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Sunday, May 6th 2007

Thank God For MADD

Let’s not dance around the issue: we should lower the legal drinking age in this country.

Then Refreshing Beverage Companies Could Go Back To Publishing Weird Ads With Minors In Them

But seriously, there are three major points:

  • It sends a terrible message to allow those younger than 21 more dangerous rights – such as that to enlist in the armed forces – but deny them the ability to purchase alcohol
  • It promotes dangerous alcohol consumption – binge drinking, DUI
  • The way it was implemented destroys the very idea of states’ rights

The renewed call for a lower drinking age isn’t merely being made by the beer companies. The article from the Daily Trojan is the former president of Middlebury university advocating such,

“Decriminalizing drinking by kids 18 and older will bring their alcohol consumption out from hiding, where parents and adults can monitor it – and model responsibility without conflict,” McCardell said in an interview with U.S. News & World Report.

“Alcohol education is mandatory now only after you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence,” McCardell said. “That makes no sense. Why not make it available earlier as a way of preparing young people to deal with alcohol responsibly?”

A USC student in the article makes the typical proponent claim for lowering the drinking age,

“(If alcohol is legal and more accessible) it’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s Thursday night, and I have to drink because or else I have to wait until next Thursday night.’ Then people actually start deciding if they are in the party mood, or even want to drink,” he said. “When you have the ability to choose, you’re automatically going to pay more attention to what you drink.”

And it certainly seems to be backed up by circumstantial evidence involving drinking habits in various countries versus their legal drinking age.

As well, the “common sense” idea that the more irresponsible young’uns will be involved in more drinking and driving accidents/fatalities certainly has major studies against it.

The 1984 law which pushed the drinking age to 21 had its largest lobbyist in MADD. Who continue to misrepresent the dangers of underage drinking. Note: Stop trying to use your “common sense” to reason out policy without evidence…you’re not smart enough.

Beyond the pragmatics, it is ridiculous that you can go and die for your country but you can’t buy a beer. That almost rises to the level of insulting.

Finally, as with so much of policy in this country, Washington subverted the ideal of federalism in 1984 when it tied transportation and other funding to states mandating 21 as the legal age to purchase alcohol. Such is fair play when you get first dibs on taxes and control the purse strings. *rolls eyes* So, if you ever wondered why every state has the exact same legal age for purchasing alcohol, it is because (as the way many standardized policies have come about) the states marched to Washington’s beat under threat and duress.

At the least the drinking age should be a matter for the states to truly decide. But in a perfect, reasonable world the drinking age needs to be 18.