Let My Students Drink

College presidents say it's time to lower the drinking age

John McCardell, the former president of Middlebury College, says his time on campus taught him that trying to stop college students from drinking was a fool’s errand. The 1984 federal law raising the minimum drinking age to 21 not only wasn’t working; it was encouraging more reckless consumption.

Two years ago, McCardell started an organization called Choose Responsibility, which waged a national campaign to lower the drinking age to 18. The soft-spoken scholar soon found that many other campus executives felt the same way. In early 2008 he started the Amethyst Initiative, a collective of college presidents urging a public discussion about the drinking age. At press time, the Amethyst Initiative had 130 signatories, including the presidents of Duke, Tufts, Dartmouth, and Johns Hopkins.

Senior Editor Radley Balko spoke with McCardell in October.

Q: Why lower the drinking age?

A: We’ve had a law on the books for 24 years now. You don’t need an advanced degree to see that the law has utterly failed. Seventy-five percent of high school seniors have consumed alcohol. Sixty-six percent of high school sophomores have.

The law abridges the age of majority. It hasn’t reduced consumption but has only made it riskier. Finally, it has disenfranchised parents and removed any opportunity for adults to educate or to model responsible behavior about alcohol.

Q: Do you favor setting the federal drinking age at 18 or removing federal involvement altogether?

A: I would defer to the Constitution, which gives the federal government no authority to set a national federal drinking age at all. It’s clearly supposed to be left to the states. So the first thing we need to do is cut out the 10 percent penalty [in federal highway funds to states that refuse to adopt the minimum age of 21], then let the states make their own policies.

Q: Supporters of the law say it has led to a reduction in highway fatalities.

A: If you look at the graphs for about 30 seconds, you might draw that conclusion. There has been a decline in traffic fatalities. But it began in 1982, two years before the law changed. It has basically been flat or inching upward for the last decade.

More interestingly, the decline has come in every age group, not just people between 18 and 21. And if you look at Canada, where the minimum drinking age is 18 or 19 [depending on the province], the trend in highway fatalities has almost exactly paralleled ours. It’s far more likely that the reduction in deaths is due to seat belt use, airbags, and safer cars.

Q: How has Mothers Against Drunk Driving responded to the Amethyst Initiative?

A: MADD’s response has been disappointing and is unbecoming for an organization as revered as they are. They spammed the email boxes of college presidents, called them “shirkers,” and encouraged parents not to send their kids to those colleges. All this for nothing more than a call for discussion. If this question is as settled as they say it is, why such an exaggerated response?

I think their tactics backfired. MADD tried to bully these presidents into removing their names. We lost three presidents as a result, but we gained 20 more. And I think it actually strengthened the resolve of the presidents who stayed on.

Q: MADD and other opponents of your objectives say the college presidents are just trying to pass on their own responsibility to enforce the minimum drinking age. But is it really a college president’s responsibility to enforce criminal law?

A: That’s a great point. It’s about as logical as asking a couple of state troopers to come onto campus to teach calculus.

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  • ||

    We must make our children into criminals in order to protect them.

  • ||

    TOGA! TOGA!

    Look, lowering the drinking age on campus would be terrible. Think of how many less drunk freshman girls there would be.

  • ||

    When I was in college, the vast majority of pressure to keep drinking underground and unnoticed came from the school. The local cops mostly left us alone, they had better things to do than bust up parties. Almost all of the penalties that a student or organization would suffer as a result of having their underage drinking activities found out about came from the school, things like fines, academic probation, or expulsion. I was one of few voices that spoke up and asked why the school was doing such a strong policing effort. I mostly heard "meh"'s from my fellow students, as you well may have expected, the school's punishments rarely got in the way of our drinking, they just forced us to do it (mostly literally) underground, in basements and such.

  • stuartl||

    Choose Responsibility

    Not a great name. Whether drinking is legal for them or not, teenagers will not be drinking responsibly.

  • James||

    Not a great name. Whether drinking is legal for them or not, teenagers will not be drinking responsibly.

    True, the whole concept of responsibility, and underage drinking is diametrically opposed.

