The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
26 Points

"The minimum legal drinking age should be age 25"

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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: 11/11/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 39,058 times Debate No: 13629
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)




The resolution is "The minimum legal drinking age should be age 25"
Drinking – consumption, possession, or purchasing of alcoholic beverages.
I will argue that such a law will (a) protect oneself from harm (b) protects others from harm

(a)Protect oneself from harm

The government to some extent should protect us from unreasonable and preventable harms. Certain drugs are illegal. There are seatbelt and helmet laws. Gambling is heavily regulated. People cannot always make the most rational decisions and these decisions could have detrimental permanent effects on the lives of one.

Overall, any benefit or joy alcohol can bring is minimal compared to the greater harms alcohol causes. Although alcohol is harmful to everyone, alcohol harms adolescents much more than older adults. One's brain does not complete development until the age of 25. This time marks a critical period for neurodevelopment. The mind has not fully formed its critical and rational thinking abilities. [1] Studies show that alcohol is deterrent to the process [2] Not only does alcohol consumption affect the brain, it also affects female maturation and reproduction abilities during adolescents [3]. Not only that, but because of an adolescents inability to rationally think or make good judgments, they are more likely to binge drink or engage in heavy alcohol consumption than any other group[4], an action that has obvious negative health effects include liver and brain problems. Many suicides, homicides, motor vehicle accidents and accidental falls are alcohol related [5]. Homicide suicide and accidents are the three leading causes of death among teens. [6] It is unnecessary that alcohol causes the deaths and harmful effects of hundreds of thousands of youth.

(b)Protects others from harm

The government main purpose is to protect harm from others. Innocent bystanders receive the negative spillover effects of alcohol.

In the United States, before the law raised the minimum drinking age to 21, John Volpe Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving stated:
"Those between 16 and 24, although making up only 20 percent of licensed drivers, they are involved in more than 42 percent of fatal alcohol related crashes" [7]
The minimum age drinking age of 21 has effectively reduced the number of fatal crashes involving the use of alcohol[8].

Violent crimes, including homicide, a vast amount committed youth, are also often alcohol related.

(c) Overall benefit to society if minimum drinking age 25

As demonstrated previously, alcohol destroys intelligence. Modern society would not be able to have such great inventions, leisure, and economic growth if it were not for the brilliant inventors, engineers and scientists that have shaped modern day society. Where would we be if Einstein or Nicholas Carnot spent their youth drinking alcohol?


Alcohol overall is harmful both to oneself, to others, and to society in general. Although it is harmful to everyone, it affects those under 25 the worse. The vast amount of unnecessary death it causes is atrocious.



I thank darkkermit for the topic.

==Burden of proof==

As the instigator, affirmative, and the one advocating a change to the status quo, my opponent has the burden of proving that changing the drinking age from 21 to 25 would be a good idea.


(a) protect oneself from harm

My opponent assumes here that the paternalism principle – that government should protect us from ourselves – is sound. However, John Stuart Mills explains that we know our own preferences better than the government. [1] If someone over 21 gets more value from drinking alcohol than the potential detriment to her brain or liver, then she has the right to choose to consume alcohol. Libertarian ethics argue, in contrast, that if something does not harm others, the government should not regulate it.

My opponent cites a few examples of good paternalistic policies:

---The war on drugs---

The war on drugs is largely considered a failure. [2] People simply refuse to stop using drugs in spite of their illegality, leading to the development of large crime networks for drug smuggling. James Gray of Rice University points out that it is easier for a teenager to purchase drugs in this country, than to purchase alcohol. [3] Mark Thornton of the Cato Institute points at that Alcohol Prohibition was equally a failure, and merely contributed to a rise in organized crime due to alcohol smuggling. [4]


Lives saved due to seatbelts are mostly attributable to public education campaigns. [5] Even so, if people are dumb enough not to wear seatbelts, it's their right to risk their lives for the marginal comfort benefits.


A study of 2500 overtaking motorists in the U.K. found that cars pass much closer to cyclists wearing helmets than those without, negating the safety benefits; thus, "a blonde wig is safer than a helmet." [6] People should get to choose if they want to accept the safety risks of wearing a helmet.

---My opponent argues that people's brains aren't fully developed until age 25---

A federally funded MRI study on maturity levels looked at 12,000 brain connections in 238 volunteers and found that the brain is done developing by age 21. [7]

---My opponent argues that alcohol impedes adolescent development---

Adolescents are, by definition, under the age of 21 and thus cannot drink under current law.

