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#1 Jan 10 2013 at 3:42 PM Rating: Good
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IDrownFish of the Seven Seas wrote:
Well, in 1984, a group called MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) comes along and manages to convince the federal government that not only do we need a uniform drinking age across all the states - we need it to be set at 21. To any politician, I imagine it would be something hard to argue against. Less teens dunk on the road? Stricter control on drunk driving? This means that anyone who doesn't support this initiative must be in favor of dead kids, right? Well, that's the logic they used to pass the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984.

Is there something wrong with that logic? I was there at the time. It wasn't just MADD, they simply organized the public feeling of most everyone above the age of 21. There are scholarly studies showing that the raised drinking age has been one factor in the lowering of highway fatalities.

We were all very tired of reading the newspaper accounts of innocent people killed by a drunk teen driver, who walked away from the accident. We were also sick of the older drunk drivers, so we insisted on lowering the alcohol blood level for the definition of "under the influence," and we insisted here in New York State on mandatory jail time for the second offense, and we also insisted on traffic stops. Something had to be done.

IDrownFish of the Seven Seas wrote:
But remember how I said above that the federal government doesn't have any power given to them by the Constitution to actually force all states to have a uniform drinking age? Well, technically, they don't. What they did was hold the federal money hostage. Until such time as a state would set their minimum drinking age to be 21, the federal government would withhold up to 10% of the money the government gave to the states for use in highways. This was a very large chunk of change. As you can imagine, most states ended up complying.

So the reason I hate the drinking age of 21 isn't because it denies me access to alcohol. I can still get that anyways. I hate it because in the 80s a special interest group stomped all over both the constitutional powers of the states from the 10th amendment AND the individual rights of legal adult citizens. If I am apparently to be trusted voting for the future of my country - which I did for the first time this past November - AND am considered mature enough to join the army and go to war, risking my life by my choice, why am I not to be trusted with alcohol?

As I said, MADD wasn't a special interest group in the sense we use that term today - it did not represent a small, monied interest. It represented a majority of the people who were sick of reading and experiencing (knowing a close family relative) the senseless deaths.

The federal government has the right to withhold money to further public policy. Also, I would argue that it has the right to legislate a drinking age under the Commerce Clause. If it can legislate the price of corn because it affects interstate commerce, it should be able to legislate the minimum drinking age.

And by the way, as you obviously are aware, "drinking age" is the wrong term for it since the law does not prohibit drinking alcohol, only purchase or possession (on public property).

Sgriob wrote:
For a country that's supposed to have a separation of church and state, you guys don't accomplish that very well.

Separation meaning separation of the ideology, not the people. It does not mean that only atheists can hold government positions.

Some say we do it too well. Hence the protracted lawsuits and appeals over things like nativity scenes on local village property.

PigtailsOfDoom wrote:
An Atheist President is a long ways away.

This scared the **** out of me. Because this is how I first read it:

PigtailsOfDoom wrote:
An Aethien President is a long ways away.

What's next? A Mazra Vice President?
"the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
Hermann Goering, April 1946.
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