  • Paul||

    Never gonna happen.

    Next story.

  • ||

    As a recovering alcoholic, I say LET THE KIDS DRINK.
    I know personally the dangers of drinking clandestinely, and that's the only thing the 21-year-old drinking age does: Force kids, who are going to imbibe anyway, to drink in out-of-the-way, dangerous places -- and in greater quantities.

  • ||

    Better off smoking weed. Get sent to rehab rather than jail. Uness you're black in which case your fate is determined by your stats in last weekends game against State.

    "Oh, you don't play a sport here? Why did you supply all these good white kids with drugs again? Hold that thought while we pull the car around."

  • phalkor ||

    As the coach of a collegiate ski racing team, I have to deal with underage drinking at our races. The races are weekend events with college kids staying in crappy motels near the ski areas. Naturally, they drink and most of them are under 21.

    My policy has been pretty clear. I don't care if you drink, but I do care if you get drunk and disrupt others or impair your ability to perform team-related duties as a result of alcohol consumption. So far we haven't had any problems over the last four years. These kids, well they aren't kids, they are adults. The stupidity of the drinking age encourages irresponsible behavior. When drinking is public, social pressure to not "get fucked up" wins out and people are more responsible.

    There have been and will be outliers though.

  • ||

    Perhaps the name of the program should be "Whose responsibility"

  • Lefiti||

    Radley has too much time on his hands.

  • Will||

    I don't make the connection, personally, between "Drinking age 21" and "encouraging teens to drink irresposibly". Teenagers don't know how to consume anything responsibly. They are not rational beings. 15 year olds can buy Monster drinks and it doesn't stop them from drinking four or five a day to the ill of their health. If drinking is legal for them it won't change. If anything, parents letting teens drink under their supervision will like it has for me and my friends.

    College deans want it to be legal so they have less pressure to crack down. Understandable, but it's never going to happen.

    So next story.

  • Mad Max||

    From the college president heading this campaign:

    'I would defer to the Constitution, which gives the federal government no authority to set a national federal drinking age at all. It's clearly supposed to be left to the states.'

    How did this guy get into college administration? He sounds like some right-wing fruit loop. Next thing you know, he'll be asking how come the federal government is getting involved in financing higher education.

  • bill||

    They should be pushing for 19 as the drinking age. That way it's still illegal for high schoolers, but collegians can go ahead and drink.

  • James||


    'I would defer to the Constitution, which gives the federal government no authority to set a national federal drinking age at all. It's clearly supposed to be left to the states.'


    It is not illegal at the federal level, it is just that the states are required to keep it illegal in order to get highway funds.

  • ||

    If you were drafted and you showed up really drunk, what would happen? I mean you'd fail the physical, right?

  • TMOF||

    Nick ... great point. Marijuana is so much more innocuous than alcohol ... I speak as a member of the armed forces. I wish that I could unwind with a bowl instead of a fifth of Southern Comfort ...

  • ||

    War before beer, yer in the clear.

  • ||

    "He sounds like some right-wing fruit loop. Next thing you know, he'll be asking how come the federal government is getting involved in financing higher education."

    Mad Max, so the constitution is a tool of the right wing now? I didn't get the memo. Since you seemed to be well informed, where in the constitution would you say the Federal government has the right to withhold funding to force drinking age? When they wanted to ban alcohol, they needed a constitutional amendment.

    While you're at it, how come the fed is involved in financing higher education? Explain it to me using that right wing fruity constitution thing...if you can

  • renniejoy||

    "I got good and drunk the night before, so I would and feel my best..."

  • ||

    They should be pushing for 19 as the drinking age. That way it's still illegal for high schoolers, but collegians can go ahead and drink.

    If you are 18, you are an adult. I don't see how the school you happen to be attending has anything to do with it.

  • James||

    If you are 18, you are an adult.

    Nope, your still a child, your an adult at 21.

  • renniejoy||

    look and feel my best...

  • Pepe||

    "If you are 18, you are an adult.

    Nope, your still a child, your an adult at 21."

