The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

the drinking age should not be lowered to 18

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,177 times Debate No: 55005
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




a very common argument in favor of lowering it, is that if you are old enough to serve in the military you should be old enough to drink. i can see the logic that the two should go together, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the age should be lowered. more like, the age to enlist should be raised.
many if not most who join the military are being taken advantage of due to their youthful naivette and lack of options. if they required the age be later, maturity would deter many. (among other committments they make, sure). also, at that age, ddeaths and harm is extremely common due to these folks. as the age raises w maturity, the problems decrease.
basically, at the age of 18 most kids are mature enough.


I believe the reason the argument about Military Enlistment age is less to do with thinking 18-year-olds are mature and considerably more to do with the level of responsibility we"ve asked of them. As a woman who joined the National Guard on my 18th birthday, I can attest to the fact that I was not ready to make this decision, but the responsibility to uphold the decision for my enlistment period remained. Not being mature enough had no bearing on whether I had to finish my 6 years. I signed up, and I was expected to serve the time regardless. It"s not that we believe an 18 year old is mature at the age of enlistment, it"s that since they already are legally capable of being held to the commitment, there is no reason to hold a double standard with alcohol use.
If maturity were the only defining factor, one 14 year old might be fine drinking, where one 25 year old might not be. We have already drawn the line at 18 years, and no matter the reason, this is when we hold a person responsible for things we would not hold a child of 17 responsible for. To arbitrarily decide that we are going to hold an 18 year old to adult standards, with adult consequences, except in the case of alcohol use, is irrational. Either the 18 year old can be held responsible to adult standards or not, not some at 18 and others at another age. I can see no defining characteristic of a 21 year old that an 18 year old doesn't have. Initially you might argue that they have more life experience, but note that an 18 year old and a 21 year old who attend college, for example, are still both attending college. Possibly both are still in dormitories surrounded by alcohol use, and likely both are still working in experience-not-required retail type jobs part time, if they work at all. Time alone hardly qualifies as life experience, let alone the kind that inspire them to make responsible choices regarding alcohol use.
Drawing the line at 1 for some responsibilities and not others is an arbitrary double standard that serves only to make us feel better. I also submit this question: In what way is it rational to offer a 21 year old alcohol rights and handgun rights on the very same day? That is most certainly a recipe for disaster.
Debate Round No. 1


con admits that the military age is too low, and that there is an issue of maturity at that age. surely. then, it follows that the issue of maturity is there for drinking too.

just because we hold them to legal commitments doesn't mean we should let them drink if it means more deaths and reckless activity. if anything, we should raise the standard for legal commitments, but in any case one does not necessarily follow from the other.

she points out that some 14 year olds are mature enough and some older are not mature enough. sure, if we could somehow establish who is who, we could do it on a case by case basis. but that is too dauting and impossible of a task. we just have to use norms of maturity and go from there.

if you look at accidents and alcohol problems, the increase therein is directly proportional to time. so yes time alone does matter. a few years isn't a lot, but it's enough to make a difference, and if anything is argued about the small difference, it simply means we should raise the drinking age even higher than 21. the point is we peg it to a point where maturity is more a norm, not that we get hung up on this or that age and slippery slopes of 'if that, why not this' reduction. a point must be established, bottom line.

if you find gun rights coinciding with alochol rights to be troubling, that just means we change up those rights. it doesn't follow that alcohol drinking should be lowered to 18 just because there may or may not be a problem there. these things have nothing to do with each other.


Pro has made my argument for me. "the point is we peg it to a point where maturity is more a norm", "a point must be established, bottom line."
We have already picked the point you are asking for. We as a society have deemed that the general age of responsibility and maturity is 18 years old. My argument is this: Why do we deem this as the median of general maturity for so many things, such as legal penalties, military enlistment, property ownership, employment, all things that have a significant lifelong impact on an individual"s life, but not alcohol. Either 18 is the number for everything or it is the number for nothing. Either it is arbitrary and should be raised, or it"s when the majority of humans are mature enough to handle adult responsibilities.
Pro also said that teenagers and adolescents were more likely to suffer accidents when alcohol was involved. He implied also that teens are in fact so immature that they can"t be trusted with alcohol. To be exact "if you look at accidents and alcohol problems, the increase therein is directly proportional to time". I agree, it"s proportional with time, but inversely. Middle age people are far more likely to drink alcohol to the point of alcoholism.
In a recent study done nationwide in the UK "Only around three per cent of young people drank alcohol on more than five days in a week compared with 16 per cent of people aged 45 to 64". ( and that "A new study published in late December 2012 found that middle-aged professional women consume more alcohol than their teenage children." ( Further, drunk driving is the heaviest, not in the teen age group, but in people from 21-25 "Driving under the influence of alcohol was associated with age in 2010. The rate was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (23.4 percent) (Figure 3.5). An estimated 5.8 percent of 16 or 17 year olds and 15.1 percent of 18 to 20 year olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year" ( So if you are implying that the age of 18 is an irresponsible age to allow alcohol, I submit that it"s older ages that are the majority of the problem; to the tune of 10% regarding drunk driving, and 13% for habitual drinking and alcoholism.
We have drawn a line, that line is the 18th birthday. The data clearly shows that waiting to drink alcohol until a later age doesn't lessen the consequences of doing so irresponsibly, and I daresay it reflects that older people are equally if not more irresponsible about their alcohol use than even children below the age of eighteen. So to deny an 18 year old the right to consume alcohol while simultaneously demanding that he be employed, feed himself, suffer all the legal consequences we do, and possibly take an enemy IED in the chest is not only completely irrational based on the data, but it"s morally ridiculous. These things have everything to do with each other.
Debate Round No. 2


