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Is the US underage drinking age law rational?

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Is the US underage drinking age law rational?

Old 12-29-04, 06:19 PM
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Is the US underage drinking age law rational?

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Last edited by darkessenz; 02-26-19 at 12:01 AM.
Old 12-29-04, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by darkessenz
Federal law (or presidential mandate) dictates that funds will be denied to states unless they adopt a drinking age of 21 years. This has created a de facto ban on drinking for underage youth in the US.

Is this a rational policy ?

There are American forces killing Iraqis, but they can't legally drink a beer...
You can vote, but you can't drink a beer.

I am of the opinion that easing restrictions on alcohol for youths would reduce underage drinking in the long run, as well as reduce binge drinking at the high school and college levels. This would, in turn, reduce drinking and driving accidents and make it easier for youths to integrate drinking into their social life in a safe manner.

Youths don't avoid alcohol because of the law, it becomes a covert activity like pot-smoking only more ubiquitous. Who is this law serving?
The law serves no one. The problem is that most everybody forgets once they turn 21 and while 18 years old can vote they seldom do. Not that this matter would ever come up for a vote...
Old 12-29-04, 06:25 PM
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I think it's silly that you can die for your country but you can't have a beer? I'm not sure what the right answer is here but I think the government needs to take another look at the law and figure it out.
Old 12-29-04, 06:27 PM
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Your argument is directly contradicted by experience. It was made at the time of the Vietnnam War or just following. The argument resulted in the majority of states which had a 21 age limit for drinkiing lower it to 18. In the few years the followed, drunk driving deaths in the 18-21 age group increased dramatically and started a campaign to return the limit to age 21. I forget the exact years as I had already turned 21 in the mid-60's, so I wasn't affected either way. If you do some research, you can find all the key dates.

However, to make the proposal to lower drinking age again, I think you have to answer what went wrong before, and how would it be prevented if we tried lowering the drinking age again. Cars are somewhat safer now, but that may just mean more drunk teenagers survive accidents and go on to drive drunk and have more accidents.
Old 12-29-04, 06:31 PM
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You also need to understand why other countried don't have stringent drinking age laws yet have far fewer problems with teen drinking.
Old 12-29-04, 06:31 PM
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oh come on, it's very easy to get booze when you're underage, especially in college.
Old 12-29-04, 06:32 PM
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The age limit for buying alcohol is about as effective as firearm restrictions.

If a crook really wanted to buy a handgun, he would find a way to get one. The same with a 16 year old wanting to get smashed. It's easy for either one to get what they want, laws just stop them from doing it at Walmart. Individual localities generally know what's best. Hands off, big brother.

That said, check out this nifty deal (for CA residents only) for cheap alcohol:
http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=402741
Old 12-29-04, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by D.Pham00
oh come on, it's very easy to get booze when you're underage, especially in college.
This is actually the best argument for the drinking age to be 21 rather than 18. When you are in college, the 18-20 year olds can get beer because there are plenty of 21+ year olds around. If the drinking age was 18, then the 13-17 year olds in High School would then have easy access to alcohol.

I think the best solution is to raise the voting age to 21.
Old 12-29-04, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Jello
This is actually the best argument for the drinking age to be 21 rather than 18. When you are in college, the 18-20 year olds can get beer because there are plenty of 21+ year olds around. If the drinking age was 18, then the 13-17 year olds in High School would then have easy access to alcohol.

I think the best solution is to raise the voting age to 21.
And then raise the requirements to serve in the military?
Old 12-29-04, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Jello
This is actually the best argument for the drinking age to be 21 rather than 18. When you are in college, the 18-20 year olds can get beer because there are plenty of 21+ year olds around. If the drinking age was 18, then the 13-17 year olds in High School would then have easy access to alcohol.
keep the drinking age at 21, but offer an exemption to anybody with a high school diploma.

that might cut back on the high school dropout rate.
Old 12-29-04, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
You also need to understand why other countried don't have stringent drinking age laws yet have far fewer problems with teen drinking.

That's easy. They have really tough drunk driving laws at any age. Drive drunk, you're done driving. Not like here.
Old 12-29-04, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Green Jello
This is actually the best argument for the drinking age to be 21 rather than 18. When you are in college, the 18-20 year olds can get beer because there are plenty of 21+ year olds around. If the drinking age was 18, then the 13-17 year olds in High School would then have easy access to alcohol.

