“The age-21 rule sets the U.S. apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids toward pills and other antisocial behavior” – Camille Paglia (http://time.com/72546/drinking-age-alcohol-repeal/)
I came across what I thought was a really interesting article a while back. I put it to the side so I could write about it; it’s titled “It’s Time to Let Teenagers Drink Again” by Camille Paglia of Time Magazine, published on May 19th, 2014. I found the exact text of the article online but with a different title and pretext. Titled “The Drinking Age Is Past It’s Prime”, the first sentence on both the online and paper article states “The age-21 rule sets the US apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids towards pills and other antisocial behavior”. Now I may be a bit biased being a 22 year old who grew up with this law…. I moved from a northern American culture to a southern American culture for my college career which definitely had it’s differences, and I’ve studied abroad in a culture whose drinking norms are quite different from ours, to say the least. My parents always let us kids have sips of beer or wine and taught us to appreciate and to safely enjoy alcohol. But I think my opinion not only matters but is especially important, because it involves my generation, my friends, my family, and my country.
FACT: The legal age for purchasing beer and wine in Germany and Belgium is 16 years old (liquor is 18). The legal drinking age in China, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom is 18 years old. In Canada depending on which province you are in, the legal drinking age is either 18 or 19. In Japan, the legal drinking age is 20 and in Korea it is 19 years old.
FACT: About 70% of US teenagers have tried at least one drink by the time they turned 18 years old.
But back to the article at hand. The author clearly states her viewpoints as a fellow libertarian and has the proof to back up her proclamations. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 was introduced, raising the legal drinking age in America from 18 to 21 years of age, thanks to the well-intended efforts of the group MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). The author claims that the effects of this law being put into action “deprive young people of safe spaces where they could happily drink cheap beer, socialize, chat and flirt in a free but controlled public environment”. I couldn’t agree more with this statement!! I’m curious as to what those against lowering the drinking age use in defense of their viewpoint, as I do not share the same feelings.
“Alcohol’s enhancement of direct face-to-face dialogue is precisely what is needed by today’s technologically agile generation, magically interconnected yet strangely isolated by social media.” – Paglia
Paglia makes the remark that the 1984 law itself “is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed”. It is pretty absurd how an 18 year old American citizen can give their life for our country, marry, vote, take out a loan, etc. yet they can’t even have a beer with dinner when out at a restaurant with family and friends. And even as the number of drunk driving incidents lowers as the years go on, let it be clear that it is NOT (in my opinion) due to this law. It is most likely due to stricter drunk driving punishments as well as a higher awareness in seat-belt safety. I am very curious as to what people’s opinions are regarding this matter. It’s something that I feel strongly about but I try to keep an open mind as new information is always created and discussed.
And to end this post with the Latin words, in vino veritas (in wine, truth). ❤
For more information on Professor Camille Paglia:
Another blogger’s perspective on the article that I found interesting: