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In Defense of "Underage" Drinking
Mercurial Times ^
| March 1, 2002
| Aaron Armitage
Posted on 03/04/2002 10:49:56 AM PST by A.J.Armitage
|The situation is already bad enough. Every state in the union has already been forced by federal blackmail to raise the drinking age to 21. Now a group called the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse is trying to whip up hysteria about the evils of people drinking a few years before they get government permission. They came out with attention getting claims that 25 percent of alcohol consumption is by "children", which to them apparently includes a number of potential voters. It turns out the real number is 11 percent, including, it should be noted, people over 18. The headlines ought to be shouting the shocking news that college students account for less than 25 percent of the drinking in America. My generation is a bunch of slackers.
The 25 percent figure was what Thomas Sowell calls an "Aha! statistic". Like the bogus statistic that domestic abuse increased on Super Bowl Sunday, it existed to boost a particular political agenda; whether it happens to be true is fundamentally beside the point. In this case, the political agenda is more warfare on substances (as if the war on drugs wasn't insane enough). The organization's web site, which greets visitors with an alternating graphic of someone smoking the devil-weed, a middle aged corporate manager type having what, by the looks of him, is a well deserved drink to relax after a hard day at the office (they're evidently so inhumane as to begrudge him this), and a girl smoking a cigarette, quotes their head control freak as saying, "This report is a clarion call for a national mobilization to curb underage drinking," while calling for various authoritarian measures such as holding parents legally responsible, "stepping up" enforcement, and, of course, higher taxes on alcohol. What fun.
One of the arguments advanced by opponents of the 21 year old drinking age is that you can't expect people to learn to drink responsibly by not letting them drink at all and then one day letting them drink all they want. Instead, children should learn to drink wine or beer with meals, as they do in Europe. There's a lot to this argument. You wouldn't expect a 16 year old to drive perfectly without practicing in parking lots first. But it's not my reason. These are my two main reasons for opposing the drinking age.
First, the government has no business telling anyone, whatever his age, what substances he can consume. Yes, that includes crack cocaine. Yes, that means no drinking age whatsoever. I got drunk on champaign on New Year's Eve when I was one year old with no ill effects. Restrictions on what a peaceful person can own, consume, sell, or produce are simply outside the proper sphere of government. Government necessarily operates by force, so the proper sphere of government is the proper sphere of force. Drinking before a certain age is not a reason to use force against someone, but if it is, which age? What sets drinking at the age of 20 apart to a degree that requires force, which is to say violence or the threat of violence, to stop it? Does it apply to 20 year olds in Canada? Did it apply to 20 year olds before the federal government imposed the 21 year drinking age? The truth is, nothing whatsoever except the law itself sets drinking by 20 year olds apart. That law is groundless; it exists as arbitrary will and nothing more. If it had pleased the makers of the law, the age would be set at 30.
Second, drinking is fun. Here, I suspect, my reason for supporting it is the very reason they oppose it. There's a significant proportion of the population that instinctively regards anything enjoyable as a sin and something the government ought to do something about, at which point they resemble the "Islamo-fascists" we've been at war against, who also hate drinking. H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." Now, this is grossly unfair to the Puritans, and the Reformed tradition as a whole, but that type of person existed in Mencken's time, and exists now. Far from being theological Puritans, they tend to be social gospellers or non-Christians altogether. In place of a Christian zeal for salvation, they have a zeal for social perfection.
Unfortunately, a zeal for coercively achieved social perfection always ends badly.
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: libertarians; paleolist
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Same reason you can buy a shotgun at 18 but must wait till 21 to buy a hand gun.
Good example, especially since the states have no business telling anyone what guns he can buy.
Why do you have to be 25 to rent a car? I know it's not a law, but it is a standard.
It can be an industry standard all you want, but it's not comparable to a law. Why? Because the car companies own their cars. They can, or ought to be able to, refuse to rent to anyone for any reason or no reason. That's because they have property rights. An "underage" drinker also has property rights.
I think that when the government writes drinking laws for underage kids, they look for what's best for the young population as a whole. Of course I was stating my view, but I am sure they are similiar to the philosophies behind drinking laws anyway.
Yeh, the philosophy goes something like this: "We own the gold, we own the guns, now do what we say(while we do what we want)".
You went to CLC? On the weekends, I sorta live around there, (Gurnee) and have some friends from church that attend CLC.
Beer at age 18 is fine for me, but no hard liquor. I am always very hesitant to losen up drinking laws for young people. I see enough of my peers wasting their youth away on closing down the bar every night, in otherwords, they have no lives, either that, or they are not creative enough to find something else to do.
