Another case for lowering the drinking age

Very few countries have a national age as high as 21, argues Jeffrey Tucker at Newsweek (originally FEE), and women of college age may be more vulnerable if the only drinking venues available are dorms and fraternities. R.J. Lehmann of the R Street Institute says that even if considerations such as individual liberty make a cut in the age advisable, we should go into the process with eyes wide open about the safety impacts, not all of which will be positive. Earlier here.


  • If America’s youth are mature enough to elect local, state, and national representatives, sign contracts, purchase homes, and marry at the age of 18; they are mature enough to consume alcohol.

  • That’s not a reasoned argument, it’s a bumper sticker, appropriate for someone would is either a Republican for Voldemort or would rather be fishing, but not both.


  • The problem is that young people tend to be bad both at drinking and at driving, not yet having learned to do either particularly well. Where both bad practices meet is where you find the carnage.

    Off youths a choice between a Drinking License OR a Driving License. Either/or, not both.

  • It is my experience that people tend to get intoxicated when they reach the legal drinking age simply because they can, legally. It is a novelty, whether it be at 18 or 21.

    I would abolish the drinking age altogether. Take the mystery out of it before the young get their licenses. Let them know, before they are able to drive, how drinking adversely affects their ability to drive. Then, when they are able to drive, they will be able to make better decisions.

    If kids’ parents do not want them drinking, it is their responsibility, just as it is their responsibility to regulate their children’s sexual adventures. We don’t make sex before 18 illegal. We should not make drinking under 18 illegal…

    • The policies of some European countries have precisely the effect of taking the mystery out of drinking and preventing it from becoming a rite of passage. In countries in which beer and wine are permitted at any age and hard liquor becomes legal prior to such other transitions as graduation from high school and legal majority, teen drinking is not nearly the problem it is in the US.