General Question

Tobotron's avatar

Would you vote to lower the US drinking age?

Asked by Tobotron (1313points) May 24th, 2009

The USA has one of the highest legal drinking ages in the world and the highest in the West…most Europeans sample drinking at 14 and are legal public drinkers at 18…would you vote to bring the US in line with the rest of the Western countries if you were able?

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86 Answers

Tink's avatar

Yes but I’m not old enough to vote :(

SundayKittens's avatar

I was just thinking about this today…I decided it should be 18 but only if you’ve completed hs or your GED, otherwise 21. Incentive to stay in school AND less likely to buy booze for your classmates since you’ll be outta school.
But…knowing the 18 year olds I know…the idea of them legal to drink scares me.

augustlan's avatar

I’d vote for either of two things: Lower the drinking age to 18 or raise the age of legal adulthood to 21. I don’t see how it’s at all rational to allow 18 year olds to vote and die in a war, but not have a beer.

ragingloli's avatar

yes. i mean, it’s ridiculous. in the US you can drive with 16, vote with 18, but drinking only with 21?
It seems, they have less problems with you deciding over others than you deciding over your own body.

Syger's avatar

I’d say 16 or 14 even. Having it at 21 seems to create this sort of ‘forbidden fruit’ appeal to it for most. Similar to sex; but that’s a whooooole different discussion and argument, but it runs with the same general principle of if you tell someone not to do something they’ll just want to do it all the more. However I do think purchasing the actual alcohol should have a higher age req. so there would still be some sort of unjustified maturity involved.

YARNLADY's avatar

Lowering the drinking age to 18 would be one of the best birth control methods we know of, by killing off even more boys in the 18–21 age group than guns or war.

bright_eyes00's avatar

I firmly believe if you’re old enough to take a bullet for this country you should be old enough to drink in it.

basp's avatar

No.
I would consider raising the age of adulthood, if anything.

Tobotron's avatar

I looked a few things up and the constitutional age of adulthood was 21 which was since changed to 18…you can vote at 18, you can fight for your country at 18, you can drive before your 18, you can travel abroad alone before your 18, but you can’t drink a beer till your 21…its the the single law that has frozen in time…

LanceVance's avatar

Definitely for it. Completely irrational to have a 21 age limit.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

Ah what does it matter anyway? Teens will always find ways to drink.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would lower the drinking age, raise the driving age, and raise the cost of obtaining a driving license. That appears to be an effective measure in Europe to keep the number of teenaged drivers off the road.

Tobotron's avatar

@PandoraBoxx its the cost of insurance, I’m 23 and pay £400 a year on a Golf 2ltr diesel turbo, but if I wanted to insure even a 1ltr car at 18 I’ld be paying about £1200…with the price of drink also I can’t see 18yr olds being able to get that drunk…it takes several years for you to learn what your body can handle as far as alcohol is concerned, and to make the mistake of getting very ill lol…I think its best to learn this prior to 21 or like others have said, you’ll just go crazy when you can.

MrGV's avatar

Why would it matter? Even if the drinking age is 100 kids can still get their hands on alcohol easily. Well damn I started drinking when i was 13–14

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Tobotron, here, you pay $20, or £12 to get an actual driver’s license at age 16, and car insurance for at teen, depending on the type of car, is about £780 a year. When we have exchange students, they are amazed that you can get a license so cheaply.

Most of Europe, drunk kids walk or take public transportation…GB may be an exception; I’m thinking Denmark or Italy.

I do believe that kids who grow up drinking responsibly tend to drink less later on. The operative word is responsibly, not constantly.

Tobotron's avatar

@PandoraBoxx true I didn’t think about the layout of your towns etc. I remember when I was at University one of my best friends was an American exchange student and she was amazed people mostly walked everywhere…last year in the UK smoking was brought from 16–18 with 20 costing about £4/$6, its now illegal to smoke in public closed spaces eg Malls, bars, and clubs, its great! (its also frowned upon to drink in the street, something quite common in other parts of the EU).

