The minimum legal drinking age is 21 years. Each year thousands of students graduate from high school and in celebration, they hold house parties which include alcohol consumption. Most of these high school leavers are under the age of 21.
During this period, there are always numerous debates coming up about whether to lower the legal drinking age or not, however while this is going on, teenagers under 21 become binge drinkers (Seaman, 2006). As most of them are under the alcohol buying age, they use illegal means like faking identification to be allowed to buy alcoholic drinks. The government is spending millions of dollars in a campaign to maintain to maintain the MLDA of 21. The government considers 18 year old teenagers as immature and that they are not able to make the right decisions.
Legal age of 18
How can the government consider 18 year olds not mature to make decisions and yet at this age they are considered adults? The very definition of an adult is that one has attained a mature age, which is 18. The key word here is mature, therefore to go against this and say 18 year olds are not mature to make informed choices on alcohol consumption, is going against the law. The legal age makes an individual independent, the teenagers who have attained this age are allowed to move out of their parents’ houses, get jobs and even get married and have their own children. Curtailing alcohol consumption at this age goes against the fundamental rights of the young adults.
Military drafting and voting
It is so ironical that the government considers 18 year olds adults, when the situations work on their favour, and yet oppose the same young adults when it comes to alcohol. This is a double standard employed by government. If these young adults are not allowed to consume alcohol by virtue of their age, then they should also not be allowed to be drafted in to the military. However, 18 year olds are considered adults who can vote, join the military, hold public offices, be tried as adults; they can hold jobs and are expected to pay taxes.
In this sense they are just like any other adults in the society. If they are mature enough to make the decisions to join the military and go to war and even die for their country, then they should also be allowed to consume alcohol. When politicians want to get to office or seek re-election, they do not discriminate against who votes for them, all votes are the same to them. A large number of the voters going by the recent voting trend seem to be the young adults who have just attained the legal age to vote. They are enthusiastic and ready to exercise their rights. If the politicians expect them to make the right choices when it comes to voting, then they are adult enough to take alcohol (Wechsler, 2002).
There is no justification in arguing that the 18 year olds are less tolerant than 21 year olds. In some cases, the situations are reverse.
Not all 18 year olds are immature; most of them have developed psychological and analytical character. Prohibiting them from legally buying and consuming alcohol will only promote rebellion and crimes related to alcohol, like driving under the influence of alcohol.
Seaman, B. (2006).
Binge: What your college student won’t tell you. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons ltd. Wechsler, H. (2002). Dying to drink: Confronting binge drinking in college campuses. New York: St. Martin’s Press.