Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Under 21 Debate

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably noticed that there has been an increase in the debate on whether or not to lower the legal drinking age. I have spoken about it before, and even link to a site, whose goal it is to educate others about drinking responsibly. Earlier this week Jay over at Brookston Blog had a very well written article on the subject. However it wasn't until I read an article by Fred Eckhardt in the most recent magazine of All About beer that I decided to post a few of my thoughts no the issue.
I'll go ahead and state my position at the top so you understand where I'm coming from, I am for lowering the age to 18. There was one paragraph in particular from AAB that really raised my eyebrows: Of all the countries in the world, the US is one of only FOUR that restrict the drinking age to 21, the others being South Korea, Malaysia and the Ukraine. In fact three are only 7 total countries that don't use 18 as the age (the additional three being New Zealand, Iceland, and Japan). Now is it just me or is there something really wrong here. To help furthermake Jay's point, but does MADD really think that every other country in the world is ready to damage the mental development of their youth? I don't hink so.
Having lived in Germany for a few months I know first hand that there view of alcohol is VERY different. They don't have the issues that we have with drunk driving, alcoholism, and frankly just regular instances of public intoxication. Neo-prohibitionists can scream and yell until they are red in the face, but the above are all true statements. We have made alcohol this mysterious stigma due to our outlook on it, shrouding it misconception that creates an atmosphere that once a person leaves the protected embrace of home and heads to college, binge drinking rises to incredible rates. Our youth are not raised to respect alcohol, understanding that it is something to be enjoyed with dinner and friends, vs getting drunk off the cheapest swill possible. The youth of this great country face immense pressure to drink, while in Europe that pressure just doesn't exist. Why is that?
The legal age of adult hood as set by many precedences is 18. It is the age in which we can choose the leader of our great country. It is the age in which we are considered adults in the eyes of the courts. It is the age in which we can die for our country. We can be police officers, and firemen at 18. We drive cars, we can fly airplanes at 18. However we can not have a beer. If everyone looks at this from a logical (I know this may be a difficult request for some) they can not honestly say that keeping the age at 21 is the right thing to do. As prohibition was a failed culteral experiment, so was raising the legal drinking age to 21.

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