The Instigator
NickyB
Con (against)
Winning
41 Points
The Contender
Justinisthecrazy
Pro (for)
Losing
35 Points

The drinking age should be lowered to age 18.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 21,080 times Debate No: 8283
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (12)

 

NickyB

Con

I'd like to start this by welcoming my opponent to the debate.

I do not believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Being 18 myself, I see drinking at any age to be simply a form of entertainment. This is where one might say, "Well, if it is just a form of entertainment, why not extend to offer to 18 year olds?" This is where I put my foot down.

There are very few benefits of alcohol to begin with and no positive benefits of alcohol that are necessary to have at age 18, and therefore, there is no reason for people between the ages of 18 and 20 to NEED to drink. To back this claim, I found this quote at http://www.peele.net... :

"Since generally only older individuals die of heart disease, the benefits noted for alcohol apply only to those over the age of fifty."

Now, with the positive effects out of the way, I'd like to move on to the negative effects of alcohol consumption and how they might affect people between ages 18 and 20. Alcohol at any age can lead to an increased risk of fatty degeneration of the liver, infection of the liver, liver cirrhosis, sleeping disorders, sexual problems, infection of the esophagus, infection of the stomach, infection of the pancreas, premature dementia, cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, intestines and breasts, hypertension, and heart problems. Enough said? I believe so. And scientific studies have shown that, though age 18 is considered adulthood, the organs of the average human being are not yet fully developed. While organs are developing, they are more susceptible to the negative effects listed above.

The aforementioned effects are only effects on the body, but the effects on the mind can be far worse. Alcohol inhibits the transfer of memory, lowers your personal judgment, impairs your vision, and greatly lowers your reaction time. Drunk driving kills approximately 17,000 people each year (http://ask.yahoo.com...), and the sad part is that most of the people that die weren't the ones that were drinking.

Try this on for size:
"Underage drinkers account for 11 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S., according to a new report released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University."
And how about this:
"Almost 8.6 million youths ages 12 to 17, over one third of this age group, used alcohol in the past year, more than 650,000 (2.6 percent) reported heavy alcohol use, and nine million engaged in at least one delinquent behavior in the past year."
(http://alcoholism.about.com...)

With this said, I'd now like to allow my opponent to state their opening argument.
Justinisthecrazy

Pro

We Would All be Better off if the Drinking Age were 18

"I think we would all be better off if the drinking age were 18," says the President of Dartmouth College, Dr. James Wright. He remembers the days before the drinking age was raised to 21. At that time academic departments had open house and served sherry, students commonly gathered with faculty with drinks. Dr. Wright says "I think it's unfortunate we find ourselves in the position that we enforce a law that most of us believe doesn't treat students as adults." 1

President Wright emphasizes that "if the nation could send 18-year-olds to Iraq and if the College could send its students to off-campus programs in places where drinking was not regulated below age 21, then it should be deemed reasonable that students be able to drink legally at age 18 in the United States.

Consider the fallacy of the prohibition that now governs almost every U.S. institution of higher learning. At freshman orientation, half of the students are already "regular" drinkers by some definition. The newcomers immediately become members of a peculiarly narrow community.

Almost everyone is within a five-year age bracket. Through fraternities, sororities, other social organizations, dating, and less formal socializing, this narrow age group (18-22) thoroughly intermingles. Yet in any social setting where alcohol is present, the law says those 21 and older may drink beer, wine and distilled spirits in unlimited quantities as long as they do not drive or appear intoxicated in public; those age 20 years, 364 days or younger must stick with soft drinks or become lawbreakers.

Should anyone be surprised that zero tolerance is met with rebellion and rule breaking? Outlandish behavior is a typical reaction to prohibition, which is why the illegal speakeasies were always bawdier than the public bars that the Volstead Act shut down. The modern age-based prohibition seems to be working no better than the 1920s version; while a smaller percentage of young adults are now drinking, a sizable minority is drinking recklessly. Is there a ready solution? We offer one for consideration and debate: a provisional drinking license.

The current United States legal drinking age is 21. Many United States citizens disagree with this age. Many believe that the age to legally be able to purchase, consume or possess alcohol should be 18. A United States Citizen is allowed to vote when they are 18 years of age. 18 year old males are forced to join the Selective Service, for possible drafting. This means that 18-year old males can go to war. At age 18, a citizen is also inclined to jury duty. So, an 18-year old is given the responsibilities of voting, being selected for jury duty, and possibly being drafted for war. If an 18-year old citizen is to be given these responsibilities, why is the legal drinking age 21? Does the U.S. Government not trust those of us under 21? They trust us with their votes, yet they cannot treat us like full adults for another 3 years!

