The Instigator
Pro (for)
12 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
8 Points

People should be required to have a "Liquor License" to purchase alcohol.

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,068 times Debate No: 16134
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (5)




This will be a three round debate:
For sake of this debate, the term "Liquor License" refers to a nationally recognized, regulated, and enforced 'alcohol purchasing card' which would be required to purchase alcohol of any nature. The card would be scanned, like an ATM card, with each purchase. To earn this card, one would have to pass an "alcohol awareness" program and be over 21 years old. Any alcohol-related legal offenses would result in the suspension, or cancellation, of the privilege of purchasing alcohol.

The Contenders "first round" is for acceptance or clarification questions.


Many thanks for posting up an interesting debate topic. I don't think I have any particular questions, (and am sure your opening round will clarify anything I am unsure about).

I look forward to the debate!
Debate Round No. 1


This is a topic that I don't hear discussed very often. It basically is a pretty simple argument and it comes down to whether or not purchasing alcohol should be a "right", as it is now...or a "privilege", as I will argue that it should be.

I'm a Libertarian by nature, I believe that adults should have the right to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't endanger others. However, I'm also a pragmatist. I believe that there should be rules and laws that make sense. The rule that says anyone 21 years or older has the "right" to purchase alcohol, without exception, makes NO sense.

The fact that alcohol-related offenses are directly responsible for 10's of thousands of deaths annually is really undebatable. Not only are there over 11,000 traffic deaths attributable to impaired driving, but there are countless 1,000's of other domestic violence, assaults, murders, and other various crimes committed while the perpetrator is intoxicated. Something practical HAS to be done about it.

It's my opinion that, like driving a car, purchasing (or consuming) alcohol should be a "Privilege". It should be a privilege because the misuse of alcohol directly affects, and threatens, the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of other citizens. Alcohol should only be consumed by individuals who are responsible enough not to endanger themselves, or others, while under it's influence. If it is proven that the individual will endanger themselves, or others, while under the influence - the privilege of consuming alcohol should be taken away from the a matter of Public Safety.

Implementing a national "Liquor License" program to protect the public from repeat alcohol-related offenders is the most practical, pragmatic, and efficient method of managing the unfortunate, and horrifying, realities of alcohol abuse.


Well done for a solid round.

I'd first like to point out some simple issues with a 'liqueor license' scheme.


You are basically proposing an ID card scheme that proves you have been to a course. Both the course and the production of ID cards would inevitably cost money, and for the scheme to be nationwide, you are talking an absolutely huge amount. Who do you expect to pay for this? Would it be down to the individual to pay for his course and license? Or would it come from taxpayers money (many of whom will not be drinkers).


It is true that alcohol related crime is high. But I want you to consider two things

1) The vast majority of people that consume alcohol consume it responsibly and are not involved in crime

2) I put forward that implementing an alcohol license would not stop alcohol related crime. It may actually cause an increase in crime, as people are forced to break the law in order to obtain alcohol. Just like under prohibition, you would be forcing thousands more citizens to becoming 'petty criminals', and this is an observable downhill slope.


To design a course and make license cards for alcohol purchasing rights the norm, you would be placing it in the same category as gun ownership. This is ridiculous. The gun is by nature a violent material. Alcohol is by no means necessarily so. Already the US has some of the strictest laws in the world about alcohol, and extending them further would simply be the government becoming control freaks.

I'm going use the example of drugs to defend alcohol. Drugs laws are extremely strict as we all know. But drug related crime is incredibly high. While I am not suggesting the legalization of drugs at all, I am merely suggesting that making alcohol laws stricter will not mean a reduction in crime levels. All it will mean is increased spending on an un-necessary program.

