Saturday, February 24, 2007

Choose Responsibly NOT Illogically

As a lover of beer and wine, I obviously like to drink now and then...ok more than that, but it's always about drinking responsibly so I have a high degree of irritation for neo-prohibitionists. Those people that pass nonsensical laws that make it difficult for one to grab a drink. Laws that include now allowing people to grab a beer on election day (God forbid we have a drink after voting!), to not being allowed to grab a six pack on Sunday before the big game. None of these laws are doing anything REAL, i.e. stopping alcoholism, or stopping drunk driving. There are of course tons of neo-prohibitionist lobbyists in D.C. making sure that their puritanical laws are enacted and enforced, but beyond the corporate beer/wine/liquor lobbyists their aren't many consumer lobbyists charged with discussing drinking responsibly not illogically. Until now that is. I've come across a website dedicated to the organization Choosing Responsibly. The organization is run by an former College President (at Vermont's Middleburry College). The goal of Choosing Responsibly is:

Our mission is to promote general public awareness of the dangers of excessive and reckless alcohol consumption by young adults. Through a program of research, publication, education, and related activities Choose Responsibility seeks to engage young people, their parents, and public officials in serious deliberation on the role of alcohol in American culture

This is a BIG mission. One of their more interesting views is lowering the drinking age to 18. While the neo-prohibitionists might be gnashing their teeth, if you look at it logically it makes sense. John McCardell Jr. the aforementioned head of the organization has seen, through his years of working in higher education, an epidemic in binge drinking by underage drinkers. Because these young adults can not legally drink they do it behind closed doors and in copious amounts instead of in the open in a more controlled atmosphere. They also have some interesting facts that go against those that the neo-prohibitionists spout: less alcohol related deaths that they correlate to raising the drinking age, can be just as likely attributed to higher safety standards in vehicles and the increased stigma of drinking and driving regardless of age. The agurement goes on that its not about setting up laws and restrictions that young adults are going to break, but educating them on drinking responsibly and helping ending the epidmic of binge drinking. If we tell our childrent that its ok to drink and we lift that stigma, it becomes less likely that they will over drink. This is not agrigorical, but a fact that plays itself out in other countries where the stigma of drinking is lifted. Having just been to Germany I have seen it first hand, where kids as young as 16 our allowed to drink beer, and at 18 can drink liquor. The binge drinking is just not there as it is here.
Its a fascinating argument and one that sadly will probably not go anywhere due to cowardliness of our politicians. Can you imagine one standing up for common sense? Stating that an 18 year old has all the rights as an adult accept one? That an 18 year old is smart enough to drive a car, serve and possibly die for our country, is smart enough to choose the leaders of our country, but not smart enough to lift a pint of beer, or glass of wine?

1 comment:

Scott said...

We at Choose Responsibility to love it if you could link to our blog.