All the other detriments of alcohol are not unique to people aged 21-25, so they are irrelevant. My opponent is not advocating that alcohol be entirely banned, so he should limit his arguments to this age group.

(b) protect others from harm

My opponent notes that since the implementation of a minimum drinking age law in 1984, drunk driving deaths have declined among young people. What he fails to mention is that a significant public health campaign started during this time period involving groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). A good test of the minimum drinking age law is to see whether adult drunk driving fatalities also declined during this period.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 1982 and 2008, adult drunk driving deaths declined by 5,585, a decline of 35 percent. [8] This proves that drunk driving fatality declines are due, in large part, to education campaigns telling people to assign a designated driver and due to raising awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. The educational video Red Asphalt should convince anyone not to drive drunk.

My opponent's statistics here also go to prove that people don't stop drinking and driving between the ages of 16 and 21, in spite of a minimum drinking age law.

Lastly, the right to drink alcohol should be considered separate from issues regarding drunk driving. The dangers of drunk driving only prove that drunk driving should be illegal. Something being dangerous while driving is not a good standard for banning something entirely. Reading a book while driving is extremely dangerous. This doesn't mean reading should be banned entirely.

A raised drinking age on the basis of drunk driving would be unfair to the vast majority of drinkers who never get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.

---Alcohol related crime---

Alcohol related crime, again, is not specific to the age group 21-25. My opponent takes no actions against a 26 year-old drunk husband who beats his wife, but punishes all 21-25 year-olds for the actions of a 24 year-old drunk husband who beats his wife.

(c) overall benefits to society of a drinking age of 25

My opponent, again, fails to show any benefit of denying the specific age group 21-25 of alcohol privileges. I agree that Einstein should not be binge drinking at age 14. I, however, uphold his right to choose whether or not to drink after the age of 21.

==My case==

C1) Revoking a right is impractical

There will be significant backlash against raising the drinking age, among people who are between the ages of 21-25. These people have grown accustomed to the right to drink and will go to significant lengths to circumvent the new law.

C2) Damages social lives

Most people's social lives post-college (ages 22 and up) revolve around bars, nightclubs, and house parties. Many co-workers get to know each other outside work during happy hours. Denying alcohol consumption to working-age 22-25 year olds is extremely harsh, will limit their friendship circles, and will prevent them building relationships with co-workers.

C3) Career opportunities

Many business deals are struck over alcohol – the new law would hurt people's business opportunities if they are 25 or under. According to David Hanson, Ph.D., "Sharing an alcoholic drink is a common part of doing business around the world. There's an expectation that people will indulge in alcohol on business-social occasions and it's useful in building business relationships." [9]

C4) Treats the issue incorrectly

Raising the drinking age treats alcohol consumption as an issue of criminal justice instead of as an issue of public health. I've already shown how criminal justice (War on Drugs, Alcohol Prohibition during the 1920's) fails, and how public health education campaigns (seatbelts, drunk driving) succeed.

C5) Diminished likelihood of calling for help

If drinking is "illegal," people are less likely to call for help when someone gets alcohol poisoning. [10] This often leads to death.

C6) Increases risky behavior

Pushing drinking for 21-25 year-olds out of public places (bars, nightclubs), behind closed doors, increases risky behavior like binge drinking. According to Professor John McCardell, the law would create "a dangerous culture of irresponsible and reckless behavior, unsupervised binge and extreme drinking." [11]

C7) It's a right

The act of drinking itself doesn't harm others. It, therefore, ought to be considered a right, and rights should not be unjustly revoked by the government.


My opponent has only proven one harm to alcohol that is specific to the age group 21-25: that it stunts brain development. Yet I have proven that the brain is fully mature by age 21. In contrast, I cite benefits to the current drinking age law that are specific to the age group 21-25, such as the importance of alcohol to a social life and business relationships.

I have thus upheld the Con side of the resolution.

Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for the debate. I was not expected to debate such a superb debater. This should be a very challenging debate and interesting debate.

