Glenn Reynolds on Lowering the Drinking Age


Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Glenn Instapundit Reynolds writes about correcting (yet another!) Reagan-era policy mistake—the tying of federal highway dollars to raising a given state's to 21 years of age. Reynolds notes that current policy proposals to let active-duty military kids down shots as well as take them isn't enough. There's just no good goddamn reason that 21 is the age. Certainly not from any safety standpoint:

Defenders of the status quo claim that highway deaths have fallen since the drinking age was raised to 21 from 18, but those claims obscure the fact that this decline merely continued a trend that was already present before the drinking age changed—and one that involved every age group, not merely those 18-21. Research by economist Jeffrey A. Miron and lawyer Elina Tetelbaum indicates that a drinking age of 21 doesn't save lives but does promote binge drinking and contempt for the law.

Read whole piece here.

It's simply pathetic that here we are in the 21st century—a time of Hover Cars and Cloud Cities—and we're still stuck in a Just Say No moment that demonstrably fails to deliver precisely what it claims to: less destructive behavior on the part of kids.

Must-watch video:'s Is It Time to Lower the Drinking Age from 21?


NEXT: TSA: the "officer followed proper current screening procedures"

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  1. We’re going to a place where the beer flows like wine…

    1. Also, the answer is obviously yes.

        1. EOM

    2. Thanks, but I’m looking for more of a “lemonade springs where the bluebird sings” sort of Utopia.

    3. …eat up the fruit and throw away the rind, yaa aye brother!

  2. The stupid thing is that as soon as people get 21 or older, this absolutely ceases to be an issue for them and they just don’t care any more. They’re good to go, fuck the “kids”. That’s why reversing it is so hard. If you’re 30, it just does not affect you in any way.

    1. It’s even worse than that, because underage drinkers are so fucking obnoxious to the of-age. And obviously there would be more of them without the 21 age, so they think fuck the kids.

      1. The thing is, every college dipshit gets a fake ID and they all go to college bars, where no one except someone like you who is over 23 would go. They already self-segregate. Do you really think that 18 year olds would go to a bar frequented by 40 year olds?

        1. That’s the best place to pick up older women.

        2. Haven’t you ever seen drunk hipster kids getting their asses kicked by drunker steelworkers, dude? There is no sweeter sight in the world, not even your mom’s diseased snatch.

          1. I don’t attend the type of working class establishments you do, dude. Where I go, they wouldn’t let you in, even if you shaved your back.

            1. That is true. Warty doesn’t dress well enough to get into most gay bars.

              1. You forgot the NTTAWWT, John.

                1. Sorry. Yes, NTTAWWT.

                  1. Good to know there’s not anything wrong with dressing badly. *whew*

    2. you’ll feel differently if you have kids someday. i would never let alcohol anywhere near any of my 9 children.

      1. stop using my handle

      2. But your children aren’t human and you can’t feed them after midnight.

        “They’re watching Snow White. And they love it.”

        1. Don’t let them get wet!!!

      3. How about to swab their arms before the shot of Depo-provera?

    3. Yeah, as someone who only became of age a few years back, it has become a non-issue, but I hope to still retain my belief.

      Also, Glenn may have inspired me to email my Congressman for the first time over this issue, so there is that.

      1. I graduated last year and over the summer the drinking age never came up once. It hasn’t even been 2 years and I automatically assume everyone is 21 and able to go to the bar with me.

        Since I started grad school it has come up again (the project I work on has a lot of undergrads). It’s sad to realize the cute 19 year old that’s interested in me can’t go out with us on the weekend.

  3. Lower it to 3. Hey, if you’re old enough to be strip searched by TSA you’re old enough to drink.

    1. If you’re old enought to get felt up by a government agent, you’re old enough to have a drink to suppress the memory.

    2. We should make that the motto.

    3. If you’re 18 you can be deployed to Iraq and see combat, yet you’re apparently not old enough to even handle a beer…

      1. some 14 yr ol gang banger can murder & rob but not be old enough to legally drink a beer

        1. Imagine that.

          Not like the government can draft you to gang bang.

  4. a drinking age of 21 doesn’t save lives but does promote binge drinking and contempt for the law.

    But it lets all those soccer moms feel good about themselves.

    1. they never feel good about themselves. there’s always someone’s kid to worry about.

      this morning on my way to work my wife was telling me how a co-worker brought in organic milk for a third party. the fact the this person wasn’t giving her kid organic milk was causing her to lose sleep. so she brought some in and told her to give it her kid.

  5. If you’re 30, it just does not affect you in any way.

    I don’t want no rowdy teenagers drinking in my bar!

    *shakes fist*

    1. Can’t you just throw them out. I certainly don’t have any problem with age discrimination for bars. There’s plenty of places to get drunk and act like an idiot.

      1. Yeah, like home.

      2. It’s not even age discrimination. Bars should still have the right to refuse service to, and to kick out, anyone they please.

  6. Mac: These kids are wasted, bro. I thought we were cutting them off?
    Dennis Reynolds: I am cutting them off, these kids havent had more than three drinks each. Plus, theres so much water in them, they’re probably more hydrated than they ever have been in there entire lives.

