Legal drinking age vs legal adult age and early military enlistment age - fair??

@mommyboo (13198)
United States
November 30, 2008 3:28pm CST
I have been thinking more and more about this lately. Why are people considered a legal adult and capable of making their own decisions and being solely responsible for those choices at 18, and being able to make a decision to enlist in the military early at 17 provided they meet certain requirements - yet still must be 21 in order to have a drink? I realize that there is a major problem of underage drinking, at least here in the US, and I think that one has to do with the other. Whose decision was it to make 21 the 'special legal age'? What makes a 21 year old different than an 18 year old? Is there some difference in the physical body of a 21 year old that makes them less susceptible to alcohol than an 18 year old? Don't argue size, there are 80 year olds who are smaller than some 18 year olds. You cannot argue maturity either, as I know some 40 year olds who have less common sense than a 10 year old. I think the age thing is hogwash, if we're going to consider someone legal at age 18, make that legal in every way. If 18 means legal adult, legal independence, legal to vote, legal to serve country, legal to enter into a binding contract (buy a car, house, get a credit card etc), then why not legal to drink? Give me an argument, tell me why YOU think 21 is any different than 18. Give me support, tell me why you think there should be no difference. I don't see any.
6 people like this
9 responses
• United States
25 May 09
40 years ago the legal drinking age was 21, the legal voting age was 21, and the age where you were considered an adult and didn't need a parents consent to enter into a contract was 21. Unless one was drafted into the military one needed a parents signature in order to enlist until they turned 21. The years between high school graduation and age of majority was like practice for being an adult. Many of the individuals who were drafted rightly decided this was unfair, and they protested and picketed and wrote letters, (and prostest songs. One such has the line "your old enough to kill, but not for voting." and had both the drinking and the voting age lowered to age 18. (This happened just about the time I turned 21 -- so I didn't benefit from it), the voting was because it wasn't fair that a person could be killed fighting for policies they never had a chance to vote against, the drinking because it was thought that it was unfair to kill someone who couldn't even drink. (Actually if you had a military ID card, you could drink at any age) The voting age stayed lowered, but the lowered drinking age didn't last more than 10 years, I remember when I worked in a bar that I had to be careful with checking ID's, because if they were even 1 day over 18 when the age was raise, they could still drink, but if their birthday was 1 day after, then they had to wait for 3 years. It wasn't really a problem of underaged drinking, so much as a matter of drunk driving. Most 21 year olds have a job, or are looking for one, at the time many were already married and starting a family, and it was thought didn't "party" as often as someone just out of high school, and would be more responsible Combine that with the fact that a 21 year old has more experience driving than an 18 year old, it was considered a safety issue. I beliieve Mothers against drunk drivers was behind the compaign, but I could be mistaken So basically the difference between an 18 year old and a 21 year old is that a 21 year old has more practice at being an adult than an 18 year old.
• United States
1 Dec 08
nope I don't think it's fair at all. I mean, I understand it, but it's just not fair. How can you go to a war and get killed and not be able to have a drink with your friends?? I'm ok with the drinking age being 21 because a lot of people at 21 are super inmature, but do I think it is fair?? NO. At 18, you can buy a house, get credit cards, have a kid but not drink? You can get married but not drink at your own wedding??not fair
@tracymw (53)
• United States
1 Dec 08
I agree with you. If a man/woman is old enough to defend their country and go to "big boy jail" then they are old enough to buy alochol. Drinking and driving has become so bad among teenagers in our town. Actually, I think if the drinking age was lowered it would stop a lot of drinking and driving. I know that sounds weird and crazy but most teenagers 18 and above drink because it's forbidden. If it was not forbidden to them, I don't think they would do it as much. Or they would do it more responsibly.
@munhozmib (3853)
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
1 Dec 08
Hello, mommyboo. Eighteen, the age of the young adults. You turn into an adult, and you want to get a car and start driving. You think you are free, you think you already know how to live, and you want to show off. You want to do things that you couldn't do before. And if they allow drinking at that age, many car accidents would happen. You know, who says that the young adults will respect the rules? They will drink and drive. They will break the laws. Here in my country, the age for drinking is eighteen, the same as the military enlistment and to become an adult. And there are a lot of accidents caused by young and drunk adults. At least, in there, they will only be able to drink on their 21s. It will help avoiding accidents. Respectfully, Munhozmib.
@thought7 (132)
• United States
1 Dec 08
I couldn't agree more about what you say. At the very least if you are old enough to die for your country then you should at the very least be allowed all the rights that country entails. However i can understand the age 21. The brain of a 21 year old is usualy done growing. The arguement of maturity isn't ment to be a matter of age, but of physical maturity. Drinking effects the brain and does damage, most people's brains are done developing at 21 and quite a few people's and there is physical evidence to support that not only do most, but virtualy all 18 year old brains are still developing. 21 years is just a statistic that was given as an average of peoples brains that have finished developing. Personaly i'm grateful the drinking age isn't higher. NOTE:i'm 16
@etranger (126)
• India
1 Dec 08
Yes it is importent before our age limit we can not decied any good decisions. childern willatract for colours of the world they can not think what is good and what is bad .only they will have...... frends advoice if frends are good they give good advoice vice ver sa.for every thing there should be one head for them eg.parents .as for as drinking is concern it is not good for childern and for audult also .you just see iq of childern in diferent ages you can understand.
• United States
1 Dec 08
Again, I think that the legal age for anything should be 18.
@lvaldean (1612)
• United States
1 Dec 08
Statistic say it all, there are plenty of stats that say there are more deaths due to alchol in the under 21 crowd. When it was legal to drink at 18 the mortality rate of young people on the road was higher. Now to what I think. I think that the legal age of adulthood for all things that can kill you should be raised to 21. This includes military enlistment and drinking. I think that anything that can affect a significant portion of your life in a negative fashion should be raised to 21. This includes entering into a binding contracts, marriage, credit cards. I think the age of consent should be raised to a single gender neutral age of 17. I think that the voting age should be raised to 21. I think that the drivers licenses should be raised to 18. I think that young people should have a choice of civil service, trade school or university after high school graduation. Any of these should include living outside of the parental home on campus. Civil service can include Job Corps, or other volunteer activities that provide for training or community service.
@violeta_va (4834)
• Australia
1 Dec 08
I always think that that law is a bit "what the......" you can drive, go to jail, get merried, have kids, go to the army but no drinking. In Australia is 18 years old so it all happenes when you turn 18 here. 21 is not a big deal well at least for me it wasnt. I have no idea what is so special about 21 to be honest it makes no sence to me.