In today's Wall Street Journal, Glenn Renyolds, the man behind the popular "Instapundit" libertarian/conservative blog/link site, gives a well-reasoned argument for politicians, especially Republicans, to abandon their historic "alcohol is evil" passions and restore the rights of states to lower the drinking age to what they see fit:
Democrats traditionally do well with the youth vote, and one reason is that they have been successful in portraying Republicans as fuddy-duddies who want to hold young people down. This may be unfair—college speech codes and the like don't tend to come from Republicans—but the evidence suggests that it works. What's more, the first few elections people vote in tend to set a long-term pattern. A move to repeal the federal drinking-age mandate might help Republicans turn this around.Read the whole thing An interesting response to a nay-sayer in the comments:
Republicans are supposed to be against mandates aimed at the states, so this would demonstrate consistency. Second, it's a pro-freedom move that younger voters—not yet confronted with the impact of, say, the capital-gains tax—can appreciate on a personal level. Third, it puts the Democrats in the position of having either to support the end of a federal mandate—something they tend to reflexively oppose—or to look like a bunch of old fuddy-duddies themselves.
How about we turn it around? What about seniors? Should people over 50 be drinking? After all, their faculties are already in decline, they're probably on several medications, and, well, you know, alcohol really isn't that good for the system. So how about we ban drinking for everyone over 50? You know, to protect them. From themselves.An interesting but important side note: It's become popular legend that states that did not go along with imposing the conditions of the 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act would lose all their Federal highway funding--to the point that said canard is apparently believed by even current Senators and Representatives. However, as you can read for yourself in Section 158 (page 125), the amount in question is actually only ten per cent of three matching-grant programs calculated by a complicated formula (see pages 16-19 and review 104(b)1, 104(b)3, and 104(b)4--and you thought booze laws were complex?). These are substantial programs, and not an insignificant amount of money in a day when places like central Maryland and Northern Virginia are fighting for a way to add even one lane to a highway. But to characterize these restrictions as "all our highway funding" as many legislators do in kowtowing to this
While we're at it, the same reasoning would apply to driving. Should seniors really be driving. With their vision? With their cholesterol? With their risk for heart attack? Rolling time bombs I tell you. And I shouldn't have to worry that you'll come crashing through the front of Starbucks while I'm enjoying a latte, should I? So no car for you!