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Recently at Reason.tv: Is it Time to Lower The Drinking Age?

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The drinking age in the US has been 21 for more than 20 years.

Today, we all take the drinking age for granted, but should we? In fact, the US is one of only four countries in the world with a drinking age as high as 21—the other three are Indonesia, Mongolia and Palau.

Is the policy working to reduce health and safety issues related to youthful alchohol abuse? Is enforcing the drinking age the best use of scarce public resources? What are the unintended consequences of alcohol prohibition for 18-20 year olds?

Organizations such as Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD) argue that the drinking age is an effective policy and that the answer to ongoing alcohol related problems for 18-20 year olds is more education and better enforcement.

John McCardell, president of Choose Responsibility, and 135 university presidents and chancellors across the country believe it's time to take a fresh look at the drinking age. The former president of Middlebury College and the new head of Sewanee/University of the South, McCardell says our current system encourages unsupervised binge drinking.

Reason.tv went to the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin to get a first-hand look at the war on underage drinking.

Produced and hosted by Paul Feine; shot and edited by Alex Manning. Approximately 10 minutes long. Scroll down for downloadable iPod, HD and audio versions of this and all our videos. Subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube page and receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

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  1. You libertards are always trying to reverse all the progress we’ve made as a nation by forcing your crackpot theories on the rest of us. Everybody knows that a higher drinking age means fewer auto accidents and therefore a reduced strain on the nation’s health care that we all end up paying for because everybody goes to the emergency rooms. Grow up!

    1. So… so… you’re saying that, if just jack the minimum age up to, say, 30, there’d be even fewer accidents? Probably true. Why not just set the age 63? By that same reasoning, we’d practically eliminate all driving fatalities.

      Grow up? Dude – how a bout a little thinking if you can muster it.

      1. I thought that was a parody, pre-empting real trolls.

          1. Nice work, dude. I’m so jealous right now.

            1. It’s all about commitment.

              1. I’m getting there.

    2. I give that two 3 1/2 troll turds out of 5. You missed the key words like socialism, and the required fearmongering to get 4+ out of 5.

      1. Also missed the chance to backhandedly accuse everyone of racism somewhere.

      2. Trolls are like salesmen — if they’re getting praised for being good at it by their marks, they’re not good at it.

    3. You libertards are always trying to reverse all the progress we’ve made as a nation by forcing your crackpot theories on the rest of us. Everybody knows that a higher drinking age means fewer auto accidents and therefore a reduced strain on the nation’s health care that we all end up paying for because everybody goes to the emergency rooms. Grow up!

      So then drunk driving fatalities are higher in Italy?

  2. I’d say that having an inept/malevolent organization endorsing twenty-one as the drinking age is enough reason to oppose it.

    1. So if a generally inept/malevolent organization is against pedophilia and drowning puppies, you’ll be for both of those?

  3. Ya, 15 or 16 would be cool. I’m down with that. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor is no fun at all LOL

    Lou
    http://www.whos-watching.es.tc

    1. Do you feel like I do?

  4. So somebody tell me why it’s any of the state’s business how old I am if I decide I want to manufacture, sell, buy, or imbibe ANYTHING. And why is it any part of their authority to license any of those behaviors? Or require vendors to enforce their edicts?

    Drinking age is just a symptom of the disease of centralized control.

    1. (breaks down door, shoots dog)

      Got your explanation right here!

      1. And there you have it. The reason they have the authority is that they’re willing to kill anybody who defies them, and not enough of us are willing to defend ourselves from their thugs.

        1. How about this thought from a California Libertarian: By definition, a society requires structure and rules to provide order and public safety. By living in a society (as opposed to living alone in the forest) we willingly give up a few of our freedoms in exchange for some safety. i.e. We let them regulate the driving age, this keeps 14 year olds from running you off the road. Not letting 16 year olds drink saves them from developmental issues. Beyond that the government shouldn’t have any say in who make, sells, imbibes, or smokes anything. So basically, I sort of agree.

          1. How about 16+ with parental agreement.

          2. “How about this thought from a California Libertarian: By definition, a society requires structure and rules to provide order and public safety. By living in a society (as opposed to living alone in the forest) we willingly give up a few of our freedoms in exchange for some safety. i.e. We let them regulate the driving age, this keeps 14 year olds from running you off the road.”

