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the drinking age should be 18
Society

merik
Mar 31, 2009
12 votes
15 debaters
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7
Agree


thales
Apr 01, 2009
4 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: brokensocial Show

I think that the main problem with your suggestion is that you base it on countries where young people drinking is socially acceptable. I'm in France, where teens drink a glass or two of wine with their parents at dinner-time--family dinners still exist here. Or they go to a cafe and have a drink with friends--it's not an all-night party. It's seriously frowned upon to be visibly drunk here; alcohol is simply an accent in a pleasant life.

The way drinking is viewed in the U.S. is simply different: it's in bars and frat-parties rather than family homes and open-air cafes. And the U.S. has that whole super-sized, more-is-better mentality that affects everything from car size to waistlines to the amount of alcohol consumed in one sitting. So if you made it legally acceptable without changing the entire image of alcohol in society at large, you'd have a lot more binge-drinking, date rapes, drunk driving, and deaths related to young people who can drink now, but don't know how to drink.

It's not the law that's the problem; it's the culture.

 
thales
Apr 01, 2009
3 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: unlabled00 Show

Let's not forget "I drive better when I'm drunk!!"

Honestly, I suspect that the Puritanical influence is still too deeply ingrained in mainstream America (Canada might be okay!) for the kind of sea change you describe. We've got a fundamental knee-jerk "pleasure=sin" reaction, and once you've started with the sinning, you might as well go all-out, you know?

But even if you're right...that's a lot of damage from overindulgence while we wait for attitudes to shift. Which, in the face of said damage, why would they?

 
aheppenstall
Apr 02, 2009
2 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: unlabled00 Show

I'm from the UK where the current legal drinking age is 18. While you are correct that in certain circumstances it is legal to drink under that age if parents are present at meals the laws are a little hazy meaning that almost all pubs, bars and restaurants will not allow children to drink anything alcoholic under any circumstances.

With the age at 18 we have the same issues as 21 where it is seen as 'cool' and rebellious to drink under-age. It's also worth noting that with our drinking age at 18 we currently have a huge national alcohol abuse problem with binge drinking featured in the media on a daily basis.

 
xanthippa
Apr 01, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: unlabled00 Show

While I do agree with a lot of what you have said, I must most vehemently disagree with any attitude that tolerates the consumption of alcohol by children.

Remember the mechanism through which we become 'drunk': alcohol reduces the ability of our blood to bring oxygen to the brain.

While our brains continue to grow for as long as we continue to learn new things, the rate of growth of the brain is much greater in children. Depriving a quickly growing brain of oxygen - even small amounts - has a much more pronounced, long-term effect.

Many people say that European culture tolerates kids to drink acohol. Perhaps some parts of Europe do - but this is not part of 'European culture'.

I was raised in Europe - and I assure you that consumption of alcohol by children (with their parents' present) was only acceptable among the 'lowest' classes in the society: usually, this was tolerated by parents who have themselves had less than 2 years of secondary education, some had not even finished grade 8... Their language, lifestyle-choices and attitude to life and social behaviours were not what one would like to emulate....

I don't know about ALL of Europe - but, the part where I grew up, those were the only people who allowed their kids to consume aclohol. I certainly never did - it just was not considered to be acceptable.

This attitude I described tends to change once teens get over 16 - when there is a permission to begin to taste alcohol on 'special occassions'...

Just like with any other thing which requires the combination of judgement and responsibility, the 'learning curve' how to handle alcohol ought to be very gradual. Starting with a little bit, under adult supervision, learning the effects it has on one...

It seems to me that whenever we draw a solid line - like with the drinking age - we are going to encourage people to go from 'nothing' to 'full-blast'. And, that is just asking for trouble... frat house-attitudes, as you said...

 
merik
Apr 01, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
here's why I think the age should be 18

1

An 18 year old in US has the right to vote, and serve in the military. If an 18 year old can make up
their mind as to who the potential leader of the country should be and take a bullet for their country,
they should have every right to purchase and drink alcohol.

2

It is usually said that an 18 year old has less tolerance as compared to a 21 year old. Although
this might be true, in most cases you don’t really know how much you can handle as long as you
try it out. Tolerance doesn’t come with age, tolerance come with realization of responsibility and
there are people that are more responsible at 15 than some are at 50.

3

Anyone under 21 sees alcohol as a “forbidden fruit.” The curiosity leads to more people under
the age of 21 drinking anyway. If drinking is made legal for the 18 and older, it will serve much
better as the curiosity isn’t as high and the fruit isn’t forbidden anymore.

