Friday, April 30, 2010

Lowering The Drinking Age To 18

I've long been a fan of doing this even after I turned twenty-one. Under my plan every American who is both eighteen-years-old and a high school graduate would automatically be of legal drinking age and able to purchase and consume alcohol. Just being eighteen wouldn't work because we would experience the same outcome we do in colleges: students who are old enough to drink would constantly be buying alcohol for those who are not. It would also be a great incentive for kids to stay in school and get their degree or pass a high school equivalency exam (all of those who do not do so would have to wait until they turn twenty-one to drink lawfully). We allow eighteen-year-olds to be tried as adults, vote, own guns and serve in the military yet when it comes to consuming alcohol they are treated as second-class citizens. I say that if someone can risk their life for their country they should be able to enjoy a beer after work. What do you think?


Kevin Robbins said...

Sounds like a good plan. I like the part about having to finish HS. How old do I have to be to get the legal herb?

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I don't know if the carrot of alcohol would be that enticing JBW. Bin Laden raised the bar with the 70 virgins waiting if you become a suicide bomber.

Beer never motivated me to go above and beyond. A piece off ass? Hell yeah Brother.

JBW said...

We're working on it out here in Cali, ex DLB.

And don't tell me beer never helped you get that piece of ass, JT101.

JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Beer has comforted me after failing to get that piece of ass JBW.

And if beer were legal at 18 that would take the naughtiness out of the equation. Chicks dig bad boys like you. You may as well ply them with Pepsi if beer is legal for under 21"s.

repsac3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
repsac3 said...

(Sorry about the deleted one, above... Did some research on the progression of the laws in NY, to make my history more accurate-like.)

Some of us--in fact everyone who's commented here 'cept the author, I think--stands a fairly good chance of having been legally drinkin' at 18.

I know I was--for about four months (08/'82-01/'83), when NY law pushed the age to 19. After an eight month wait ('till 08/'83), I got me another eleven months of legal frivolity... ...until 07/'84, when the national age went to 21, and I was left legally dry for another thirteen months, until 08/'85. There was no grandfathering us unfortunates into the bars, either... ...although that's when those "18 to party, 21 to drink" wristbands and hand stamps first came into play. at least here in NY...

Of course, all that only affected legal drinkin'. I spent much of those formative mid-thru-just-post teen years hangin' out at my friend's family-owned pizza joint, where the beer was not only surreptitiously flowing, but generally had for the price of "watchin' the front, while I go take a piss.". or "I'm really wasted... Don't let me forget I have a pie in the oven." and helping out with the closing-time clean-up, if one was there. (And don't even get me started on some-o'them other intoxicants. It was the late 70's-mid-80's. We partook of those reality-influencing embellishments what was popular, then.)

As far as the question at hand, I've always subscribed to the "either you're an adult or you ain't" philosophy that says if you can risk dying to serve your country, you ought to be able to hoist a "cheers" to her as well, but as I recall, the changes in drunk driving statistics involving that age group (arrests, injuries, fatalities) in the years after the laws changed were pretty impressive, so I'm just not sure I'd want to go back.

(Let's put it this way... I'd be more inclined to favor raising the age at which one can begin serving in the military, if I was to want to right that discrepancy between raising a glass vs raising a gun for one's country... The statistics on dead and injured 18-20 year olds in that group can be pretty staggering sometimes, as well.)

JBW said...

I hear you Reppy and my standard reply to that line of thinking is to ask "Why not then raise the age to 25? Or 28, or 30?" Surely fatalities and accidents would decrease, albeit at a slightly decreasing level as driving and drinking experience increases.

I guess because I see it as a question of civil rights I'm pretty black or white on this one too: if you're an adult then you're an adult. With increased responsibility should come increased privileges. That's how I see it anyway.

repsac3 said...

" if you're an adult then you're an adult.

As I said, I'm with you there... I guess I'm just not so sure whether enough of us is an adult by age 18 or not. I'd never advocate moving the age of maturity up past 21... (at least not unless 21 year olds started actin' like they was 18, en mass.)

I agree that there ought to be one age or criteria for all of those "adult" rights and responsibilities--and perhaps having to show your HS diploma instead of your state ID would be a good one, in some ways--but I'm just not so sure that if we're using age, 18 is the age to use. (And I'm not sure it isn't, either, though I do find those motor vehicle statistics, not to mention my recollections about 18-21 year olds, including myself, as being pretty compelling.

magpie said...

Nature invented the fermentation process but it didn't create people to mature all at the same rate or suddenly achieve personal competence at age X. Some people handle alcohol just fine, and some people simply shouldn't drink at all.

In days gone by older men would take younger men for their first drink and took responsibility for them. Men were responsible for their younger brothers, nephews and sons. Going to the pub for the first time was an awesome crossover into the world of men. The modern era has killed off traditional modes of authority and rites of passage but done nothing to replace them except arbitrary age limits and lawyers games.

The legal age for everything here is 18. Same problems remain.

JBW said...

I'd wager that most countries have the same problems to one degree or another, magpie. At least you blokes treat each other equally on this count.