O1) Paternalism Principle

Persons do not have time to analyze risk over reward for every action. Even if one does have the time, most people are not rational enough to make the best decision. People often regret doing certain actions and these actions can cause permanent damage that can either ruin their lives or cause death. Unless one can prove that nobody regrets any action he or her took, it is illogical to assume humans as perfect rational being. Stating ‘oh, that person is an idiot and deserves to die' is both uncompassionate and immoral.
a)War on Drugs
The main issue of the war due to the creation of organized crime. It is effective in reducing drug use as explained later.
You yourself state that those who don't wear seatbelts are dumb yet believe people are rational enough to make their own decisions?
I was referring to motorcycle helmets, not cyclists. However, your own source states "Despite his results, Walker doesn't suggest all cyclists stop wearing helmets."

O2) Brain Development

Your source states:

"Dosenbach estimated they were able to distinguish between the brains of children ages 7 to 11 and that of adults ages 25 to 30 with 90 percent accuracy."

Why are these scientists looking at adults over 25 if the brain is fully developed at 21?
There is no evidence that the brain is fully developed at age 21. The only ‘evidence' your source state is:

"They found that close connection weakened while distant connections strengthened as the brain matures, until about age 21 or 22."

That does not mean the brain is fully developed. An international effort led by NIH's Institute of Mental Health and UCLA's Laboratory of NeuroImaging showed that the brain is not fully developed until 25 was. It used ongoing MRI assessment on 2000 people. [1][2]

C1) Alcohol impedes brain development

As show before, the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. As such, the brain would stunt full development if one consumes alcohol [3]

C2) Other harms alcohol causes

Con states "All the other detriments of alcohol are not unique to people aged 21-25, so they are irrelevant." This is false. Those below the age of 25 are statistically more likely to engage in violent crimes, drunk driving, and binge drinking and are therefore relevant to this debate. Not only that, but drinking at a younger age also makes one more prone to alcohol addiction. [4]

C3) Alcohol harms others-

Con states that my statistics "Statistics here also go to prove that people don't stop drinking and driving between the ages of 16 and 21, in spite of a minimum drinking age law." No. My statistics were from before the passage of the minimal age law of 1984. It is not a good measure to see if drunken driving fatalities decreased during MADD's public safety campaign, since the campaign also occurred around the same time as the passage of the minimal age law of 1984. Lowering of drunken driving fatalities could be caused by BOTH enforcement of the law and public safety campaign, and not mutually exclusive. Instead, a good measure is to rely on peer-reviewed scientific articles like this

"Compared with a wide range of other programs and efforts to reduce drinking among teenagers, increasing the legal age for purchase and consumption of alcohol to 21 appears to have been the most successful effort to date"[5]

Con states that "Lastly, the right to drink alcohol should be considered separate from issues regarding drunk driving." No, drunk driving is caused by drinking. Should the issue of owning enriched uranium be separate from the issue of creating nuclear weapons? No. Should the issue of owning possibly dangerous chemical substances be separate from the issue of using it to kill many? No.

The analogy of comparing drinking and driving to reading in a car is absurd. One can voluntarily stop reading. However, one can not voluntarily become sober after drinking. This is why drinking and driving is a prevalent issue that kills thousands, rather than reading and driving. The best way to prevent drinking and driving is of course to prevent the drinking.

C4) Alcohol related crime

CON's right that those over the age of 25 can also engage in alcohol related crime. However, those under the age of 25 are more likely to engage in alcohol related crime.

Con's case:

R1) Revoking a right is impractical

Based on Con's logic, no new laws would be passed since it would be inconvenient for those who lived under the old system.

R2) Damaging social lives

Nightclubs will accommodate those under the legal drinking age. Many clubs allow people under the age of 21 to enter their club. People will find new ways to socialize without drinking. People have had social lives before the age of 21, what's to stop them now? Muslims are prohibited from drinking yet have social lives. A method of socializing without drinking would actually be better, since people will find healthier ways to be social that do not involve damaging ones.

R3) Career opportunities

It is very unlikely that a person under 25 years old would be involved in very prestigious business deals. Even, if a 25 year old was involved in these deals, one can drink in other countries that do not have minimal drinking age law of 25. Others would understand that someone under 25 cannot drink. Also, if drinking is so important to business than why during the prohibition period, did the US economy flourish?

