Essay on LIbertarianism and Drinking

Submitted By fisheljl
Words: 1294
Pages: 6

Lowering the Drinking Age to 18 and the Libertarian Principle

Lowering the legal drinking age from twenty-one to eighteen would lead to many health and safety benefits to the youth of our society; additionally, it is the logical thing to do considering that adulthood in the United States is eighteen. At eighteen, we are finally allowed a greater degree of freedom. At this age, individuals are able to attend college, able to sign ourselves up for the military, buy cigarettes, marry and adopt, vote, and can be prosecuted in court of law. We are finally not prohibited from all of these walks of life now being eighteen; so why shouldn’t we be allowed to drink also? Drinking alcohol is an enjoyable activity for people eighteen through twenty also, and we shouldn’t deny them this enjoyment especially since so many other pleasurable activities and responsibilities/choices of adulthood are legal at eighteen. By lowering the drinking age to eighteen it would promote a safer drinking environment as well. Individuals turning eighteen and heading off to college may very well find themselves binge drinking at college parties unsupervised. If the drinking age were lowered, then there would be less reason for underage individuals to binge drink and could also partake in the bar/club environment where others could supervise these individuals whom are newly able to drink. The youth currently, attempt to binge drink prior to going to a club that allows eighteen year olds and up because they know they most likely will be unable to get alcoholic drinks inside of the establishment. This leads them to consuming an abundance of alcohol prior to going to establishments such as these and the effects of binge drinking can be harmful. Despite the positives that go along with lowering the drinking age, many still oppose it because of its “profound effects on brain structure and function [during adolescence and young adulthood]. Heavy drinking has been shown to affect the neuropsychological performance of young people and may impair the growth and integrity of certain brain structures” (“Alcohol and the Adolescent Brain-Human Studies”). One could argue that it is almost certain that the potential benefits of lowering the drinking age outweigh the possible negative attributes. Those who are opposed to this idea believe that it will lead our young adults to have impaired neuropsychological performance and interfere with the development of the brain’s frontal lobes due to drinking at such a young age. Their argument is that lowering the drinking age would be medically irresponsible because of the potential health problems that such impairment may cause to these young adults; however, not all young adults fall victim to these effects or are as sensitive to these effects.
[Moderating factors—such as family history of alcohol and other drug use disorders, gender, age at onset of drinking, drinking patterns, use of other drugs, and co-occurring psychiatric disorders—may influence the extent to which alcohol consumption interferes with an adolescent’s normal brain development and functioning.]
(“Alcohol and the Adolescent Brain-Human Studies”) Libertarianism is an extreme laissez-faire political philosophy which advocates the principle of having only minimal state intervention in the lives of citizens. As stated by Sandel, “[Libertarianism’s] central claim is that each of us has a fundamental right to liberty- the right to do whatever we want with the things we own, provided we respect other people’s rights to do the same” (Sandel, 59-60). The libertarian principle of minimal state promotes three types of policies and laws that modern states do not commonly enact: no paternalism, no morals legislation, and no redistribution of income or wealth.
Arguments, such as mine, in support of lowering the drinking age to eighteen incorporate the libertarian principle of minimal state to a degree. By placing restrictions on the legal drinking age