    1. “That’s Tammy, Trey’s ex-girlfriend. This is classic Tammy. Trey broke up with Tammy because Maureen Kenallen said that she saw Tammy flirting with Walt Timby at a party, but she was only doing it to make Trey jealous because, you know, she thought that Trey secretly liked Erin Henebry, but Trey didn’t like Erin Henebry. It was all a bunch of bull.”

      1. Is he a player? I HATE players.

  7. How come you can join the army at 17 but can’t own a handgun until you’re 21 in several states?

    I think it’s time to treat adults as adults. Make 18 the everything goes age. Let them drink, shoot, and smoke!

    USA Today promotes hate against CEO’s.…..-ceos.html


    2. Why is it that a girl can have her period when she’s 12, but I can’t legally have sex with her until she’s 17?

      1. because of preverts like u preverting their precious bodily fluids

        1. fucking sick argument.

          1. Old enough to bleed, old enough to breed.

            1. Old enough to pee, old enough for me.

      2. or the better question is why SHE can’t legally have sex until she is 17 (in most states)?

        You know choice, woman’s body and all that…

    3. I think it’s time to treat adults as adults. Make 18 the everything goes age. Let them drink, shoot, and smoke!

      And run for President too?

      1. Sure why not…not like the average 18yr old will have less practical life experience than the current President.

        And at least you expect an 18yr old to act like a conceited know-it-all.

  8. The drinking age limit does not stop drinking. It stops buying.

    1. Perhaps now, but back in the good old days being 6’4″ with a deep voice was good enough to buy at 15, almost without exception. And usually meant I got my beer for free for buying for others. Good times.

      1. It seems to depend on the state. Vermont is crazy with their enforcement and stings, so everyone gets carded. Here in upstate New York I’ve been carded twice in a year.

        And of course, Montreal doesn’t card unless you’re carrying a teddy bear.

  9. Using the same logic, we should be able to end teen pregnancy by making it illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to purchase or use contraceptives.

    1. hey sherlock – condoms dont run people down in a drunkin stupor

  10. If 18-year-olds voted, the drinking age would already be back to 18.

    1. Thus the unsolvable caveat. 18 year olds are too hungover to go out to vote to allow themselves to be legally hungover.

    2. Because their demographic outweighs all of the demographics 25+ combined?

      1. I think because if they actually voted in unison, it would tip the balance of the 60 year olds who are bound and determined not to change a damn thing.

        1. Unfortunately the US population between the ages of 18 and 25 accounts for about 9.5% of the total. 60+ accounts for 18.9%. So we would need all 18-25 year olds to show up and vote the same and hope that only half the 60+ crowd shows up.
          And thats not including all the whack job soccer moms from 25-60 that would likely vote against it which is another 25% of the US population
          (obvioulsy not everyone votes, just an example of the age breakdown and why 18-25 alone couldnt make a difference.)

          1. bastards have us by the balls.

  11. And while we’re at it, let’s do away with the driving age entirely and just have a much harder driving test like Germany’s. There are plenty of kids who shouldn’t be driving at 23, and I’m sure a few who can handle it at 14.

    1. yes, but that doesn’t necessarily fix people’s driving, it just ensures that highly trained assholes are now on the road. They may know what to do, but mostly they just do what they want.

      1. As long as there are fewer Asian women driving SUVs, dude.

        1. true, as a demographic they are horrible and for no readily apparent reason.

      2. There is some validity to what Warty’s saying. Drivers in Europe have to take much more vigorous driving tests, and believe me, it shows. I’m obviously no fan of licensing of any kind, but it does have an effect.

        Also, I don’t know what kind of test they give people in the Pacific Northwest, but whatever it is, it has to be like the tests they give for No Child Left Behind, because these people are fucking terrible. They often don’t even know 4-way stop protocol.

        1. Houston doesn’t seem to have a problem with people not knowing what to do, but instead just choosing to not do it. 4 way stop etiquette does seem to elude a vast majority of people however.

          1. Give me Houston anytime. In Tallahassee, the first 4-6 seconds of a red light is yellow and yellow is green. Its gotten better over the last five years, but when I first moved here I almost got t-boned all the time if I was first in line.

        2. I’m obviously no fan of licensing of any kind,

          Has anyone ever tried the “you need a license to drive a car, why shouldn’t you need one to buy a gun?????” argument on you? They get real confused that you don’t need a license to drive a car, just to drive one on public roads. Sometimes they understand that their analogy is retarded, but not often.

          1. I’ve encountered it but ignored it because it’s too stupid to respond to. Sort of like rectal.

          2. Maybe you can say I only need a license to drive a car in public, much like I need that license to shoot you in public.

        3. They often don’t even know 4-way stop protocol.

          Don’t hesitate because, if you do, someone else will go and you will get to your destination 15 seconds later?

        4. Washington 4-way stop protocol is easy, just remember “the second vehicle to come to a complete stop gets to go first”

        5. They often don’t even know 4-way stop protocol.

          Is that “don’t stop if you’re getting a hummer while driving” or “everyone just sit there and keep waving through the driver to the right?”