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Tobotron, the price of cigarettes just moved to a point where it’s become prohibitive for lots. My daughter finally quit because a pack of what she smoked is now $8, or about £5, and her job pays about $5 an hour after taxes, or £3. Her check every two weeks is about $200, or £125, and buying a pack of cigarettes a day, $112, and three tanks of gas every two weeks (driving friends around because she has a car), $75, she was spending $187, or £118 of the £125 just on smoking and riding her friends around. She suddenly realized that was nuts.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I did more drinking under the age of 21 than I ever did legally. Now if they could just brew a beer that raised your IQ level rather than lower it, then we wouldn’t have to muck about with the drinking limit/age thing at all.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra, Reminds me of an old joke: “Does beer make you smart?” “Yes, it made Budweiser.”

Kayak8's avatar

My knee jerk reaction upon reading the question was “Hell NO” but there have been some compelling arguements about the cognitive dissonance created by certain permissions at 18 and holding off on alchohol purchases/consumption until 21.

I haven’t formulated a solution that works in my head, but am grateful for the question to be able to ponder the implications.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@PandoraBoxx I’ve heard that joke before. UGH! Budweiser is the worst excuse for a beer since they introduced Hamm’s. I occasionally buy Budweiser, but not to drink. I use it to kill slugs in my garden. I’d never drink anything slugs commit suicide in.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

For my high school graduation, we marched out of the ceremony to the Budweiser theme song. All of our floats for the homecoming parade our senior year were constructed out of empty Budweiser cans. For some reason, school did not have a problem with any of this… then again, their answer to smoking in the bathrooms between classes was to build a covered smoking area outside of school…don’t you love it when old people get nostalgic about the good old days?

Kayak8's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I am not drinking beer or anything else, but I just realized that I have been perceiving the jelly depicted on your avatar as being a flea rather than a jelly. hmmmm maybe life with dogs skews one’s vantage point

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Kayak8, I look at @evelyns_pet_zebra‘s avatar and see a truck?

Kayak8's avatar

@PandoraBoxx hmm, I am struggling with the truck thing, will continue to ponder

fedupwitcaddys's avatar

HELL NO!
if you realize, its mostly the younger group thats driving while intoxicated and killing people. its also the younger group that irresponcible when it comes to drinking and sex. just like when you go to a lounge or something, it sometimes is posted : age 25 and up ive even been to lounges where they posted 35 and up. im figuring bar owners just dont wanna put up with the drama that comes along with people not knowing how to act when they get liquor in their system. personally i think when some of the youth hit the age of 21 they are usually still not ready to be responcible when it comes to drinking. it actually should be RAISED!! TO @ least 25.

CMaz's avatar

No. Let me say that again. NO! If I had all the money I spent on Booze and drugs… I’d go out and buy booze and drugs. Just because we can do it, does not mean we should.
Now legalizing Marijuana, I am all for it. :-) See the ugly cycle we get ourselves into.
This might sound silly, and I am being… silly/serious.
Our kids are mid life crisising at 21. How to pay the cell phone bill, afford internet, mommy and daddy buying them a car and paying for the insurance. Now all of a sudden they have to take the load on themselves?
It was not like that in my day, at least for me. Except for buying a car and insurance, I had no other expenses. Paid for my own school too, what I could afford.
Great, and after doing all I could do for myself. What is a drink or two, or three? It will come in time, don’t rush it. Now we want to let this lazy, irresponsible generation. Get drunk sooner then they can already?
Too much in the equation already for them to handle. (Please, don’t take what I just said too personal. I am making a point) :-)
There are some wonderful, intelligent people going on to do great things in this world. DO NOT muck it up with a quick buzz. YOU WILL regret it.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think that when you are legally an adult, you should get to make adult choices and be held responsible for your choices as an adult. It always seemed odd to me that when I was 18 I could be drafted into military service, be given a gun and sent to far away lands where people would try to kill me but I couldn’t have a beer.

tinyfaery's avatar

Most people have been drunk long before the age of 21. Just like most laws, it doesn’t really matter because they are not followed anyway.

It’s those “good” kids, who never did one thing that mommy and daddy told them to do that end up becoming huge lushes when they go to college or get out of their parent’s house.

