Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr., in yesterday’s New York Times
To lawmakers: the 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law. It is astonishing that college students have thus far acquiesced in so egregious an abridgment of the age of majority. Unfortunately, this acquiescence has taken the form of binge drinking. Campuses have become, depending on the enthusiasm of local law enforcement, either arms of the law or havens from…
This is a very well put together rant, and expresses my feelings fairly closely.
This fits in with another rant that has always bothered me, that of the 21 drinking age with the troops. It makes little sense to me that an 18 year old can drive a tank, fire artillery, kill for his country and possibly lose his own life, but demon rum must not pass his lips until he’s 21. That’s just absurd paternalism. (The one good thing that came about from it, ‘it cuts down on fights in the barracks’, is not a good enough reason to abridge rights).
Do not write and lecture about drunk driving. I’m an ER doc, and I see more drunk drivers than any other group, excepting maybe bartenders. I guarantee I see more injured people after drunk driving accidents that any other group, and drunk drivers really piss me off. However, nanny-statism, taking away rights “for your own good” makes me much more angry, and IMHO adds to the cynicism of youngsters towards the hypocritical elders who passed this law.
This federal 21 y/o temperance act makes absolutely certain that when kids drink (they will) they’ll just have worse outcomes because they’re compelled to hide it. Read the above article for what happens when parents try to keep their kids from driving drunk: the prohibitionists come out of the woodwork and are now trying to figure out how to make it a jailable offense.
MADD started out with the right idea (stop drunk driving), but like most do-gooder organizations has become more and more extremist, with a widening agenda. Always be suspicious of those who take away freedoms for your own good. You, and I, should decide for ourselves what is good for us.
Update: Dr. Centor is on the same tear.