Wow!!! Some Common Sense at Work….

College chiefs urge new debate on drinking age

It turns out — who knew? — that few college students actually wait until turning 21 for that first drink of alcohol. And the result of our ban is that they drink in huge quantities, away from adult supervision or socializing, and in ways that are very, very destructive.

I prefer European approaches, in which one can have a little beer or small glass of wine with the family (as I did with my parents as a child), and then can drink in pubs at 16, but cannot drive until 18, meaning that you learn how to drink in the company of adults and then take the bus home. In the US and A, on the other hand, you can drive at 16 and the only place you can drink is away from adults, so young people tend to get into their cars to be able to drink. But the irrational defenders of the US’s current approach, notably MADD, are more concerned with posturing than with actually reducing deaths from drunk drivers, so they persist in their MAD policies, usually articulated in the most irrational, shrill, and nasty way possible. MADD and their fanatical campaigns against reasonable laws governing alcohol are responsible for deaths on the highways. Their irrationality costs lives.

9 Responses to “Wow!!! Some Common Sense at Work….”

  1. Articulating things in the most irrational, shrill, and nasty way possible, Tom? Wow. It sounds like you’d be right at home in a conference with the MADD harpies.

  2. Here here! I was so glad to see this Amethyst Initiative getting some real momentum. It is about time we used a little common sense in dealing with alcohol (and maybe soon, but don’t hold your breath, drug) policy.

    The other thing that really bugs me about current alcohol policy, and one which isn’t getting as much attention in the coverage of this initiative, is the backdoor method that Congress took in making a de facto National Drinking Age. Those sorts of underhanded tactics circumvent the Constitution, and undermine the concept of Federalism. If we hadn’t made such a critical error like that back in the ’90s, we would currently have much more substantive data to inform the debate and base our decisions on, because certain states would’ve served as “laboratories” in which to test out the consequences of a lower limit.

  3. I’ve heard the MADD harpies. They are nasty, irrational, and shrill. If you question them, they accuse you of wanting more people to die. Rational argument doesn’t seem to matter to them at all.

  4. Agreed. Didn’t the founder of MADD leave because, in her opinion, MADD had become too restrictive in its policy prescriptions?

    Back in June, I posted the following comments on Cafe Hayek on the more general issue of child protection (

    As a European, I don’t get American hysteria about exposing kids to the real world. True trauma comes from neurotic parents overprotecting their children.

    I often meet American kids that read well and still believe in Santa Claus, who is shocked speechless at hearing a four-letter word, or who doesn’t know what sex is well past fertility age.

    The trauma theory is classic puritan PR. You can verify this by looking at cultures where children are taught about sex and allowed to drink at early ages. Children from these cultures start to drink and have sex about the same time, or later, than their American counterparts. So much for innocence.

    American adults are to lose their freedoms to this grand plan as well. Adults can’t swear, because a kid might hear it. Adults can’t use a recreational drug, because a kid may learn about it. Adults can watch what they want on TV because of uptight parents elsewhere.

    It’s just the Mayflower gene rearing its ugly head, and Americans would do well to discard this baggage.

  5. Alan Gura

    All of you miss the point.

    Don’t you remember waiting patiently for the clock to strike midnight on your 21st birthday, so you could finally discover what beer tastes like? It’s almost like waiting for Santa Clause! I fell asleep. Good thing I was wearing my helmet.

  6. Tom G. Palmer

    Yes, I agree that 20-year-olds are adults. I did not say I was opposed to people driving at 16 or 17. The combination of forbidding people to drink until 21 but allowing them to drive at 16 is irrational.

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