Plus drinking a lot isn't good for one's health. It makes people fat and ruins their liver. Plus, it is a waste of money that could go elsewhere.
It is not, I repeat NOT, the state's job to worry about anyone's money, health, weight or liver.
It is not, I repeat NOT, the state's job to worry about anyone's creativity or "wasted" youth.
While BLOODBATH is an overstatement, you are correct, there were more alcohol-related accidents in that time. Of course there would be; you have three more years of adults able to legally drink at bars. But by that logic, why aren't we clamoring to raise the drinking age to 25? That would save thousands of lives a year, would it not? Why not do this? Well, because we'd be taking away the rights of legal, tax-paying adults. Like those age 18-20.
I know what you are saying. But I am a social conservative Religious Righter, and personally, I just don't have any problem with our nation's current drinking laws. It is not some horrid abridgement of one's freedom and does more good than harm.
They may think that drinking laws stink, but I am sure glad they are there. It makes me feel safer while driving somewhere late at night, plus drinking is such a bad habit, and young people can spend their money and time doing something more profitable and worthwhile.
It is NOT the state's job to make you feel "safer".
It is NOT the state's job to worry about people's money or the "worthwhileness" of their passtimes.
they (government) look(s) for what's best for the young population as a whole
I'm sure they think they are. That's part of the problem, the other part of the problem is that they don't know thats none of their business. A well meaning tyrant is still a tyrant.
I can come up with a whole laundry list of things that "would be best" for other people, and if they were made law, people might be a whole lot better off in some ways, such as wealth, efficiency of time, finances, life span, etc..., but they would be a lot worse off in terms of freedom.
It is not the proper role of government in a free society for government to play mommy and engage in social engineering, and the fed violates its constitutional charter by blackmailing states to enforce its drinking age.
posted on 03/04/2002 11:40:48 AM PST
To: southern rock
I understand your opinion. But, I just don't see any big deal with our current drinking laws. I am not even 21 years old yet, but I don't think that the drinking laws are that bad or anything worth the vapid crowing that is going on here.
It is not some horrid abridgement of one's freedom
I'm more than willing to wager that there are quite a few 20-year-old Republican Christians currently serving stateside in a military branch of our government who would fiercely disagree with you on that point.
"The health people are idiots, but they still do it, because they don't want people to be hurt."
And how can you possibly know their intentions???
It is at least NAIVE to assume they are motivated by such a trite reason. All humans I know are far more complex than that.
Control freaks want control; this is no mystery.
You've never observed this?
LOL, no. I only have seen people try to regulate what they perceive to be dangerous. Be it for good reason or no. I have yet to see people try to regulate something just because it's not their "cup of tea".
Like I said before, are underage drinking laws really that bad? I think you people are over-reacting and getting all mad about something that isn't even a big deal.
That's the problem with neo-cons, they think your freedoms end the same place their vices do.
The alcohol industry has a study that shows 50% of their product is consumed by 5% of their customers. In other words, these brewers depend on addiction, the same as the drug dealers. They, however, are allowed to buy legality.
posted on 03/04/2002 11:43:27 AM PST
I am not even 21 years old yet, but I don't think that the drinking laws are that bad or anything worth the vapid crowing that is going on here.
Of course not. Because YOU don't drink. I think your tune would change pretty darn fast if there were bible-reading laws passed.
An "underage" drinker also has property rights.
And he has the right to purchase beer, if the state he chooses to reside in views 18 year olds as mature enough to handle it.
I have quite a few relatives that are currently serving in the military and they have more important things on their minds other than witching about underage drinking laws.
All of the examples you gave involved non-adults.
Reread. The voting age involves adults. Further, it doesn't matter. My point was that different situations call for different solutions. Where in any law is an "adult" defined? Why are you assuming that if one has the right to vote and enter into a contract, he is an adult, but one that has the right to drive is not (keep reading before you respond)? Yes, adult is generally accepted to mean 18 or over, but the law itself doesn't make any distinction. It simply says: drive at 16; vote and contract at 18; drink and buy a handgun at 21. If you disagree with those ages, that's fine, but it would be arbitrary to say there should be a distinction between driving and voting age, but none between voting and drinking age.
posted on 03/04/2002 11:45:13 AM PST
It is not some horrid abridgement of one's freedom and does more good than harm.
So, we have levels or degrees of "abridgement of one's freedom"?
This is exactly why our freedom and liberty are in such trouble now - people such as yourself saying "small" encroachments are ok, because you feel it doesn't affect you.
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