A Bit of Common Sense

It’s good to see someone finally come out and say that setting the drinking age at 21 is a bad idea that’s causing more harm than good.  The Amethyst Initiative is hoping to stir up some real discussion on the topic:

Launched in July 2008, the Amethyst Initiative is made up of chancellors and presidents of universities and colleges across the United States.  These higher education leaders have signed their names to a public statement that the 21 year-old drinking age is not working, and, specifically, that it has created a culture of dangerous binge drinking on their campuses.

For one thing, it seems silly to me to have different ages of ‘majority’ for different things, and I think that the majority of 18-21 year olds would probably agree.  And since they think this way, the majority of them seem intent on circumventing the law and drinking anyway.  So what we end up with is generations of young people who think little of ignoring a law.  Ultimately this corrodes the public’s respect for all laws. 

Of course, just lowering the age to 18 isn’t going to completely stop binge drinking and other stupid behaviors.  What we also need to do is to exercise some common sense and remind parents to teach their children how to drink responsibly.  The idea that children should never touch a drop of alcohol until they reach a ‘magical age’ is silly.  You wouldn’t give a car to an untrained teenager just because he or she turned 16, and likewise we shouldn’t just be sending 18 or 21 year olds out into the world without any experience with responsible alcohol consumption.  In this one instance I am willing to concede that Europe does this better than we do.  A beer shandy or a small glass of wine isn’t going to stunt the growth of a young teenager and it lets the child take part in an adult activity in a responsible way.

Anyhow, I must admit that I’m not perfectly partial when it comes to the drinking age.  I was about 16 when the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21.  While I wasn’t that interested in drinking per-se, I was furious that I’d followed all the rules and was being punished for the transgressions of others.  It left me with nothing but contempt for all involved, and I immediately set about disobeying the new law.  In fact, I drank more between 18 and 21 than I did after I turned 21.  I suspect this isn’t what the idiots at MADD had in mind when they pushed the higher drinking age. 

1 Comment

  1. Diller says:

    the legal age for drinking has been a issue for the pols & do-gooders to screw with for many years.I turned 18 in 1961,graduated HS,had a job,got married & was 1a on the draft ,but could’nt drink a beer legally in FL.My old man had let me try beer & hard liquer way before I turned 17,did’nt especially like it(did overcome that later in life)but it took the excotica & forbidden fruit of booze & drinking out of my mind at an early age.I realize that the times & culture have changed greatly since then,but your suggestion for the parents to take a active part in their kids knowledge of,& exposure to alcohol is comendable.However i’m sure most will opt for the school system,law enforcement,& radical orgs. like MADD to do it for them.