Should the U.S. Drinking Age be Lowered?

Should the drinking age be lowered in the United States?

This question alone has the power to stir up a lot of upset. Once some people get set on things being a certain way, they really hang on to it.

The thought of an 18 year old walking into a liquor store and legally buying alcohol is frightening for many people.

They are certain that the result of individuals, between the ages of 18-20, purchasing alcohol will surely lead to chaos, destruction and pandemonium.

And you know what? They’re probably right. There probably will be some wildness happening with 18, 19, and 20 year old individuals cutting loose and drinking some brews.

Interestingly (or not so interestingly) this is also a likelihood of 21 year old individuals. The only difference is one group is legally allowed to purchase alcohol, and the other group isn’t.

It doesn’t stop there either, oh no. Have you ever been to a club with 22 and 23 year olds drinking? Oh boy, don’t get me started.

What about 25, 30, and 35 year old people? Put a bunch of people in their 20’s and 30’s together in one building with a limitless supply of alcohol and the only real difference of outcomes will be that the 37 year old guy might wake up feeling like he’s been crawling through a desert for 7 days with no water, whereas the 21 year old will probably be at the club again the next day.

The point is, there isn’t some magic number where people will start to behave themselves if they’d had too much to drink. There are statistics to support that the propensity for drunk driving accidents increases with younger people (there are other contributing factors like inexperience behind the wheel etc.), but insofar as general behavior under the influence, things don’t change much after you turn 21.

I was sitting in a bar once playing keno with my brother and my girlfriend and I had to break up a fight between two 60 year old dudes. Yep, 60 years old, still rolling around on the ground punching each other in the face like high school kids.

Maybe the drinking age should be 90? I can’t imagine 90 year old people causing trouble while they were drinking, but I’m sure they’d find a way too.

This correlation between immoral or criminal behavior and alcohol has been the catalyst for the temperance movement since its inception in 1833.

If we’re to remove the freedom to drink alcohol (again) because of the possibility that there be immoral, dangerous or criminal behavior, then why not ban guns? Fatty foods? Sports?

It isn’t a good argument, especially in a nation that prides itself on preserving the individual liberty of its citizens.

The reality is that the federal government coerced states to raise their drinking age to 21 with the threat of losing highway funding.

Who was behind it all? The insurance companies, of course.

Don’t believe me? Ask the ‘Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘, which is a non-profit organization founded in 1959 and funded chiefly by auto-insurance companies.

The IIHS routinely urges government to keep the drinking ages at 21 (I’m sure they’d make it higher if they could).

Data from the IIHS is likely accurate, but does that mean an 18 year old American citizen should lose their right to purchase an intoxicating beverage because of statistics?

Just because there are 18 year old individuals who drive drunk and crash their cars and cost the insurance companies money, does that mean that all 18 year old individuals should be prohibited, with pane of fines and jail time, to drink alcohol?

It’s flimsy logic, and a form of age discrimination if you ask me.

What say you?




One thought on “Should the U.S. Drinking Age be Lowered?

  1. Yeah, I’m in the “common sense” category. If 17 is old enough to go active duty in the military, it’s old enough to drink. And, in my aging case, it was with a military ID. Frankly, insofar as minimum ages to things go, I think they should all be the same: the age at which you can be tasked with killing and dying for our country.


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