Alcohol consumption has been a part of human life across cultural boundaries for thousands of years. Many countries have alcohol production and consumption ingrained in it's history. Spirits like beer, wine, Scotch, Bourbon and Vodka have proud, nationalistic roots that are a source of pride to the country's people. Needless to say, it's been an important part of human civilization, especially in times of life threatening water-borne illness. Beer was consumed instead of alcohol because of health reasons during many historical plagues.
In modern times, alcohol laws have tightened up for the greater safety of society. Underage drinking and DUI laws are stricter than ever. One specific alcohol related law that gains a good amount of controversy is the current drinking age in America. As my Seattle criminal attorney acquaintance over at Bradley Johnson Lawyers told me, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 mandates that every state in the United States of America enforces a 21 year old legal drinking age. Many people think this is too harsh, and are actively working towards lowering the legal drinking age to 18. Here are three of the most common arguments for lowering the drinking age in America.
1. A person is widely accepted as an adult at 18 years old.
There are many privileges a person gets when they turn 18 years of age. First, and most importantly, they are legally considered an adult. They can vote and enlist in the military. Since 18 is such a pivotal point in a young person's life, many people scoff at alcohol being illegal. It is hard to argue against the “my son/daughter can server their country for three years without being able to have a legal drink” line of reasoning. If someone is willing to die for their country, why do we assume they aren't responsible to have a beer?
2. Lowering the drinking age will give parents time to teach teens how to drink responsibly.
Most teens in modern society turn 21 while in college. This can be troublesome because they are on their own. They are learning about alcohol consumption from their peers, who don't know much more than they do. People make the argument that by lowering the drinking age to 18, parents still have some time to teach their young adults about responsible drinking. As my Seattle criminal lawyer told me, accidents involving binge drinking college students have a much higher mortality rate than alcohol related accidents associated with an older age.
3. Lowering the drinking age could boost a weak economy.
Lets face it...our government wants money from wherever they can get it. Good money is made off the sale of beer, wine and other spirits. If you take this fact along with the reasoning that the 18-21 age ground has more than enough expendable income, lowering the drinking age seems like a smart economic move. It will be tough to find an age group that spends more of their income on personal entertainment than the high school and college aged.