4

When in college most students under the age of 21 can get hold of drink through their seniors.
They are not allowed to drink at events where others might be able to drink. This once again makes
them want to be a rebel and try out what it is they are being kept away from. They will give it a shot.
The fact that they don’t know when they will be able to drink again is the reason most college
students tend to get overly drunk when they get a chance. As a result there are problems as serious
as deaths.

5

Countries such as Italy, China, Greece are some of the countries where the legal drinking age is
lower and they seem to have fewer alcohol related problems. Current law in terms of legal drinking
age has caused more alcohol related deaths than there has ever been.

6

When drinking is made legal for anyone under the age of 21 and over 18, drinking takes place in
public. It can then be supervised by police, security guards and health workers as well.

7

Colleges and Universities often argue that the legal drinking age should be 18 because outlawing
alcohol consumption in colleges for those under 21 is making the problem worse. These colleges and
universities say that allowing alcohol consumption legally might help cut down alcohol related deaths
in colleges.

8

People under the age of 21 tend to drink more when they get hold of alcohol because of the
uncertainty as to when they might be able to drink again.

9

Whether the legal drinking age is 21 or 18, there are going to be problems related to alcohol.
And making 21 the legal age to drink doesn’t solve that problem. As a matter of fact, this is one
of the reason why we see so many alcohol related deaths among teens. They get their hands on
alcohol and get overly intoxicated as they are never sure if they will have access to this forbidden
fruit ever again until they are 21.

10

An 18 year old is considered an adult and can be tried in court if he makes false judgement and
commits a crime. So an 18 year old is capable of making every other decision as an adult but is
incapable of making a decision whether or not they should drink? The 21 year old age limit for alcohol
consumption sounds somewhat hypocritical.

11

If you are legal to get married at the age of 18 and end up getting married, you are not allowed to
drink in your own wedding? That doesn’t sound right

12

According to a study, 22% of all students under 21 compared to 18% over 21 years of age are heavy
drinkers. Among drinkers only, 32% of under age compared to 24% of legal ager are heavy drinkers.

13

If the legal drinking age were to be 18, colleges would be able to regulate alcohol use so students
don’t get overly intoxicated. They can be monitored whereas when they are hiding and drinking you can’t
really go sniffing their cups or making false accusations.

14

Drinking under the age of 21 is seen by most 18 years and older as a sign of adulthood. They are allowed
to do everything else and call themselves an adult and they don’t want to be stopped from being an adult
when it comes to drinking.

15

We have tried prohibition legislation twice for controlling irresponsible drinking problems in the past.
Once in 1850s and again in the 1920s. These laws were repealed because they could not be enforced and the
backlash caused other societal problems. The law didn’t work then and as we all know isn’t working now. It’s
time for a change.

 
feefee123
Apr 01, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
oh yeah!! that'd be great. : ) hah, just joshin. the drinking age should be 18 though, if we can smoke then, we can drink. teenagers drink like crazy, at least in wisconsin. 18 would be a good age because then people wouldn't have to hide it and they could learn from their mistakes at a younger age.

 
verya
Apr 01, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
They allow smoking at 18, so why not drinking? It's not like kids won't do just because it's illegal, anyway.

 
merik
Apr 02, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I said the same thing aboute learning from your mistakes at a young age and was told that was a retarded idea but that what I get from moving to Iowa down south people would have said "Great idea!"
but you know what Iowa stands for so.

 
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5
Disagree


unlabled00
Apr 01, 2009
4 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

I agree that the "brand image" of alcohol in North America is entirely different than that of Europe, but perhaps when the drinking age changes so will the stereotypes about its use.

Frat houses, in particular, are for students right under/on/over the legal age for drinking so they go nuts when they have someone in the house all the time capable of purchasing kegs of nasty dirt-cheap beer.

Bars are a similar, adults only atmosphere.

If drinking laws were to change to something along the line of the UK's laws (which I believe allow children to drink in their parent's presence with their consent at one age, and allow them to drink/purchase alcohol at another) then you'd see some of that stigma start to disappear. Gone is the taboo of drinking, along with the overindulgence it seems to call for.

That having been said, I think it would be best for the drinking age to drop while the driving age goes up, mainly because new drivers would presumably know the effect alcohol has on their driving ability. As it is right now, a driver new to drinking can get hammered and expect that nothing bad will happen because they "are totally sober maaaaaaan".

 
blackkodiak
Apr 01, 2009
4 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

Unlabeled00 effectively captured my sentiments, but for the record, I do believe that our culture (in regards to how we drink) is largely defined by how taboo alcohol is made, in this case by an unreasonably high drinking limit.