R4) treats the issue incorrectly

Con states that "'I've already shown how criminal justice (War on Drugs, Alcohol Prohibition during the 1920's) fails, and how public health education campaigns (seatbelts, drunk driving) succeed."
For 12 years, public education systems teach the dangers of smoking and drinking, yet despite this almost every person in America at least drink occasionally and 20% of all people are regular smokers Let's compare this to other ‘illegal drugs'. Only 2% use speed and 1% use mushrooms on a monthly basis. Only 2% of people have tried heroin, 3% GHB, 4% crack, and 6% crystal meth. [6]

If the government allows actions that are harmful to be legal one tends to underestimate the overall harmful effects. It is much easier to rationalize those certain substances or actions are ‘healthier' and ‘safer' than another by determining whether it is legal or legal, than to find or learn the information yourself.

The main issue with the war on drugs is that it causes organized crime. Increasing the minimal age for alcohol consumption will not cause bootlegging.

R5) Diminishes likelihood for calling for help

If one's friend's life is in danger one will still be likely to call since the danger of death is much worse than any legal repercussions. Also everyone knows that medical personnel cannot disclose medical information, so one is unlikely to get in legal trouble for calling for help.

R6) Increases risky behavior

A person's unfounded opinion does not constitute as evidence that binge drinking causes risky behavior. Instead one should look at evidence. [7] According to this graph, binge drinking increases once one reaches the minimum drinking age.

R7) it's a right

Rights can be taken away if they pose a threat to one and especially to others.
The act of drinking does harm oneself and has potential to harm another. The same principle applies to deadly chemical substances are heavily regulated and often cannot be purchased by layman. Although the act of owning certain chemical substances does not directly harm others, it can cause the potential to harm others. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]


Thanks, darkkermit.

==His case==

O1) Paternalism Principle

My opponent says that people are not fully rational. I agree. This applies just as much to the people who make our laws (heavily influenced by emotion, peer pressure, and lobbying). Why do we want other non-rational people telling us what we have to do? Extend the John Stuart Mills evidence that we know our own personal preferences better than government officials do.

My opponent says people can't "analyze risk over reward for every action." First, my opponent has no evidence of this; our brains our extremely quick and sophisticated utility calculating machines. Secondly, if this justifies paternalism, then the government should regulate our every move. We should be fined or sent to jail for failing to brush our teeth, not getting 8 hours of sleep, or eating too much chocolate. Obama's health czar is on the record as saying that the paternalism principle infantilizes all of us. Adults don't need the government acting like our parents.

a) War on Drugs

I prefer to debate this here, instead of under my case.

As evidence that the War on Drugs is successful, my opponent says that a number of illegal drugs are used less often than tobacco and alcohol. This is ridiculous. Alcohol and tobacco are still legal precisely because they have always been used more often than other drugs. However, illegal drug use has remained flat for the past 25 years, in spite of significantly stepped up enforcement. [1] In contrast, drug use declined in Portugal after legalization. [2]

My opponent also conveniently leaves out the three most popular illegal drugs – cocaine, marijuana, and MDMA (Ecstasy). 42% of Americans have used marijuana and 16% have used cocaine; the law is obviously not a deterrent. [3]

Lastly, even if my opponent could prove that paternalism worked, that doesn't justify the principle's use. If I win that paternalism isn't justified, it doesn't matter if it is successful.

b) Seatbelts

What is individualistically rational for me is not necessarily rational for someone else. Some people drive in isolated areas of the country, where crash risk is low. Some people have sensitive skin and the seatbelt bothers them a lot more. People should get to make their own decisions, even if you or I judge them to be irrational.

The law is also not successful. In spite of "click it or ticket" campaigns, 20% of Americans still refuse to wear a seatbelt. [4]

c) Helmets

Walker was being cautious in his assertions, as all scientists are. The study still proves that wearing a helmet can be more dangerous than not wearing one, since cars will drive a lot closer to you.

O2) Brain development

My opponent asks, "Why are these scientists looking at adults over 25 if the brain is fully developed at 21?"

Before they did the study, the authors didn't know when brain development stopped, so they included people older than 21.

My opponent questions how this - "They found that close connections weakened while distant connections strengthened as the brain matures, until about age 21 or 22" - proves the study results.

When the brain is maturing, neurons continue to grow and form new connections. When the neurons stop forming new connections (around age 21 or 22), the brain is fully mature.

We now have two conflicting studies on when the brain is fully mature. If the evidence is conflicting, the government should not change the status quo.

