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Time Magazine: Repeal the Drinking Age!

by Camille Paglia - April 23, 2014
Time Magazine

The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age-21 rule sets the U.S. apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn-singing 19th century temperance crusaders, typified by Carrie Nation smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. Temperance fanaticism eventually triumphed and gave us 14 years of Prohibition. That in turn spawned the crime syndicates for booze smuggling, laying the groundwork for today’s global drug trade. Thanks a lot, Carrie!

Now that marijuana regulations have been liberalized in Colorado, it’s time to strike down this dictatorial national law. Government is not our nanny. The decrease in drunk-driving deaths in recent decades is at least partly attributable to more uniform seat-belt use and a strengthening of DWI penalties. Today, furthermore, there are many other causes of traffic accidents, such as the careless use of cell phones or prescription drugs like Ambien — implicated in the recent trial and acquittal of Kerry Kennedy for driving while impaired.

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bigmikedude's picture

If you have to register for the Selective Service,

are old enough to be drafted should they ever reinstate one, old enough to be solicited to enlist in the military and be sent to war, can be tried as an adult, old enough to be sued, and have to pay taxes, you're damn well entitled to be able to enjoy a drink or a beer in this country too. Just remember the above and keep in mind you are old enough to be held responsible for your actions while you're drinking too. That's pretty simple I think.

Either that or raise the age equally on the rest.

Quit with the cherry picking.

deacon's picture

Your comment is great

But 1 exception,no one is required to sign up for selective service. Have you read one of them forms? goes something like this,you might,you may,you could be...These are not strong armed terms,more of suggesting,but it works on most people,because people get scared and fearful of being 'hunted down' by the men in black,they willingly sign their own lives away,and to ones who will sign that paper nor go fight.
What they do is,make in impossible to get a fed gov loan for anything,until you sign up,that is.
I threw 4 of them away already that had our kids names on them,one being over 5 years ago,the other 3 years ago
I do get your point of the comment.

If we deny truth before your very eyes,then the rest of what we have to say,is of little consequence

My sentiments exactly.

My first "legal" beer was two weeks after basic training. Why two weeks after basic training? Because during my two weeks at home it was still illegal for me to have a beer. It wasn't until we got back to Camp Pendleton for basic infantry training, that I was able to just walk into an on base enlisted bar and have a cold beer.

Texas' Alcohol Beverage Code

Interestingly, if the minor is married and the spouse is present, then the minor can drink.

Sec. 106.04. CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL BY A MINOR. (a) A minor commits an offense if he consumes an alcoholic beverage.

(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alcoholic beverage was consumed in the visible presence of the minor's adult parent, guardian, or spouse.

scawarren's picture

Arkansas's is similar to that

Arkansas's is similar to that also.

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. – Mark Twain

Cruel 1984 Law

What this cruel 1984 law did is deprive young people of safe spaces where they could happily drink cheap beer, socialize, chat and flirt in a free but controlled public environment. Hence in the 1980s we immediately got the scourge of crude binge drinking at campus fraternity keg parties, cut off from the adult world. Women in that boorish free-for-all were suddenly fighting off date rape. Club drugs — ecstasy, methamphetamine, ketamine (a veterinary tranquilizer) — surged at raves for teenagers and on the gay male circuit scene.


allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

I think

I would have to agree with those sentiments, there are always unintended consequences of applying force and control.

Often times the laws are not what you think they are

and the busy bodies in the government just use other means to get around the problem.
Case in point:
It is perfectly legal in the state of CT for me to walk into a bar, sit down and buy my 15 yo an alcoholic beverage. It is perfectly legal for ME to serve my child a glass of wine.

You see - the law states you have to be 21 to buy the alcohol - not consume it. And in fact, being the legal guardian of aforementioned child it is perfectly legal for ME to buy the alcohol and allow my child to consume it as long as they are in my custody(meaning I am present).

So why doesn't this happen. "They" just get around it. They would arrest you for child endangerment, or abuse or some other BS crap. "They" would simply have the liquor permit of the bar pulled(many places will not let you sit at the bar with your child even if they are drinking chocolate milk despite there being absolutely no law against it).

See, this is how they get around everything - when the shoe dont fit - they just go get a boot.

Now just for the record, I grew up Irish - meaning the ability to drink far outweighed the ability to do just about anything else. As such, I wouldn't let my kids drink just because I want them to see a different way. But that is my choice - not the governments.

Repeal all age restrictions

I'm for the repeal of all age restrictions. We should repeal the age to smoke, drink, own firearms, gamble, etc.

At age 18, you are an adult in our society and should be able to make those decisions on your own. Some will falter, but that is the danger of freedom.

As for under 18, parents are the government in most households and should decide for their kids what is appropriate. For example, I don't see any problem with the idea of my 16 year old boy owning a handgun as I've taught him how to use one. My younger ones are not quite ready as they are still childish. The goal of every parent should be to develop their children to a point where they are self-sufficient and capable of personal independence by the time they are 18, if not sooner. To do that, you have to give them the opportunities to explore independence and be there to lend a hand should they fail.

If local government is the best, mom and dad were the most local for children.