some people feel that exposure will definitely corrupt, so keeping it away is best, whereas others feel that exposure and education are the answer. I just think they should make the drunk driving laws really strict, or make it like the legal limit is 18, but until you are 21, there is zero tolerance if you are pulled over. Post 21, then the current rules apply. You don't have a right to drive, but I think given that the people in question are the age of majority, can vote and exercise other rights, its really stupid, considering we accept certain losses as a society as the tradeoff for having alcohol legalized. (Of course people forget the tradeoffs for having it ILLEGAL were worse).
The drunk driving is the biggest issue (and a huge part of why the drinking age was increased years ago). Since there is zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving, and a single drink puts you over the limit, the theory is, that kids will be less willing to drive if they have been drinking. Lowering the age limit might not increase the incidents of DUI, but that argument is what fuels groups like MADD. I think there were some studies done back in the 1970s or 1980s that showed increased incidents DD related deaths when the drinking age is lower.
"I do not think baseball of today is any better than it was 30 years ago... I still think Radbourne is the greatest of the pitchers." John Sullivan 1914-Old athletes never change.
Whether the drinking age is 18 or 21, there will still be major binge drinking on college campuses. There just will be; it's not avoidable. however, by lowering the drinking age to 18, I think kids would be less afraid to call for help when a person drinks way too much and needs emergency personnel....
not to mention there are huge insurance/liability related issues with schools and underage drinking, as compared to if it were legal.
The accidents have merit as a topic, trust me, I have known people who have died from college drinking incidents (my roommate for one). that being said, it simply is not the only governing issue here, no matter how much people stomp their feet. There are tons of activities where we accept collateral damage ...
I think it is completely ridiculous that the current legal drinking age is set at 21, and I would certainly welcome the idea of lowering it to 18 as a compromise for what I think should really happen, which is to abolish it altogether.
Art Vandelay wrote:I think it is completely ridiculous that the current legal drinking age is set at 21, and I would certainly welcome the idea of lowering it to 18 as a compromise for what I think should really happen, which is to abolish it altogether.
Just playing devil's advocate, what would you say to studies that say:
A) Brain development is permanently impacted by alcohol consumption, and B) Brain development occurs well into the mid-20s?
I would say the same thing that I would have said had I not known that: drinking a lot at a young age can cause serious, permanent damage, it's not a good idea, and you probably shouldn't do it.
But that's far different from: the government needs to create laws to prevent people from doing stupid things that can cause them injury.
In my opinion, it is not the government's role to protect people from themselves.
Also, I'm not convinced that having a reletively high drinking age prevents young people from drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol. I'd like to see no drinking age, or at least a significantly lowered drinking age and a more Europeanesque approach to alcohol use among minors.