Our cultural taboos surrounding drinking are what make kids want to drink, to get drunk.

miasmom's avatar

I’m with @augustlan on this one, if we consider kids an adult at 18, then they should be able to drink at 18.

justwannaknow's avatar

Hell no, and raise the driving age to 18!

westy81585's avatar

What I believe needs to be done is to lower it, and stop treating it like it’s taboo.

Nothing is wrong with drinking alcohol, the only reason we have problems is because rather than teach our youth to drink responsibly, we just say “don’t drink, you’re too young.”

News for you, if underage kids want to drink, they’re going to drink.

We’re WASTING tons of money trying to enforce these out of date underage drinking laws (at an age level we share with like, 2 muslim countries). Here at OSU they spent like 5 million on a program to catch under age drinkers on game days last year. They got an avg of 50 or so a Saturday, arrested them, took them downtown, fined them like 400 dollars, and then let them go. You don’t have to do the math to see that that program isn’t even breaking even (not even close).... And I can bet you 90%+ of those under age drinkers drank again THAT NIGHT.

If we spent even HALF that much money in teaching our youth to just drink responsibly (like they do in europe), we wouldn’t have nearly as much trouble as we do now. We just need to teach our kids “hey, if you’re going to drink, don’t get so shitty that we need to worry about taking you to the hospital, don’t vandalize things (it’s not cool, it just makes you an ass), and for the love of god don’t get behind the wheel of a car.

Instead we’ve taken the usual US parents response, I don’t wanna deal with something controversial with my children, so lets just have the government tell them what to do.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Kayak8 My avatar is a picture of my 1991 Toyota 4×4 taken last winter. Any resemblance to a flea is purely coincidental.

westy81585's avatar

Telling kids they can’t/shouldn’t drink til 21 cuz they’re not mature enough is the same as telling them they should just be abstinent, and not teaching them about using condoms or contraception….. It’s ignorant to the fact that kids are going to do it anyways, and removes the relative safety that condoms and contraception would provide because it’s “taboo.”

CMaz's avatar

It is not an issue of maturity. It is an issue of responsibility. It is 21, good. They start to drink at 16. Lower it to 16 they will drink at 10. Let’s get rid of the drinking law. Now you will have parents letting their kids just drink. “here junior, have a beer.”
I have a friend, parents put a bar in the basement, knowing they/us would be drinking any way. I was drinking and smoking pot by the time I was 16. They figured might as well keep them safe and close to home. All three sons are now drunks. Sorry, I meant two. The third died of alcoholism. I am not saying don’t drink. Just don’t be in a rush. You will be 50 before you know it.
When I think of the drinking age laws. I think of how things were 150 years ago. There were no drinking laws. But mommy and daddy knew that their children drinking would prevent the crops from being planted and harvested. This put the family at risk of starvation. People worked very hard and long back then to put food on the table. Nothing a good visit to the wood shed could not correct. Today it is too easy to “slide by”. Today ignorance is bliss, there was a time ignorance got you killed.
The argument (I know where you are coming from, was there myself), is plain and simple. You want to drink. You want to get drunk. Shit, it can be fun! Focus on school and getting a job. Go to the beach, ski, explore. You will have so much time in your life to explore the bottle.

LanceVance's avatar

Just where exactly do your presumption origin that if you lower the legal drinking age, the actual drinking age will also decrease? There’s no correlation.

Parents will still give their children the booze when they’re 15, 16 not 10 (as you said) and that is one of the best ways to teach a child of responsibility concerning alcohol. Sooner or later, a child will face with alcohol but if taught correctly, this child will realize that alcohol is not a big deal and will eventually forget about all the hype around it. Trust me, I know from my experience.

Your example, with parents putting the bar in the basement and not controling what the hell is going on with the booze is another extreme. Parents should give their child the alcohol, tell them when it’s enough and take it away if words are not enough. That’s a part of parenting. To know when to stop. What you described was just a part of the laizzes-faire parenting, popular some 10 or 20 years ago which turned out to be anything but good.

Where exactly does this lead me to? That the legal drinking age has less ups than downs. But it needs to exist. Why? Because of the small percantage of parents who are reluctant to teach their children the responsibility of dealing with alcohol. But for the sake of the argument, find a more proper age, say 18.

