The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Instagram

Adult responsibility

Drinking age should be based on competence and not birth date

Although our country recognizes citizens as adults at age 18,all states have their drinking age set at 21. This means that forthree years — while they are able to get married, be tried asan adult, get drafted to fight in conflicts and vote — theyare denied the simple right to buy alcohol.

While clearly issues of safety and the feared immaturity of18-year-olds play a large part in these determinations, the logicof having two sets of coming-of-age dates does not make sense.

If drinking ages are set at 21 with the understanding that priorto that age people do not have the wisdom to drink responsibility,then why would we assume that they have the wisdom to vote andelect the leaders of our state and country?

Under the current system, we place the greater responsibility ofthe well-being and direction of our country in the hands of youngadults before we allow them the lesser responsibility of autonomyin choosing to have a drink or not.

It also seems doubtful that the lowering of the drinking agewould cause a sharp spike in the abuse of alcohol by those in the18 to 20 age bracket. Most people who spend the majority of theirundergraduate years underage can attest to the fact that alcohol isnot hard to come by if they want it.

This fear is further dispersed by the fact that in many othercountries, including our neighbors to the north and south, thedrinking age is 18.

Since prohibition, states have been left to determine their owndrinking ages, but the federal government is where the main problemexists. In 1984, President Reagan signed the Uniform Drinking AgeAct into law, putting pressure on states to set their minimumdrinking ages at 21 or have their federal transportation fundingreduced.

Within four years, every state had a minimum legal drinking ageof 21.

If the federal government wishes to continue to parent thosewhom it supposedly calls adults, then let it accomplish that goalin a more effective way than creating an arbitrary date.

Either allow people to become adults once and for all at the ageof 18 or create some more carefully tailored program such as analcohol safety class which is required before one can buy alcohol.While the effectiveness of forcing adolescents to watchinformational films with catchy titles like Red Asphalt:TheDangers of Drinking and Driving, is still questionable, clearlythat approach would at least further the goal of public safety in away that a capriciously selected birthday cannot.

More to Discover