        6. It shows in some countries, Germany in particular. But the drivers in Spain and Italy are fucking lunatics one step above the “if we die today it is Allah’s will” drivers in the middle east.

          1. This. Driving in southern Italy scared the shit out of me. Every bloody car had a huge dent in it!

          2. Some of the craziest driving I have seen was when I down in Mexico for work. The fact there were so few accidents amazed me.

        7. There is some validity to what Warty’s saying. Drivers in Europe have to take much more vigorous driving tests, and believe me, it shows. I’m obviously no fan of licensing of any kind, but it does have an effect.

          Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


          Ha! Ha!

          I’ve been living in Europe for 16 years and believe me, you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.

          1. The big difference is rule of law, honest enforcement. In countries where people actually get busted for driving like assholes, people don’t drive like assholes. In countries where the cops simply fuck with you arbitrarily and pocket the money people drive like assholes.

            1. Drivers in Germany drive really well. I love driving in Germany. Rest of Europe not so much. And you are exactly right. Back in the day when cops existed to enforce the law and keep people safe rather than to randomly fuck with people and collect revenue, people drove a lot better than they do today.

              1. The problem with driving in Germany is that it is so goddamned crowded and the roads are constantly under construction. The newer highways in the east are much less crowded, the only time I’ve actually been appreciative of the vaunted autobahn.

                And while the asshole drivers in Italy or Poland are pretty tiresome, the obsession with safety and compliance in a place like Sweden is also somewhat oppressive. Still, I’d much rather drive in Sweden than Poland.

            2. People get busted here for driving like assholes, but it’s all about the penalty. If your driver’s license wasn’t your ID card, cost a few hundred bucks, when revoked, revoked for life, and make the penalty for driving without a license a 10 year prison sentence, it might, might make a difference. But who the hell in a freedom loving country would what that?

      3. Highly trained assholes? Like the ones in Pink Flamingos?

  12. Seems to me if the rational for initally lowering the drinking and voting age from 21 to 18 was to bring it inline with the draft age they should just make the age of majority 21 for everything or 18 for everything. As far as underage drinking goes as long as mom and dad are buying and controlling their spawn why is the gov’mnt involved. Don’t some states allow kids to drink with their folks? More importantly why is this a federal issue? Does the FBI prosicute for DWI on I90?

    1. Some states do allow children to drink with their parents. Sadly, my state is now running ads suggesting that if you allow your children to drink at home, you will go to jail. Because nothing is better for the children than having their parents in jail.

  13. why are the cops not arresting teens at all the catholic churches who drink wine with communion? hell they should be arresting the preachers who serve it to them.

    1. Congress hasn’t gotten around to making that law yet.

  14. We can just eliminate federal subsidies for highways.

  15. “…a time of Hover Cars and Cloud Cities…”

    Don’t forget lunar bases and manned expeditions to Mars and the outer planets!

  16. but does promote binge drinking and contempt for the law.

    I’m starting to think this is the point of most of our modern policies.

    Once the average citizen’s respect for the law has completely eroded, you have the perfect excuse to declare martial law and strip any remaining rights the peasants still cling to.

    1. We will just make it illegal not to respect that law. that will solve that problem.

  17. Another benefit of lowering the drinking age: it makes alcohol easier to obtain than illegal drugs. So teen drug use would probably go down from its current rate of 100%.

    Won’t someone please think of the children?

  18. Great comment about this article on instapundit right now

    We ought not to be surprised that we’ve cultivated a couple of generations of people whose adolescence has extended into their mid-twenties, when we tell them clearly that we think they’re irresponsible, unaccountable and that we regard them as children until they’re 21.”

    1. Heck, to age 26 if you want to stay on your parents’ health care insurance.

      1. Heck, to age 26 if you want to stay on your parents’ health care insurance.

        Why should we not allow people to subsidize, with their own money, other’s health insurance.

        If some dude wants to pay extra premiums, with his own money, to cover a homeless person who would rather do drugs than work, why should we stop him?

        1. If a company wants to offer that policy it is fine, but the government is forcing them to offer it.

    2. Agreed. This modern notion that you’re you’re not a real adult until your late twenties is insane.

  19. We can just eliminate federal subsidies for highways.

    Now you’ve done it.

    You Nihilist!

    1. adults drive drunk regardless…the question is only if we regard people between the ages of 18-21 adults or not.

      1. adults drive drunk regardless…the question is only if we regard people between the ages of 18-21 adults or not.

        Why should we?

        In fact, Article II of the Constitution does not regard persons between 18 and 35 as adults.

        1. also, women are never adults according to the document.

  20. Simple solution: Just legalize alcohol then we can tax and regulate it and solve our budget woes.

  21. Nancy Pelosi and the democrats raised the age of childhood to 27.
    Drinking,voting and SSS age should follow.

  22. These idiot kids have got to do something besides vote for “Hope and Change We Can believe in” if they want any real rights.

  23. At the very least, we should let the states decide what the drinking age should be, and give them an actual choice (don’t condition any federal funds on states adopting a particular drinking age), not the illusion of choice they currently have.

  24. At the very least, we should let states decide what the drinking age should be.

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