If you are so genuinely concerned about alcohol related crime, you should instead be arguing for its blanket ban rather than simply an ID card scheme through which you can provide little or in fact no proof that crime statistics will go down.
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks for your opening rebuttal - you brought up some very important issues that I'd like to address. However, the fact that you referred to the 'plan' as a 'scheme' in your opening sentence did give me a 'cause for pause'. By definition, the term 'scheme' is, "To make plans, esp. in a devious way or with intent to do something illegal or wrong".[1] How ever bold and progressive the plan is, it's definitely not devious! If some form of this idea could come into reality, literally millions of lives would be saved, or changed for the better.

Now, to address your issues:
1: COST - Yes. There are costs - anything of value costs something. What's the value of saving the lives of millions of innocent, responsible, people? As to who pays for it specifically, that's really for another debate, but I'm sure it would end up being some 'mix' of fees, taxes, etc. The real question in this regard should be, "Is it worth the cost?". My answer is easily, "YES!, YES!, YES!".
2:CRIME STATISTICS - "From 2000 to 2008, there were on average about 1,396,888 arrests made per year for driving under the influence (DUI) in the United States. This is based on Uniform Crime Reports from 2000 to 2008 of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation".[2] Wow...really? 1.4 million arrests a year!?!?
Do I really need to break the numbers down for you? These are JUST DUI arrests. It's mind-numbing to consider how many innocent lives are taken, or ruined, by alcohol.
Yes, most people drink responsibly. This plan would HELP protect them from the millions of people that don't. Is it perfect? Of course not! Will it save millions of lives? Over the years, it will save many millions of lives.
3:GOVERNMENT CONTROL GONE MAD - As a Libertarian, I'm particularly sensitive to this issue. I feel the same way as my opponent does in that the current alcohol and drug laws are ineffectual. This plan could be seen as the first step in a complete overhaul in governments view of 'intoxicating' substances, in general.

I believe that RESPONSIBLE adults should have the "right" to do as they please, as long as it doesn't, unknowingly, risk hurting someone else. The 'key' term there is "responsible". Does turning 21 years old make us "responsible"? Should we even have to be "responsible" to drink? Or, should we just have to be at least "21 years old"?

So, one might ask..."should a person have to DO something, besides aging, to indicate to society that they are a 'Responsible Adult'?". My answer is, "Yes, they should". I know that I'd feel a lot safer, and no matter the costs, we'd all be richer in the long run.



While my opponent professes that yes, his plan (if not scheme) would indeed be worth the huge monetary cost that it would inevitably induce, he cannot actually provide any proof whatsoever that his plan would
  • reduce alcohol related arrests
  • reduce achohol related deaths
  • reduce alcohol related crime in general

While it is easy to cite current statistics, it is more difficult to provide proof that they would be signficantly changed with the introduction of a 'liqueor license'. I feel an issue that my opponent has not successfully addressed is that introducing the liqueor license could potentially incriminate many more people and go as far as to cause more crime rather than reduce it.

While drink-drive caused deaths and alcohol related crime is something we can all come together to condemn, having an emotive knee-jerk reaction to it is not rational.

My opponent raises the issue of whether 21 years of age somehow makes us responsible and ready to purchase alcohol. He insinuites that a better judging of the responsibility of an individual would be through attending this course he ponders upon.

Yet I have several issues about this 'course'. With so little detail it is hard to criticise it effectively, but I can go so far as imagining that it would
a) not be very difficult to pass
b) i imagine many wouldn't take it seriously
c) my opponent himself can have no idea of how effective it would be and therefore it it is a waste of taxpayers money.

I also believe my opponent has underestimated costs. For a meaningful course that actually makes a difference to people and judges their 'responsibility', this is going to be more than a couple of hours in a community centre. Imagine the amount of people who would want to take the course immediately upon it being brought in. Absolutely millions of 300million population. Without being able to say how effective the new measure would be, you are unable to say that it would be worth the money.

I look forward to my opponents closing statement

Debate Round No. 3


This has been a great debate!!! Thank you to my opponent for accepting the challenge.