            Hmmm, sounds exactly like the reasoning behind the 21 year drinking age. Just replace 14 with 18 and 16 with 20. Once you say “Beyond that the government shouldn’t have any say…” the government just has to define “beyond that” in a certain way to do whatever they want. It’s all or nothing. You either protect freedom totally, or you put it in danger of being abused.

            1. There is another market oriented component to this that I haven’t seen suggested: insurance premiums as a deterrent.

              Go ahead and lower the drinking age to say 16, which personally I have no problem with. However, since kids on the average start experimenting with teh booze around 11-13 and teenagers are already a high risk driving group anyway, raise premiums on ’em. You wanna drink at a lower age, fine. If you wish to bitch about higher unfair premiums, then don’t drive. As pointed out by other posters, MADD was originally about reducing drunk driving related accidents and fatalities.

              Also, just because legal drinking ages might be lowered doesn’t mean it is incumbent upon bars and clubs to allow their bars and clubs to the lower legal drinking age. I imagine the insurance risk alone might deter club owners from serving the younger ages.

              An enterprising owner may be inclined to open an establishment catering to younger drinkers, such as Steve Smith or Lonewacko 😉

              1. Don’t forget that almost invisible source of authority: parents.

                1. Parental authority, the bane of the adolescent. I daresay that parental authority is as effective as the adolescent wishes to grant it, and usually incumbent upon the parental money spigot.

                  One of the recent trends is towns and cities cracking down on parent supervised parties involving drinking, and though I don’t have children (and don’t want any squealing little germbags), I might feel better allowing my child to attend one of those parties with an adult that I can call and check in on said rugrat. Because Lord knows kids never lie.

              2. Also, just because legal drinking ages might be lowered doesn’t mean it is incumbent upon bars and clubs to allow their bars and clubs to the lower legal drinking age.

                I’ve seen Black bars (urban and rural) with 25 and older minimum ages. I strongly suspect they selectively enforce it against males.
                25+ gives plenty of opportunity for the real troublemakers to get killed or go to prison before they are eligible for admission.

                1. I strongly suspect they selectively enforce it against males.

                  I see nothing wrong with this; let’s face it: about the only reason to go to bars and clubs, if you are single, is to pick up women (or men if that is your cup of tea) and do the social butt sniffing to see if sex is going to happen. And a bunch of guys vying for alpha male status is bound to cause trouble, especially with alcohol involved.

                  Agreed about the real troublemakers remark, but that is Darwinism in action.

              3. Perhaps I might agree with you if 1) insurance (of any kind) was strictly optional, and 2) the need for expensive insurance was reduced via serious tort reform. Otherwise, this just invites “privatized tyranny” by giving an already powerful industry even more power. Be careful what you wish for.

          3. I figured where your thoughts were going after “Hahafornia Libertarian”. Stay there. You sound like Choadny.

    2. The Constitution says so!!!

      “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

      1. “To regulate Commerce…”

        We can do anything now!

      2. Wrong Constitution. The federal government doesn’t set the drinking age.

        1. It merely blackmails the states into obedience.

          1. While cruddy, that is constitutional. The federal government has constitutional authority to build and maintain interstate roads.

            Of course if the Senate was elected by state legislatures as the Founders intended, that crap would never have happened. Unfortunately, the 17th amendment is part of the Constitution too.

            1. The “blackmail” part, however, should be eliminated, Tulpa. Holding money hostage – money paid into the Highway Kitty by the states – is held hostage if said states don’t jump through The Hoops.

              In essence, the fedgov says “we took your money from you, and you won’t get it back unless you do what we say”. In the private sector, that would be a huge criminal enterprise.

              1. Desperate times call for extortion.

                1. Yeah, extortion is a better term.

                  Not better as in good for us, but you get the gist.

              2. Tell me about it. We play a few accounting games, and we’re screwed. The feds do it on a scale we couldn’t begin to contemplate, and… nada.

              3. Nice little interstate highway system you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.

              4. In the private sector, grabbing a person off the street, putting them in a cage, and demanding bail to let them out would be a serious offense, too.

                A lot of things we allow (and demand) the government to do would be crimes if done by private actors. So this whole line of argument is fallacious.

                1. I beg to differ.

                2. Specifically, though, the part where the fedgov gets to hold OUR money hostage, then demand we do tricks to get OUR money back… can we stop this shit somehow, Tulpa, or do we have to put up with it until the whole damned country crumbles to dust?

