Evangelicals and Liquor Laws: Letting Adults Choose To Drink

Culture, Moral Philosophy, Religion — By on August 27, 2008 at 4:11 pm

By John Mark Reynolds
College presidents are not always wrong. Here is one they get right: Americans should rethink our polices toward alcohol and young adults.
Eighteen year old adults should have the legal choice to drink in this culture.
College faculty and administrators know that thousands of college students abuse alcohol, but that thousands more do not. They understand that making an act criminal and restricting the liberty of citizens to act as they wish, even to act badly, requires very powerful reasons. Traditional Christians should agree with this legal modesty based on centuries of experimentation with different levels of restrictions on bad or unwise behavior.
Why Small Government?
Small government is best. Fallen men cannot survive with no government. Anarchy is bad, but totalitarianism is worse. Even a hug from big government can hurt and absolute power can corrupt the best of men.
Most traditional Christians believe, even if they sometimes forget, that God has given each human being liberty. God let Adam disobey him. If a God who could have stopped men from making bad choices does not always do so, then it must be better so! In this age, God has often given men the freedom to defy Him openly. Of course in the end, every deed will be judged and justice done, but not yet. Christians should not rush to give the state powers that God is not using Himself at this time.
It is obviously dangerous when one group of fallen men forces another group of fallen men to do what the first group believes to be right. Using force to make a man conform threatens precious God given liberty.
Of course, liberty is precious, but not priceless. It is not the only good, though it is very good. Sometimes in the complicated and messed up world we live in this side of Paradise, some other good, like the survival of the community, forces a Christian to agree that men must be made to act as they should by force of law.
This decision is, however, a grave one.
Alcohol Not Worth Bigger Government
The social gains from banning all adults of a certain age from drinking are not worth the cost to liberty. Alcohol use is not a sin for most Christians. For most Christians moderate drinking is a harmless pleasure. Of course, like many pleasures it tempts some to overindulge and alcoholism is very serious. The abuse of alcohol is bad and many adults are prone to this fault.
It might be unwise for many adults to drink, but surely few should wish the state to begin banning all unwise actions. Most of us who have our share (or more!) of folly would scarcely be able to move under such a regime!
This true even for the minority of traditional Christians that think the consumption of alcohol is immoral. Even if true, this would only prove that drinking is the sort of act that it might be good to ban it not that it should be. Long experience shows that laws often do as much harm as good. Sadly, Evangelicals supported an experiment in constitutional alcohol prohibition in the last century. It was a notable failure.
Law and Morality
Nothing moral should be illegal, but not everything that is immoral should be criminal.
Every time the state removes a choice from citizens, it risks making children of them. A republic depends on people who can make moral decisions for themselves. If we cannot, the state will not long survive no matter what laws are made. The power given to the state in order to enforce laws is also dangerous. The more laws, the greater the police power of the state. Any good done must be weighed against this grave potential threat to liberty.
Conservative Christians, who have been martyred in the millions by abusive state power in the last century, have no reason to trust expansive state power. In very grave situations, such as abortion which takes an innocent human life, we support increasing legal restrictions on bad choices, but it does not follow that we should support every such restriction.
Alcohol Abuse Is Bad, But the Alcohol Law Is Not Wise
I am not naive about the harm alcohol abuse can cause on a college campus. For some people the temptation to abuse liquor is overwhelming. Once addicted, the alcoholic is in trouble and nobody who works with students takes that lightly. It always makes me sick to see the stupid decisions made under the influence and the years wasted by those who cannot control their drinking. For many, a life of abstinence from all alcohol is the best choice.
At eighteen, an American is an adult and the law is not the best way to prevent unwise drinking by adults. Too often it turns a pastoral problem into a legal one. There is little evidence that it does much to prevent the binge drinking all too common amongst young adults. There is some evidence that by forcing this choice underground, it creates a culture that encourages abuse.
It is illegal for all Americans to drink and drive and this will continue. It is illegal to serve drinks to minors and this should and will continue. Mothers should continue to be against drunk driving and minors drinking, but eighteen year old Americans are adults. If we have decided eighteen year old Americans are adults, then we should give them adult liberty.
As many have pointed out, at eighteen an American can die for his country and vote in an election, but is not deemed responsible enough to make his own decisions about the use of alcohol.
While young adults are apt to make bad choices with serious implications for the rest of us, such as driving under the influence, the best way to deal with this situation is not through police power. I see no evidence that there are any behavioral gains that could not be achieved through education. Driving drunk will remain illegal, but allowing college age drinking to come out from underground may actually help spot bad drivers in some cases.
This is unreasonable.
Parents, Students, and Universities Can Still Choose To Be Alcohol Free
Adults do not have a right to drink, but adults should be allowed to do so if they wish. Just because I think a choice should be legal does not mean a person should act on that choice!
I have a son who will turn eighteen in October. He is a fine young man and will vote this fall for the first time. What compelling interest keeps him from making his own choices about alcohol? Of course in some ways he is making them already and did so in the most obvious way in his choice of a school.
There will always be places, like my own university, that choose to be “dry” (alcohol free). The beauty of a free society is that such choices are possible. I enjoy working in a school where every university social event is not centered around alcohol. Thousands of students also appreciate having this choice and will continue to make it if the laws are changed. Such schools will continue to provide a dry option for parents and students who wish it.
Just because it becomes legal to drink, it does not mean private universities will have to change their policies. My son chose to attend a “dry” school and abide by the rules. The vast majority of our students like having an educational home that is alcohol free.
Evangelicals who wish should continue to support those options, but vote to treat our young adults as adults when it comes to choices about alcohol.
(I will have good friends who disagree with me on this issue and I will keep listening to their arguments. This is my view and necessarily that of my school or my co-workers.)


