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reno
reno
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October 12th, 2011 at 6:15:44 PM permalink
The discussion in this thread was interesting, so I thought I'd apply the same topic to alcohol. We think of America as land of the free, but not if you're a law-abiding tax-paying 20 year old who wants to buy a bottle of wine. Currently the U.S. is one of only a handful of nations which restricts alcohol consumption to age 21 and over. The old cliche is that Uncle Sam trusts 18 year olds to fight war... but he doesn't trust 18 year olds to buy a beer.

2 anecdotes:

1) When I was in college, I'd estimate that 90 percent of the freshman in my dorm consumed alcohol. In essence, this unrealistic law created outlaws out of just about everyone I knew as a freshman. When everyone's an outlaw, it makes a mockery of law and authority.

2) Earlier this year, a new neighbor moved in next door. My neighbor's younger brother is 19 and he has an ID card for "medical" cannabis in California. In other words, he can smoke pot legally in California, but he can't drink beer legally.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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October 12th, 2011 at 7:01:35 PM permalink
Bear in mind that since those with the power to change it are all over 21, don't look for it to change any time soon.


That said, those of us that are old enough to remember the day when the drinking age was 18, can probably remember the reasons it was changed: 18-20 year olds could not drink responsibly.

This does not mean that 21 year olds suddenly do learn responsibility, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.

Based upon that, I'd say keep it at 21.


On the other hand, back then, irresponsible drinking, and in particular driving while intoxicated, did not have the kind of stigma it has today. So, maybe if the drinking age were reduced to 18 today, it wouldn't be the problem it once was.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
7outlineaway
7outlineaway
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October 12th, 2011 at 7:09:45 PM permalink
In many if not most states, otherwise "underage" drinking is permitted when it is on private property and/or in the presence of parents. I believe in such cases the parents are liable for any damages the minor subsequently causes.

My folks, in fact, let my sisters and I enjoy an occasional sip of wine or beer with dinner when we were kids. Emphasis on occasional; no more than once a month, and never more than one glass. (Dad also got lots of speeding tickets, so they couldn't complain about my driving once I turned 16, either.)

And herein lies the problem in the US. In Europe, kids are introduced to alcohol gradually, and usually in the context of enjoying it with meals or with friends. Here, it's no drinking until you get to college, then start guzzling. Obviously their way is better, but I wouldn't know how to start reforming behavior here. To the extent it involves lowering the drinking age, it probably has to be done gradually, and with different ages for beer/wine vs. hard stuff and differentiating between purchasing and consuming in the company of older adults.
Wizard
Administrator
Wizard
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October 12th, 2011 at 7:22:48 PM permalink
This was discussed August of last year: Should gambling be allowed for legal adults 18-20?.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
teddys
teddys
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October 12th, 2011 at 8:59:09 PM permalink
Absolutely the drinking age should be 18. 18-20s are going to drink. Making it illegal at that age is just going to encourage people to drink anyway. Did anyone watch the "Prohibition" documentary? "It is harder to get a drink now that it was during Prohibition." Enforcement? Don't get me started ... it's a joke ... just be done with it. The temperance movement (i.e. MADD) is still strong in this country, they've just changed tactics and aims.
"Dice, verily, are armed with goads and driving-hooks, deceiving and tormenting, causing grievous woe." -Rig Veda 10.34.4
reno
reno
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October 12th, 2011 at 9:12:54 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

That said, those of us that are old enough to remember the day when the drinking age was 18, can probably remember the reasons it was changed: 18-20 year olds could not drink responsibly.



Do you believe that American 20 year-olds are less responsible than all the 20 year olds in every other nation on our planet? (Excluding Sri Lanka, Fiji, & Pakistan, of course.) Is there something about American culture which makes our 20 year olds uniquely untrustworthy?
thecesspit
thecesspit
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October 12th, 2011 at 11:41:03 PM permalink
Quote: teddys

Absolutely the drinking age should be 18. 18-20s are going to drink. Making it illegal at that age is just going to encourage people to drink anyway. Did anyone watch the "Prohibition" documentary? "It is harder to get a drink now that it was during Prohibition." Enforcement? Don't get me started ... it's a joke ... just be done with it. The temperance movement (i.e. MADD) is still strong in this country, they've just changed tactics and aims.



It's so sad that MADD is now a temperance movement... It does them no favors.... MADD Canada seems to be firmly on th anti-drink driving campaign itself and slightly removed from the US groups craziness...
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
MarkAbe
MarkAbe
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October 13th, 2011 at 2:10:32 AM permalink
As an old coot I know that both I and my children drank in college, and we all learned to be responsible: Don't binge, and don't drive after drinking. I think most people could do that at 18 as easily as 21. Iif there is an expectation that people will be adults, most people will be.

I've always been pretty amazed by the whole idea that at 18 people are mature enough to sign contracts, join the army, and do adult time for their crimes; but not mature enough to buy a beer.
EvenBob
EvenBob
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October 13th, 2011 at 11:30:51 AM permalink
In the 70's it was lowered to 18 in MI and it
was a horrible and dismal failure. It lasted
for 2 years, I think, and it killed teens in
droves. They would go to the bars, get wasted
and kill themselves and others on the way home.
It will never get passed, and if it does it'll be
repealed just like it was here.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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October 16th, 2011 at 11:32:33 AM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

In the 70's it was lowered to 18 in MI and it
was a horrible and dismal failure. It lasted
for 2 years, I think, and it killed teens in
droves. They would go to the bars, get wasted
and kill themselves and others on the way home.
It will never get passed, and if it does it'll be
repealed just like it was here.



Kind of why I would vote for to age 20 only, unless a military member on a military base club. IMHO one important thing is make it just so that the high school kids can't do it legally.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others

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