The Drinking Age

by Sal on February 22, 2009

in Anything Else,Politics

A bill has been introduced into the Minnesota State Legislature to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18, as well as to allow children above age 16 to be served in restaurants and bars when accompanied by their parents.  The reasoning for the bill is due to the economic hard times to provide a boost to local liquor stores, bars, and restaurants.  I agree with Ed Morrissey’s take on the dubious economic impact, and don’t necessarily agree with the 16+ provision, but must take issue with his feelings on the drinking age.  I have always been an opponent of a two-tiered system for determining adult-status under the law.  My logic has always been that as an 18-year old:

  • You can enter into a legal contract
  • You can get married
  • You can vote
  • If arrested for any crime, you are tried as an adult (sidenote:  Ed Morrissey’s take that it is somewhat ironic that someone can be arrested as an adult for illegally purchasing alcohol as a minor.  It is somewhat problematic where the penalties and criminal procedures for an 18 year old purchasing alcohol are stricter than for those of a 16-year old)
  • You can buy and own a gun
  • You can fight in the military and die for your country

Yet, with all of the above, you cannot have a beer.  The arguments against 18+ drinking have always focused on other illegal behavior (increases in drunk driving, 18 year-olds will buy for 16 year-olds, etc.).  I say that the best approach would be to lower the drinking age, and punish the illegal activity more strongly.  Make harsher penalties for buying alcohol for a 16 or 17 year old, enforce it heavily, and make stricter penalties for drinking and driving.  The alcohol laws don’t make any sense, and Minnesota would be right to lower it’s drinking age to 18.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN RET February 22, 2009 at 9:41 pm

Upon graduation from boot camp at RTC San Diego in December of 1973 a bunch of us went to Anthony’s Fish Grotto on beautiful Harbor Drive. The waitress was married to a CPO. “If you want a drink, break out your ID.” And we were in uniform. Agreed we were fresh faced 18 to 20 year olds and didn’t look old enough to do anything. I myself was getting carded in my dress blues when I was 28. Not a problem with that.
But the key is the two tiered system. Basically, if you are old enough to put on the uniform of The Republic, then, by God, you are old enough to get a beer. I was about a year out of high school when the State of Montana lowered the age to 18. It didn’tcause us any major problems. The majority of us who became instantly legal were smart enough to realize it was it ws something we didin’t want to screw up. As for the economic ramifications, we had two reservations close by. Every seen a convenience/grocery/package store on treaty check day?
So, if Minnesota does this, life will go on pretty much as usual.


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