Thursday, August 21, 2008

What Have THEY Been Drinkin'?

Does anybody have a phone number for The FOX television network?
I have a TV show concept that I want to pitch: It’s called “Are You Smarter Than A University President?‘’
Last week, a group of 119 university presidents put their pointy little heads together and called for a reduction of the legal drinking age from 21 to 18.
The presidents say it is important to lower the legal drinking age to combat binge drinking on campus.
Oh, I see...
Well, no. I don’t.
These presidents claim that a lot of students under the age of 21 are prone to binge drinking because they have limited access to alcohol. Their theory: Because a person can’t buy a beer in a bar, he’ll buy 38 beers and drink them in the bushes someplace.
OK. First question:
True or false: The way to reduce abuse of a substance is to make it more readily available?
If your answer was, “Duh! False!’’ then congratulations! You Are Smarter Than A University President!
When this story first came out, I waited around for the punch-line, even checked the calendar to see if it was Chinese April Fool’s Day or something along those lines. Then it dawned on me that they were actually serious.
I listened to the arguments for reducing the legal drinking age limit to 18, as it was prior to 1984 when - as we all know - no one EVER binge drank.
Their argument is two-fold:
1. Under-age people binge drink because it is “forbidden fruit.’’ Make it legal to drink at age 18 and suddenly all these students will trade in Coronas for Calculus. (Dude! It's Saturday night! Let's study til we puke!'')
2. The legal drinking age of 21 isn’t working. People under 21 are drinking anyway! Shocking, huh?
Look, I’ve had three DUIs, even went to prison for DUI. I don’t claim to be an expert on many subjects, but I figure I have serious credentials when it comes to alcohol abuse.
And from where I sit (which is NOT on a bar stool , by the way), it is easy to see the deep flaws in both points.
1. For this premise to be true, you might expect that once a person turns 21 he immediately hangs up his beer bong and drinks only a glass of wine with dinner. Reality check time: Do you know any 21-year-olds? See what I mean?
Beyond that, the idea that making something legal diminishes its use is just plain goofy. I mean, under that theory, we should legalize murder, right? If that theory were true, abortions would have pretty much stopped after Roe v. Wade. Quite the opposite is true, as we all know.
2. This is equally nonsensical, even though it is embraced by Arizona Republic editorial writer Kathleen Ingley, who bemoaned the “failed law’ that raised the drinking-age limit to 21 in 1984.
Failed law? Ingley cited the fact that so many teens are drinking as proof of the failure of the law.
Interesting. I’ll go back to the law against murder. Every day, hundreds of people are murdered in the U.S. So, you see, the real problem here is that “failed law’’ against murder. At least that seems to be the way Ingley looks at it. I wonder what other bad things we could get rid of by simply changing the law that prohibits them? Just playing devil's advocate here, Kathleen, but could it possibly be the culture that is flawed and not the law?
But, really, what do all these university presidents hope to gain by calling for a change in the drinking age?
I suspect the real motive is that they are tired of being embarrassed by the torrent of booze that practically flows through their campuses, especially given the fact that 7 out of 10 students are under the legal drinking age. Furthermore, I suspect the presidents would like very much not to be held accountable for the overt law-breaking that transpires regularly on campus.
Me? I happen to favor the position held by Arizona senate candidate Russell Pearce (*K, Mesa) who plans to propose a law that would send anyone caught drinking under the age of 21 back to Mexico.
“But, hey, I’m not even FROM Mexico!’’ the offender might argue.
Well, too bad. You are a criminal and, the way Pearce sees it, all criminals should be sent to Mexico.
Now that I think of it, I think Pearce shouldn't be a senator; he should be a university president.
* Kook Party


Matthew Self said...


These ideas are based on the laws in Europe, where they don't seem to have the rampant alcohol abuse we have, save for the occasional soccer brawl.

The problem is you can't import European laws without importing a sensible European culture, and as you and I know, Americans don't take to European culture. It's too, you know, wimpy. Or something. They actually think a six-cylinder engine is the basis of a race car. Pfffft.

Personally, I think exposure to moderate/temperate drinking behavior at an early age is the best solution. How do you achieve that? I dunno. We're a pretty excessive culture.

CJinPhoenix said...

Slim -- Rather than get into a heated argument, I am going to refer you to the mission statement:

Who did it ever hurt to insert critical reasoning into a debate Except somebody that is on top but is being thoroughly unreasonable, that is.

I believe that you are siding with MADD on this subject(a group that even the original mother, Candy Lightener, can't love) ... And I am not. They are not being reasonable, sweetheart. They are leading you around through your emotions. I am going to beg you now to think about your position.

Keith said...


I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one my friend. You know me, and you know that I too have struggled with alcohol in the past. For that matter, I was also into some of the illegal drugs too. But I have not had a drink or drug in almost 8 years now.

If they can send you to war at 18, throw you in jail as an adult at 18, allow you to vote at 18, allow you to buy smokes at 18, then by all means they should allow you to drink at 18.

I grew up in Wisconsin and graduated High School in 1979. The drinking age was 18. I know that it may seem like it is easier to get for minors with a lower drinking age, but even if it is 21 like it is now, they WILL get it.

Responsible drinking is the key. I choose to not drink because it caused me problems and I could not do so responsibly. Hell, there are many adults that drink irresponsibly. Ever been to a sporting event? Go to a Sun's game, a Coyotes game, a Diamondbacks game, or try a Cardinals football game if you're brave.

Just my 2 cents man, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

You never answered my email about lunch. Hit me back.

Grace and Peace,