Tags: , , ,
  • Chase

    I’m in the 11th grade, and a lot of guys I know drink *because* it is illegal. Being illegal makes it cool.

  • Chase

    I’m in the 11th grade, and a lot of guys I know drink *because* it is illegal. Being illegal makes it cool.

  • Eric in Vermont

    I hear and understand the arguments for pushing the legal drinking age back to 18. However, one thing that I have not seen considered in these arguments is to me, the one thing that keeps me from supporting a change-
    The effect an 18 year old drinking age will have on HIGH SCHOOL age kids.
    Has anyone thought about this? I sure have. Let’s face it, a drinking age of 18 will now allow a much easier source of alcohol for younger, high school students. High school parties, dances, and graduation events will have much easier access to alcohol, with a change like this. Let me tell you, this will NOT be a good thing.
    Back in the dark ages, when I was in high school (the mid-70′s), the drinking age in my state was 18. I went on a school trip to Boston- a trip made up of select students from all four classes. We pulled into the hotel and right across the street was an all-night liquor store with a flashing neon light. As soon as the chaperones went off to bed, the seniors took the order list across the street. As a sophomore, I ordered a fifth of vodka to share with a friend, my first experience with hard liquor. Last thing I remember that night before passing out was standing up and drinking straight from the bottle…it went down so easy. Not a good thing for a 15 year old kid- wonder I didn’t die for alcohol poisoning.
    Now, as a parent of 4 children (two off in college, one in high scool and one in middle school), I was thankful that this ready source of alcohol was not available from seniors. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t around…it’s just THAT much harder to obtain.