I would also like to note that my opponent's first source (the Washington Post) says that his study proves people shouldn't be able to drive until age 25. If you truly believe my opponent's paternalistic logic and his study, then people shouldn't leave home until age 25 because they are a menace to themselves and others.

1) Alcohol impedes brain development

Answered above. My opponent's source here doesn't prove that moderate drinking disrupts the brain - only that heavy drinking does, which is even true in adults. In contrast, a study of 12,000 children found that drinking done during pregnancy, in moderation, does not affect the brain development of the child. [5]

2) Other harms

My opponent claims he is being specific to the age group 21-25, yet his only source here (his footnote #4) is another reference to adolescents (people aged 13-19).

3) Alcohol harms others

My opponent concedes that the MADD education campaign was successful, since drunk driving declined amongst adults (people over 18) by 35 percent over the same time period. The decline amongst adults cannot be explained by the drinking age law.

The peer reviewed article my opponent cites here is about alcohol consumption patterns, not drinking and driving patterns. In fact, there is reason to believe that illegality increases drinking and driving, since the local bar is in walking distance, but illegal parties usually are not.

Extend my argument that the decision to drink alcohol and the decision to get behind of the wheel of a car while intoxicated are separate.

My opponent asks if enriched uranium and dangerous chemical possession should thus be legal. My answer is that the only possible use for either substance is in a weapon. In contrast, drinking and reading a book can be conducted in such a way that they don't harm others.

My opponent says, "One can voluntarily stop reading. However, one cannot voluntarily become sober after drinking." True, but one CAN choose not to drive while drunk. One can choose to have a designated driver, walk home, take public transportation, or call a taxi.

4) Alcohol related crimes

My opponent says, "those under the age of 25 are more likely to engage in alcohol related crimes." First, these statistics are significantly skewed by including people under 21. Second, this is mostly due to including gangs in the data. Third, this is still not a good reason to punish everyone aged 21-25, just because violence is slightly more prevalent among their age group.

==My case==


C2) Social lives

Muslims meet people through their local mosque. The bar is the social gathering place of the non-Muslim. My opponent says clubs accommodate people under 21 – not true. From personal experience, I can tell you clubs don't let people in who are under 21. My opponent says a "less damaging" social life is desirable. No evidence has yet been presented that drinking in moderation is damaging.

Extend my analysis that people can't befriend co-workers without being allowed to attend happy hour after work.

C3) Career opportunities

My opponent claims that people under 25 never face an important business meeting. This is definitely not true of young CEO's, investment bankers, and consultants. It doesn't matter if people can drink in other countries; most U.S. business is conducted domestically. Lastly, the 1920's had a different culture regarding business meetings, but people could still drink if they stocked up before the Prohibition law went into effect or at a speak-easy.

The fact remains: alcohol is an integral part of the business world. People age 21-25 would no longer be invited to meetings at bars or parties if they couldn't drink.

R4) criminal justice or public health?

The fact remains that people don't listen to the government, which is why alcohol and drug prohibition have not decreased consumption. However, people do listen to themselves, which is why public education campaigns work (seat belts, drunk driving).

R5) calling for help

My opponent claims this would never happen; yet it happens all the time. One example: according to 60 Minutes, Gordie Bailey died of alcohol poisoning because his friends were too afraid to call for help since his drinking was "illegal." [6]

R6) risky behavior

The graph is because drinking overall increases at 21. As a share of total drinking, binge drinking declines at age 21, according to the graph.

R7) Answered and extended above

[1] http://ti
Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to thank CON for a great debate.

O1) Paternalism Principle

The government is more rational and better at making decisions than most people. Almost all lawmakers have a college degree. Congressmen have consultants to help them understand technical details. Lawmakers debate extensively using scientific research. Lawmakers have the time to analyze risk and reward. The average person does not. Therefore the paternalism principle has merits.
We are not designed to ‘analyze risk over reward for every action'. Con has the BOP to show otherwise. Adults under 25 are especially bad at this task [1]. We are designed to survive in prehistoric times, not modern times with automobiles, weapons, and drugs.
Con also uses a slippery slope fallacy to state that ‘why not the government regulate our every move?' It is better to learn from one's mistake as long as the mistakes will not cause serious permanent damage. Con's examples do not fit into this category. Consuming large amounts of alcohol does.
If Con truly believes in the libertarian ethics, would he allow all drugs and banish the FDA? Should school not be compulsory?