                  1. Are you kidding? This is a great system!

            2. While cruddy, that is constitutional. The federal government has constitutional authority to build and maintain interstate roads.

              Can you point out the relevant section of the Constitution that specifically lists building interstate roads as an enumerated power granted the federal government?

              Because I can’t find it.

              1. The Founding Fathers apparently could:

                The National Road, in many places known as Route 40, was built between 1811 and 1834 to reach the western settlements. It was the first federally funded road in U.S. history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson believed that a trans-Appalachian road was necessary for unifying the young country. In 1806 Congress authorized construction of the road and President Jefferson signed the act establishing the National Road. It would connect Cumberland, Maryland to the Ohio River.

                1. The National Road was also a toll road as is evidenced by the toll houses that appear periodically along Route 40. I’ve done some of my best drinking alongside Route 40.

                  1. Hopwood representin’!

              2. More directly, the SCOTUS ruled as early as 1824 that interstate travel was covered by the Commerce Clause.

                The sole argued source of Congress’s power to promulgate the law at issue was the Commerce Clause. Accordingly, the Court had to answer whether the law regulated “commerce” that was “among the several states.” With respect to “commerce,” the Court held that commerce is more than mere traffic?that it is the trade of commodities?it is also intercourse. This broader definition includes navigation. The Court interpreted “among” as “intermingled with.”

                Marshall’s ruling determined that “a Congressional power to regulate navigation is as expressly granted as if that term had been added to the word ‘commerce’.”

    3. The state has to protect children from certain especially harmful things even when their parents fail to do so. Yes, I know the “protect the children” line has been abused so much it’s become a meaningless cliche, but it is true.

      That said, the drinking age is way too high.

      1. The state has to protect? Where did you get that from?

        1. Basic human decency.

          If you think the state should allow parents to lock their children in the basement 24/7 and feed them 1000 calories a day, then you might disagree.

          1. These little porkers running around today would do well by a 1000 calorie a day diet. Maybe, throw a treadmill down there with little Tyler, or Carson, or whatever people name their goddamn kids nowadays.

            Isn’t that how we “protect teh children” now anyways, THE DIABEEETUS!

            1. Whatever happened to the classic names like “Sheldon”, “Winthrop”, or the ever popular “Aloysius”?

              Basic human decency.

              Very subjective term Tulpa. And in the hands of a centralized nanny state, quite an insidious and destructive force.

              1. Very subjective term Tulpa. And in the hands of a centralized nanny state, quite an insidious and destructive force.

                This was sort of my point, but on my first cup of coffee it came out a mean mess.

              2. So, what is your proposed method for preventing the abuse I described above? Social shunning?

                I agree that the idea that the state must protect children even against the wishes of their parents can serve as a camel toe under the tent for authoritarian nannyism. But the alternative extreme is unacceptable as well, so the two goals of parents’ (and childrens’) freedom and child protection have to be balanced (something I’ve noticed libertarians are loath to do — it’s extremes or nothing with this crowd). Like the saying goes, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. There is no substitute for an informed and active populace to make sure the state doesn’t go too far with its powers.

                1. I don’t think many here would argue against child abuse laws, but so many laws and regulations are trotted out under the umbrella of protecting children that affect adults that don’t have children or plan to. Do you like coca-cola? Well, we need extra taxes on it so kids won’t get the diabeetus.Like to alter your consciousness in non-approved ways? Sorry, that sends the wrong message to children.Wanna listen to Howard Stern or see a booby on tv? Nope kids might be exposed. I could go on and on but I think I’ll bbq instead.

