Should the National Drinking Age be 18?
on 15/04/11 at 3:31 pmBooze News
Tennessee law professor and Instapunditer Glenn Harlan Reynolds thinks so. Writing in Wednesday’s WSJ, he throws his support behind an Alaska State Representative’s efforts to establish a drinking age of 18 for active-duty service members. The rationale is straightforward: “If you get shot at, you can have a shot.”
Thing is, such a move would arguably run afoul of a federal law passed in 1984 that makes contingent federal-to-state highway funding on states keeping their drinking age at 21.
So Reynolds advocates Congress repealing the law, called the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act. He writes:
The “old enough to fight, old enough to drink” argument has force. In fact, 18-year-olds in America are old enough to do pretty much everything except drink. Along with joining the military, 18-year-olds can vote, marry, sign contracts, and even take on a crippling lifetime burden of student loan debt in pursuit of an education that may never land them a job. Yet we face the absurd phenomenon of colleges encouraging students to go into six-figure debt—which can’t be discharged in bankruptcy—but forbidding them to drink on campus because they’re deemed insufficiently mature to appreciate the risks.
The counter-argument, Reynolds notes, mostly concerns safety.