Drinking Age

Discussion in 'The Refreshment Lounge' started by Blake Bowden, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Your thoughts?
    [video=youtube;v4EcIVJz6g4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4EcIVJz6g4[/video]​
     
  2. mkmulin

    mkmulin Site Benefactor

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    My personal opinion is that military should be allowed to consume alcohol at the age of entry into service. I say that because it is possible to enter at 17. Individuals are given much responsibilities at that age or earlier. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most states allow working at age 16, earlier if it is a family business. Driving is the same and also earlier if there is a hardship. And furthermore, you can vote at age 18. I feel that the military undoubtedly asks the member for sacrifices that are oftentimes unthinkable and not comparable to driving, working, or voting. Examples are, but not limited to, loss of life and separation from family for extended periods of time, and deploying to hostile environments. I have met both mature and immature younger adults AS WELL AS older adults. The military changes people; I have seen by first hand accounts of 18 yr olds passing into elite groups of military units such as Pararescue, Combat Control, and TACP (Air Force Spec ops) and will tell you that they have their "heads on straight." So age isn't a factor. The military does not tolerate alcohol abuse. There are many briefings, usually weekly, about drinking and driving and alcohol related incidents. A great majority of service members understand that an alcohol related incident will definitely hinder their career. Another reason is that if an individual is stationed outside the US they most likely will be able to drink, under the age of 21, because they will conform to "the laws of the land" unless their command has imposed restrictions. If an individual is willing to sacrifice certain aspects that many take for granted or don't care about then they are entitled to drink if they wish. The military protect all...even the bigots, racists, liars, hate groups, and etc even if that member doesn't agree with a particular viewpoint.

    My personal experience...I did underage drink. When I turned 21 my "party drinking" slowed down drastically because I could get alcohol anytime I wanted. The store was approximately 200 yards from my dorm room. I guess that being "sneaky" was part of the fun. My solution is to allow anyone in the armed forces the opportunity to consume alcohol; their ID cards would be their right to consume. Old enough to die, old enough to drink / Work hard, play hard.

    And for the record I am prior Air Force. Retired, 21 yrs 2 mos 5 days, and have always felt this way.

    Bro McMullen


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  3. marty15chris

    marty15chris Premium Member

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    I say the show needs better actors. You can tell right away that they are not actually in the military.

    I take many issues with the drinking age, namely how it was forced on the states by the federal government.

    It is also quite funny that service members can drink well overseas ( at those locations that allow it) because there is no federal or USMJ drinking age but can not drink once home.


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  4. Plustax

    Plustax Registered User

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    It was kinda ironic that at 17 I wasn't allowed to drink or vote, yet I was in the military (volunteered) & ready to do whatever it took for my country. Actually I even had to have permission to marry since I was a Texan and I was under 21 yrs old. I still have the document issued by a JP giving me that written permission .... and I didn't even marry in Texas! LOL I was 18 & she was 17 at the time. Yup..... pretty proud of that one too... married 43yrs now. So... couldn't vote, couldn't buy or drink beer & needed permission to get married yet willing to die for our country if needed.
     
  5. K3vin

    K3vin Registered User

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    There are several ways to view this topic:

    Allowing access to alcohol at an earlier age takes away the feelings that there is something taboo and therefore adds intrigue and defiance of authority, which teenagers are full of. (I was one once too)

    We ask people younger than 21 to defend us, as the video depicts, and ask them to take part in societies responsibilities as well by voting and serving as jurors. I thought that the drinking age should be lower when I was 18 too.

    The one thing that gets left out of these types of discussions many times is the fact that; physical, and emotional development continues well into the mid 20's. Allowing drinking earlier in a teens development can have detrimental effects, and the lack of emotional stability can lead teens to develop poor habits and thereby destroy their future.

    So why do we set rules and boundaries for young children, (younger than 10 for example)? It is because they are not yet capable of understanding the long term effects of their behaviors.

    So why do we arbitrarily pick 21 as the age to drink in the US? Because it seemed at one time, to someone, that it was a reasonable age that most people would have the ability to balance their behavior and responsibilities. Are some people more mature at an earlier age? Yes. Are others not as ready until they are much older than 21? That answer is also yes.

    So being 45 now, I have a better understanding of the consequences, and my views of teenage drinking are a bit more complete than when I was 18, there are a lot more variables than a teenager takes into account.

    My personal way of dealing with my son and alcohol when he was growing up was never to make it a mystery of what alcohol was. I didn't sugar coat things like telling him I was having "an adult drink", I told him it was wine, or whiskey, or rum without making a big deal of it. If he wanted a smell or taste (you can taste a drink without consuming it) I allowed him that. And every time he did he thought the taste was awful. By taking the mystery out of drinking I managed to deflate the balloon of curiosity and I never had a problem with him and alcohol.