                  1. You won’t be “bbq”ing if we have our way.

                2. Even in the best of situations Tulpa, it is impossible to prevent all cases abuse and neglect. Which you already know; that said, trying to protect children from the dangers that this very cruel world offers is an overtime job with no easy answers. As a physician, when I went through my last year of med school and residency, I saw quite a few cases of legitimate abuse (physical trauma) and even suspected more cases but I couldn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And I have to admit, that soured me a bit on pediatrics and thoroughly convinced me that all the money and help in the world is not going to make a shitty parent into a good one; conversely, I am not one to limit the freedom of someone who wants to have children. But quite frankly, it is both the kid’s responsibility and the parents’ to keep dialogue and communication open, just like any other relationship and I am dubious of the state to be a better guardian of children in most cases. Our system, via the family and juvenile courts allows for redress of grievances. That said, even that has unintended consequences, such as false witness of abuse for retaliatory purposes (remember, kids never lie) and essentially setting a stage where if the child cries wolf for whatever reason, the DHS swoops in and all familial hell breaks loose. Is this the norm? I seriously doubt it, but it just seems to me that recognizing more and more rights of kids, that as an aggregate, are not emotionally mature enough to handle. They learn to game the system early on, either from peers or parents or both. Kids are pretty technically savvy and information dense these days, but they often make the mistake that this translates into emotional maturity. Social shunning helps I think, but as quite a few stories posted on Reason have demonstrated, community nannism “it takes a village” stuff also can go too far.

                  I ask this of you in good faith, as it does apply to this thread: Which would you rather have, an intrusive state or an intrusive community and how would you balance the two?

                  1. I’d prefer neither, but frankly I’d rather deal with an intrusive state. The reason we know all these DCFS horror stories is because the state operates in the open, whereas community-based enforcement does not, and in my onion is even less likely to be fair towards the accused. For instance, homeowners associations are splendid examples of “community enforcement” in action, and should give us pause before we flee into the arms of “anything but government” when we hear horror stories about government action.

                    1. Agreed, I would prefer neither as well, but that’s just not the way it is. And yes, the homeowner’s assn. is an excellent example of “community enforcement” taken to the extreme, such as that episode of “Bullshit” where a guy was thrown in jail because his lawn was not kept to the assn. standards.

                      because the state operates in the open, whereas community-based enforcement does not

                      How so? Just because the state operates openly doesn’t mean that it’s in the right. Community would have to operate with oversight, but the right not to live in a community exists. So, if you move to another community but the same intrusive government exists either city, state or federal, how has one escaped potential abuse by the system?

                      And I don’t mean to break your chops over this Tulpa, as you are thoughtful and I respect your opinion. But I do respectfully disagree about “government action”, because the potential for mass abuse of the rights of a population outweighs the risk of private community action running amok. If I don’t like the community where I live I am free to move. Otherwise, I’d better suck it up and deal. However, it is much easier for adults to relocate than dependent children, which I believe is your original premise.

                      I agree the government has a role in this, no question. But keeping government in check is what my major concern is with regard to those on the margins(and also one of the reasons why I choose not to have children).

                    2. Needless to say, it’s possible to be screwed by either intrusive govt or intrusive community.

                      the potential for mass abuse of the rights of a population outweighs the risk of private community action running amok. If I don’t like the community where I live I am free to move. Otherwise, I’d better suck it up and deal.

                      There are historical examples of societies where law/custom enforcement was decentralized and handled entirely by members of the community.

                      There are historical examples of societies where it was feasible to pick up and move somewhere else if you didn’t like the laws where you were.

                      There aren’t many examples that combine the two. Community enforcement requires that everybody know each other, which inevitably leads to outsiders being looked upon with suspicion if they are allowed to settle in the community at all. So the price of community enforcement is going to be that you’re stuck with that community forever.

                    3. Community enforcement requires that everybody know each other, which inevitably leads to outsiders being looked upon with suspicion if they are allowed to settle in the community at all. So the price of community enforcement is going to be that you’re stuck with that community forever.

                      Hmm, that one doesn’t quite follow.

                      1)You assume a hostile and xenophobic community in the first place by virtue of community enforcement.

                      2)You conclude that being stuck in a community enforcement environment without alternative is inevitable.

                      If this was true, then what is the point of property rights, individual rights and the freedom to migrate and associate?

                      Again, I am more willing to address grievances with a community than a faceless “government action” first.

                    4. You assume a hostile and xenophobic community in the first place by virtue of community enforcement.

                      That’s what comes about when basic human rights are left to be enforced by a community rather than a supposedly impartial government with investigatory powers. If you want to go back to a 19th century style society, fine — but you’re going to have to leave any semblance of tolerance and mobility back here in the 21st century with us statists. As I stated, the societies that have operated in the way you propose HAVE historically been xenophobic.

                      If this was true, then what is the point of property rights, individual rights and the freedom to migrate and associate?

                      Good question! That’s why I don’t support going back to the “good old days” of community enforcement, with midnight beatings and/or lynchings replacing our criminal justice system.

