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Matthew Weekes

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Alcohol in the united states creating a temporary group of second class citizens?

In the US, while one may vote upon their 18th birthday, that same body may not drink alchohol.
This creates a group of second class citizens and while you won't be in the category for every, that category will always exist.
Should we make laws like switzerland that let you drink beer at 16 and hard liquor at 18?
Is our culture ready?

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    Sky F

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    Apr 23 2011: Regardless of laws, learning to drink when you're 21 is ridiculous. Kids should learn to drink from their parents who would hopefully be able to teach them moderation. They shouldn't learn to drink from college where they get completely shitfaced every weekend. I believe the law should be adjusted so that 18 year olds are able to drink as long as they are with their parents.

    The whole second-class citizens thing is kind of meh. It's not like they're withholding our freedom of speech...

    I'll have to find the data, but in countries with lower drinking ages, there's actually lower rates of alcohol-related car accidents.
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      Apr 23 2011: i guess ur right that the whole second class citizen thing is a bit extreme but technically you stlll are being withheld the right to put in your body what u choose. but you are right. in this senario i didnt mean lower the drinking age and let kids run free but a part of that would also be to have alcohol be not taboo so its not such a big deal
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    Apr 23 2011: I think that maintaining the age for drinking is one of the few services that we actually do for our kids in this era. Brains and bodies need time to mature before they are exposed to the deleterious effects of poisons.
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      Apr 23 2011: according to my LD debate research, the teenage brain and the adult brain are essentially identical in capability and development
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        Apr 23 2011: This is absolutely untrue. My studies in neuroscience indicate that the brain- particularly the prefrontal lobes where emotions and facts are integrated continue to grow well into the 20s when proper nutrition and experience are available. I am not sure where you got that information but it is erroneous.
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      Apr 23 2011: ten dollars says there is reasearch somewere that proves a lower drinking age results in less adulthood addiction and fewer binge drinking death.
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    Apr 24 2011: Alcohol f***s up your entire body in the long run, smoke a bone dude.

    However, a male does not stop maturing until he is about 21 a female 19. To allow teens to drink is destroying their developing bodies, this also goes for heavy working out, cigarettes, tanning, and other hard drugs.

    MODERATION IS KEY.

    Indeed in my opinion all drugs should be legal, but FAMILIES/COMMUNITIES should take the responsibility of moderating the uses of the children, teens, and each other, not laws. Laws are supposed to protect people from people, not people from themselves. We are supposed to be able to have freedoms involving choices, to say I can't puff a planet that grows naturally in the wild (like tobacco) is limiting my choices and is a crime against humanity.

    I do no condone alcohol usage AT ALL, but it is obvious that people care about the short term pleasures then the long term effects. So, I disagree completely with this thread, alcohol should be educated on more (by examples of recovering alcoholics), and make all other drugs legal for consumption by 20 (as to stop giving drug dealers money but to give it to people for jobs). With a legalize system under drugs they will be clean, safer, and properly proportionate according to user. Alcohol causes more deaths than any other drug in existence next to cigarettes.
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      Sky F

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      Apr 24 2011: "Alcohol f***s up your entire body in the long run"

      hardly.

      it's just a nifty chemical that binds to a cocktail of many interesting receptors. I think it's actually quite fascinating!

      It's bad for a couple reasons. It can be addicting, it's not good for your liver, it often has a lot of calories, and too much of the activation of the interesting receptors can produce bad behavior. All of those are easily avoidable though.

      Opioids are far worse than alcohol though. I'm glad they're by prescription only.
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        Apr 25 2011: We televised alcohol usage, we pride our entertainers on using drugs, indeed much of our best music is influenced by drugs. They are in the culture Helen. I do not think binge drinking teens at college care about the long run of alcoholism.
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    Apr 24 2011: Choice, is creating a temporary group of second class citizens.
    • Apr 24 2011: please explain.

      do you mean if we were given the choice, we would make ourselves secondary citizens?
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        Apr 25 2011: Yes, we are always given a choice. No one holds a gun to our head and says,"You must drink this" I know sometimes it's a difficult choice, but it is a choice never the less. I live in England and have lived in the US prior for nearly half my life. One of the things I see that both countries need to do is get a little more back bone and moral fibre. We have become cultures of "I deserve and I have the right" rather than cultures of people who are showing up and getting the job done.
  • Apr 23 2011: Weekes, maybe labeling it as creating second class citizens exaggerates the issue, but I agree that the law is not effective.

    To the older folks who agree with the law, its hurting the youth, not helping. The argument that it saves our brain cells for a few extra years, is generally not true. Just because the law says people under 21 can not drink alcohol, doesn't mean it will actually stop anyone who WANTS to drink.

    Studying abroad in Rome really opened up my eyes to American drinking behaviors. We would get super drunk, loud, and belligerent. It got pretty embarassing sometimes, because italians (not jersey shore Italians, like actually italians) are not that way at all. They drink of course, but they've been brought up in a culture were their taught from an early age to drink in moderation.

    Their drinking age is 16, they're all generally smart, and they don't have a widespread alcohol epidemic among the youth.
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      Apr 24 2011: Hi Michael, There are many cultures where children are allowed to drink and yet the rates of alcoholism and alcohol consumption are epidemic. Arguing for a change in societal laws does not make the alternative superior. I agree that many people will drink regardless of the law and I think that laws are there for the most part to indicate that caution is needed. Not everyone will be vulnerable to alcoholism but the culture can either encourage or disuade certain onsets. In North America- the culture of drinking for young adults has nothing whatsoever to do with the law because young people are choosing for themselves to conform to norms of their own peer groups.
      • Apr 24 2011: right, i don't think changing the law will change our culture. What you said is true, but I still think it is hurting us rather than helping (I am of legal drinking age btw). I just feel that making it a higher age, when the rest of the drinking world is at a lower age, makes it like a "forbidden fruit" and come on, who doesn't like forbidden fruit?

        I really don't know of a solution to fix america's young alcoholics, its so deeply rooted, but I think having harsh laws only irritate us and make the situation worse.
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    Apr 23 2011: Given what alcohol does to the brain, I'd say those two years of decent voting before the massive death of brain cells kicks in is one of the things that are helping to keep our political system afloat :-D
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      Apr 23 2011: but many countries have lower drinking ages and also teach their children responsible drinking from a young age. when i used to go abroad, i had a lot of friends who grew up drinking at the dinner table, watered down wine (the dilution depended on their age). my point is that we've seen it work and europe still has a functioning democracy. so how does what you say make sense?