Underage drinking is a harsh but true reality. The cause of this widespread epidemic has been debated. In my opinion, the most likely cause is respect, or lack thereof. If a teen doesn’t respect or agree with a rule he or she is unlikely to follow it. Many might write off these underage drinkers as immature or rebellious. However, they might just be the ones who are right. Is the legal drinking age unreasonable?
Alcohol has always been a staple of Christian culture. When the government stuck its hands into the laws regarding alcohol restriction, it’s almost like they were trying to control religion. The role of
the government is to be non-secular and yet when a law such as the drinking age came into being, it extended its reach too far.
Only 26 of 50 states allow underage drinking for religious purposes. That means that in 48 percent of the United States those under 21 cannot legally consume alcohol, even at church. That doesn’t sound very non-secular to me.
Let us not forget the governments failed attempts at regulating alcohol in the past. Its attempt to remove alcohol resulted in the rise of mobs, gangsters and illegal bars. Prohibition marked one of the highest crime rates in American history, proving that some things just might be better left alone.
The effects of alcohol on teens are exponentially larger than on adults yet smoking has similar if not more severe effects on teens. However, the government has given teens the opportunity to choose that horrible substance on their own by setting the smoking age at 18.
If the government is allowing teens to ruin their bodies with tobacco at the tender age of 18, then teens should also have the choice to consume alcohol. I’m not saying the drinking age should necessarily be lowered, but the two laws should reflect each other. The current law is hypocritical.
Furthermore, the government has declared that in 49 of 50 states, those as young as 18 can get married. With that in mind, only newlyweds in six states can have a drink at their wedding reception without parental consent.
This brings me to the question: should the legal marriage age be raised? If the government has deemed 18 year olds too young to responsibly consume alcohol then, by that logic, they are too young to enter into a marriage. Marriage is commonly seen as a big step into adulthood and a huge life commitment, so if people as young as 18 are trusted with that kind of responsibility, why are they not trusted to consume alcohol? As with smoking, I believe these two laws should reflect each other: either both are allowed at 18 or neither.
All of these examples are enough to convince me that something needs to change in regards to government regulation. Multiple solutions are available; it’s just a matter of choosing them. Maybe the smoking age should be raised to 21. Maybe the drinking age should be lowered. Maybe teen marriage should be outlawed. The ball is in Washington’s court now.