    Hmmm....in that case I want back the three years of taxes I paid between 18 and 21. I also don't want to be held accountable for any debts or other legal obligations I may have incurred.

  • James||

    Hmmm....in that case I want back the three years of taxes I paid between 18 and 21. I also don't want to be held accountable for any debts or other legal obligations I may have incurred.

    Nope, you can be tried as an adult if it is determined that you acted as an adult.

  • Mark||

    "Not a great name. Whether drinking is legal for them or not, teenagers will not be drinking responsibly."

    Bullshit. I'm old enough to have been able to drink legally at 18. I was responsible. And so were my friends.

  • ||

    "Nope, you can be tried as an adult if it is determined that you acted as an adult." -James

    Interesting. So if a 20-year-old quietly sits at the bar and drinks a beer while watching a sporting event on TV, he can be tried as an adult for underage drinking? If I were charged with underage drinking, I'd ASK to be tried as an adult, then I wouldn't be guilty.

  • ||

    How the fuck is this any of MADD's business anyway? Oops, I forgot. The mission of the neo-MADD is prohibition.

  • Pepe||

    "Nope, you can be tried as an adult if it is determined that you acted as an adult."
    "Nope, your still a child, your an adult at 21."

    Being tried as an adult has to do with criminal proceedings not signing contracts or incurring debts.

    And it's irrelevant as the age of majority is 18 in almost every state. An 18 year old is always going to be tried as an adult because they are one..

    Restrictions on drinking and gambling have nothing to do with legal adulthood just like restrictions on marijuana and cocaine use or the fact that you can't run for senate until you are 30 have nothing to do with it. If we based legal adulthood on how much the government treats us like children then we would all be minors.

  • Pepe||

    Wikipedia does a better job clarifying this distinction than I did. It's the difference between the "age of majority" and the "age of license". 18 is the age of majority almost everywhere in the US and is the common age in most of the world. Many adult vices have an "age of license" that is higher or, as in the case of illegal drugs, there is no age of license.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_majority

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    How the fuck is this any of MADD's business anyway? Oops, I forgot. The mission of the neo-MADD is prohibition.

    MADD is an arrogant organization that needs to be brought down a few pegs. They've gotten too used to people kowtowing to them for fear of looking pro-drunk driving if they don't.

  • James||

    How the fuck is this any of MADD's business anyway? Oops, I forgot. The mission of the neo-MADD is prohibition.

    Nope, their mission is to prevent drunk driving, anything that prevents drinking prevents drunk driving.

  • ||

    I thought colleges favored cracking down on drinking because it provides protection from getting sued. On the theory that if a 19 year old gets drunk illegally and hurts himself the University is off the hook, but if they allowed the 19 year old to drink and then he got hurt while drinking they could potentially be liable for whatever damage the kid does to himself. As always in our litigious society, it's a lot easier to just prohibit as much activity as possible.

  • Pepe||

    "Nope, their mission is to prevent drunk driving, anything that prevents drinking prevents drunk driving."

    This would be logical if the lower drinking age actually prevented drinking rather than just driving it underground and causing young people to do it more irresponsibly.

  • ||

    I agree the age should be lowered to no higher than 18.

    The point is not merely that the 21 age doesn't succeed in reducing alcohol consumption by people aged 18-20. If it did reduce such consumption that would not count as a point in favor of that higher age; because that would just mean the law stops young adults from enjoying themselves with alcohol by taking away their freedom to legally do so. But drinking is a victimless act, and the government doesn't have a good enough reason to prohibit it young adults.

    I would also note that if their goal is to combat drunk driving, there are ways to do that without making it illegal for under-21s to drink. For example, towns could increase the police presence in and around red light districts at night, and have the cops look out for erratic drivers.

  • ||

    Correction:

    The last sentence in my 2nd paragraph should read:

    "But drinking is a victimless act, and the government doesn't have a good enough reason to prohibit it for young adults."

  • ||

    .......anything that prevents drinking prevents drunk driving.

    Not true. It is logically possible for something to prevent drinking without preventing drunk driving.

    For example: if a person was just going to drink and not drive, stopping that person from drinking doesn't reduce the amount of drunk driving in the world.