Surely that does not seem such as justice.

When drinking is legal, it takes place in the open, where it can be supervised by police, security guards and even health-care workers. When the drinking age went up, the spigot wasn't turned off, it was simply moved underground--to homes or cars or frat-house basements--where no adult could keep an eye on things. When kids who are drinking on the sly do venture out, they often "pre-load" first, fueling up on as much alcohol as they can hold before the evening begins so that the buzz lasts as long as possible. As for the reduction in traffic fatalities? Skeptics believe it may have less to do with changing the drinking age than with the new mores about drunk driving and the more aggressive enforcement of DUI laws.

It works in other countries

A good example is United Kingdom. The legal drinking age is 18 years for purchasing these alcoholic beverages however; they can drink this when they are only 5 years old with permission of their parents.

Most countries have a legal drinking age of 18 years but there are several countries in Europe with a lower drinking age of 16 years old like Belgium, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Italy and some others. There are even countries with no legal drinking age at all like Armenia and some others. The laws are changing all the time and it should be wise to have the same legal drinking age in all the countries of the world.

The United States may already be lowering the drinking age

" all quoted from article "

Despite the risk of penalties, however, seven US states are exploring lowering the drinking age - partly for under-age Iraq war vets and more broadly in recognition that teenagers are going to drink anyway.

"If you can take a shot on the battlefield you ought to be able to take a shot of beer legally," said Fletcher Smith, who has sponsored legislation to lower the drinking age in South Carolina.

Kentucky, Wisconsin, and South Carolina have introduced legislation to lower the drinking age for troops to 18.

Four other states - Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, and most recently Vermont - would extend the privilege to the general population. However, South Dakota would only allow 18-20 year olds to buy low-alcohol beer. Advocates of a lower drinking age argue that teenagers are drinking, and that the secrecy encourages binge drinking among young people.

"Our laws aren't working. They're not preventing underage drinking. What they're doing is putting it outside the public eye," Hinda Miller, a Vermont state senator, told reporters yesterday, after a committee took up her bill to study lowering the drinking age.

"So you have a lot of kids binge drinking. They get sick, they get scared and they get into trouble and they can't call because they know it's illegal."
http://www.guardian.co.uk...

"back to my words"

so, it works in other countries, you can vote, you can go to war, it is under consideration, and the already started rebellion would be quelled. So lower the drinking age to 18
Debate Round No. 1
NickyB

Con

Thank you Justinisthecrazy, for joining in this debate, and for the impressive opening argument. This is where my challenge begins.

Just a little background on my belief in the negative (that I should have stated in my opening statement):

My mother started drinking after her and my father split. It started out as an "I'm lonely, and it keeps my mind off of things" habit. As time progressed, she became worse and worse to the point where she would become, not only verbally abusive, but physically abusive as well. She eventually ended up going to jail for a week and was released into a strict rehabilitation facility, where she was to stay for six months or more. She has since been released, and, though she doesn't drink anywhere near as much as she used to, she still, to this day, will get drunk at least once or twice a week. My relationship with my mother has not, and will not, and cannot be the same as it was before her alcoholism.
Granted this is about my relationship with my mother, who is not between ages 18 and 20, but in her early 40's, I have still seen alcohol destroy the lives of my friends (all underage), not only socially, but physically.

I'm not saying this for pity votes, only to show the voters just what kind of effect alcohol can have on people.

Now, to quote a quote from my opponent:

"'I think we would all be better off if the drinking age were 18,' says the President of Dartmouth College, Dr. James Wright."

I'd like to have my opponent answer this question:

How, but more importantly why, do people between the ages of 18 and 20 NEED alcohol?

I would also like to define the term "need" as I would like it to be expressed in my inquiry:

need n.
1. A condition or situation in which something is required or wanted: crops in need of water; a need for affection.
2. Something required or wanted; a requisite: "Those of us who led the charge for these women's issues … shared a common vision in the needs of women" (Olympia Snowe).
3. Necessity; obligation: There is no need for you to go.
4. A condition of poverty or misfortune: The family is in dire need.

I am referring to "need" as it is referred to in the third definition.