It seems that my opponent is focusing his argument on: 1) The Costs, 2) The Value (will it help?), & 3) How the "license" would be issued. Addressing the cost of the program at this stage of debate is a little like "putting the cart before the horse". As I stated previously, the cost would most likely be spread over various taxes (like an alcohol tax) and fees. My opponent pointed out that not everyone drinks - while this is very true, EVERYONE is affected by the 10% of people who drink irresponsibly.
As far as how to initiate the program, I would think that everyone currently over 21 would be "grand-fathered" in, and just issued a card. Once again, the important factor for individuals wouldn't be so much as getting the license, it would be more in KEEPING the license, by acting responsibly.

The most important aspect of my opponents concern is, 'will it help?'. Well, it sure SEEMS like it would. And, as Mike Brake points out in his article, "Needed: A license to Drink", "'Liquor License' is a good idea because it does not affect those 90% of Americans who don't have a drinking problem."[1] This isn't a new idea. It's been long recognized that, as a society, we need to do something proactive to combat this "blight". In an Newsweek article from 17 years ago, 1994, titled, "Needed: A License To Drink"[2], the author points out that, "Licensing drinking would acknowledge the growing medical consensus that roughly one drinker in 10 has a genetic predisposition for addiction."
In 1997, Etoile Pinder wrote in the Dartmouth newspaper titled, "Responsible Drinking is Not a Product of Age". In it, he reiterates my point that, "The whole concept of basing a person's ability to be a responsible drinker on a pre-selected age is, for lack of a better word, silly." No...this is NOT as crazy of an idea as it may have initially seemed.

Drinking and Driving is only a portion of the numerous problems caused by alcohol-impaired people. In a 2002 report from the University of Minnesota, titled, "Alcohol Abuse is a Serious Problem"[4], it is stated that, "Alarming proportions of accidents, crimes, suicides, and incidences of family violence and juvenile delinquency are the result of alcohol abuse by one or more family members." It went on to offer the following data from various Minnesota studies summarized by the Minnesota Prevention Resource Center.
41% of all deaths from falls,
30% of drowning deaths,
25% of boating deaths,
and 45 - 55% of fire fatalities are alcohol related.
55 - 75% of homicide victims and
40% of rape offenders had been drinking at the time of the incident;
50% of those who commit sex abuse crimes also abuse alcohol.
80% of all adolescent suicides have been reported to be children of alcoholic parents.
Family Violence:
In 44 - 70% of the reported cases of battered women, the offender was drunk.
70% of adult women alcoholics were sexually abused as children.
Children of alcoholic parents are twice as likely to develop their own alcohol problems.
Juvenile Delinquency:
82% of adjudicated delinquent adolescents had at least one alcoholic parent.

The numbers are staggering!!!

As I said in my opening statement, I'm a Libertarian, and a Pragmatist. This problem is not going to solve itself and it is a huge "blight" on our society. This plan makes total sense. It's good for everyone. It's doable, and it's long overdue!

Thank you for the opportunity to debate this subject :)



Many thanks for the great debate.


In his argument, Pro has successfully highlighted many alcohol associated problems. These problems aren't something I refute however. We all are aware of their existence. Simply stating them does nothing to support the validity of a 'liquor license'. Why not? Well, for the simple fact that Pro can provide no evidence or proof that a liquor license would do anything to alleviate any of the problems he has listed, and thus it worth the expenditure.

In brief, I do not feel that Pro has dealt satisfactoraly with the following points:

1. That a liquor license will alleviate current problems.

2. That a liquor license will not actually make criminals of more people.

3. That a liquor license would never be able to stop someones first offence. And if they have already committed a serious offence, then I somehow doubt they would mind breaking the law over acquisition of alcohol itself.

I do not think it is too early to raise ideas of cost. We have to know something is worth the money when considering if it is justifiable.