    So what should the drinking age be? It varies with the maturity of the individual. But as a nation of laws we have to put a number to it. So for now 21 it is.


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  6. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Sometimes decisions have to be made pragmatically based on result data. These decisions end up working well but do not necessarily map well into principles.

    The drinking age of 21 is because traffic deaths are significantly higher if the drinking age is lower than that. This is offset by the fact that higher drinking age results in slightly higher alcoholism rates but the total traffic deaths by younger drinks is high enough to overcome the lifelong risk of the small extra numbers of alcoholics. The age number is a decision pragmatically based on result data. There are plenty of exceptions but the result is based on numbers in the general population and those numbers take the exceptions into account. These numbers are the result of statistical analysis by insurance industry actuaries and are available to those who wish to deep deep into the topic.

    The military service age of 18 is because men of that age are young enough that they can be conditioned in ways that are needed for combat and also strong enough to be of service in combat. The statistics gathered by the military are based on the results of many countries and many wars. Again the age number is a decision pragmatically based on result data.

    It isn't about principle it's about the results of making the decision. That's why different decisions when put side by side do not align with the principles many of us hold. The way the decisions were made is using the cool reflection of results and data of large numbers of people. Many of us rail against treating individuals as numbers in this way, but in the end different decisions lead to more deaths either in traffic collisions or among our troops. It's like Otto von Bismark said - "The general public should not see how laws or sausage are made." The *process* is harsh and cold. The *result* is the most humane at the same time it is jarring.
     
  7. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    There should be one age at which one is legally an adult, i.e, legally held responsible for all voluntary acts and legally permitted to do all other things that legal adults are permitted. Constantly raising the boogieboogieboogieboogieboo of "public safety" is a dodge whereby government reduces some segment of the population or another to semi-child status. Another way of looking at the matter: If an act as trivial as drinking alcohol is so extremely dangerous that those between the ages 18-21 should not be permitted to do it, then socially important acts, such as voting and military service, should also be prohibited until age 21--or is it the contention of the nanny-staters that voting and military service carry far less long-term effect and are far less important to society than simply boozing?
     
  8. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Let's look at things "pragmatically". From a pragmatic standpoint, arguments against letting 18-21 year olds drink alcohol but permit them to enter military service are identical to those that argue against letting them vote but permit them being forcibly drafted into military service.
     
  9. CStevenson

    CStevenson Registered User

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    At first I felt the same way. If the government feels the individual is an adult enough to make what can be a life and death decision to join the military, then drinking should be allowed as well. My only issue is that nobody is forced to join the military currently. (If a draft is instituted my thoughts will change). An adult of 18 years knows that they are joining the military, quite possibly putting their life on the line, but still not able to an alcoholic beverage. This is a willing choice. I truly believe a return to personal responsibility would resolve many issues and make most laws irrelevant. When people know they will be held responsible for their actions whether intoxicated or not, I feel most might make better decisions with out the need of big brother's laws.
     
  10. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    When I was 18, I railed against the fact that my home-state was 21, while neighboring states were 18. I was old enough to vote, old enough to go to war (missed having to register for the draft by 2 years), and old enough to go to prison for the beer I wasn't old enough to drink. It seemed ridiculous then, and still seems fairly ridiculous now. The US is the only country with a national drinking age of 21.
     
  11. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    The pragmatic approach is based on demographic data not on arguments from principle. From a pragmatic standpoint, data beats principles. When a pragmatic result set conflicts with commonly held principles this sort of discussion is to be expected and is healthy.

    The available demographic data shows that moving the drinking age from 18 to 21 saves lives through reduced traffic deaths. Is it the responsibility of government to save lives? The answer to that question is a matter of principle and is not a pragmatic issue. The answer to that question is political not pragmatic.

    The reasons the military recruits 18 year olds are much more complex than counting traffic deaths before and after a change in legal drinking age but the military puts plenty of focus on hard data of all sorts. Ineffective recruiting principles cost wars so they have intense motivation to work based on data.

    The pragmatic results have led to a system that clashes with my feelings on the topic. I don't like the results so I don't like the unequal system that is in place. I understand how the results were arrived at, with data, and I value data. But data needs to be used in support of a set of principles and I don't have to agree with the set of principles in question. In this case I don't have to agree that it is the duty of a country to reduce traffic deaths through restrictions? Highway speed limits have saved more lives than drinking age changes, and sure enough I have moved to a state with very high speed limits. Huh.
     
