This essay will be about under age drinking, Californa legal drinking age is 21 so personal opnion, write about it should be younger than 21 or above for legal drinking.
It also has to be added short summary of this article
It was a day of shame for the Bushes, an incident made all the
more embarrassing by the family’s previous well-publicized diffi
culties with alcohol. I refer, of course, to the regrettable 1997
decision by then-governor George W. Bush to approve legislation
further toughening the penalties for underage drinking. In Texas,
the legal drinking age is 21. A typical Texan of 19—let’s call her
“Jenna”—is judged to be responsible enough to vote, drive, marry,
serve in the military, and (this is Texas) be executed, but she is
not, apparently, suffi ciently mature to decide for herself whether
to buy a margarita. The 1997 legislation made things worse: Miller
Time could now mean hard time, a possible six months in jail for
a third offense.
It is a ludicrous and demeaning law, but it has been policed
with all the gung-ho enthusiasm that we have come to expect in
a land where the prohibitionist impulse has never quite died. In
Austin, there is now a special squad of undercover cops dedicated
to fi ghting the scourge of teenage tippling. In other words, they
hang around in bars.
The crusade does not stop there. The Texas Commission
on Alcohol and Drug Abuse boasts a campaign called
“2young2drink,” which features billboards, a hotline (Denounce
your friends!), and a program enticingly known as “Shattered
Dreams.” Other efforts include the Texas Alcoholic Beverage
Commission’s sting operations (Make your kid a snoop!) and,
for those parents 2stupid2think, a helpful series of danger signs
compiled by the Texas Safety Network. One early indicator that
your child is drinking may be the “smell of alcohol on [his] breath.”
But it’s unfair to single out Texas. The legal drinking age has
been raised to 21 in every state, a dreary legacy of Elizabeth
Dole’s otherwise unremarkable tenure as President Reagan’s
transportation secretary. She is not apologizing; her only regret is
that the age of barroom consent was not increased to 24. In her Jihad against gin, Mrs. Dole forgot that the guiding principle of the
Reagan administration was supposed to be a reduction in the role
of the state.
And, as usual, government is not going to do any good. The
only circumstances in which the approach taken by the zerotolerance
zealots could have the faintest chance of success would be
in a society where alcohol was a rarity. Zero tolerance has been a
disastrous failure in the case of young people and illegal drugs;
how can it be expected to work with a product that is available
in every mall or corner store? Sooner or later, your child will be
confronted with that seductive bottle. The only question is how he
is going to deal with it.
Not well, if the Dole approach continues to hold sway.
Demonizing alcohol—and thus elevating it to the status of forbidden
fruit—is counterproductive. Adult disapproval magically
transforms that margarita from a simple pleasure into an especially
thrilling act of rebellion.
My parents avoided this error. Growing up in more tolerant
England, I could always ask them for a drink, and, fairly frequently,
I would even be given one. At least partly as a result, I went
through adolescence without feeling any need to drink a pint to
make a point. My drinks were for the right reasons. The only recollection
I have of any real parental anxiety in this area was when,
at the age of about 13, I accepted a brandy from a friend of the
family (an alleged murderer, as it happens, but that’s another story).
The worry was not the drink, but the uninsured glass containing
it: antique, priceless, and, as our host explained to my trembling
mother, quite irreplaceable. In the event, the glass survived me, and
I survived the drink.
Parents, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how and when
their offspring should be permitted to drink. Intelligent parents
don’t let alcohol become a big deal, a mystery or a battleground.
They teach its perils, but its pleasures, too. Have a bottle of wine
on the table, and let the kids take a gulp; it will not, I promise, turn
them into Frenchmen. Treat a drink as a part of growing up, as
something to be savored within a family, rather than guzzled down
in some rite to mark passage from that family.
Furthermore, too much of the discussion about alcohol in this
country refl ects prohibitionist fervor rather than scientifi c fact.
We act as if alcohol were a vice, a degenerate habit that can—at
best—be tolerated. In reality, it does not need to be apologized for.
Alcohol has been a valuable part of Western culture for thousands
of years. It can be abused, sure, but it can inspire as well as intoxicate,
illuminate as well as irritate. In excess, the demon drink merits
its nickname; in moderation, it can be good for you.
Ah yes, some will say, but what about drunk driving? They have
a point. While it is possible to debate the numbers, there can be
little doubt that the higher drinking age has coincided with a reduction
in the number of highway deaths. But has the price been
worth paying? The question sounds callous, particularly given the
horrors of the individual tragedies that make up the statistics, but
all legislation is, in the end, a matter of fi nding a balance between
competing rights, interests, and responsibilities. We could, for example,
save lives by denying drivers’ licenses to those over 65, but
we do not. We understand the trade-off: There is an interest in
safer roads, but there is also an interest in allowing older people
to retain their independence.
In the case of the drinking age, the balance has shifted too far
in one direction, away from individual responsibility and towards
government control. Raising the limit may have reduced drunken
driving, but the cost in lost freedom has been too high, and, quite
possibly, unnecessary: Alcohol-related auto accidents seem to
be falling in most age categories. The problem of teen DWI is
best dealt with directly, by strengthening the deterrents, rather
than obliquely, in the context of a wider attack on “underage”
drinking—an attack that might, in fact, ultimately backfi re on those
whose interest lies in combating the drunk at the wheel.
For the most striking thing of all about the minimum drinking
age of 21 is how unsuccessful it has been. A 19-year-old in
search of a drink will not have to hunt for long; just ask “Jenna.”
Almost impossible to police effectively, our current policy sends
a signal to the young that our legal system is capricious, weak,
occasionally vindictive, and not to be respected. In the interest
of enforcing important laws—such as those against drunk
driving—we should do what we can to make sure our young
people see the police not as interfering busybodies, but as
representatives of a mature, broadly respected moral order,
who are prepared to treat them as adults. Those who believe
government should be in the message-sending business should
pay a little more attention to the message they are really
sending, when they ask the police to enforce unenforceable—
and frankly indefensible—taboos.