    Also, importantly, the converse works the same way: It is logically possible to prevent/reduce drunk driving without preventing drinking. For an example of this, see my suggestion in my 4:15 post.

  • damn it all||

    Whether drinking is legal for them or not, teenagers will not be drinking responsibly.-

    And that's because we as Americans have made it so. In France, and MOST European countries there is no drinking age. They teach moderation and education early on. There is no need to REBEL with a 24 pack of PAPS, or a 5th of Yeager.

    I was drinking at 18 when I was in the Navy. The Navy didn't care if you weren't 21, the only cared if you came across the deck smashed and beaten. They curtail to the Country's drinking age. Hence Japan's was 18 when I was there in 1998. (yes I just gave my age away)

    If Tobacco is assessable at 18, and you can be pulled in to the Armed Forces at 18, why not allow Timmy his beer?

    If we took a more familiar and open out look to booze it wouldn't be a problem.

    America needs to quit wearing knickers and man up to the modern age.

    If you don't want your child to become the next Frat gag, teach them better.

    Its not the responsibility of the nation to raise your children.

    Lowering the age would force Americans to take responsibility for their off spring.

    My mother would let us sip brandy to help us sleep. My dad let me drink some of his beer when I was 12. It tasted so terrible, I STILL don't drink beer to this day.

    Now I had my rounds, even got the nick name Guppy. ( i could drink like a fish) I took the responsibility of drowning my liver all on my own. I knew better, but since you weren't allowed to smoke a joint in the Navy, it was far better to dance away the tequila and fight the hang over.

    Loosen your panties America.

    Damn it all

  • Damn it all||

    TMOF: You are sooooooooo right.

    You know how many less accident and injury reports I would have had to do in the Navy if sailors and marines were allowed to toke instead of drink themselves in to a black out?

    Do you know how many LESS domestic violence would be curtailed by the lack of drinking?

    When's the last time you saw an angry stoner?
    When they got to the bottom of the chip bag. lol.


    Damn it all

  • ||

    MADD stands for MOTHERS Against Drunk Driving. It's hard to imagine any of that group ever getting pregnant, having children and thus becoming mothers since that would involve having SEX!

    What a bunch of kill joys!

  • MADD||

    This website must be destroyed. Thus to all infidels!

  • ||

    Huzza, Huzza! My youngest turned 21 yesterday! I don't have to put up with this silliness (illegal for 18-21 year-olds to drink) any longer. No longer can I be made a criminal for giving my son a glass of wine with dinner. I am as happy as I was when he graduated HS and was no longer in the public school system. At least now when he gets into trouble he will have actually had to do something wrong.

  • ||

    I don't see the Constitutional holdings that allow the drinking age to be moderated at all.
    At the age of 18, a citizen is an adult and actions based upon age are illegal according to the 14th Amendment (Age Discrimination et. al.).
    Under the age of 18, the person is a child and a ward of the parents. In those cases, it is the decision of the parents as to the permitted consumption of the child.

    In either case, the Federal Government has no standing. As the law stands today, a person could make the case the the age of 21 requirement is a violation of a person's civil rights. But how many 18 year olds have the resources to sue the FedGov to have the law changed?

  • ||

    They should be pushing for 19 as the drinking age. That way it's still illegal for high schoolers, but collegians can go ahead and drink.

    I was 17 when I entered college. So fuck off.

  • ||

    College Prezos want the drinking age raised because both the drinking and the profits are underground or off campus. Since they cannot sell their universities as a clever career move anymore, they are going back to the "Animal House" SexEduTainment marketing plan.

    They went for the age bump up in the beginning because money was flowing in from all directions, and with money needs out of the picture it was easier for the aged slackers running the place to police a dry campus.