a) War on Drugs
Drugs are still illegal in Portugal just decriminalized. Drug trafficking is still a criminal offense, and possession is still fined. [2] Con states "16% have used cocaine." The key word is "used" not "active users". If one takes that into account, the number is only 2%[3] This is a much smaller number than when cocaine was used widespread[4], demonstrating the success that the war on drugs has had.
Con states that "even if Pro can prove that paternalism worked, that doesn't justify the principle's use." Pro has made a positive affirmation without backing up his claim. How is it unjustified?
b) Seatbelts
Seatbelt laws are effective. 80% of Americans using a seatbelt is a great number! People still commit murders even though it is illegal. That does not mean murder should be legal.
c) Helmets
Con's source proves nothing. The study didn't even apply to motorcyclist. Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets in laws in some states, not bicyclist. According to an article in the Journal of Medical Associations:
"Head injury death rates based on motorcycle registrations were also lowest in states with comprehensive helmet-use laws."[5]

O2) Brain development
Unless Con can debunk the study I presented, it is a safer bet for the minimum drinking age to be 25, not 21. Your source says nothing about neurons not forming, just the distance between connections. It's a very hasty assumption to assume that means the brain does not mature.

C1) Alcohol impedes brain development
Often if people drink, they drink more than moderation. Both personal experience and evidence demonstrates this.
Still, even moderate drinking causes brain shrinkage [6].

C2) Other harms
Adolescents are still below the age of 25 so my sources still stand.

C3) Alcohol harms others
The source I cited states in its conclusion:
"Compared with a wide range of other programs and efforts to reduce drinking among teenagers, increasing the legal age for purchase and consumption of alcohol to 21 appears to have been the most successful effort to date"[7]

The issue of drunk driving is associated with alcohol consumption, since one need to consume alcohol in order to drink and drive. This is the same logic of why enriched uranium and dangerous chemical possessions are regulated. Con states there is a difference since they can only be used for weapons. This statement is false. Enriched uranium can be used for energy. Perhaps a person could be a rare metal collector. Many dangerous chemicals are regulated even if they are not used for dangerous purposes. For example, special transportation needs to be considered for chemicals that are hazardous or explosive.
The fact remains that drunk driving is a problem since one cannot voluntarily become sober. This is why it is treated differently from other issues as reading and driving, which is far less common. The best way to stop this would be to stop the drinking in the first place. It would be impractical to get rid of the car, since it is necessary for transportation. Drinking is unnecessary.

C4) Alcohol related crimes

60% of all homicides are attributed to alcohol.[8] Imagine how many lives could be saved if the minimization law was 25. Even if this might ‘unfairly punish' some people, these people can wait until there 25 until they can drink. Many of our laws restrict certain age groups in participating in certain activities (ex: driving, voting, sex, etc.) based on statistics conducted on these age groups. Why should alcohol be any different?


R1) Con drops this case

R2) Social lives
There are alternative places for social gathering. Entertainment, mall, doing an activity (ex: golfing, paintballing, etc.), restaurants, etc. There are clubs that allow people under 21 to enter. I know from personal experience. With the demand to be social, businesses will create settings for social gatherings for people under 25. People rarely drink in moderation in social gatherings and I have shown above that drinking even in moderation is unhealthy. Con does not address that people under 21 also have social lives despite a minimization law already in place.
R3) Career Opportunities
I am correct that those of age 25 are unlikely to enter into a prestigious business deal. The average age of a CEO is 50[9]. Considering that it takes an average of 28 years to become a CEO, it seems very unlikely for someone with only a few years of professional experience will get involved in important business deals.
Con states that business deals are domestic. Businesses are increasingly global [10] If the economic could progress during the times of prohibition, the positive effect on alcohol in business is minimal. This article shows how to build business relations. There is not one mention of alcohol [11].

R4) criminal justice or public health?

I've shown ample evidence that making an act illegal is not only effective, but more effective then public health campaigns.

R5) calling for help

There are people who do not call for help. However, this number is still low. This point is moot unless Con proves that more lives are lost by people not calling for help than the amount of lives saved by the minimal drinking age law of 1984. I've shown, through plummeting drunk driving, minimum drinking age laws has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

R6) Risky behavior

Binge drinking increases after the age of 21. My source states
"Rates of binge alcohol use in 2007 were 1.5 percent among 12 or 13 year olds, 7.8 percent among 14 or 15 year olds, 19.4 percent among 16 or 17 year olds, 35.7 percent among persons aged 18 to 20, and peaked among those aged 21 to 25 at 45.9 percent"[12]

R7) No refute against claim that "rights can bet taken away if pose threat to oneself and others". Everyone is better off, and the resolution would result in diminished harm. Even if one disagrees with the parental principle, one at least agrees that the government has the right to protect others from harm, based on social contract theory.