  • http://www.sufficientscruples.com Kevin T. Keith

    Not to derail the thread, but a few brief observations:
    (1) Note that this has nothing to do with “big government”. The change you are advocating is, in terms of legal implementation, almost trivial – merely a change in the date on which young citizens become eligible to purchase alcohol. (In social dynamic terms – how much drunkeness or alcohol-related crime and accidents there are – it could turn out to be a very significant, but that is not a question of big government either.) I was close to the critical age when it was originally raised from 18 to 21, and nothing overt changed, except my friends and I were pretty peeved about it. Changing back merely requires replacing the signs in bars and liquor stores. Note also that the number of laws enacted and enforced by the government remains exactly the same as well – only a single number in one of those laws gets changed. You may argue that a lower age affects a larger number of people, but, given that the government has to take a stand on the issue at some cutoff point, those people are affected no matter what the government does – it merely affects them in different ways.
    (2) Anarchy is bad, but totalitarianism is worse. In almost every case, not so. Anarchy is a complete lack of any enforceable social structure, with no protection whatsoever for property or personal security. It is Hobbes’s “state of nature”, wherein “the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (Libertarian dreams of self-organizing societies have remained as elusive as socialist ones.) Totalitarian societies can be brutal, but they are invariably better than no society at all. There is typically at least some protection for property rights and usually vigorous enforcement of social order. And some totalitarianisms are better than others. Simple observation points out that in terms of education, nutrition, lifespan, and other measures of welfare, the citizens of Russia and China were far better off after their respective revolutions than before, even notwithstanding mass losses of life from economic mismanagement; the idea of either of those nations with no government or legal system whatsoever is horrifying.
    (3) Nothing moral should be illegal That’s also obviously wrong. There are many reasons why things that are not in themselves morally wrong should be regulated or prohibited. The tragedy of the commons is one of the easiest examples why: there is nothing immoral in grazing your sheep upon the commons (in fact, it’s your moral right to do that – that’s what a “commons” is), but if everyone does it, the commons will be destroyed; the only solution is to limit or prohibit everyone doing what it is not individually immoral to do. There are other examples: doing things that are not bad for you, but will be bad examples for others (like drinking in front of children); doing things that take your time away from more important obligations (going to college is more fun than being drafted into the military, but sometimes we impose the latter anyway); taking risks that would normally be within your rights to determine for yourself, but would be socially disruptive (that’s why we have speed limits). Keeping people from being jerks even when they want to is one function of “big government”.
    (4) In very grave situations, such as abortion which takes an innocent human life, we support increasing legal restrictions on bad choices, but it does not follow that we should support every such restriction. Somehow you managed to turn a question of drinking age into an abortion thread. Why am I not surprised? If you ever suggested restricting your own freedom, people might be less suspicious of the ways you seem to always manage to restrict that of certain, specific others. (Naturally, of course, gays getting married, straights possessing dildos in the state of Alabama, and the shape of Tinky Winky’s head are also “very grave situations” that scream out for evangelicals to criminalize other people’s lives because of their “bad choices”.) What you support is restrictions on the behaviors you’re so obsessed with that you can’t stay focused on anything else for more than a few minutes at a time, while congratulating yourself on open-mindedness in not restricting behaviors that, by your own description, aren’t relevant to you or your family.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Excellent argument, very right IMO.
    Back in the dark ages, when I was in high school (the mid-70′s), the drinking age in my state was 18. I went on a school trip to Boston- a trip made up of select students from all four classes.
    Yes but…..whatever the legal age is kids are going to experiment before it. That is unavoidable and not necessarily a bad thing. Part of the problem with the 21 age is it encourages kids to binge drink. If you’re 20 and got a case of beer you might as well drink it all because you can’t be caught with it. This sets up a bad notion that the purpose of drinking is to get really drunk.
    In more wiser times, young adults were introduced to drinking in social functions like dinners, weddings and other events. They might sometimes drink too much but social disapproval and supervision by older adults kept it from getting out of hand and established that the ‘cool’ thing is to drink in moderation and be on top of what your body can and can’t handle. Nowadays the ‘supervision’ is a frat party atomosphere whose goal is mass consumption holding off just enough to avoid alcohol poisening.
    The other big objection is driving but the best idea I heard around this would be between the ages of 18-21 the blood alcohol limit would be set to zero….no ‘two beers is ok’ or anything like that if you’re driving. Kids caught DUI would, in addition to a license suspension, get a special ID that would not be acceptable at bars or liquer stores. Drinking would then be legal but any driving would have serious consquences that would cost them their ability to both drive and legally buy beer.