I think the best solution is to raise the voting age to 21.
well, even now, plenty of teens drink as it is. it's pretty easy to obtain alcohol when you're a teen anyway.
Old 12-29-04, 06:49 PM
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but if they lower the drinking age in NY to 18 most of the bars in Niagara Falls Ontario will go bankrupt
Old 12-29-04, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RoyalTea
keep the drinking age at 21, but offer an exemption to anybody with a high school diploma.

that might cut back on the high school dropout rate.
I like that idea, unfortunately it's just too logical to pass. Nobody really cares about this issue except teenagers, and it still doesn't stop them from getting alcohol. It doesn't seem to be worth wasting time on.
Old 12-29-04, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
That's easy. They have really tough drunk driving laws at any age. Drive drunk, you're done driving. Not like here.
I don't understand why that isn't the case here.

"Oh, all right...since you didn't kill anyone, here's your license back."
Old 12-29-04, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
That's easy. They have really tough drunk driving laws at any age. Drive drunk, you're done driving. Not like here.
I know of 2 people that not only were over the legal limit (.1 at the time) but ere also underage and got no punishment at all.
one was one of the main basketball players at my highschool, and the other was a friend of mine.
in the case of my friend his lawyer got it pled down to some ridiculously small thing, I think a non moving violation even though he was under 21 and blew over .1 when the breathalizer was done. And I'm 99% sure that was his second time getting caught driving after drinking
Old 12-29-04, 07:55 PM
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I had somewhat of a drinking problem when I was a teenager. I know that if I could have waltzed into any liquor store and purchased what I wanted, when I wanted it, it would have been much worse.
Old 12-29-04, 10:05 PM
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The US has the one of oldest ages to purchase alcohol in the world, but we also have one of the youngest ages to drive an automobile.
Old 12-29-04, 10:12 PM
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I don't drink, but when I was 19 and visited the US, I felt my freedom had been revoked
Old 12-29-04, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Brain Stew
The US has the one of oldest ages to purchase alcohol in the world, but we also have one of the youngest ages to drive an automobile.
Perhaps we should reverse that? I'd probably support that idea.
Old 12-30-04, 12:20 AM
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As OldDude mentioned, the sole reason that the drinking age is 21 was to reduce drinking and driving. This was also the same time that MADD came into being.

Is 21 rational? Of course not. I firmly believe that the drinking age should be reduced back to 18, and then the various drinking laws like open container laws, driving while drunk, etc be firmly enforced.

And as for MADD, they came into being for the sole purpose of reducing drunk driving. It has worked, drunk driving is a fraction of what it was in the 70s and early 80s, and even the founder has said that their mission was done. But it's now a corporation focusing on the abolition of alcohol now, and it's not in their best interest to say that their job is done since then the leaders would be out of a job, so they keep up the paranoia.
Old 12-30-04, 07:54 AM
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I can understand the rationale behind the "Can serve in the military, but can't buy a beer" argument.
How about an exemption to anyone who is actually serving in the military? An 18 year old serving in the military is obviously trusted to make responsible decisions, he/she should be trusted to not drink & drive. (at least as much as any other adult). From my experience, an 18 year old after a few months in the army is more responsible than a 21 year old who is partying in college.
I don't think the inherent problem with underage drinking is the drinker's age, per se, but rather the lack of responsibility that is more common at an earlier age.

And as far as drunk driving is concerned, a MUCH more severe penalty would probably help.
Old 12-30-04, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by xLongshank
I can understand the rationale behind the "Can serve in the military, but can't buy a beer" argument.
ACtually, that argument had a lot more relevance in the 60's, when I chanted it, because there was a draft, and serving in the military was not voluntary.

Note that until you are 35, you can vote, but you can't be President.
Old 12-30-04, 08:33 AM
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I'd say the argument has relevance now too, if you're willing to take on the responsibilities of an adult, you should be allowed the "privileges". I agree that it has much more emotional power as an argument when one is forced into the military, but the same logic should apply to a volunteer.

as far as the voting argument, I don't see it as too relevant, as an individual vote doesn't really hold life & death power, while carrying an M-16 does. If I can trust you with a weapon, I should be able to trust you with a vehicle.
Old 12-30-04, 08:49 AM
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I think the problem that keeps getting bumped into is that if a new age limit is set with all kinds exemptions, a whole new government buracracy has to be created to control it. New IDs with new information would have to be designed. This person is only 19, but graduated high school, etc. As for letting localities decide, I remember that was a problem here in Indiana when our drinking age was 21 and Ohio's was 18 ... there was a significant number of Indiana teens drinking, driving, and dying on the roads during their return trip.

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