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Should We Lower the Drinking Age

  • Date Submitted: 10/28/2011 01:18 PM
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                                  JOHN HUBER

    Since the 1970’s, lawmakers in America have been taken with respect to underage drinking. It was at this time that many states changed the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. The theory behind this was, essentially, if you raise the drinking age, people will drink more responsibly, because with age comes responsibility. Unfortunately, the people who made these laws did not consider that responsibility is something that comes from experience and teaching – not just age. So with this being said should the drinking age be lowered?   Currently, there are many anti-alcohol groups whose main purpose is to stop drinking and driving, but they are trying to stop people from drinking illegally before the age of 21. However, a majority of people feel that the solution lies not in abstinence, but in teaching young people how to drink responsibly, and by doing so at a younger age. 

The United States is one of the only western nations on the planet in which the drinking age is over 18. In most cultures, drinking is perceived as a social activity. In Europe, many children (who are younger than 18) begin drinking in a social context with their parents by the early to mid-teens. In France, many families include wine as a part of the daily dinner, and in England, it is legal for a person to have an alcoholic beverage, in a public restaurant, with a parent, at the age of 16. So why is it that in America, we consider people who have wine every night to be alcoholics, and associate 16-year-olds who drink with stomach pumps? It may seem to some that Americans have created an artificial problem with drinking, which precludes us from imbibing in the same fashion as Europeans. The fundamental difference lies in learned responsibility. Europeans teach their children to drink responsibly, whereas in America, we have taught our children that alcohol is as...


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