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com Mike Thomsen

    Simple observation points out that in terms of education, nutrition, lifespan, and other measures of welfare, the citizens of Russia and China were far better off after their respective revolutions than before, even notwithstanding mass losses of life from economic mismanagement; the idea of either of those nations with no government or legal system whatsoever is horrifying.

    Tell that to the sixty million Chinese who died during the “Great Leap Forward” and Revolution, as well as the Soviets who suffered horrifically under Lenin and Stalin. About sixty some million dead in each country. By comparison, the empires that preceded them were positively heaven on Earth.

    That’s also obviously wrong. There are many reasons why things that are not in themselves morally wrong should be regulated or prohibited. The tragedy of the commons is one of the easiest examples why: there is nothing immoral in grazing your sheep upon the commons (in fact, it’s your moral right to do that – that’s what a “commons” is), but if everyone does it, the commons will be destroyed; the only solution is to limit or prohibit everyone doing what it is not individually immoral to do.

    There is a Christian argument for the overconsumption of the commons being immoral. It’s a violation of the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself; failure to take only your share and mind others’ claim to the commons is a moral failing. Are you not your brother’s keeper?

    There are other examples: doing things that are not bad for you, but will be bad examples for others (like drinking in front of children); doing things that take your time away from more important obligations (going to college is more fun than being drafted into the military, but sometimes we impose the latter anyway); taking risks that would normally be within your rights to determine for yourself, but would be socially disruptive (that’s why we have speed limits). Keeping people from being jerks even when they want to is one function of “big government”.

    1) Drinking in front of children is not a bad example. That’s a fact, not a matter of opinion. There mere act of responsibly consuming alcohol in moderation is not only not immoral, but can set a healthy example for children in a culture that treats excess as fun. To believe that drinking in front of kids is a bad example is to believe that Jesus enabled sin by turning water into wine.
    2) In the case of American law, there never was a legal basis to start a draft. The Constitution does not provide for federal authority for conscription, and thus disobeying a draft order is no violation of Romans 13.

  • ex-preacher

    I generally agree with your position. I’d like to see how you apply this to laws regulating marijuana.

  • Eric in Vermont

    As Christians, we attended a couple of churches where alcohol is totally taboo, a belief that is not supported by scripture. In fact, I think it is dangerous and can definitely lead to binge drinking.
    As Christian parents, we have never hidden are very moderate alcohol usage from our children- whether it’s a glass of wine with dinner or a cold beer on a hot afternoon. And we take the opportunity to talk about it openly.
    Quite interestly, we just got back from a 3 week family trip to Europe with our four children. A large part of it was in southern France and we enjoyed the local wine with every evening meal- okay and sometimes at lunch! We took advantage of this situation to have our children partake- even our 8th grader had a couple of small glasses. It seemed like it was the perfect supportive, learning environment for this, along with several discussions about alcohol, it’s use in the Bible, and moderation. I admit, I did have a couple of pangs of guilt and wondered if I was doing the right thing. I just had this feeling that it was a “healthy” thing to do for their development. Time will tell.
    However, I do stand by my feeling that reinstating the drinking age at 18 will really introduce problems at the high school level. I also coach cross country and track at the local school here in Vermont. I see the effects of alcohol abuse by young people first hand. I also hear their discussions in the locker room, on runs, and on the bus. Getting alcohol is quite the problem for them and undoubtly curtails many many parties. The easy access that having seniors in HS legally able to buy provides is just the wrong approach. If it was 19 instead of 18, that would totally alleviate my concerns.