Now here is the argument I ALWAYS see the affirmative turn to, and where I happen to love to see it turn to:

"'If the nation could send 18-year-olds to Iraq and if the College could send its students to off-campus programs in places where drinking was not regulated below age 21, then it should be deemed reasonable that students be able to drink legally at age 18 in the United States.'"

Soldiers and students in exchange programs are given the OPTION to participate. They are not required (unless soldiers are drafted, but the act of war is entirely incomparable to the act of drinking alcohol). Sure, drinking is also an OPTION that people who partake in the activity choose to do, but it's not always THEM that die in the car accidents. It's not always THEM that become emotionally traumatized by THEIR actions further down the road.

My opponent also stated that legalized drinking can be expressed out in the open where it can be monitored by police and other securities, whereas illegal drinking is hidden in basements and frat-houses. Though it IS illegal and, I in no way support it, how is this bad? It keeps a large percentage (11% of all consumed alcohol, as I stated in the first round) of people off the streets where they have access to vehicles.

Granted most of my arguments in this round apply to ages beyond those confined in underage drinking, my argument still applies:

If drinking has no benefits, other than health benefits (which as I quoted in the first round, don't come about until around age 50), and has more negative effects on peoples' lives than those where it has no effect at all, then the drinking age should not be lowered. And if it is to be a true consideration, it should AT THE VERY LEAST not be a priority.

I'm not sure which section of my opponent's argument he states as being "all quoted from article", but his effort in strong, emotionally-backed personal opinion seems to be truly lacking. I say this, not to discredit my opponent, but to show the voters that I have a strong reason that can be held up, not by university studies and facts off the internet, but by my own personal experience. By my heart.

Thank you
Justinisthecrazy

Pro

I also would like to bring up that lowering the drinking age to 18 or lower like it already is in several countries is not a bad thing because it teaches tolerance and moderation. Moderation is a must and that is what it promotes look at the European model. Look in the above to my united Kingdom point it is untouched.

It is a privilege to drink alcohol not a need. Also, we are debating the drinking age be lowered no that 18-20 year olds NEED to drink. That is a different topic for a different debate. Isn't also a privelege or a choice to fight for your country? In some cases yes, in others were your drafted no. Well, were not talking about smoking so that age doesn't matter. Also, enlisting is not VOLUNTARY rather it is MANDATORY that every 18 year old male sign the papers in case of DRAFT. old enough to fight but not to drink.

We are not debating the effects of alcohol but rather whether it should be legal or not. There are positive and negative effects for everything.

The policing is easier when it is public as i have stated. he does not deny that. You can save more lives by making it legal because underage people will not be drinking heavily and not be able to call anyone if they get hurt or there friends pass out. This is because they do not call because they will get into higher or deeper trouble. By having it legal it will be better to help people who abuse it. But it will teach moderation as shown above so it will not be abused as much.

. The fact that most college-age youth cannot legally drink alcohol makes many of them want to drink...and drink in large quantities...more than they would if it were legal. In the 1920s, the Prohibition laws banned the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. This law failed miserably as alcohol consumption became rampant behind closed doors. By 1933, the law was overturned. Some researchers argue that raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 is, as Smith says, "America's second experiment with Prohibition" which is "no more effective than the first one.

One of the most telling points on their side is that drinking bans tend to increase alcoholism. During Prohibition, the U.S. rate actually increased, and economists have discovered something called the Iron Law of Prohibition: The more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes. Which sounds a lot like binge-drinking, doesn't it?

So, in reality the higher drinking age increases younger age drinking and by lowering the drinking age we can stop this injustice.

I would like again to talk about it is not a need so therefore the need or neccesity arguement isn't there we are just talking about legalizing the drink age not whether or not it is a need to drink at that age. Because as shown it is a choice.

Thank you i look forward to my opponents closing arguement
Debate Round No. 2
NickyB

Con

Thanks again Justinisthecrazy, for your quick rebuttal.

I acknowledge that the drinking age in other countries is lower and that they do drink in moderation, but it has been so since their laws were enacted and because of that they are expected to respect that privilege. If the United States dropped the drinking age to 18, we have not, even at age 21 and up, learned to respect our privileges to consume alcohol. Why do people between the ages of 18 and 20 deserve to drink if not even their elders can do so appropriately?

I also understand that this debate is not about whether or not people ages 18 to 20 NEED to drink alcohol, and I'm sorry if I was unclear. Let me restate the question in a manner that more suits the debate topic:

Why does the drinking age need to be lowered to 18 if people don't NEED to drink?

