April 16, 2007

Bring it back

The drinking age of 18, that is. I've hated and bitched about the federal drinking age since it was instituted. For what it's worth, I was 18+ at the time the law was implemented, so it didn't affect me at all. However, I find the law, as well as the strong-arm tactics of the feds, to be completely at odds with personal liberty. There are even some self-described conservative pundits who want to raise the drinking age to 25 or higher (Ross Mackenzie, I'm looking at you). My reply to scolds like those? Blow me.

Let's examine the things that you can do and are responsible for at the age of 18:


  • You can be drafted, if necessary. If not, you can still enlist and go to a foreign land and risk life and limb.
  • You can vote in pretty much any election in this country, including but not limited to, federal elections, including those for the presidency.
  • You can -and will- be tried as an adult for any crime that you commit.
  • You can legally enter into contracts, which are binding(some states may restrict that to 21 in certain instances, I suppose)
  • You can get a job, work hard and pay taxes.
  • You cannot, however, enjoy a beer at the end of a hard day.

Radley Balko revists the drinking age in this article, which I highly recommend. Here's one of my favorite quotes:


The age at highest risk for an alcohol-related auto fatality is 21, followed by 22 and 23, an indication that delaying first exposure to alcohol until young adults are away from home may not be the best way to introduce them to drink.

Emphasis mine. Notice that the magical age of 21 isn't quite so magical.

Update: Not surprisingly, Bill Quick and I are on the same page.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:36 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 I also was never affected by the lowering of the drinking age to 18. Personally, I was against it then and I'm against it now. I can remember my father letting me taste his beer when I was as young as seven. I absolutely hated it then, but grownups liked it, so I wanted to try it. The same with wine - I could sometimes get a sip with dinner. I think the raised drinking age, particularly along with penalties that have only gotten more draconian, has increased the mystique of alcohol and lowered the acclimation we used to have. I wrote a little about it here, although it was mostly just some side rambling in a post that started off about something else.

Posted by: wheels at April 17, 2007 08:38 AM (v+Keh)

2 You know, there's a reason I don't work as a proofreader. In the first sentence, I meant to say that I opposed the raising of the drinking age from 18.

Posted by: wheels at April 17, 2007 08:39 AM (v+Keh)

3 Heh. I knew what you meant. And besides, it's obvious that I don't proofread my stuff before hitting the publish button.

Posted by: physics geek at April 17, 2007 09:22 AM (KqeHJ)

4 Lower the drinking age to 16. Raise the driving age to 18. By the time teenagers are driving, they will be used to drinking (learned at home) and have it out of their system.

Posted by: Cargosquid at April 18, 2007 06:17 PM (MR88i)

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