  • John Mark Reynolds

    Good discussion and the kind that I hope keeps happening around here after I am long gone! Long term this is the kind of thing I like about the new media. I am still thinking about this issue and know I don’t have all the answers!
    If I don’t address every point, it is not do to a lack of respect, but of time.
    The best argument against lowering the drinking age is that it will (it seems to me) make enforcing good laws against minors drinking even harder.
    I don’t think there is any good solution to this problem . . . and if I were to change my mind would be the reason I would do so.
    Bottom line: the same argument could be used to forbid many things to young adults and so I am not comfortable with the “slippery slope” of government control on people’s lives it would be produce.
    To answer ex-preacher, with Bill Buckley I do not think our pot laws are worth their social cost. I have never done pot and am not tempted to do so. I have seen bad results in friends of doing so, but do not believe law, a blunt instrument, is the best way to help people avoid this addiction. This is an opinion I hold very tentatively given the consequences I have seen in people’s lives, but I want to be honest about my views at present.
    I have libertarian leanings, but am not a libertarian because I think there are some harder drugs so bad for people that keeping them from minors and from the weak has overwhelming social importance.
    Where do I draw the line? Politics is an art and not a science . . . we draw lines and then we see how it goes . . . redrawing them when we can.
    There was a long thread from Mr. Keith that seemed interesting . . . but I can only respond (at present) to two points:
    Lowering the drinking age may not reduce the number of laws (as a number), but will weaken the police power of the state. It will give the state one less way of intruding into my liberty. That will reduce the scope of government.
    If there was but one law (“All things are subject to the will of the Tsar.”), then in terms of raw number of laws we would have less law . . . but in fact have less liberty than at present with our many, many laws.
    I do still think moral acts must always be legal. His cases all seem to be either of things that are immoral in the situation (many bad things are goods done at the wrong time or the wrong way) or questionable. I don’t think grazing sheep qua grazing sheep should ever be illegal (if moral), but destroying the commons (in any way) should be.
    The problem (and the law) is not about sheep grazing, but destruction of the commons in a particular way.
    I am sorry if I was not clear.

  • ucfengr

    Simple observation points out that in terms of education, nutrition, lifespan, and other measures of welfare, the citizens of Russia and China were far better off after their respective revolutions than before,
    I don’t think “simple observation” points out anything of the sort. In fact I think the opposite is true. I would go even farther and say that both the Russian and Chinese Communist Revolutions were huge steps backward for their respective countries. Both Russia and China were liberalizing prior to their revolutions. Absent their revolutions they would likely have made real gains in education, nutrition, etc. and avoided the gulags, “Culture Revolutions”, secret police, etc. Observe North and South Korea, pre-unification East and West Germany, Communist China and Taiwan and then try and convince me that people where better off before the “Revolution”.

  • jd

    Kevin T Keith Jr.: “What did you do during the war, Daddy?”
    Kevin T. Keith Sr.: “I defended totalitarianism and a woman’s right to rip a piece of flesh out of her tummy.”
    Jr.: “I want to be just like you, Daddy.”
    Another liberal democrat well on his way to a life of politics.

  • smmtheory

    Eighteen year old adults should have the legal choice to drink in this culture.

    First, I think you should actually state the case for your belief that 18 year-olds are adults.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Kevin T Keith Jr: “Daddy, why is jd jr. so odd”
    Sr: “Well son, his father thought political disagreement was the same thing as war. So he built a bomb shelter and raised his son there for 18 years. Then the liberals lowered the drinking age to 18 and jd jr. wanted to come out for a beer”
    Jr: “Really dad?”
    Sr: “No, his dad’s just an ass”

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    First, I think you should actually state the case for your belief that 18 year-olds are adults.
    They are recognized by law as such. They are also able to serve int he armed forces, transact business, enter into contracts without regard to their parent’s consent. Historically adulthood has almost always been 18 or lower. Therefore please state the case for making adulthood any later than 18.

  • Nick

    IMO, the problem is not the drinking age. The problem is that too many kids get their first drink from their peers, not their parents. My parents taught me by giving me watered wine at special occasions when I was a child and allowing the occasional beer when I was older. It is now illegal for me to teach my son and daughter the same way.

  • ucfengr

    It looks like one of the changes Joe talked about was turning off the spam filter. How else to explain posts from “High Class Escort”, etc.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    You may be surprised. I recently learned that in NJ it is legal for an adult to give their kid (or another kid if his parent consents) a drink provided they are there to supervise the consumption & they don’t let the kid drink too much.
    There might be an ‘out’ in the law for more European style families where drinking wine or even beer at dinner is standard even for teens.
    Other than that you’re absolutely right. People have to learn how to drink and the best way to do that is the slow trial and error that happens with parents around or at social functions. the worse way is at a ‘chug party’ or going on a crazy binge to celebrate your 21st birthday.