  12. Bro Darren

    Bro Darren Premium Member

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    Australia's has no drinking age as such, but one must be 18 before they can buy it off the shelf.
    Most "kids" these days start consuming alcohol much younger than 18 and most of society turn a blind eye to it if not encourages it. I myself had my first beer at christmas when I was 11 when my father handed me can and said drink up, this will put hairs on your chest!

    We have some strange laws around minors and drinking here - eg: Its ok for minors to consume alcohol at a private residence as long as an adult is present to supervise it. This allows a 16 year old to have a birthday bash at home and have an open invitation to his circle of friends. This open invite can consist of minors as young as 13 coming to the party and being able to consume alcohol legally as long as the host's parents are home. In this law it also states that NO one under the age of 18 can consume the alcohol away from the private property including at the front of the property.
    Even though these laws are in place we still see minors walking the streets on a Friday/Saturday night very intoxicated and sometimes very very vocal about it. I have seen with my own eyes minors as young as 12 or 13, playing chicken with oncoming traffic whilst being very intoxicated. Its sad to see and makes one think "Where on earth are your parents"

    Our rules regarding driving under the influence/intoxication is very strict as it is with most countries. Teenages can get their drivers licence at the age of 18 and for the first 3 years of driving they must have 0% blood alcohol level and its pretty rare that these new drivers drink intoxicated. Yes some do, but this would be an extremely low %. Most accidents on our roads occur with younger Male drivers and this is mainly due to inexperience and immaturity - These younger male drivers seem determined to show off their skills (or lack of) to their friends and care nothing for the safety of others.

    Australia has always had this culture for drinking at young age and laws/education can only go so far when you have parents that encourage it and provide alcohol to their children.
     
  13. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    It's easier to talk an 18-year-old with no clue into dying for you than a 21-year-old, who has had a few years out living on his own and actually having an adult life. Likewise, by 21, aggressiveness and tendency to "Hold my beer, watch this, you all!" has greatly decreased. For the military, you want as much as possible of "Watch this, you all!" among your privates, so long as you can point it in the direction you want. 18-year-olds are more likely to dispose of themselves on their own, anyway.
     
  14. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    The legal voting age used to be 21, but was lowered to age 18 with the 26th Amendment. Up until 1971 when this was passed, the legal voting age was set by individual states, and for the vast majority of them, the legal age to vote was 21. Texas was one of the states who challenged this new law in court. The legal drinking age has a similar history. It used to be determined by individual states, with some being 18 and others 21. This was changed on a national scale to age 21 in 1984. There are only a few countries in the world besides the US who have a minimum drinking age higher than age 18.

    I think ultimately, it boils down to: when do you consider a person an adult? It doesn't make sense that the numbers don't sync. You've graduated high school, can vote and can be drafted by the military to die for your country...but you can't buy a beer? It doesn't make sense on paper.

    Are most 18 year olds are capable of being responsible with alcohol? No.
    Are most 18 year olds are capable of making an informed voting decision? No.
    Are most 18 year olds are capable of military life? Yes.

    A provision could be added to the drinking age law that states if you're active military, the age should be lowered to 18. If you're man enough to be trained to kill another man with a rifle, you're certainly responsible enough to kick back a cold one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  15. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Is it easier to pursue an aggressive, militaristic foreign policy when you have millions of disenfranchised subjects that you can force into your military in order to be chopped up so that their blood can grease the gears of global politicking? Yes.
    Does this become harder to do when these disenfranchised subjects become enfranchised citizens? Yes.

    "Capable of military life" is all well and good to use as your only criterion if you are merely another military dictatorship or want to become one.
     
  16. SeattleMason0613

    SeattleMason0613 Registered User

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    Just comes down to a ratio of responsible age vs irresponsible age


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  17. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    If one is of "irresponsible age", is it just that a society would use the force of law to round up and use those of "irresponsible age" as disenfranchised cannon fodder?
     
  18. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    Your recent comments sound as though you have an ax to grind with the military.
     
  19. K3vin

    K3vin Registered User

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    Just read a news story of a bar in Brooklyn NY that was raising the drinking age in their establishment to 25, due to the crime and noise related to younger drinkers.


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  20. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Not at all. I have an axe to grind with the idea that it is legitimate to send people off to die and be mutilated if they are denied the basic franchise. I have an axe to grind against slavery. Volunteering would be one thing, but there was a time when all men aged 18-20 were essentially slaves or slaves-in-waiting in the USA. Or are you in favor of government seizing people who are not permitted to vote and forcing them to do whatever labor suits said government? How can opposing such slavery-by-government be an "ax to grind with the military"? Please explain that.
     

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