I do believe that alcohol is only as much of a big deal as we choose to make it. I started drinking publicly at a very young age by way of where I grew up, and it lost its "gee-whiz" factor pretty soon.

 
vancam
Apr 02, 2009
2 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: xanthippa Show

"I was raised in Europe - and I assure you that consumption of alcohol by children (with their parents' present) was only acceptable among the 'lowest' classes in the society:"

Strangely enough I can offer a completely opposite set of experiences as someone else who was raised in Europe.

I guess being raised in somewhere as diverse as Europe would make it difficult for anyone to praise or damn it as a whole. Wouldn't you agree?

 
brokensocial
Mar 31, 2009
1 convinced
Rebuttal
The drinking age should be 16. There is very strong anecdotal evidence from societies where casual drinking is socially acceptable from an early age. In these countries, such as France, there is a significantly lower rate of drinking-related diseases and deaths. If casual drinking is integrated into a society, it can seriously curb binge drinking when one reaches 18, 19 or 21. Furthermore, these extra years of alcohol sales can increase tax revenue and fund programs that help those afflicted with alcoholism to recover.

 
frankiej4189
Apr 01, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

I drink a glass of white or red wine about 2 nights a week (more if we have a nice dinner) with my family. I'm also very glad that i'm one of the lucky few that gets to sit down and have family dinners with all members of my family about 5 times a week.

With that said, i have to completely agree with you Thales. The American culture of drinking isn't suitable for a lower age. In America, the youth (16-25) drink to get drunk. They dont enjoy alcohol, they enjoy the buzz, not the pleasure of having a few drinks to lighten up. Allowing 16 year olds or 18 year olds to legally get as sloshed as they want would have mostly negative consequences.

 
xanthippa
Apr 01, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: thales Show

You made me chuckle!

Do you remember the old TV sitcom, WKRP in Cincinnati?

There was an episode where two of the DJ's took part in 'Drunk Driving Awareness' program: while on air, they would drink and after each drink, the Sheriff measured their reaction times....with predictable 'sitcom' results!

(I could not find a video of this episode ('Fish Story') that could stream outside of US..sorry)

 
unlabled00
Apr 02, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
Rebuttal to: aheppenstall Show

I suppose the question I have to ask is "is it just as bad in the UK as in the US?". Which I don't think many of us are fit to answer... Van maybe?

 
vague
Apr 03, 2009
0 convinced
Rebuttal
It seems like every time this matter comes up...the supporters for a younger drinking age have the same argument.

"If we lower the drinking age there will be fewer problems. The 18 -21 year olds won’t have to hide it anymore."

For me...this argument is weak.

1- In other countries the drinking age is 18..why can't we do it?

Do not make the mistake of comparing the culture in the United States to that of other countries. The US is not Germany...or Italy...so that is an irrelevant argument. Because it works there does not mean it will work here. As our governments do not work the same.


2- If we lower the drinking age kids will not hid it. They will learn from their mistakes quicker.

Yes...and they will most likely get arrested for public intoxication quicker as well. Think about this...how many kids between the ages of 18 - 21 do you think refrain from drinking because they do not want to get in trouble?

Probably quite a few. So now you take that consequence away...and those kids now have nothing holding them back.


3- If we can smoke and go into the military at 18 why can't we drink?

Do not even try to make the argument that an 18 year old is an adult. Yes, they are an adult on paper. However, an 18 year old is nowhere near fully mentally developed.


The idea of lifting restrictions to make this situation better makes no sense to me whatsoever. The logic behind this is "Let us let them drink younger...there will be less trouble if there are no consequences."


 
tonitoh2010
Dec 20, 2010
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I stand firm on my disagreement with the motion that says; the drinking age should be 18. Why I'm I saying this? Alcohol was not made for young people. It is supposed to be for the old. If young people betroth themselves in this catastrophe of alcohol, then very skilled and learned people will be lost. The old are not of great importance in our economy and development projects. Hence they can relax themselves by taking alcohol. But the youth, are not supposed to destroy their lives by alcohol because they still have a long way to go. So I disagree.

 
reaganmartin
Apr 29, 2011
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I believe the drinking age should stay at the current setting of 21. Most teenagers and young adults do not know how to handle the consumption of alcohol, and excessive drinking at an early age can cause the person to become an alcoholic in life because of the addicting habbit. Drinking is acceptable in moderation, but not in large quantities which is what most young people tend to imbibe.

 
jakel
Mar 07, 2012
0 convinced
Rebuttal
I think the drinking age should be lowered to 15 years of age, mainly because i`m 15 myself. But also because who are the goverment to deny 15 year olds drink? It sounds like we are living in a nanny state. If it remains illegal for 15 year olds to buy alchol they will get it by some other means, probably by getting someone older to buy it for them, so they might as well legalise it.


 


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