February 27 roundup


  • I’ve always had an issue with the 21 drinking age. Funny thing was that it never really applied to me unless I was home on leave. I was stationed in Florida where the drinking age for people in the military was 18. When they raised it, we were Grandfathered in. It was only when I came home to Pennsylvania that it was an issue.

    The problem that I have with this law is that the entire idea behind it is that people under 21 are not responsible enough to handle alcohol. It has been mentioned that you can vote, marry, have children and serve in the military at 18. What wasn’t mentioned was that you can be tried as an adult at age 18.

    This law came about at a time when the line between being a juvenile and an adult was more clearly defined. Now we have 12 and 13 year olds being tried as adults and going in to the adult penal system. At 18 you have all of the responsibilities and obligations of an adult, why should the consumption of alcohol be an issue?

    • Although I agree with your position, we seem to be very conflicted as a society about the maturity level of 18-21 year-olds. On one hand, as you say, they can vote and fight and kill our enemies, but on the other hand, they can’t drink alcohol or engage in sexual activity without written consent from all parties (in some states), and their education is fraught with all sorts of trigger warnings because they are too fragile to hear certain words or concepts.

      I think a bigger problem is the modern concept that children need to be sheltered from all hazards, from alcohol to peanuts to sex to nasty words, until they reach one magic age, where the world can be unleashed upon them. Since they have no prior experience with these life phenomena, they can have trouble during their first contact with the enemy, so-to-speak. I think it would be better to let children taste alcohol at an early age, at home under the supervision of their parents, or even out at a bar or restaurant, under close adult supervision. They should also be exposed to unpleasant words and concepts at an early age, with appropriate guidance about what they mean and how they can be used (and abused). And a lot of new medical evidence is piling up that suggests that immune systems of children need to be challenged, rather than protected, to ensure that the body develops the proper defenses to infection and allergens.

      I am not sure how to suggest some experience with sex at an early age, so I won’t go there, except to note that at least some teens seem to be able to determine their sexual preferences at an age where they are not legally supposed to be able to do any experimentation.

    • What wasn’t mentioned was that you can be tried as an adult at age 18.

      Around here you’re automatically tried as an adult at 17, even. And I agree with your point. Are you, or are you not, old enough to be responsible for your actions? If you are, you should be able to drink, and you should be tried as an adult. If you are not, then you shouldn’t be tried as an adult, but maybe you aren’t old enough to use substances like alcohol which impair judgment.

  • I actually have some sympathy to the apple growers. They have to make a considerable effort to do the cross-pollination, plant the seeds and raise the new trees to a maturity level where they can judge the quality of the fruit. This takes time and effort, and they should be rewarded for their successful efforts. This seems to me to be exactly what patents should be about, and they get exclusive control of the “design” for 20 years, which does not seem to me to be excessive. And, this is not some lifesaving device or drug for which they are gouging poor, suffering, needy people. It is just an apple.