  • Johnw

    I find myself in agreement with Mr. Reynolds. I wonder what he would say about applying this reasoning to the issue of homosexual marriage. Take a look at some of statements he made with “homosexual marriage” replacing ”drinking”. Tell me why the same logic would not apply.
    The social gains from banning homosexual adults marrying each other are not worth the cost to liberty. Nothing moral should be illegal, but not everything that is immoral should be criminal. Every time the state removes a choice from citizens, it risks making children of them. A republic depends on people who can make moral decisions for themselves. At eighteen an American homosexual can die for his country and vote in an election, but is not deemed responsible enough to make his own decisions about marriage.

  • smmtheory

    They are recognized by law as such. They are also able to serve int he armed forces, transact business, enter into contracts without regard to their parent’s consent. Historically adulthood has almost always been 18 or lower.

    Boonton, historically speaking, Muhammed married a 9 year old. I don’t think that makes a good case for considering 9 year-olds adults despite current Arab practices. As much as you like to bash traditional ideas, for you to go scampering behind the skirts of tradition here makes your argument sound lame. Make a case for why 18 year-olds should even be serving in the Armed Forces. Make a case for why 18 years of age should still be considered adulthood when 18 year-olds are obviously more and more immature as history rolls onward and life expectancy is expanding longer and longer. When life expectancy was roughly 45 years, it made more sense to have adulthood recognized at 15. Physiologically speaking, maturity is not completed until around 21 years of age.

  • ucfengr

    The social gains from banning homosexual adults marrying each other are not worth the cost to liberty. Nothing moral should be illegal, but not everything that is immoral should be criminal.
    You are confusing recognition with criminalization. No state criminalizes same-sex marriages; they just don’t recognize them. You would do better by arguing for the recognition for polygamous or incestuous marriages, which actually are against the law and do have criminal penalties attached in some cases. They also have the added benefit of having been actually practiced in many cultures, unlike same-sex marriages, which have no such pedigree.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    smmtheory
    Make a case for why 18 year-olds should even be serving in the Armed Forces. Make a case for why 18 years of age should still be considered adulthood when 18 year-olds are obviously more and more immature as history rolls onward and life expectancy is expanding longer and longer.
    Perhaps we should begin with the inconsistency. Why should adulthood begin at 18 for contracts, armed forces, criminal law etc. but not beer? Assuming there is no real argument for seperating out beer from all the other aspects of adulthood then make the law consistent. Then you can mount an argument for moving all of adulthood forward to 19, 20, 21 or whatever or backwards.
    Boonton, historically speaking, Muhammed married a 9 year old. I don’t think that makes a good case for considering 9 year-olds adults despite current Arab practices.
    And Juliet from Romeo fame was 12 or 13 if I am right. That doesn’t establish that adulthood should be 12 or 13 but it does support the contention that 18 is sufficient as a good age to set adulthood. (Notice I say support, not prove).
    Make a case for why 18 years of age should still be considered adulthood when 18 year-olds are obviously more and more immature as history rolls onward and life expectancy is expanding
    Lifespan has increased but I don’t think immaturity necessarily keeps pace with it. If we start being able to live until 500 years old I’m not going to buy a 75 yr old man should be considered a legal child. Even if longer life spans allow us the luxury of taking our time to grow up some aspects of growing up, I don’t think, can really be pushed out that much. Take criminal law, I’m not really going to buy that a 19 yr old pickpocket today is just like a 12 yr old pickpocket from 1900. Sure 1900′s 12 yr old probably had to grow up a lot faster back then due to shorter lifespans and harder conditions. This, though, is more of a gut feeling to me. I’m not aware of any data that can objectively prove or disprove a 19 yr old today is like a 15 yr old from 1950 and a 12 yr old from 1900…

  • jd

    Boonton, you copy my style, try to be funny, fail miserably and then, in frustration call me a name. You’re much better when you come up with original thoughts like how Bill Clinton was too honest. The humor thing? Not so much.

