Why is the legal age to drink 21 in the majority of USA?
When the legal age to join the military is 18, the legal age to consent to sex is 16, the legal age to buy pornography and lottery is 18, and the legal age to be held responsible for a signed contract (credit card/house purchase) is 18.
Because that is the way it is. Here in the UK, the control freaks tell us we can vote at 18, drive a motorbike at 16, a car at 17, the age of consent is 16, ad infinitum. It is probably rooted in all these limitations being formalised at different times and by different people with different ideas.
I think it's obvious that people aren't waiting until 21 to drink. To be honest, I didn't go out on my 21st birthday because I had already been in enough bars for a few years leading up to it. This has been an interesting question that I have heard and debated for years now. I hear all of the time that in countries that do not have a legal drinking age, alcohol is less likely to be abused. We view alcohol as a bad, mind-altering thing rather than a beverage so I think we are creating confusing perceptions. I have also heard a lot of people complain that they can give their life to fight for our country but can't enjoy a beer, legally, when they're home on leave. Are we accomplishing anything with this law? My parents were legally drinking here at 18. Why did we change the law? Did statistics improve?
What we don't have are immature 18 year olds buying beer for their friends or any one willing to pay money or favors who are under 18. Imagine your teenager going to a party where a fellow student is providing alcohol with no parental supervision.
Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate underage drinking, it is a shame how many young lives are lost directly or indirectly through alcohol. I'm just posing questions to better understand. Is it helping or is it hurting? There are differnt theories.
@flacoinohio, it's naive to believe that high school students don't have access to alcohol (or illegal drugs). Altho I agree that part of the intent of the restriction is to keep it away from these younger students.
The intent is to allow people to mature more. Alcohol is a legal mind altering substance. If we allowed people to drink legally with out having the opportunity to practice being responsible adults, we run the risk of young adults ruining their lives before they have a chance to reach the current legal consumption age. As far as the military, I would rather have an alcohol free military many service members drink to excess on a regular basis to the point where once they leave the military, they would not be able to function a non-military society.
It's no secret that alcohol can interfere with appropriate decision making and it also contributes to violence and fatal car accidents. But do you think the law prevents or stops people under 21 from drinking?
Unfortunately it does not, but imagine how much higher the numbers of deaths, injuries, and young alcoholics would be if young adults were to be able to have access to alcohol at the age of 18.
I hate what alcohol does to young people but they do have access to it, almost anytime anywhere and it is not "regulated" because it is not legal. It is hard to keep an eye on the problem when it is done behind backs.
The special interest group M.A.D.D. had a huge influence on President Reagan to sign this law into affect in 1984. Before, the legal drinking age was 18. Myself, I am torn on this subject. On one hand, why can't a soldier who is willing to die for their country have a beer. On the other hand, how many innocent lives are taken by drunk drivers each year of ALL ages. Saying that, I'm still on the fence on this one.
Though I was never a part of either program, we hadd M.A.D.D. posters and S.A.D.D (Students against Drunk Driving) posters hanging around my school. They never talked about it as far as I know so I'm not sure the point if it's never addressed.
When were you in high school? I remember M.A.D.D. being huge. Like I said, they were the major reason President Reagan upped the drinking age from 18 to 21.
I remember seeing posters but we never had assemblies or anything special like that. It did provoke some kind of personal emotions and I knew it was "bad", but there was no real formal education about it (aside from a quick mention in SexEd
I was in high school in 1984 and it was huge. Take care.
Peeples, I think you're absolutely right. If you can get married, sign a contract or be sent into battle, you should be able to legally purchase alcohol.
gee - simply stated governmen tyranny.
the citizens of the nation have permitted the tyranny to expand in all areas of personal choice.
Reality is that personal responsibility is then diminished as "big brother" takes over the responsibility.
We tried 18 as a legal drinking age after 18 year olds got the vote. The thought was if they were old enough to go to war in Vietnam, they were adults. Several states lowered the drinking age, then experienced an increase in traffic accidents. After that the federal government required a drinking age of 21 for a state to receive Federal highway funds, and they all complied.
BTW, this happened before Reagan was in office. I remember being able to drink legally some years and then having to wait until I was 21.
...is anybody's life being hindered in any way by not drinking alcohol before the age of 21? three years waiting isn't going to hurt anybody, esp. since most people are going to drink before then anyway.
One of the main things to consider is that the drinking age is a state right to determine, not the federal government. The US government does have ways to push this issue on states.
When they raised the drinking age to 21, one of the last state to do so was South Dakota. This is because the US government was withholding federal highway funds from states that didn't adopt the new age limit. South Dakota resisted because it made more revenue from its moderately high liquor taxes.
The federal government has used this technique in other ways, such as when the USMC tried to open a recruiting office in Berkley, CA. The city tried to block this but they eventually caved when the federal government threatened to deny some of the University of California-Berkley's funding.
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