In other words, if the law is set at age 21 and does not NEED to be lowered to 18 for any reason whatsoever, then why should it be enacted?

I have already clarified my point on "old enough to fight, but not too drink", but as I stated, the draft situation is a different story. Do with it what you will, but when you go to war, either forced or at your own will, you are not taking innocent lives with you. When you drink and drive, anyone around you is a potential target for disaster.

Here, my opponent reminds me that:

"We are not debating the effects of alcohol but rather whether it should be legal or not. There are positive and negative effects for everything."

Which is kind of ironic because we are not even debating on whether or not alcohol should be legal or not. We are debating on whether or not the drinking age should be lowered to 18, but I would still like to give my opponent the benefit of the doubt. Let me explain my information:

I let my opponent and the voters know about the positive and negative effects of alcohol consumption because, if we WERE to extend the offer to people between the ages of 18 and 20, it would only be a burden, and therefore should not be enacted as a law.

"The policing is easier when it is public..."

This is true, but has policing stopped drunk driving amongst people ages 21 and over? It HAS lowered the rate, but NO it HAS NOT entirely eradicated the issue. Drunk driving amongst people ages 18 to 20 is not anywhere near as big of an issue as it is amongst their elders for reasons the even my opponent as stated before, and I reasons I will state again for clarification:

"When the drinking age went up, the spigot wasn't turned off, it was simply moved underground--to homes or cars or frat-house basements..."

Now when my opponent says that drinking was moved "to cars" I'm assuming he means that people park their cars in parking lots and have a few beers with their friends because he was talking about underage drinking NOT being policed. If they were drinking and driving, it WOULD be policed. So, with what my opponent stated, isn't the fact that underage drinkers choose to remain immobile whilst drinking a good thing? It keeps them off the roadways, so they don't drag innocent lives down with them. Lowering the drinking age would put them (though still illegal) on the streets.

My opponent's next argument, which I'd like to refer to as the "No Trespassing Metaphor" is a common argument for the Pro side of these debates:

"The fact that most college-age youth cannot legally drink alcohol makes many of them want to drink..."

This is a hard argument to combat, but I will do my best. It is true that, when a privilege is cut off to certain people, they are more likely to try and achieve that privilege through any means possible. In this situation, it's underage drinking. If we extend this privilege to people between ages 18 and 20, sure they are less likely to consume large amounts of alcohol, but MORE people will be drinking because there is no fear of being caught. When more people drink, that adds to a higher concentration of potential drunk drivers on the road.

In my opponent's last clarification he states:

"I would like again to talk about it is not a need so therefore the need or neccesity argument isn't there we are just talking about legalizing the drink age not whether or not it is a need to drink at that age. Because as shown it is a choice."

He agrees that drinking is not a need, which, if you browse back up to my restatement, I made this argument relative to the debate, so it has now returned to the debate.

It seemed to me as though my opponent felt threatened by me, and I would just like to let him know that I am in no way trying to be malicious, I am just trying to form my rebuttal in the most effective way possible.

I would also like to thank my opponent because, in his rebuttal, he seemed to use more personal knowledge than mindless facts, so thank you Justinisthecrazy. I can't wait to see your closing argument.
Justinisthecrazy

Pro

well again I would like to say we are not debating whether or not people at age 18 NEED to drink and we can go with his definition of need. But it is not required as I stated before it is a privelege and that privelege should be allowed for 18 year olds.

"This is true, but has policing stopped drunk driving amongst people ages 21 and over? It HAS lowered the rate, but NO it HAS NOT entirely eradicated the issue. Drunk driving amongst people ages 18 to 20 is not anywhere near as big of an issue as it is amongst their elders for reasons the even my opponent as stated before, and I reasons I will state again for clarification"

No issue can truly be eradicated you will have people abuse everything. Take the welfare system for example. Thousands of people who do not need welfare cheat and lie so they can receive it. I am not saying abuse is right but you can not truly eradicate an issue that is like trying to eradicate your thought process or your feelings.

"Now when my opponent says that drinking was moved "to cars" I'm assuming he means that people park their cars in parking lots and have a few beers with their friends because he was talking about underage drinking NOT being policed. If they were drinking and driving, it WOULD be policed. So, with what my opponent stated, isn't the fact that underage drinkers choose to remain immobile whilst drinking a good thing? It keeps them off the roadways, so they don't drag innocent lives down with them. Lowering the drinking age would put them (though still illegal) on the streets."

