I once believed this, being 18, in the military, and wanting to drink beer. But my 34-year-old self looks at my 18-year-old self and says: “No way.” I made it out alive, but I think the drinking age is 21 for all the right reasons. Willing to die for your country and wanting to drink beer aren’t really related.
My argument centers on, generally, how immature and silly most 18-year-olds are. Often the maturity difference between a man of 18 and 21 is astounding. For the purposes of my argument, I’m only going to talk about men, not women. 18-year-old women tend to look at their male counterparts as immature little boys, and oftentimes rightfully so. I digress. 18 is often the age when young men leave the “nest” for the first time being left to their own devices (yes, even in the military), and a bunch of them in the same room with beer usually leads to injury (hey, let’s jump out that window!) or other bad decisions (“I know, let’s fight!”). Again, not saying the 21-year-old is exempt from this sort of behavior, but in my (vast) experience with drinking between these ages and being around countless others who did as well, it’s a lot less. Also, at 18, most people have had their driver’s licenses for a year or just over; the road experience just isn’t there for when they decide to get behind the wheel (and they will). A 21-year-old usually has 3 more years of road experience and likely knows a little more on how to handle a car. When you’re driving drunk, you’re usually using instinct more than anything
(For the record, I do not drive after 2 beers. I think anyone who does is stupid – or immature, and although I condemn it, I’d be a liar to say that I haven’t driven when I shouldn’t have. The idea here is that 18- and 21-year-olds will drink alcohol and drive cars. It’s the way it is.)
I also believe 21-year-olds are a lot more self-aware and developed as young adults so it’s less likely that once their inhibitions are dropped, they won’t know how to act.
The point, I believe, of this particular law is to protect people from themselves and others due to an inability to handle the effects alcoholic beverages. I agree with it.
Again, this is all based on what I believe is a reasonable generalization and I’m not arguing that there are some really immature 21-year-olds out there who shouldn’t be drinking (hell, I know 31-year-olds who shouldn’t drink, but that’s not the point). Also, I don’t want to get into cultural differences. I spent a couple of years in Italy and from what I remember, there is no “drinking age.” It’s a lot less taboo and isn’t usually a problem. I’m talking strictly about American culture and their fascination with alcoholic beverages.
Where do you stand?