                    5. If you want to go back to a 19th century style society, fine — but you’re going to have to leave any semblance of tolerance and mobility back here in the 21st century with us statists.

                      Begging your pardon good sir, but the history of statist governments doesn’t exactly have a sterling, bloodless history either. I’m not proposing a reboot to the 19th century; as I stated, there is a function for government, I just want a limited government that acts within it’s enumerated powers. Almost a false dilemma, except again, I have the choice to leave an unpleasant living situation at any time.

                      That’s why I don’t support going back to the “good old days” of community enforcement, with midnight beatings and/or lynchings replacing our criminal justice system.

                      I take it you would prefer the “good old days” of gulags, political assassinations, purges and martial law? (Based on your history of posts, I believe for you this not to be the case). Because historically, that is precisely where statism and centralized government leads.

                    6. I know about DCFS horror stories:

                      When my kid was about two, one of our supposed “friends” called DCFS on us because, quote, we were unfit parents, unquote. The crime: Approximately four dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. In water. With a pile of clean ones in the drainer. But I digress to the real horror story, about twenty years later:

                      A former friend/former girlfriend’s methed-out ex called DCFS because he was convinced her and I had gotten back together. He lied his ass off and said I did their two-year-old.

                      No, I haven’t had a chance to punch my fist through his head. Nor could I do more than tell the cop and the caseworker I didn’t do it – with the aid of a letter from the mother backing me up, fortunately.

                      See, when someone rats to DCFS for revenge, IMO that’s worse than actually harming a child. The only way I know to make liars pay is to get them to admit they lied – or find evidence of same – but when it comes to being charged like that, you’re either guilty or they keep your file open for a few years. No “innocent” charge, even if they don’t believe you actually DID something.

                      Fuckers.

                    7. And the gossip that goes on in the much-ballyhooed private community is just as destructive. Face it, people are sick and twisted fucks, whether government is involved or not.

                    8. Face it, people are sick and twisted fucks, whether government is involved or not.

                      You’ll get no argument from me Tulpa. BTW Thank you for indulging in discussion.

      2. I actually agree with you on this one. Allowing children to drink could be considered child abuse under certain circumstances, so some form of drinking regulation that punishes parents for poisoning their children is perfectly reasonable. Any law which punishes the imbiber himself is a different monster though.

        That said, when do they cease to be children? I’ll stand by my variant turing test option, rather than a specific age limit. Anyone intellectually indistinguishable from a sentient and rational being may apply for adult citizenship status.

        Of course my option could dramatically reduce the number of “adults” which might have interesting consequences. Seriously, how many humans would actually pass such a test?

        1. I see you are a big fan of the “The Bell Curve”

          That said, when do they cease to be children?

          Interesting question. If you leave to the childrens, whenever adolescence hits, that’s generally when they think they should be considered adults with all the rights and privileges while on the parent’s dime. However, emancipation by economic self sufficiency might be a good indicator. Otherwise, they are subject to the responsibility of their parents.

          1. A friend once questioned my responses for the VERY hypothetical situation where I was a parent. My answers were similar to your case for economic self sufficiency. I would allow my children to pursue endeavors I disagreed with if they first demonstrated the ability to provide for themselves.

            I should point out that adult status as conveyed by my turing test option isn’t sufficient to grant freedom from parental oversight if you intend to continue living on their dime. If you are living under their roof, no matter your age or legal status they may impose restrictions as part of the informal rent agreement. You either live by their rules or provide your own alternative.

          2. I don’t think that would work in practice. Even testing one’s economic self-sufficiency requires that one already have adult status (eg, ability to sign valid contracts), so you would have to make contracts signed by 10-year-olds fully enforceable in a court of law to enact that system. Also, you’d have to deal with the fact that many parents would oppose their child’s decision to try their hand at adulthood at a young age, due to (probably justified) fears that they are going to be taken advantage of in ways that cannot be reversed by simply ending the experiment and returning home.

            1. Oh, Tulpa. Will you never win?

            2. The legal standard of an enforceable contract is a pretty good standard, but in these here 50 states, AFAIK, emancipation can also be obtained by a marriage contract, should the kids be exceptionally emotionally mature (not likely), extraordinary circumstances or incredibly stupid IMO. But it should be noted that most of these states require parental consent to the marriage if the applicants for a marriage license are under 18.

