bicostp wrote:Drinking is only bad when you drink to excess and wind up with your head in the toilet and a splitting hangover. That's when you do real damage to your brain and liver.
Exactly. Thats what I was trying to imply for myself.
timmeh87 wrote:I personally think that the drinking age should be way lower, esp. in the states. People are all like "oh well teenagers shouldn't be able to drink", but why? As soon as these kids hit 21 they go out and get trashed for like a week. Not everyone, but you know it happens all the time. Is that better? We are giving 16 year old kids licenses, but we aren't letting them learn to drink responsibly until 21. Does that make sense?
That makes perfect sense to me. Heres another way to look at it:
At eighteen years of age, you are allowed to die for your country. But you aren't allowed to drink. Wheres the logic? Sure, drinking can be deadly. But a bullet is far more deadly, and a land mine even worse. Not to mention suicide bombers.
Its jacked. But thats how it works. *shrug*, I guess you either live with it, or ignore it.
As a constitutional law student, I can explain why things are the way they are in regards to the legal age for alcohol consumption.
First, in regards to "At eighteen years of age, you are allowed to die for your country. But you aren't allowed to drink." The logic behind that goes back to the Vietnam War. The same argument was made then and, the age was lowered to eighteen; as a result, alcohol-related vehicle deaths skyrocketed amongst those in the 16-21 year old age bracket. The reason: immaturity. Argue as you might, but it's common sense that teenagers are not anywhere near as responsible or mature as those even relatively slightly older than them. Age [give or take your occasional moron] instills responsibility. By the early 1980s, almost all of the states had raised the age back up to 21 and [citation pending, but I do remember the statistic] alcohol related deaths in the above age bracket dropped 63%. A combination of very justified government lobbying (and the eventual formation of MADD), common sense, and severe public outcry resulted in the age coming up to 21, not meany, poo-poo-head parents that wanted to deprive their children of the somehow magical tastes of alcohol.
As for the prior point stating: "We are giving 16 year old kids licenses, but we aren't letting them learn to drink responsibly until 21. Does that make sense," the argument is three-pronged: it is sociological, medical, and development-based. First, in the development-based realm, we do not just "hand over" licenses to 16-year-olds; before we let juveniles get a permit
, not a license, they have to pass a test proving they are competent enough to learn how to drive. Then, they must actually learn how
to drive, operate a car, and what traffic laws are and how to properly obey them. Teenagers spend a while learning how to drive safely due to the fact that they are moving a half-ton or heavier chunk of metal 30-70 miles per hour through populated areas. Know why insurance rates are so high for people between the ages of 16-25? It takes just about that long to fully master the art of driving and learn how to be truly responsible when operating a motor vehicle. The same principle goes for alcohol; we don't
just let people (in theory) go after alcohol, we attempt to educate them in how to be competent in handling alcohol until they are [or at least should be] of proper age and competence, thus leading to the next point...
In the sociological realm, the US government and it's subsidiaries, the state and local governments, assume that parents should have some degree of responsibility in teaching their children that alcohol consumption can be dangerous. It is the duty of the parents [in the eyes of the law] to instill at least some primal mores into children, namely, educational values [school attendance is mandatory in almost all states until the age of 17 or 18], alcohol awareness, driver's education, proper social values [i.e. murder is wrong], and so forth. The government has to look out for the safety of the public at large, and so relies upon parents and guardians to teach their children that somethings require moderation. Again, this is a long and time-consuming process that lasts several years, hence the heightened age laws.
Finally, the human brain is still developing until around 21-23 years of age. Alcohol is a horrible impairment in substantial quantities to developing bodies: it can stunt growth, impair hormone production, promote future impotence in men, inhibit brain development, and so forth. Let me say it again: impotence.
So, basically, that's why the drinking age is, and will always be, 21 in the United States. Don't take any of this as personal opinion or flame-bait, it's jurisprudence, simple political theory, and medical science at its simplest and best. As for myself, I personally have a drink or two every week or so, usually much less due to studies and work.