CMaz's avatar

“where exactly do your presumption origin that if you lower the legal drinking age, the actual drinking age will also decrease?”
From countries were drinking is laxed and “children drink”.
“Parents should give their child the alcohol”
Do you work for Anheuser Bush?
“the legal drinking age has less ups than downs. But it needs to exist. Why? Because of the small percentage of parents who are reluctant to teach their children the responsibility of dealing with alcohol.”
I agree with the irresponsible parents thing, but I know more responsible parents that have children that ended up in bad situation due to alcohol.
Don’t blame it on the laissez-faire parenting of our past. DWI and drug abuse is down because of the stricter way we are handling it. Or it would have never been an issue.

This old debate on weather to lower the drinking age has nothing to do with it. Otherwise make it legal to make alcohol, just cant sell it. Woah!! Too much money to be made. And that is the bottom line. It is slight of hand. While we debate the subject, the rich get richer.
The American indian was a mature and responsible race. They had a right to alcohol too.
And, we gave them all they wanted. Where did that get them?

justwannaknow's avatar

lower it. Let them drink. Let them drive. Let them drink and drive, we can fill up more cemetaries.

westy81585's avatar

@ChazMaz You know the drinking age across Europe is like 11–16 right? I have friends from Germany that could legally drink from the age of 11, and they were shocked at how irresponsibly most of our American youth is with drinking. The reason they were shocked? Because their parents had taught them from a young age to drink responsibly, and as a result, they drank responsibly.

Stop wasting our time money and efforts in telling them it’s wrong with no supporting arguments…. and start telling them if you’re going to drink, don’t be a dumb ass about it.

Goes back to the abstinence argument to me… It’s idiotic to think that just by telling them abstinence is the only method that works, they’ll NOT have sex…. teach them to be responsible and use condoms (drink responsibly for our purpose), and I think you’ll find that pregnancies go WAY down.

justwannaknow's avatar

Some people are dreamers.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I would vote to lower it to 18, yes. As so many others have pointed out, if you’re allowed to sacrifice your life for the entire country by 18, you should be allowed to have some damn beer.

CMaz's avatar

I have friends in Germany too. My drunken friends were from Germany, good hard working Germans. If we had the mass transit system they have, and got around just fine on a bike. The situation would probably be easier to swallow. Children should be taught economics, starting in grade school, not sex education.
We have been procreating quite well since man and women started doing the nasty. Mabe less sex on TV or better yet less TV would be a better thing. Now that our youth do not see oral sex as sex.
If our youth, as it was in the past, had a better understanding of what their future held for them, instead of getting high, and playing video games. They might find a better reason to excel then finding the next booty call or buzz.
This is all good stuff! :-)
And no matter what we do, there will be abuse where situations can be taken advantage of. Can’t know good without bad.
:-)

CMaz's avatar

And, as far as putting your life on the line at 18 so you should be allowed to drink?
War is a last resort, a line in the sand. We do not want to go to war, we do not want to see our family and friends get killed. But since we have to then throw it all to the wind?
Why not add rape, and theft to the list. Hey going to die, let me do what I want before I do.
War is destructive enough, physically and emotionally. Alcohol is not going to make the experience any better. I will say it again, you will be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel before you know it. Don’t be in such a hurry.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i second @augustlan word for word.

westy81585's avatar

Right, well it appears as though the overwhelming majority of the posters on here would drop the age to 18…. 12–5 by my count….. Now if only we could get a bill put on the ballot (though there has been talk of this recently, something like 100 University Presidents sent a letter to congress or something saying they want it lowered).

dalepetrie's avatar

I don’t think it should be based on age at all, but maturity level. Not sure how you could create a test for people’s ineherent sense of responsibility so that you would know they were going to call fo a ride or take a cab rather than drive home drunk, but that’s the standard I’d use (and by the way, there are plenty of peopl in their 60s who wouldn’t pass such an exam).

