Saturday, March 7, 2009

Legal Drinking Ages Around The World

You can click the map for an enhanced image. I find it curious that we as Americans so often closely resemble the supposed "crazy" Islamist nations in our laws pertaining to ingested chemicals and sex. Coincidence, or religious guilt? Expound in the comment section, if you are so inclined.


Anonymous said...

I am polishing off the rest of our Riesling right now... a very rare occasion for me since I almost only have a drink in social it's just how I'm wired.

I remember showing up at this party on the night of my HS graduation. I had spent the majority of the evening hanging out with my girlfriend, but my buddy John had begged me to join him at that party because he didn't want to go, but he didn't have anything else to do either. It's the first time I had really been at a big party where there were a lot of people drinking. I'd been in smaller settings where somebody was smoking a joint, but nothing on the scale of this. I couldn't believe how tanked most of these people were.

I'm not saying it's impossible to drink responsibly as an 18yo. I'm just saying that I haven't been convinced it happens in my limited exposure... which was increased dramatically in college.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, my computer left out these words between "social" and "it's" in that first sentence:

[situations. No reason for that,]

Van Zan said...

You can't drink till 21 but you can die for your country at 18...? hmm.

On the other hand 18 is both the legal drinking age and the legal driving age here... not very smart.

JBW said...

one L, I would hazard a guess that this sort of binge drinking doesn't happen in other countries that have significantly less draconian alcohol laws (and I'm not even really guessing because I've seen the comparisons between the States and Europe on alcohol poisoning in college age citizens).

The problem with the US is that we hold the number 21 up as some magical hurdle that somehow imbues one with responsibility at its crossing, allowing someone to drink as much as they want. But if you even try a beer or wine before then we'll throw the book at you and fuck up your life for years. As with everything, I think moderation over a full lifetime is the key.

And yes VZ, the hypocrisy of that law here is disgusting. A congressman in South Carolina tried to get a law passed last year allowing any service member under 21 to be allowed to drink legally; as far as I know it failed to happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced that binge drinking is a problem with our laws. I think it's more a problem with our people, our society, our culture, etc. Depression, 30k millionaires and insecure people will exist no matter what the age limit is set at.

I'm not making an argument for 21 here, I'm just disagreeing about the laws being the problem. I think there is merit to the NBA and NFL banning high school kids from going straight to the big leagues. It's tough to set a steadfast rule when there are certainly many people who could handle the money and fame responsibly. But for every Kevin Garnett you've got a Leon Smith.

Personal responsibility/accountability is a tough thing to legislate around and an even tougher thing to produce.

JBW said...

I think that it's a problem of laws and culture, one L. Many countries allow minors to drink and thus take away the mystique of alcohol at a young age. Here we tell them how evil alcohol is when they're young while they watch dozens of commercials sending the exact opposite message during sporting events, then at age 21 allow them complete freedom to drink. It's no surprise that many go overboard with this new found freedom.

I've always been under the impression (with the NFL, at least) that the reason 18 year olds are not allowed to play pro ball is for their own safety, that they need the extra couple of years to grow physically to ensure against unnecessary injury, but your point about maturity and responsibility is a good one as well.

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