  • smmtheory

    Perhaps we should begin with the inconsistency.

    You want consistency? I say the legal age of adulthood should be raised to 21, meaning no enlistment, no alcohol, no vote, no marriage, no consenting until 21. The case I make for it is that physiological maturity takes until 21 in most cases. You have yet to make any case whatsoever for why adulthood should be conferred at 18 as opposed to 21.

  • pentamom

    While states such as NJ do exhibit some sanity in allowing drinking in the home under parental supervision, alas, some states are not so sane. In Pennsylvania, those of us who want to do so, have to decide whether it is a greater conscience issue to violate the civil law, or to fail to instruct our children properly in the use of God’s gifts. I suspect it’s a mixed bag across the country, with some states exhibiting sanity in this matter, others not.

  • The One

    I’m suprised nobody mentioned that states can make the drinking age whatever they want. Its the federal gov’t that did a power grab from the states via the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, decreasing a states revenue 10% (from fed transport funds) if they didn’t make the drinking age 21. One state sued I believe, but the judicial branch held up the farce.

  • Walt

    They should either raise the legal drinking age to 65 or reduce it to 12. Parents should have the legal right to start teaching their kids about alcohol at home. Goes for cigarettes, too.

  • http://www.scriptoriumdaily.com John Mark Reynolds

    One of the worst problems of the present policy is the attack on federalism with a “one size fits all” national age for drinking.

  • smmtheory

    One of the worst problems of the present policy is the attack on federalism with a “one size fits all” national age for drinking.

    I think you mean confederalism.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    jd
    Boonton, you copy my style, try to be funny, fail miserably and then, in frustration call me a name.
    1. Your style wasn’t that funny to begin with so copying it was not an attempt to be funny.
    2. You’re an ass,should anyone seriously disagree let them try to make the case to the contrary.
    smmtheory
    You want consistency? I say the legal age of adulthood should be raised to 21, meaning no enlistment, no alcohol, no vote, no marriage, no consenting until 21. The case I make for it is that physiological maturity takes until 21 in most cases.
    OK so you agree whatever the adult age is there’s no reason to have a different age for just alcohol. Why should physiological maturity be the deciding factor here? If a 19 year old car jacks someone does it really make a difference that he might still grow another quarter inch in height?

  • http://www.codemonkeyramblings.com Mike T

    You want consistency? I say the legal age of adulthood should be raised to 21, meaning no enlistment, no alcohol, no vote, no marriage, no consenting until 21. The case I make for it is that physiological maturity takes until 21 in most cases. You have yet to make any case whatsoever for why adulthood should be conferred at 18 as opposed to 21.

    And then you will have delayed maturity until 25.
    The fact of the matter is that physiological maturity is not entirely relevant here. Ironically, female physiology disproves your argument because the peak reproductive time for women is between their late teen years and early 20s.
    Societies have functioned quite well with the age of majority being between 15 and 18 for millennia. The recent phenomenon of the 21 year old who has barely any maturity is the result of society’s nearly non-existent expectations on young people. Why grow up when it’s just expected that you’ll be “young and stupid?”
    Life expectancy wasn’t the only reason why other societies expected kids to grow up faster. The other, equally important reason is that it is necessary to acclimate young people to adult life. Our approach is to treat them mostly like children, then suddenly declare them adults. No small wonder why we’re failing.

  • smmtheory

    Why should physiological maturity be the deciding factor here? If a 19 year old car jacks someone does it really make a difference that he might still grow another quarter inch in height?

    Are you also going to argue that the conference of adulthood should be lowered to 10 or 11 because children that young have been tried as adults for crimes?

    And then you will have delayed maturity until 25.
    The fact of the matter is that physiological maturity is not entirely relevant here. Ironically, female physiology disproves your argument because the peak reproductive time for women is between their late teen years and early 20s.

