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

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The age of adulthood

Why is 21 the outstanding magic number in America?

It is nearly impossible to judge exactly when an individual moves into adulthood by something as arbitrary as an age. However, as a society we do our best to find that age at which the majority of people should be held responsible as adults. The justice system, American military and democratic process have found that magic number to be 18. If this is the case, why is the drinking age 21 in every state?

Lowering the drinking age to 18 could help speed the learning curve of maturity and it would set a consistent age across the board that would force newly crowned “young adults” to take more responsibility for their actions.

There is little doubt that lowering the drinking age could have its fair share of consequences, just like any other policy decision. It could increase the amount of alcohol present among high school students or increase the number of drunk-driving cases.

However, the benefits outweigh the negative consequences on this issue.

Besides encouraging people to grow up faster by adding responsibility, a lower drinking age could eventually help lessen the allure of alcohol to young adults.

People always desire what they cannot have. If the age was lowered, the allure of the unknown could be taken away. This would lower the amount of students who leave the house for college and then run wild because it is the first time they have been able to consume alcohol.

Furthermore, most people turn 18 when they are still in high school and under parental supervision. There is little doubt that if someone’s first encounter with alcohol occurs while still living at home, the amount consumed would probably be less, and there may even be consequences for abuse.

The positive and negative consequences of lowering the drinking age are undoubtedly debatable between two reasonable people. However, the message that our current age limits send is one that should alarm everyone.

The 2008 election is one surrounded by excitement, and the outcome will have serious implications for the state of the world. Considering this, frame the issue with this question in mind: What has more serious implications for American society – the drinking age or the outcomes of elections?

While some would answer this with the solution of raising the voting age to 21, we have to wonder when we as a society are going to stop treating everyone like children. Most people leave home to start their own lives at 18. It is time to just cede control and let people grow up. We can start by lowering the drinking age.

But don’t take our word for it – make your opinion heard tonight at the Political Science Spring Symposium at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.

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