On The Drinking Age

I’m jumping in late on the 21 drinking age debate. Any law that is nearly universally ignored should be abandoned. That being said, the 21 drinking age law is not without value. It does teach young Americans valuable lessons about the criminal justice system.

Lesson One

Some laws are stupid. Stupid laws can be enforced as vigorously as good laws. This enforcement creates disdain for law enforcement among groups who would otherwise support law enforcement.

Lesson Two

Good people break stupid laws. Young Americans get to watch as their friends enter the criminal justice system for breaking the government’s sanctioned drinking age.

Even worse than criminalizing routine college behavior isMADD’s determination to criminalize drinking by soldiers, on base. These people aren’t criminals and do not need to be part of the criminal justice system.

Lesson Three
Finally, stupid laws create a whole industry of stupid law support, funded by tax dollars, and often ignored.

My college campus was constantly inundated with miserable people espousing alcohol abstinence. Students learn to ignore these histrionics and spot obvious ethos violations.


These lessons are all useful as adults. In fact, they translate very well to evaluating the drug war. These under 21 proponents, and pro drug war groups are ideologically identical. The sooner young Americans learn to question these entities, the better.

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2 responses to “On The Drinking Age”

  1. Bill says:

    I have to disagree with one of your points:

    “Some laws are stupid. Stupid laws can be enforced as vigorously as good laws.”

    In my experience, the stupid laws are generally enforced *more* vigorously.

  2. Debra says:

    I agree with Bill on this one…

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