    Emotional maturity has already been delayed until 25 and even 30 by our society. That has nothing to do with physical maturity and you know it. Setting the age of consent (and by extension all other adulthood statuses) at the age of physical maturity removes the arbitrary aspect of all those rules.
    Oh, and the arbitrary opinions of some people that women are at their reproductive peak in their late teens doesn’t disprove my argument either. Women who wait until they are physiologically mature to have children are at reduced risk for cervical and breast cancers over women who have had children prior. Children of women who get pregnant when under the age of physiological maturity are at greater risk of birth defects than those of women who get pregnant after reaching physiological maturity. That indicates to me that reproductive peak begins at the age of physiological maturity rather than in their teens when the woman’s body is still trying to finish maturing from being a child in its own right.

  • smmtheory

    Why should physiological maturity be the deciding factor here? If a 19 year old car jacks someone does it really make a difference that he might still grow another quarter inch in height?

    Are you also going to argue that the conference of adulthood should be lowered to 10 or 11 because children that young have been tried as adults for crimes?

    And then you will have delayed maturity until 25.
    The fact of the matter is that physiological maturity is not entirely relevant here. Ironically, female physiology disproves your argument because the peak reproductive time for women is between their late teen years and early 20s.

    Emotional maturity has already been delayed until 25 and even 30 by our society. That has nothing to do with physical maturity and you know it. Setting the age of consent (and by extension all other adulthood statuses) at the age of physical maturity removes the arbitrary aspect of all those rules.
    Oh, and the arbitrary opinions of some people that women are at their reproductive peak in their late teens doesn’t disprove my argument either. Women who wait until they are physiologically mature to have children are at reduced risk for cervical and breast cancers over women who have had children prior. Children of women who get pregnant when under the age of physiological maturity are at greater risk of birth defects than those of women who get pregnant after reaching physiological maturity. That indicates to me that reproductive peak begins at the age of physiological maturity rather than in their teens when the woman’s body is still trying to finish maturing from being a child in its own right.

  • smmtheory

    Ack! Hit by the double post bug myself! Apologies to everyone.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Are you also going to argue that the conference of adulthood should be lowered to 10 or 11 because children that young have been tried as adults for crimes?
    19 yr olds are tried as adults as part of normal criminal law. A 10 yr old cannot be tried as an adult unless the prosecution can show good cause.
    Emotional maturity has already been delayed until 25 and even 30 by our society. That has nothing to do with physical maturity and you know it. Setting the age of consent (and by extension all other adulthood statuses) at the age of physical maturity removes the arbitrary aspect of all those rules.
    Some people are emotionally delayed unti 25 or later. They do so at their own cost and risk and families that accept this fund it on their own dime. Making everyone ride in that boat would be very unfair. Needless to say it would also encourage people to extend their emotional immaturity which I don’t think is a great idea. There are many people whose established themselves with careers, jobs, family and even property by 25. Besides even physical maturity differs for some people.
    Children of women who get pregnant when under the age of physiological maturity are at greater risk of birth defects than those of women who get pregnant after reaching physiological maturity
    I suspect your overestimating the risks of younger women giving birth (early 20′s late teens) and ignoring the risks for older women. You’re making a very tight window here for childbirth since it’s kind of a stretch to believe all women are going to immediately get pregnant as soon as your 25 point hits.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Also, this might sound like a contradiction with what I said about keeping things consistent but I don’t think it is. Why should drinking have such a high age? I don’t think the drinking age should be higher than the adulthood age but why not lower? We let kids drive before they become adults there’s nothing inherently unhealthy or wrong with 17 yr olds drinking in moderation let alone 24 yr olds.

  • smmtheory

    I challenged you to argue a good reason why the age of consent (adulthood) should be 18 and I haven’t seen much of any argument by you that cannot be paraphrased as “why not?” so I guess this discussion has pretty much run its course.

  • Brad Miller

    Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
    Proverbs 23:29-35 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
    Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.