  5. What about going back to the most reasonable situation : The parents decide

    I have no fuss with a law about not selling alcohol to kids below 18 … but lets face it : it doesn’t matter what is written in the books, whether kid is going to take bath in pools of booze or not is a matter of education and nothing else

    All those who advocate dry laws miss this point and only contribute to have more kids getting in legal troubles

    You think that drinking before 21 is wrong ? Stop being lazy and go give some talks to youngsters

    if a youngster at 21 can take a job, drive a car, and open a bank account, he surely knows that booze can be lethat

    1. And fight for his or her damn country.

  6. It’s time to raise the age to 67. (I just turned that Friday.)

    1. Sorry – hadn’t read whole thread when I saw your comment. Nor the witty name for the original poster.

      more coffee…

      1. Never be sorry. I just Hit and Run here. I wasn’t the first poster.
        I really did just turn 67.

  7. Old enough to sign up for the military should be old enough to drink. Period.

    1. Agreed.

    2. Aren’t 18 year olds in the military allowed to drink?

      1. Not in the US of A, if you are stationed over seas the local laws apply. I turned 21 in Germany, and it didn’t mean a damned thing. High school kids sold hot spiced wine on the street around Christmas for fund raisers.

      2. There’s old ass soldiers overseas who aren’t allowed to drink. Anyone stationed in those obnoxiously religious sand holes.

      3. When I was in there were a couple bases 18yo’s could drink (one in AZ IIRC), but it was loosely enforced most places. Our platoon sergeant would buy kegs when we got back from the field and nobody higher cared one bit. I heard the Air Force was strict though, presumably because they’re pussies.

    1. for a magazine called reason…

  8. The problem with MADD is that they succeeded in their mission to obtain harsher penalties for drunk driving. Now, in the fine tradition of all organizations that survive past their time, they flail about for something to do, and make things worse, not better. At this point they should rename themselves MAUD (mothers against underage drinking) because that’s really their true current mission.

    1. Quite so, but keep in mind that the people in charge of MADD now are *not* the ones who were in charge of it back when it was actually fighting drunk driving instead of drinking per se. Cindy Lightner, the founder of MADD, quit the organization in 2002 because she felt it had been hijacked by neoprohibitionists. And judging by this letter to the editor in the WaPo by the current MADD president in 2005, she was right:

      Taking away a teenager’s car keys and replacing them with a beer may prevent death and injury on the road, but it sends a dangerous message to teenagers that it’s okay to break the law. It also leaves teenagers vulnerable to serious outcomes that can take place even when they drink at home.

      According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alcohol use among teens is linked to two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes. Alcohol poisoning, increased violence, blackouts and potential brain damage are also risks.

      1. Absolutely. As the original mission is fulfilled, the original organizers drop off because they are satisfied with the results, and disdain any movement away from the original goal. The organization lurches on.

    2. Right on, MAUD!

    3. It’s not mothers anymore.
      They aren’t just concerned with underage enjoyment anymore, either.
      And they have branched on to bitching about other things that have nothing to do with alcohol or any drugs whatsoever.
      That leaves the word AGAINST, they are against everything.

      1. DAMM

        Drunks
        Against
        Mad
        Mothers

  9. The US is also one of the only western countries without universal healthcare. There are so many better reasons to repeal drinking laws than the excuse, “well, everyone else has a lower drinking age”.

    1. The difference being “everyone else has a lower drinking age and isn’t negatively affected by it” whereas that’s quite different with healthcare. Not that I think we should really be making that argument either.

  10. How are these “serious outcomes” different when you’re 17 and when you’re 18. Or 20 and 21.

  11. OK, poll time. When did all of you start drinking? I started at 16, and I was pretty late among my classmates. 13 was more typical.

    1. First got drunk at 12, then didn’t drink again for three years. That was the longest stretch of sobriety I have ever had and don’t intend on repeating it.

    2. Also, when did you stop sniffing glue? Was it a bad day for it?

      1. Moi?
        I don’t sniff glue like you pussies, I inject it.

      2. He was a boy with a soft demeaner
        And he loved his carborator cleaner
        The vapor made a sweet aroma
        Sniffed himself into a coma

        Laquerhead knows no in-betweens
        Huffing on bags of gasoline!