  • ||

    So is it time for us to change our expectations that college students actually obey the law? Why have these same college presidents bent over and grabbed their ankles after receiving requests from the RIAA, providing access to university computer networks to monitor "copyright piracy" in the form of peer-to-peer file serving? How many students' rights to privacy were surrendered in order to avoid the expense of asking a Federal judge to determine the scope of student privacy under FERPA? Why are university police departments (some not called "Police," but merely "Security") active in enforcing drug laws, or even traffic laws? Why are those laws worthy of enforcement, but drinking laws are not? How many of those same universities have their officers assigned to local drug task forces? Law enforcement seems to be important to these Presidents, until they find it difficult or expensive to do. Federalism seems to be a doctrine to invoke only when it suits their other purposes.

    Giving their students a pass on drinking laws is about avoiding the monetary cost to the universities of enforcing those laws and the embarrassment within their communities that comes from doing so ineffectively. Too often, university administrators seem to prefer to look the other way.

    Michigan once had a lower drinking age and the legislature had the opportunity to see first hand how those students behaved as a result. Drunken students in the classroom interfered with the stated mission of the universities to teach and for students to learn, and drunken riots in town painted a bad image for the universities. Michigan legislators responded by raising the drinking age back to 21. Arbitrary? Yes, but so was 19. So is 16. So is 12.

    Our elected representatives have drawn that arbitrary line. If you don't like where it is drawn, talk with them. I suspect the citizens of East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti, and other college towns and cities will have an opinion to express as well.

    Presidents, your schools are in the business of teaching. How about teaching some responsibility? How about demonstrating some?

  • Kilroy||

    "Our elected representatives have drawn that arbitrary line. If you don't like where it is drawn, talk with them." -Les Meade

    Excellent argument that is inevitably used in opposition when someone tries to open a dialogue or change a law. Allow me to paraphrase how it comes across:
    "How dare you! The law is binding, and if you don't like it then you should get off your butt and start a dialogue or try to change the law instead of opening a dialogue and trying to change the law, which you're doing now, and which you should be doing instead of what you're doing, which is what you should be . . . um, where was I?"

  • Les Meade||

    Dear Kilroy,

    Thank you for your post demonstrating what sophistry is and the inane pseudo-logic that it represents, stifling discussion rather than promoting it.

    Before we make changes in the law that would affect society broadly, should we not at least consider the wisdom gained from our experience? Or would you rather engage in ongoing experimentation?

  • Trevor||

    The SCOTUS has upheld the Federal highway funding issue with regard to State drinking age. It IS constitutional. If you believe in the Constitution, then you belive in the system of checks and balances, and the Constitution gives the Federal courts the right to determine if an act of Congress is constitutional. You need to be knowledgable about the law i you want to be taken seriously. Neither this interviewer, nor his interviewee bothered to mention that this is settled constitutional law.

  • ||

    european kiddies dont know how to drink anymore responsibly than american ones

  • Chrispy||

    It IS constitutional.

    Just because the SCOTUS says something is constitutional doesn't make it so. Even the Supreme Court has no authority (legal or ethical) to circumvent the plain language of the constitution. They're wrong about this particular case, just as they have been on many others.

  • Floyd||

    Someone posted this: "Just because the SCOTUS says something is constitutional doesn't make it so."

    Uh, a rational person would not say what you say. Until changed by a subsequent SCOTUS decision in an as-yet-unfiled case that has as of yet not worked its way through the courts, what the SCOTUS says is constitutional absolutely, positively and with the force of American law IS indeed Constitutional.

    If you do not understand how the law works, you should avoid inserting yourself into these discussions.

  • ||

    MADD=Satan

  • Jay||

    I have to agree with the university presidents. I'm 19 now and I get fucked up on a weekly basis before I go out. I drink a WHOLE lot before I go out to make sure I'm good and drunk because I probably won't be able to get a drink at Toad's Place (the local club), since I don't have a fake ID (by the way you can get into Toads at age 19, but you can of course only get liquor at age 21). This often results in my being way too drunk (which is not necessarily such a bad thing...