con didn't argue before that 18 was mature enough for most things, so we should make it for alcohol too. he even said himself that there is an issue of maturity with military etc. he is trying to back peddle.

and on the point of whether 18 is old enough. it isn't. it is well established that drunk driving and reckless behavior occurs then, and that it is less and less in proportion to increased age.

just because younger folks drink less, doesn't mean we they are more mature. it is well established the problems that affect society with danger happens at a younger age. being an alcoholic isn't the same as crashing into and killing another person because you're drunk.

con is making my point about the age being proportinate to maturity etc. the only reason 21+ have more problems, is because that's when driking is legal. they drink much more, so they have more problems. what that statistic really demonstrates, is that drinking is more of a problem when you are younger, and decreases with time. as i've argued all along. notice it doesn't say 'drunk driving is worst when you are 35 or 45 etc etc'. con is basically just contradicting himself.

for some reason con is continuting to argue about the 'taking an enemy IED" to the chest thing, despite the fact that he's admitted 18 is too young of an age. he may think 18 is mature enough, but he's not establishing this soundly enough.

that one stat he gave is sufficient. 21+, or the younger you are, the more likely there's problems. hence, trying to reduce the drinking age more is not only completely irrational based on the data, but it's morally ridiculous. These things have everything to do with each other.


Since the Pro side feels the need only to re-state the maturity issue I will simply quote myself. "Not being mature enough had no bearing on whether I had to finish my 6 years. I signed up, and I was expected to serve the time regardless."
Not being mature enough, as I stated, was personal to me, and I did not in any way imply that all 18 year olds are immature, but clearly the pro side requires a "spelling out" so-to-say.
I brought up the issue of maturity to impress upon the opposition that maturity doesn"t have a single thing to do with the number 18. Both the statistics I quoted prove this regarding alcohol, as they show a 45 year old is no more capable, if only LESS capable, of consuming alcohol responsibly than an 18 year old or younger. Maturity doesn"t matter in the case of a criminal court, only the number of years you have been alive. A job position does not treat an 18 year old with a softer hand upon failure than they do a 30 year old in the same position. The CONSEQUENCES are the same regardless of your age once you are 18 or older. A fifth of whiskey will get you just as drunk at 18 as it will at 30. An Iraqi bullet does the same damage to an 18 year old heart as a 50 year old one. So unless pro wants to raise the age for everything, her anti-military argument is neither related nor valid.
Now, before the pro side seeks to distort what I have said, I am not by any means implying maturity doesn"t make a difference as to whether a person is qualified to consume alcohol. Certainly we would hope that anyone who consumes alcohol does so responsibly. But the numbers do not show that more mature use of alcohol occurs at more age. A middle age person is more likely to be an alcoholic, and a 25 year old is more likely to drive drunk. So it"s not that maturity doesn"t matter, it"s that maturity isn"t a factor. If we cannot expect more mature behavior from someone between the ages of 25-45 than we can from an adolescent, which the data clearly shows, then perhaps it is them to whom we should deny alcohol!
That actually is the metaphor for the true problem, and that is our completely backwards way of introducing things to our children. You would never wait to teach your child to drive until after you sent them to the grocery store in the Porsche, you take them to an empty parking lot where they are likely to do the least amount of damage possible if they screw up BEFORE you take them out on the real roads with their large steel lethal weapon. You wouldn"t show them a video of driving and then hand them the keys. Why on earth aren"t we doing this with alcohol? Instead of having a glass of wine or two at home with mom and dad, in a safe environment (parking. lot.) where they are the least likely to do themselves or others harm, we drop them into the bar scene or at a friend"s house with a full bottle of Jack Daniel"s and the expectation of getting completely smashed as quickly as possible to commemorate the occasion. And we do this after showing them a video about how alcohol works biologically and showing them how many shots equal glasses of wine, but with no real experience to back up that knowledge. I was going to ask "how is that logical?" but I think in this instance it"s better to just say it"s not, in any conceivable way. That"s tantamount to handing a new 16 year old the keys to the car after playing Mario Kart for twenty minutes and shouting "good luck" as they get on the highway.
Since pro is so concerned with maturity levels, but has yet to impart what number she thinks is suitable for "general maturity", I ask this; If 18 year olds are not mature, but 25 year olds are equally or less irresponsible with alcohol (still not mature), then why not seek to give them both the experience they need to have to make responsible mature decisions about alcohol before it causes irreparable damage? And while the vast majority of 18 year olds still live at home for at least a portion of this year of age, why not lower the age even further, to 16, when an adolescent is even more restricted by parental influence and rules and will have an additional two years to make mistakes and learn from them before they are set loose on the population?
I would further like to demonstrate how statistical data works, for the pro side"s reading pleasure.