Almost all of my sources are peer reviewed journal that use the scientific methods as opposed to my opponent who uses mainly anecdotal and opinions. I have shown how the parental principle is effective in saving lives. Many people unnecessarily die at the hand of alcohol. This resolution could save many lives. Any benefit alcohol has is minimal compared to the unnecessary destruction it causes.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7][8] [9] [10]


Thanks for a great debate darkkermit.

==Round summary==

I'll be changing the organization of the debate to focus on the major voting issues.

---Arguments specific to 21 to 25 year olds---

My opponent must win why people 21 to 25 specifically should not be allowed to drink. Drinking for people under 21 is already illegal, so they are irrelevant to the debate. My opponent is unwilling to advocate a complete ban on alcohol because of the failures of Prohibition, so people over 25 are irrelevant.

Arguments that this invalidates: violence, drunk driving, unhealthy effects of alcohol

This destroys all my opponent's arguments under "harm to others." He only had two: violence and drunk driving.


No evidence was provided that people over 25 are more likely to be violent while drunk than people between 21 and 25. My opponent's only evidence is: "60% of all homicides are attributed to alcohol." For all we know, more of these homicides were committed by people over 25 than under 25.

Drunk driving

People in all age groups drive drunk. There's no valid reason to punish only 21 to 25 year-olds.


My opponent claims a few times that he has "shown above that drinking even in moderation is unhealthy." His new study says that the study effects disappeared "after adjusting for factors such as smoking habits, body mass and income." It was a simple correlation/causation problem. The study was also of people over 25, so it should be disregarded.

My opponent has only two arguments that relate directly to 21 to 25 year olds. Both are paternalistic, so if he loses that issue, he loses these.

1. Brain damage

I have two studies that conflict with my opponent's claims here. My opponent claims that my MRI study is invalid, but I've read his study, and it has the same methodology as mine. In fact, his study says we have all the neurons we need after adolescence, but the brain prunes the neurons we DON'T need until age 25. My MRI study proves that the maturity center of the brain is fully developed by age 21. Lastly, I cite a study of 12,000 children proving that moderate alcohol consumption, even during pregnancy, does not impede brain development. Such conflicting evidence does not justify changing the current law.

2. Binge drinking

My opponent has evidence that 36% of 18 to 20 year-olds binge drink, while 46% of 21 to 25 year-olds binge drink. But these are percentages of total people, not percentages of drinkers, which is a problem because according to the same source, only 50% of 18-20 year-olds drink, while 68% of 21-25 year-olds drink. So 72% of 18-20 year-old drinkers binge drink, while only 67% of 21-25 year-old drinkers binge drink. These statistics prove that drinkers over the age of 21 are more likely to drink in moderation than people under 21. Drinking age laws are clearly ineffective at stopping binge drinking and may even encourage it.

I provide two specific reasons why people 21 to 25 need the right to drink

1. Social lives

When you move to a new city after college, it is hard to meet people. Over 21 clubs, bars, and house parties are a great socializing venue. My opponent claims there are other venues, but you can't meet new people at a restaurant, for example. None of the venues he names are venues where people can be social. My opponent points out that people under 21 have social lives, yet most of their social lives in college seem to revolve around drinking and partying.

2. Business opportunities

My David Hanson evidence explains that many important business meetings happen over drinks. 21 to 25 year-olds can no longer attend meetings at these venues if we make their drinking illegal. My opponent claims that CEO's are often older, but there are young CEO's like Mark Zuckerberg. The memoir about him makes clear that many of his early business meetings in California took place over drinks. My opponent drops, also, that investment bankers and consultants need to attend important business meetings that take place over drinks. My opponent claims people can drink abroad, but he is then simply encouraging them to break his law. Why pass a law when you ENCOURAGE circumvention? He also drops that most business is conducted domestically. Lastly, he brings up Prohibition, but business and culture are really different today than in 1920, and Prohibition wasn't effective.