CMaz's avatar

Overwhelming majority? This is not a vote but a collective of opinions. :-) If I was under the age of 18 or 18 or had friends that were in that age range. I would be right next to you. I want to drink! Been there done that. Funny thing about age, you get wiser.

Let me ask you this. If the age went to 18 from 21. Would there be more drinkers or the same amount? I would say more, that equates to more bad alcohol related bad things.

YARNLADY's avatar

What I can’t get over among my fellow jellies is the number of people who openly admit to being scofflaws. It’s horrendous to me.

tinyfaery's avatar

Proud scofflaw here!

CMaz's avatar

scofflaws? We are human and the world is not perfect. Our anonymity here, allows us to be honest. It’s not horrendous. Its human.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ChazMaz No, ignoring the law is the definition of scofflaw. There is nothing about being “human” that causes anyone to break the law. Let me assure you I am human, as is the rest of my family, and we believe in following the law. The only exception does not go around bragging about it.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@ChazMaz You can die for your country, you can vote for the president and you are fully responsible for your life at18, in America. If you’re assumed to be responsible enough to vote for a president and on innumerable laws and issues, you should not be thought of as so irresponsible that you can’t enjoy a drink every now and then.

By what you’re saying, do you believe that people should not be considered adults at 18? Should they not be able to vote to elect a President? Should they not be allowed to vote in general if at 18 they’re apparently so irresponsible they can’t moderate drinking?

The more people are given responsibility, the more responsible they are likely to act. Maybe if more adults treated 18-year-olds as adults, more 18-year-olds were act like adults.

augustlan's avatar

@ChazMaz Just for the record, I’m 41 years old and have three children.

Tobotron's avatar

I’ve read every post on here and I can see the tussle, as an outsider to the US I see the biggest Christian country in the world, and one that largely believes in it, in the US an atheist could never get elected, the complete opposite is true where I live the UK…its got to have a play on why the US does like to wrap up these taboo subjects such as drinking and sex, its just not what Jesus would have wanted is it ;)
@YARNLADY laws get flouted all the time, its fine, except when its the government lol humans are not perfect law abiding beings if we abided by law flawlessly we would have progressed very little as a society, infact your nation is built upon the flouting of stupid laws imposed by the European Powers…of course I’m just making a point that there’s nothing wrong with drinking underage in the US…comments about young drinkers becoming alcoholics ridiculous, France, kids age 10 have watered down wine with their dinner, there one of the healthiest nations in the world!

@ChazMaz your contempt for the younger generation being lazy and do nothing is massivly offending…you know the generation before you might have said the same, even a famous Greek philosopher spoke of the generation below him in such a manner. The generation before me has given the Cold War, a big big recession, numerous illegal wars, just to name a few wrong doings…actions speak louder than words and you cannot comment on a generation still to take the reigns.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Tobotron Good point about protesting laws that are wrong, I’m against people deciding which laws the won’t follow on a case by case basis. Either you are a lawabiding citizen, or you’re not. Those who aren’t belong in jail.

I am in favor of lowering the drinking age because the effect will kill off a large number of them right away. I am worried about the innocent people they will take with them, though.

Tobotron's avatar

@YARNLADY I can’t see it killing a large proportion of people, anyone without the sense to drink responsibility is probably getting themselves in these situations already. Here in the UK they changed the law a year back to allow 24hr serving of alcohol, previously old law stopped sales after 10pm…nothing changed.

@ChazMaz you comment of the American Indians and their drinking wound me up a little. Europeans have always given the native population alcohol as a means to control them, the British did the same with the Australian native population…those of European decent have a natural tolerance to alcohol because water was dirty in ye old Europe so we would have drank cider etc…natives get drunk on a cap full because they have NO tolerance what so ever. So I don’t think that’s a fair comment.

YARNLADY's avatar

Actuarial statistics already show the youngest age group has the worst record for drunk driving deaths, so to add three more years to that would definitely add at least that propotional number of deaths.

