Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It is Past Time to Lower The Drinking Age to 18

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame, has sparked the newest round of comments on the drinking age in his recent Wall Street Journal article. The issue seems to come up in waves with someone notable commenting on the ludicrousy of the drinking age being set at 21. That is followed by others commenting in agreement, but then nothing ever happens. It is subsequently dropped until the next time someone brings it up.

I fully support lowering the drinking age back to 18. If you are old enough to fight and die for our country and our freedom, you are old enough to enjoy a beer. The question then becomes how to go about making that so. The states could do so individually if they were willing to forgo 10% of their federal highway funding. I would be curious to know what sort of additional state tax revenue would be generated from the move compared to how much money they would no longer be getting from the Federal government.

There is another option; that of civil disobedience. Imagine case after case going through the court system of a bartender/bar getting fined or otherwise penalized for serving a wounded war veteran a drink. Imagine case after case going through the court system of wounded war heroes getting penalized for trying to enjoy a beer in a bar with their fellow veterans. How many of these cases would have to be brought to public attention before there was a general call among the populace for a change in the law?

If you are asking what you can do beyond pressing your representative to help a change of law around; well, I am not advising that you specifically break the law. That said, if I heard that a bar in my area was serving veterans even if they 'forgot' their ID, my inclination would be to go out of my way to at least patron said bar if not by a round.

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748704641604576255161172364474-lMyQjAxMTAxMDEwMjExNDIyWj.html (via)

"The "old enough to fight, old enough to drink" argument has force. In fact, 18-year-olds in America are old enough to do pretty much everything except drink. Along with joining the military, 18-year-olds can vote, marry, sign contracts, and even take on a crippling lifetime burden of student loan debt in pursuit of an education that may never land them a job. Yet we face the absurd phenomenon of colleges encouraging students to go into six-figure debt—which can't be discharged in bankruptcy—but forbidding them to drink on campus because they're deemed insufficiently mature to appreciate the risks.
Safety is the excuse, but what is really going on here is something more like prohibition. A nation that cares about freedom—and that has already learned that prohibition was a failure—should know better. As Atlantic Monthly columnist Megan McArdle writes, "A drinking age of 21 is an embarrassment to a supposedly liberty-loving nation. If you are old enough to enlist, and old enough to vote, you are old enough to swill cheap beer in the company of your peers."

On Jan. 21, 2009, I suggested in these pages that President Obama might wish to signal a new approach by supporting a return to state freedom in setting drinking ages. He hasn't, of course. Perhaps he sees the drinking age as a Republican problem—which, to be fair, it is.

Video embedded below.

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