To conclude, while Pro makes valid arguments for the dangers and crimes associated with alcohol which we can both agree upon, he fails to successfully defend how a liquor license would actually curb any of this and thus be a valid program. I believe that in my arguments I have shown the shortcomings of said program, and even shown how it could potentially have a negative effect on society.

Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by i8JoMomma 5 years ago
your momma needs a license
Posted by andyh 5 years ago
conceded OreEle :), i'll take the tips on board
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
While Pro should have provided figures for a cost to benefit analysis, if you are going to say that it is going to be extremely expensive, there must be some foundation to make that claim, other than "Pro didn't provide numbers."

The second point was more of countering the crime stats by showing that different methods are not likely to get results. Again, while Pro should be showing that plan A would help this much, and plan B would help that much and plan C would go this far. Con can also show that there are no plans that would be effective, thus forcing Pro to put force a particular plan, rather than staying behind "something needs to be done".

It would also work to attack his statements that he is a pragmatist and that he has a plan. All he has really done is identify a problem and shown that, under basic cost theory that if we make it harder to do something, then less people will do it. By forcing him into an actual plan (either by making him accept one that you outlined, or by bringing up his own), you get something more physical to attack.
Posted by andyh 6 years ago
OreEle, with respect to your comment, I believe its for Pro to provide cost figures. If proposing a change to the status quo, it is not the person defending the status quo who should provide the figures. Needless to say, we can presume it would be extremely expensive.

You second point confuses me slightly, not quite sure what you mean.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
continuing from my RFD, I would have liked to see Con go into estimating how much it would cost each year. If similar to Driver's licences (being that it has to be renewed every 8 years), it would involve.

We have about 215 million people 21 and older. If they are all renewing every 8 years, that is about 26.88 million people per year. Pending how intense (and so how effective) the program is, it would easily be costing billions of dollars each year. Whether that is paid through a tax increase, a fee or service cuts elsewhere, it is still money that has to be paid.

Another thing that Con could have done would have been to attack more on how can we accurately measure the safety of people while on alcohol in a proactive manner rather than a reactive manner. Individual mental and emotional evaluations are going to be a boat load expensive (we'd start getting into the tens of billions of dollars) and then would only find the big problems, not all the little ones which are what add up to those 11,000 deaths a year.
Posted by andyh 6 years ago
i would like to correct a spelling mistake I made in my previous argument. If posted 'it is a waste of taxpayers money', it was supposed to be 'if it is a waste of taxpayers money'. cheers
Posted by CiRrK 6 years ago
This is actually an interesting policy proposal.....*CiRrK contemplates*
Posted by TrenchMouth 6 years ago
Thanks for commenting's kind of an "off-the-wall" subject. But, one worth contemplating. Actually, my thoughts are, "Make all drugs legal for adults willing and able to use them responsibly. Just a real basic informational test to qualify. That's really not the important part. Hell, GIVE everyone a license. It's theirs to lose.....
Posted by Dawg_Face 6 years ago
SOLID second round from both of you. I see both views and am looking forward to how this one plays out in the final round.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Dawg_Face 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: As much as I hate to admit it and completely disagree with Trenchmouth. He did make some very valid points. Andy did also, but I think Trenchmouth edged him out.
Vote Placed by Lionheart 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Although I do agree that rules around drinking need to be revised,and maybe a liquor license could be a good idea. Con made a better more clearly defined argument.
Vote Placed by KnowItAll 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: A "liquor license" is going to far. There are more effictive ways to combat repeat alcohol crimes such as DUI. In NY Leandra's law has made driving with a minor while under the influence a felony and all persons convicted of DUI must install a breathalyzer o their ignitions.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did source an argument, however did not really present enough warrant to justify that this course of action would produce a meaningful response.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt that Con did little than go over talking points. It kept refering that the plan would have a tremendous cost, but provided no evidence that it would be that expensive. He also dismissed that since Pro could not prove how many lives such a program would save, that it would still save lives. I would have liked to see Con go into more arguments. See comments for rest.