TheTips2's avatar

Yes, just for the fact that I’m 16 and when or if it did ever pass I would be turing 18 around the time

justwannaknow's avatar

A number of you keep running the same line through the mill, “the sense to drink responsibility” Unfortunately there are to many that WILL NOT. I worked on a volunteer ambulance and a full 3/4 of alchol related accidents were UNDREAGE drinkers 17 to 21. Thats responsible drinking?

westy81585's avatar

@YARNLADY The cure for those drunk driving deaths isn’t just telling them they can’t drink… obviously that’s not working….. What we need to do is educate them to drink responsibly, and not get behind the wheel of a car when they’ve been drinking.

westy81585's avatar

@justwannaknow You wanna tell me there are too many who won’t drink responsibly, why not go look at the European model, where there drunk driving ratio is less than half of ours, and the drinking age is as low as 11.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, I know what scofflaw means. But the reality is people bend the rules. This is life. Glad you live a perfect life. I really do. But it is not how the world spins. ;-)

TheTips2's avatar

The drinking age should be 18. Why are we so different from other countries? If people want to drink when they drive its their own fault, and why should everyone else get punished when people are going to say everyone everyone under 21 be called “not responsible” when people over 21 get into car accidents due to drinking?

justwannaknow's avatar

You have your opinions and I have mine. I just hope it is not one of may family of friends that get in the way of your “responsible drinkers” when they kill themselves. And I pray for your sake it is not one of family members that gets killed. It is a terrible tragedy. I have already gone through it when a 19 year old drunk blew a stop sign and killed my son!

CMaz's avatar

I think voting is a good thing. But, I believe it should be left to tax payers. Example: Not mommy or daddy’s money you get to buy a pair of shoes, but the money you work and get from a “Real” job. I say you pay taxes you can vote. Having a drink now and then is not a responsibility, it is an act of maturity. Besides, I already answered that question. I vote with other peoples votes to come to a conclusion. I drink because I can put the bottle to my mouth. No one helpes me decide. That is a mature decision. The General tells me where to go. The bottle just calls my name to the table. And THAT line needs to be drawn at age. If you could choose, would you send your 18 year old to war? No you would not. But it has to be done. Like I said before, so that means, let them do what they want? Only reason we do not send older people to the front lines is because, well, we are older. And, we will question what we are told. The younger will just… CHARGE!

CMaz's avatar

My contempt for the younger generation? My fault, I am a realist. Let me quote what I wrote earlier. “There are some wonderful, intelligent people going on to do great things in this world. DO NOT muck it up with a quick buzz. YOU WILL regret it.”

Are we going to have a fluffy, life is a bowl of cherries discussion here? I say we tell it for how it is. I have a wrench in my toolbox. It is made in China. It is a nice wrench, does a great job. Do you want to avoid talking about how it was made? And, the people that made it. It is part of the equation.

And, as long as history is the story of mans actions. I will comment about our future generation. I want them to be fruitful. If anything I say sticks to the wall the better of it. It will be a sad world when are are kept silent.

TheTips2's avatar

Well until i do kill someone while im drinking and driving i will regret it. By why punish me when other people made mistakes? And are you saying intelligent people dont drink and drive or they dont kill someone while their drinking and driving? We just dont here about it, what we hear is oh some dumb drunk killed someone while they were drinking and driving?

CMaz's avatar

I do luv this post. :-) France is 15 United States is 11 on the healthiest list. And I am 45.
One more thing… You are all ok with me. It is a pleasure to debate in such a manor.
Very cool to hear what you all have to say.

YARNLADY's avatar

@TheTips2 Try using actual statistics rather than “It hasn’t happened to me”. I truly doubt any person actually gets behind the wheel drunk and thinks “I hope I kill someone tonight”. No, they all think “I’m only a little buzzed, and I’ve driven like this safely before.”

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I’ve often felt if Americans can go into the military and pledge their lives at 18yrs then they should be able to drink but I do worry about what statistics are for alcohol related deaths for both sexes with legal drinking ages under 21. How I want to vote and how I want people to act given responsibilities bends to whatever saves lives.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence: If no one drank, then a whole lot less people would die—maybe we should outlaw alcohol altogether? Oh wait, been there, done that, failed miserably.

phoenyx's avatar

My initial reaction would be to make the age consistent, but I wonder about the effect of alcohol on the developing, teenage brain and teenage alcoholism. I doesn’t seem like delaying alcohol consumption until after the teenage years is that bad.