  • ABC||

    ¨Michigan once had a lower drinking age and the legislature had the opportunity to see first hand how those students behaved as a result. Drunken students in the classroom interfered with the stated mission of the universities to teach and for students to learn, and drunken riots in town painted a bad image for the universities. Michigan legislators responded by raising the drinking age back to 21. Arbitrary? Yes, but so was 19. So is 16. So is 12.¨

    This is one problem with lowering the age, it´s not surprising that the immediate effect would be that. But to think that the immediate reaction would be the same as the long-term one is wrong. If you are going to lower the drinking age then I´d say work to lower the minimum BAC level for a DUI, down to about a .05, and push for initiatives to raise the minimum age for a driver´s license and to make the test harder. College presidents could also use funds from liquor sales at their student unions to fund bus services as well.

    One argument for maintaining the age is that most people start drinking when they´re 18-19ish so lowering it officially to 18 would probably mean that most folks would start drinking at 15 or 16.

    Maybe the old 18 for beer, 21 for whisky?

    Maybe no legal drinking age at all?

  • ||

    The whole question about a drinking age is utterly ridiculous. If someone is old enough to cast a vote regarding the future President of the United States, they are certainly old enough to judge whether or not to drink! Anyone who is trusted with the ability to even drive a car(age 16), should have the judgment to determine their own drinking or non drinking status. I completely agree with the premise that if the constitution does not grant a certain specific power to the federal government, the government should leave it alone, and not overstep its' bounds. Leviathan continues to grow and give more and more rules, so we no longer think for ourselves, much less develop the simple ability to judge when we should drink or not. The whole thing is redundant and degrading to all even semi-intelligent people.

  • ||

    We're all drunk anyway. I've drank before and I'm only 18. I don't drink anymore though and if I do it's during the summer with my friends maybe once a month or less. I think it should honestly be up to the person whether they decide to drink or not. Having the drinking age set so high forces students to want to break it, it's what we do, we break the rules. If it was lowered then students would eventually stop caring about trying to break it. Not all of them, but a majority.

  • ||

    I think that lowering the drinking age would prevent many people from driking that are underage. Having the drinking age so high is one of the reasons so many people drink, if it was lower then the urge to drink would be less.

  • ||

    The drinking age has been argued over for more then 20 years. The states that get federal funding for there highways are getting that because they changed the drinking age to 21 instead of 18, the tax payers would be furious if they found out that the drinking age was 18 and they are paying more in taxes because of that. Dont get me wrong i would love for the drinking age to be 18 just does not sound very possible.

  • ||

    Who cares! I mean seriously, does it matter if it's lowered or not? The same problems that stem from young people drinking will still exist whether the legal age is lowered or not. Even if it were 18, is that seriously going to stop some kid from driving drunk?

  • ||

    Although this article concerns college professors who advocate lowering the drinking age, I don't think that the discussion should be limited to what is best for college students. After all, not everyone goes to college, and the notion of changing laws so that tomorrow's high wage earners can have more fun in their college years is a pretty boring discussion.

    The real debate is why a society that sets 18 as the age for adulthood would want to set a separate age of 21 for a drinking age. Why should a person be considered a rational and capable adult, responsible enough to enter into civil contracts, vote, marry, join the military/become eligible for the defunct draft, etc., yet not responsible enough to drink alcohol?

    Historically and culturally 18 has been considered the age of maturity in western cultures. However, here in the US, our peculiar experiment with a separate drinking age persists without any obvious benefits. In fact, as some people are now beginning to point out (much to the consternation of anti-drinking groups such as MADD), it may actually lead to irresponsible behavior - the very opposite effect of what it was designed to prevent.

  • Jonathan VanHorn||

    Lowering the drinking age would cause alot of good and alot of problems.

    One could use the same arguments for lowering the drinking age down to the same age as driving...

    Either way, I'm beyond the age required to drink, so it doesnt matter to me either way.

  • ||

    I believe that if you lower the drinking age that young people will take advantage of drinking and that will make them realize what alcohol is all about. I experience drinking at a young age and I dont find it as much fun as I use to. I believe that they will be responsible and being responsible is a part of growing up so let them be kids.

  • ||

    I think that the school and campus police should stop antagonizing the situation and just teach classes that teach good habits that if your are going to drink how to stay safe.

  • ||

    I think that it should be up to the individual if they want to drink or not. Everyone knows that minors are drinking anyways no matter what the legal age is. It just makes them want to drink more when someone says they can't.