          1. Never saw that video before, pretty cool.
            I like how the glue sniffing kid has a primus shirt on.

            Why won’t spellcheck recognize ‘primus’, I mean, primus is an actual thing.

      3. I don’t remember the day. It was a very bad week though. Glue withdrawal I could handle. It was quitting smoking, drinking, and amphetamines that made it so difficult.

        1. Seriously?

          1. Nah, my parents just bought the movie Zero Hour, which they claim was the inspiration behind Airplane. So lines from the latter have been running through my head lately. They’re corrupting some of my replies.

      4. Fuck glue. Toluol is a much better high.

    3. First time I tried any type of alcohol? I think around ten or eleven when I took a sip of my father’s beer. I was curious and he let me try it.

      Actual drinking, 19. Late bloomer.

      Don’t sniff glue. Prefer shooting sodium pentothal. Always sleep like a baby.

    4. I think I started at 17 or 18. Didn’t really care for it because the bud in AK is kick ass; didn’t need anything else, really. Now I have a taste for west coast micro brews (mostly ales).

      1. I got busted for weed when I was 15, and at the time would much rather smoke herb than drink or do ‘real’ drugs. But, when on probation I had to take piss tests, so I would drink and do all the hard drugs that stay in your system for only three days.

        Oh yeah, and I met my connects for said hard drugs in court mandated “rehab”. So, all that getting busted did was gave that 15 year old an excuse to try every pill, powder, and potion he could get his hands on for an entire year. After that it was back to “teh weed”.

        1. Now I finally understand why they call it a gateway drug!

          1. What, getting busted?

          2. How do you turn a pothead into an alcoholic? Easy–just drug test him!

        2. I have heard the argument “why have prisons and rehabs, all you’re doing is making better criminals?” Given our country’s recidivism rate, I think it lends more credence to legalization of “soft drugs” and lowering of the drinking age.

          Rehab should be for those that want it, not mandated. Treatment regimens are far more successful long term than mandated court supervised sobriety quick fixes.

          1. The rehab I had to go to was an exercise in absurdity. My buddy who got arrested at the same time as me would sit there in a grateful dead tie dye stoned out of his gourd, and on cigarette breaks all of us would stand outside setting up ‘meetings’ for the weekend. The other guys in the group were all around thirty and into hardcore drug use. Though there was a young black dude that was a corner boy or something who had never done drugs in his life.

    5. The young Jewish male is trained on a weekly regimen of Slivovitz and Heavy Malaga Manischevitz from the age of 8. By the age of 13, he has acquired a strong tolerance for most heavy liquors.

      1. Seriously though, the first time I was actually able to get drunk was during high school, probably freshman year.

      2. Heller, I think you may like this.

        1. Excellent.

        2. Although, Jews are forbidden to have tattoos, so the line “Sporting anti-swastika tattoos” is inaccurate.

          1. Two of NOFX’s members are of jewish heritage but are atheists in practice, I think the song was merely a homage to their lineage.

    6. I didn’t drink any non-Eucharistic alcohol until I was 21. Not because of any respect for the law or anything, just because I wasn’t interested in it. It was a (possibly skunked) Miller Lite, too, so I haven’t been able to get the taste out of my mouth all these years later. I still drink like two bottles of beer a year to this day.

    7. Early teens — don’t recall the exact age. Snuck one of my father’s crappy cheap beers into the garage and pounded it back, then felt kind of woozy afterward.

    8. At 15 it was Jim Beam. I still hate that shit.

  12. 10ish for a beer and pass out drunk for the 1st time (slow learner so I needed multiple times) around 13ish. I grew up in the middle of nowhere and there were three things to do fight, fuck, and drink. (usually in that order)

    Due to the extra years of honing my palate I can now brew a pretty decent beer.

    1. I’m thinking about trying my hand at brewing (don’t worry, MAUD, I’m over 21). Do you get your gear online?

      1. There is a brew shop called DeFalco’s in Houston that sells online. I don’t know what would happen if you wanted them to ship out of state though.

        If you want to go a cheaper route than the typical brew shop there is always Mr. Beer, which sells online and is how I got started.