And as you stated if they were on the roadways it WOULD be policed. So, your point seems kind of self refuting.

Also, I would like to ask how can irrefutable evidence (facts) be mindless? Just throwing that out there.

"I acknowledge that the drinking age in other countries is lower and that they do drink in moderation, but it has been so since their laws were enacted and because of that they are expected to respect that privilege. If the United States dropped the drinking age to 18, we have not, even at age 21 and up, learned to respect our privileges to consume alcohol. Why do people between the ages of 18 and 20 deserve to drink if not even their elders can do so appropriately?"

MY opponent says that other countries do drink in moderation with a lower drinking age. Yet, he uses no evidence to back up how the United States could not do that by lowering the drinking age. I happen to think it would and my evidence are countries like the United Kingdom or Germany.

I will brink up the same point I have been bringing up if you are old enough to fight in a war draft or not. Than you should be allowed to drink.

If you can vote for president and impact your country in a political way. You should be able to drink

If you can decide the decision in a rape or murder case (jury duty) you should be allowed to drink.

So, it seems very very unjust that the government can trust you in selecting its officials, risking your life for it and decided someone's fate for a crime they have or have not committed, to not let you drink.

Surely, the drinking age must be lowered to 18 for the above arguments. I thank my opponent for the debate. And I thank the voters.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by valdez 8 years ago
valdez
i think dirking should remain at 21 and not go down to 18. when your 18 your not only inmacher but also irresponsible drinking just make it worse. when your 18 you don't even no how to handle you liquor. drinking is not only bad for you it can destroy your life in a matter of seconds. to give a 18 year old a big responsibility like that is like giving a 10 year old a gun it stupid irresponsible and dos int make sense
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 8 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
wow this debate is so close and unfortunately not in a definite voting period :(
Posted by Gabby042 8 years ago
Gabby042
Vote pro
Posted by ninjaraygun 8 years ago
ninjaraygun
voted pro.... margaritas are good.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 8 years ago
Cody_Franklin
RFD: In this debate, I REALLY wanted to vote CON, because that's where my personal opinion lies; however, there were a few things that produced a PRO vote;
-CON throws a lot of statistics at me in round 1, but does not really impact their significance, nor does he pull many of them through afterward.
-PRO Provides accurate historical and present-day examples to support his argument, which makes it far more believable in my opinion.
-PRO's "forbidden fruit" argument (or as CON like to call it, the No Trespassing Metaphor): The CON tries to refute it, but I don't buy the CON's assumption that drinking alcohol is inherently immoral, so the "MORE people will be drinking..." argument didn't do it for me.
-I was very glad when the PRO pointed out all the different times that the CON's arguments basically refuted themselves, and also all the different little things that the CON admits to that really strengthen the PRO position.

So, I wanted to say that this was a really close round, a very difficult decision, but, after pitting the CON's single, very emotional, very subjective experience against the PRO's worldwide view of the resolution, it was definitely a clear decision. Had to give it to PRO.
Posted by MidnightRambler 8 years ago
MidnightRambler
I believe that if you put strict laws on the drinking age you are only encouraging people to drink more. I am from the UK and over here the drinking age is 18, its hard to buy alcohol in supermarkets and the police put hours of valuable police time in trying to tackle underage drinking or as we call it 'binge drinking'....the result is we have the worst drinking habits in europe (thats a fact...)...every weekend you can go down town and find loads of young people (many aged below 18) f**cked outta their heads on alcohol....yet we have so much time devoted to the authorities to tackle this problem.

I beleive that the more a state tries to be hard and restrictive with this type of issue the biger the backlash will be. In Holland, France and even Spain young people grow up with alcohol (young people in France have red wine with their meal from a very younbg age)...France has no problems with drinking because they are responisble from a young age, treated like adults and know how to drink in moderation...the same is in Holland where they have absolutely no problems with binge drinking (apart from Brits going over there on holiday making asses of themselfs)

In breif...the more you try and stamp something which is really pretty innocent out...the bigger the backlash will be...i started drinking when i was 13....i drink in moderation...drink is fun....drinking is part of what makes a great night out....and the old confidence with women goes shooting up, so there you are....it does have some benefits. x
Posted by NickyB 8 years ago
NickyB
Isn't that like saying, "I think the person that invented pens wrote their idea down?" XD
Posted by yeahyeah21 8 years ago
yeahyeah21
I think whoever came up with the idea of drinking alcohol was drunk to begin with.
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