  • ||

    No matter what the advantages may be to under age drinking, under age drinking is wrong and risky with life long consequences. Although everyone knows that minors are drinking anyway still doesn't make it okay or legal.

  • ||

    No one has the authority to say if a person is a responsible adult at the age of 18 or 21. Under age drinking is wrong simply because it is against the law however, I know 18 year olds who are more responsible than 30 year olds. If at 18 you can go to jail, pay taxes, and vote, you should be able to decide what you consume.

  • ||

    Every teenager knows that if an adult tells us not to do something that we will be tempted to do it anyway. Same with drinking, so even if they leave the drinking age at 21 or lower it to 18 there will still be even younger kids who will be curious about drinking. Parents who preach responsibilty to their kids will be least affected by underage drinking, because being responsible would be instilled within their kids. The parents that do that only have to worry about their teens drinking which is something that will happen eventually unless it's against a religion.

  • ||

    In this day on age, lowering or raising the drinking age is just a waste of time. Parents can only educate their children on what the dangers of alcohol and pray that what was taught would be put to use.

  • ||

    I have read all of the comments above and I believe that they all have their valid points. But a lot of them talk of responsibility falling on parents and establishments. Why not on the individual? We are not automatons. We have brains and we should know how to use them by now. The responsibility lies with us. I say lower the drinking age to 18. If you can accept responsibility by that age, then you can make your own choices. Free will is one of my greatest treasures. We know what we are capable of. Who knows us better than ourselves. I started drinking when I was 12(my older brother's prompting.) I have never hurt anybody and I have never been in trouble with the law. It all boils down to this: don't be stupid, use your brain and set your own limits. Drinking doesn't automatically make jackasses out of everybody. Just the weak minded and stupid.

  • ||

    Lowerig the drinking age is a waste of the president or whoever got to sign the agreement to lower the age. Kids and teenagers are going to drink regardless or the rules or laws.

  • ||

    I Think that an 18 year old should have the freedom to drink. I believe that if you're old enough to smoke you should be old enough to drink. A college student should be responsible enough to drive responsibly and if not then the student will pay for it. I do not believe alcohol should be aloud on the actual campus however it should be legal for students over 18 to drink off campus.

  • Mallory||

    The idea that having the drinking age at 21 makes those who are too young rebel more is ridiculus. It keeps many of the irresponsible from driving drunk because it makes alcohol harder to come about.

  • ||

    Presonally i really dont think it is going to matter one way or the other if the drinking age is lowered or if it stays the same. There are responsible people in this country and there are irresponsible people. Therefore it really doesn't matter one way or the other if the legal drinking age is lowered or not.

  • Stephanie||

    In my opinion the fact that at the age of 18 we are given so much responsibility to take care of ourselves and are expected to, but when it comes to the decision to drink people like to say that individuals are not fully matured adults until the age of 21 and are not responsible enough to make that decision. So who decides that at the age of 18 people are mature enough to go to war, vote, etc.., but not make the decision to drink a beer or not. I personally don't care if the legal age is changed, but society could at least decided when a person is mature enough to make their own life decisions, at 18 or 21....

  • ||

    Personally, I belive if a person is old enough to get drafted, buy cigarettes, and vote at age 18 then the government should not forbid such individuals of consuming alcohol. It is hard to dictate, however, at what age a person is 'mature' enough to drink.

  • ||

    Mr. McCardell has taken a big chance at addressing this issue. Im glad he did it and I beieve something can be done with a little political help.

  • ||

    I agree, the legal drinking age should be lowered. Many young adults already drink. They do not care whether it is legal or not. They want to have fun and they will do anything to attain that fun. In fact, I think the law causes more reckless consumption. People under the age of twenty-one or anyone else for that matter feel like thay have to rebel when they are bound by rules or laws. Furthermore, you can buy cigarettes and get drafted at age eighteen.

  • ||

    What are we trying to do here? Kill our young children at a young age. In my opinion I think they should even raise the drinking age in more to maybe 23 or 25.

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