        Now I use a mix of sources. Some gear from online, some from the grocery store, some I grow myself. (going to try growing my own hops next year)

      2. We don’t like that either, Mr. “Sage.” Your home brewing and wicked imbibage of beer, or “devil’s brew” as we prefer to call it around here, might encourage children you know to get drunk, drive, and knock over a liquor store (thus endlessly perpetuating the cycle). This cannot be allowed. Remember, it’s for the children. Why do you hate the children? What kind of monster are you?

        https://reason.com/blog/2009/08…..u-mr-presi

        1. Bea Arthur! How’ve you been?

          1. I’ve been better.

            http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBI…..index.html

            1. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

              1. Worry not little Epi, I still live on in tribute!

            2. Bea Arthur — check

              Dixie Carter — check

              Candace Bergen — when I get around to it.

          2. Hey! What about me, ya jerk!?

            1. I loved you in Every Which Way but Loose.

            2. I think this is more appropriate.

      3. both locally and online. Locally is more fun and will come with more suggestions and help. You’re hard pressed to find a homebrewer w/o an opinion or helping personality. It may stem from drinking too much. (Is that possible?)

        To start I would suggest going to a local homebrew store if possible.

        1. Yeah, some friends have mentioned a place nearby. I’ll check it out first. Thanks!

  13. That said, when do they cease to be children?

    At age 26, apparently.

    1. Because mice = human children.

  14. Yes, lower the drinking age to nothing higher than 19 and reimburse me for all the fucking fines I paid, adjusted for inflation, with interest, plus a healthy fee for all of the “opportunity cost” I suffered.

    Hell, make 16 the age of majority. Fuck the revenuers and paternalist pussies.

  15. The brain development argument is total crap. Its a very simplistic view of intelligence and responsibility. The main purpose of this “research” is to justify restrictions on individual autonomy.

    1. Are you sure about that?

      1. Yes, absolutely sure. Are you implying that I am wrong?

    2. The brain development argument is total crap. Its a very simplistic view of intelligence and responsibility. The main purpose of this “research” is to justify restrictions on individual autonomy.

      FTW!
      So much BS passes for “science” these days.

  16. I’ve no problem with a minimum drinking age.

    I have a federalism problem with the feds blackmailing the states over what clearly should be a state matter.

    I have a moral problem with charging 18-20 year olds as adults, registering them for the draft, holding them accountable for contracts entered into but not allowing them to get a goddam beer in a fucking bar.

    Full disclosure – As a member of the generation granted the most liberty in US history (by parents and the government) as children, adolescents, and young adults, I could drink legally in my home state at 18. I considered states that had more stringent requirements governed by retarded assholes.

  17. I can’t think of a whole lot that is more immoral than piling serious legal charges against a young adult for making relatively harmless choices. Its the kind of thing that can take a smart, productive person and make them a life long problem for everyone else to deal with. Its the age when people are applying for decent jobs and higher education and giving them a sheet is very likely to complicate their plans and turn them towards actual crimes.

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  21. I grew up in the sweet spot (18 was the legal drinking age, the WOD was relatively narcoleptic, the nannies hadn’t even gotten enough muscle to ban smoking on airplanes).

    Thank goodness.

  22. On the one hand, it’s hard to make a principled argument that there’s something wrong with 18 year olds having a drink. And practically, obviously they’re drinking anyway.

    On a purely selfish level, though, I kinda don’t want 18 year olds in the bars I go to. I already wince when I chat with a girl and find out she’s 22. Eighteen is a bridge too far.

  23. I just stopped by to pick up a Reason.

    It would be nice to return to 18yr old drinking age, but why on earth do we accept the pragmatic arguments about results of policy? Govt has NO RIGHT to restrict adults from legal behavior…period.

  24. If the minimum drinking age is lowered to 18 in the United States (U.S.), the result will be greater availability of alcohol not only to 18-20 year olds but also to those younger than 18. Studies in the U.S. have shown that lowering the drinking age to 18 also increases alcohol-related crashes for 15- to …more 17-year-olds.
    Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA 21) laws save approximately 800-900 lives each year in reductions in traffic fatalities involving young drivers. Medical research shows that excessive drinking by youth aged 20 and younger may cause brain damage as well as reduce brain function. Early onset of drinking before age 21 increases the risk for future alcohol abuse, automobile crashes, and assaults, among other alcohol-related problems.
    When the lives and wellbeing of so many young people are at stake it is appropriate for the federal government to step in and protect the public. The National Uniform Drinking Age 21 Act has been a balanced, effective, and popular tool in helping to combat the many problems associated with youth drinking. Repealing it would be a grave mistake.

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