Because I have proven why 21 to 25 year-olds specifically need the right to drink, and I have disproven my opponent's specific reasons why they should not be allowed to drink, I urge a Con vote.


The idea of "liberty" in the Constitution was intended to give us the right to make all the decisions regarding things that affect us and only us. We may not agree with people's decisions, but the decisions are theirs to make. The right to be free of paternalism is the only thing that protects us from the tyranny of the majority, who try to impose their will on us through legislation.

My opponent claims politicians are smarter and have more free time than average people, so they should make all the important decisions. However, many recent revocations of rights, particularly in California with Prop 8, have been through direct democracy. In addition, politicians rarely vote against the will of their constituencies. Lastly, under this logic, we should pick the smartest person in the country and make him dictator and allow him to regulate our every move.

Our brains automatically analyze costs and benefits. Whenever we are deciding between ordering the burger or the chicken breast, our brains calculate whether taste or health is more important to us. And we know more about our personal preferences than politicians do.

My opponent claims that I commit the slippery slope "fallacy," but slippery slope is a valid argument. It is only a fallacy if my opponent shows why we wouldn't roll down the slippery slope. Eating unhealthy food can be extremely damaging (obesity) – should government have the right to tell us what to eat? Sunbathing can be extremely damaging (skin cancer) – should government arrest people who are too tan? Only rejecting the paternalism principle in favor of the concept of liberty can prevent rolling down the slippery slope. Government has no right to intervene into our private lives.

The specific examples don't matter since the broader principle is unjust. My opponent can prove there are harms to many things, but people should have the right to analyze the costs and benefits for themselves.

My opponent asks if school should be compulsory. Answer: no. If someone wants to drop out at 14, making him wait until 18 merely deprives him of 4 years of job experience. But considering how many people attend non-compulsory college, most people recognize the value of school.

---Criminal justice vs. public health---

Criminal justice fails

My opponent drops my Marc Thornton evidence that Alcohol Prohibition failed. He also drops my study that drug use hasn't changed in the last 25 years, in spite of drastically stepped up enforcement.

My opponent claims only 2% of Americans are regular cocaine users. According to the source HE cites for this, 8% of Americans use cocaine regularly, 14% use marijuana regularly, and 11% use Ecstasy regularly. His #4 footnote doesn't say what percentage of Americans used cocaine in the past, so he hasn't proven a decline in cocaine use.

Public health works

My opponent drops my evidence that education campaigns were responsible for drunk driving declines (since the decline was also among adults) and for seat belt wearing.

---Drunk Driving---

Being drunk, putting on makeup, talking on a cell phone, and reading a book are all dangerous while driving. These should all be illegal while driving, not illegal entirely.

Enriched uranium is a silly example – private power companies CAN own enriched uranium.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Sieben 5 years ago
Speed read the whole debate...

Both of you need more general principles. You both used reductios on each other and then backed off because it would mean Bluesteel is an anarchist and DK is a totalitarian.

Bluesteel could have done a lot stronger institutional analysis than "well the ppl in charge are stupid too and they just do what voters say anyway".

DK needs to focus more on addressing arguments directly rather than providing alternatives. For example, if I say I need electricity to use my computer, you need to either tell me why computers are bad, or why I don't need electricity. If you say that I can just read the bible instead, you're giving a lame alternative that ignores the issue.

I vote based on how debaters tell me to vote in the round. Overall, the easiest place for me to vote is on the failure of prohibition, social, and business drinking. I could probably find a bunch of other things but those stick out as clear wins for blue. I also vote blue on sources because he said pro's sources were bad, while his were good.
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
It's all good darkkermit.

Lol, my bad Sieben. The study was posted on Cato - I didn't read the author quals carefully enough. I didn't mean to insult one of your brethren.
Posted by darkkermit 5 years ago
Also, might of copied #1 down wrong. Link is
Posted by darkkermit 5 years ago
Although it would nice to blame DDO, I honestly messed up on the numbering after #8. [9] [10] [11] [12]
Not sure what the points should be taken off for this. Sorry about that.
Posted by Sieben 5 years ago
Marc Thorton of the Cato Institute??!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?! INSULTS
Posted by bluesteel 5 years ago
yeah same, someone should fix that. It only seems to happen on 8000 character debates.

Posted by darkkermit 5 years ago
Last few sources got cut off. Not sure why since I was under the limit. [6] [7] [8]
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