I don’t really know, though. Good question. Time for me to do some research.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I am a mixed mind on this topic.

I think if you are old enough to fight for your country at age 18 then you should be old enough to drink.

BUT I don’t think that most people, whatever age, handle alcohol irresponsibly so lowering the drinking age makes me first think “absolutely not”.

I also think that @phoenyx has a great point and in that case it should be raised to age 25 because our brain actively develops until about that age (in the latter years it is the “reasoning” abilities that develop, yikes if your drinking and don’t have those).

So probably not helpful but like I said, a mixed mind.

phoenyx's avatar

Upon reflection, I don’t buy the common argument in this thread for lowering the drinking age. That is, the argument that because the allowed age for X is 18, the allowed age for Y should also be 18. If the behaviors or the results were similar for X and Y, the age should be the same. However, I don’t think voting, serving in the military, and drinking are the same. For instance, I think that drinking irresponsibly has vastly different consequences than voting irresponsibly.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@phoenyx: What about the consequences of using a military rifle irresponsibly? You think those are not as severe as drinking?

phoenyx's avatar

That’s exactly what I’m saying.~

The argument that because you are allowed to do something at a certain age, you should, therefore, be allowed to do some other thing at that age is insufficient unless you can demonstrate that the two activities are equivalent somehow. I’m saying that I don’t think that voting, military service, and consuming alcohol are equivalent, and, therefore, the argument is insufficient. That’s why I gave an example of how I didn’t think they were equivalent.

(Furthermore, even if they are equivalent, both activities could be inappropriate at that age. You would have to show that one of the activities is age appropriate.)

Here are some arguments I could make if I don’t have to establish some kind of equivalence:

If you are old enough to watch an R-Rated movie without bringing adult with you, you are old enough to run for president of the United States.

If you are old enough get pregnant, you are old enough to drive a car.

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, if you are trained to be a killer, I would say you should be able to get shit-faced so you don’t feel like a total wanker for being a murderer.

YARNLADY's avatar

It is interesting to note that in the military, the drinking age depends on the location of the base. My son was billeted with other 18 year olds because of this.

woodcutter's avatar

No, never. It’s real nice that they can vote and drive and join the military and be parents even. These are all things they can be in control of. At 18 they cannot control what booze does to them. Or….. it’s not the drunk teen that kills you it’s the plastic and steel of their car that really does it. :/

YARNLADY's avatar

@woodcutter You have brought up a very important point, that more under 21 are killed in automobile collisions than any other way.

augustlan's avatar

Then perhaps we should be talking about increasing the driving age.

YARNLADY's avatar

The insurance companies would complain because the are able to charge obscene prices for the most accident prone segment of the population, just like they are orchestrating those huge, nasty demonstrations against national health coverage.

woodcutter's avatar

@YARNLADY Alcohol is just one of many reasons that teens get into trouble behind the wheel. They’re prone to doing stupid things while driving sober. So it’s only (sort of fair) they pay more for coverage. Or, I haven’t had any tickets for 20 years so why shouldn’t i get a break. I drive on the same road they do.

ItsAHabit's avatar

The National Youth Rights Organization opposes the minimum legal drinking age of 21 in the United States. http://www.youthrights.org/drinkingage.php

Pandora's avatar

Speaking as someone who has been around young military men and women for a good portion of their lives, I don’t think the drinking age should be lowered. Trust me when I say a good deal drink already under the age of 21. Only difference is that since they know they can get in trouble they tend not to overdrink. Especially since it would mean getting themselves in trouble and those who provided the liquor.
Now there are also so many college kids who drink as well and not all of them are 21. First time away from home in both cases and they tend to follow the crowd they are with and will drink whether they want to or not because of peer pressure.
Now make it legal and watch the numbers jump twice as fast.
If I could increase the age for joining the military, or the age for voting or having children than I would but thats not possible.
For now the 21 age limit is the only way of protecting young people at a time when they are still easily swayed by their peers.
And yes, I do realize there are very responsible young people under the age of 21 but there is no test designed that can tell you which ones they are.

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