"The only reason 21+ have more problems, is because that's when driking is legal. they drink much more, so they have more problems."
That"s not how statistics work. They number demonstrates what percent of a population does what. The percent doesn"t change whether the population is 10,000,000 or 10. The quote stated that "5.8 percent of 16 or 17 year olds and 15.1 percent of 18 to 20 year olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year" That means all the members of both groups were drivers who drank alcohol at all, and a larger percent of the second group used that alcohol and got behind the wheel. The way you"re interpreting this is that the second group had more access and therefore more likelihood of DUI, and therefore they were more likely to drive with it, but neither group was of age. And in fact the older group was more likely to drive drunk. They are comparing apples to slightly older apples, not apples to oranges. Feel free to follow the link, where the study in its entirety is viewable, so the actual conductors of the study can impart this if you"re confused.
The second study, same reason.
"Only around three per cent of young people drank alcohol on more than five days in a week compared with 16 per cent of people aged 45 to 64" That means ANYONE who was younger than this age group consumed less alcohol. A 25 year old, a 30 year old, or a 40 year old all consumed less alcohol than anyone in the 45-64 range. Here"s the link directly to this study ( where it breaks it down by age.
If you are going to question the validity of data, you have to go to the source and point out why the study was flawed, not use roundabout reasoning and odd logic that completely ignores the method by which the data was collected and interpreted.
Finally, "18 is old enough. it isn't. it is well established that drunk driving and reckless behavior occurs then, and that it is less and less in proportion to increased age.". Pro has twice repeated this claim and twice has failed to use any evidence to back it up. If you are not going to provide a source which upholds this very general claim(or rather, claims), or define reckless behavior and it's relation to alcohol use, both the con side as well as an outside observer are going to have to take it for opinion, and not fact.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 7 years ago
you might have a point, if that was the case that they all drank.
first, you never mentioned that so how was i suppose to know? it's a pretty important aspect of the study, i wouldnt think i should have to look into something like that if you are the one arguing the point.
second, i dont see that that is the case. i looked at the study. if you can quote me where it says they all drank, 100% of each group, by all means do so. all i can see is that for some reason under twenty one is lower, but the rest of the ages coincides with what i've been arguing all along. after 21 drunk driving decreases with age.
i mean, even if for some reason under 18 was magically more responsible about it, there's still somethign to eb said about how it decreases with age after 21.
it wouldnt really make much sense for under 21 to have that phenomenon if everyone in the study drank. and as far as i can see, it's not the case cause it's not clear they all drink. something would need to be said about why it'd be the case if it was true. maybe 21 people feel culturally more reckless?

actually, the study doesnt seem to say what you think it does. you seem intent on avoiding the truth just so you can be right.
Posted by clgaram720 7 years ago
You're still not understanding how the stats work. 100% of the 21 year olds INCLUDED IN THE STUDY drink. 100% of the 16-20 year olds in the study drink. EVERYONE in the study consumes alcohol. Of those people, the older ones were more likely to drive drunk. That's it, there's not more or less people in one group or the other using alcohol. The entire sample in this study was a group of human beings between the ages of 16 and 25. ALL of whom drink alcohol. People between those ages who do not drink alcohol were not included in this statistic. That's called eliminating variables. Again, I suggest you actually go read the study if you are going to question it's validity, because it is painfully obvious you don't understand how they came to these numbers at all.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 7 years ago
there is definitely a lot that could be said. but the main things is that statistics thing.

if ninety out of a hundred 21 year olds drink, they may have fifty percent with problems. if twenty percent of 18 year olds drink, they might only have ten percent with problems. sure, percentages are not the same as raw numbers, so maybe 18 year olds have less problems. but given the example i just gave, it's likely the 21 year olds have more problems just because they drink more .
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Neither side is making a convincing impact story throughout the debate. Each of you needs to spend your time explaining why it matters that I, or anyone else, support your side, and I'm not getting a clear answer to that question. Pro tells me to support her position because 18-year-olds aren't mature enough to drink, but simply asserts that their lesser age means lesser maturity and that they are more dangerous drunk drivers. I never see any reason to believe either of those statements. Pro's main impact seems absent from the debate, which is that expanding the drinking age also expands drinking to a larger group, leading to more of the bad impacts of drinking. Without seeing that directly, Pro's case lacks any impact, or even a warranted story. Con's arguments about hypocrisy and rights loss are never explained in terms of impacts, and I have no idea why the status quo is so harmful as a result of either. However, Con successfully de-links Pro's case, and as such, I vote Con.

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