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Koji_Tsunami

Drinking Age Discussion

Continuing the disscussion from another thread, I thout that this topic did need it's own thread, so here it is.
post away.
Skybait J

You can go into the army, smoke, and usually buy lotto tickets/gamble at eighteen. But you can drink at 21.

What I want to know is how many other countries have the drinking age at 21. Right now I think that you're legally an adult at 18, therefore should be able to make your own choices about drinking.
Chocolate Ninja

Probably not very many. You can thank the subjective Puritanical nature of our society for the drinking age being capped at 21, methinks. Razz

I hear they make exceptions if you're in the military, but that just makes it less sensible for everyone else to be stuck at 21. So what, you're allowed to drink only if they figure you'll die anyways?
firemastrr

This is interesting regarding national drinking ages.

I think it's fine where it's at. There is a reason for this law, and I believe it's a legit one. Drinking is dangerous. The army needs recruits, and the age being 18 encourages people to enlist earlier, in their athletic prime. It's based on physical fitness. Gambling is based on money, which 18-year-olds can now spent with no restrictions. Smoking, though, I agree with Skybait on. Smoking and drinking should go hand in hand when it comes to legal ages. The reason I believe that drinking is later is because it is more mentally damaging, and that is mainly what is still developing at 18. Physically, I think that you're pretty much done at 18.

There's my guess.
Chocolate Ninja

I dunno, smoking's pretty dangerous too. Not to mention it's addictive, unlike drinking.

Human beings actually do continue to develop in their early twenties, just slower. Just because they stop getting taller doesn't mean they're done. Razz But yeah, I agree that the smoking and drinking ages should be about the same.
Anomaly

Now, I approach this, just like any discussion of age limits, with a question of my own: why base it on age to begin with?
I'm sure everyone here has noticed that age is no guarantee of maturity; there are people in their 40's who still act like children for the most part, and people well below the age when you become a "legal adult" who are already perfectly responsible individuals.
Of course, the next question is, if not age, then what criteria? Well, I've always thought that it should be based on individual maturity and aptitude, possibly as determined by some kind of maturity test which is either taken any time (perhaps after a certain age), or required upon each birthday (again, perhaps only after a certain age), or something else similar to that. Of course, that falls prey to the problem of all such tests; there will be those who would fail if they were answering the questions honestly, but are still bright enough to know what the "correct" answers are (even though such tests would probably have a disclaimer on the first page saying "there are no wrong answers").
Skybait J

Chocolate Ninja wrote:
I dunno, smoking's pretty dangerous too. Not to mention it's addictive, unlike drinking.


Um...sarcasm? Cause why would we have Alchoholics Anonomous (spelling!) otherwise?

Neither Drinking nor Smoking is very helthy for you. It's volentarily poisoning yourself to feel "better". Drinking is slightly less dangerous and easier for your body to clean out if you don't drink constantly. It is considered a social thing to drink, as it eases your inhibitions. Smoking has little good to it, causing all kinds of cancers. It's benifits are limited to helping fight alzheimers and parkinsons disease, and thats still being tested. Yet we can smoke before we drink? I suppose it has to do with the danger-to-other people effects of alchohol, because if you drink and drive or something, its much more deadly than the slower effects of second hand smoke.

Of course deaths that happen immidiatly and violently are always more of a concern to us than the truely damaging long term effects. No matter what feild we're talking about.
Chocolate Ninja

As I think I said before, Skybait, if you're drinking like a fish that's because of a weakness within yourself more than the inherent addictiveness of alcohol. Razz

This is by no means a justification of drinking or smoking in general, but I firmly believe in the principle "I don't like it, but I will defend your right to do it." If others want to drink socially, I don't see why they shouldn't. One or two drinks probably doesn't do that much harm, unless it's done in secret by teenagers who then wrap their cars around trees on the way home or get into compromising situations.

If they're alcoholics, that's their problem. If they're someone I know, I will certainly try to intervene, but I know from experience that trying to change someone from the inside like that breeds a lot of resentment on both sides. If they have a huge problem with utter lack of willpower and weakness, they have problems they need to talk to a therapist about. Even that might not help, but if they really care about the people around them that they hurt, they should at least try.

Of course, I tend to avoid this problem by spending as little time as possible around such people. Razz Anyone with tendencies towards alcoholism like that probably isn't someone I'd respect anyways. As for alcoholic parents, which are more or less unavoidable until you turn 18, changing the drinking age won't help that at all.
Skybait J

Chocolate Ninja wrote:
As I think I said before, Skybait, if you're drinking like a fish that's because of a weakness within yourself more than the inherent addictiveness of alcohol. Razz

Nope. Genetics and upringing are the heaviest influences, genetics constantly being prooven to be the biggest influence on alchoholism. "Weakness" is to a lesser extent.

Sorry, I'm being a smarty-pants! *runs away crying*
firemastrr

I agree with Skybait. It's not a weakness, but genetics and upbringing. It also is an addiction to some degree. It is different than, say, smoking, but there is still withdrawl and all that when someone stops. They can't stop. That's an addiction in my book.

Chocolate Ninja wrote:
but I firmly believe in the principle "I don't like it, but I will defend your right to do it."


Sure, they have the right to drink and smoke and kill themselves if they want, but they are hurting others too. Both drinking and smoking kill people other than those who are intoxicated/addicted. That's not within their rights.

Chocolate Ninja wrote:
If they're alcoholics, that's their problem.


I find that kind of contradictory. You want to defend someone that you don't care about and even look down on? Mind explaining a bit more?

Skybait, don't cry! It's okay to be a smarty-pants! *comforts Skybait*
Chocolate Ninja

Well, not exactly. I'm not defending alcoholics so much as people who drink socially. Razz I don't like to socially drink myself, but I don't care either way about others doing so.

Perhaps there is a genetic predisposition, and I'll have to look into that some more, but it's not like genetic predisposition means that you're forced to drink. Razz You can have a genetic predisposition to cancer, but that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to get it. Plus, is it a genetic disposition to drinking, or addiction-proneness in general?

You do bring up a good point with the hurting others, though. However, this has nothing to do with the drinking age, since people of all ages drink and smoke and hurt others through it. When underage, they're more likely to drink in secret, among other underage or barely of age or probably not older people their parents would approve of, and thus less regulated.
firemastrr

Maybe the drinking age is because you are more likely to know your limit, when to stop drinking before you're too far gone, when you are a little older and more mature. Kind of like at a swimming pool, everyone who is under a certain age must take a swim test to go in the deep end. That doesn't mean that everyone over that age can swim perfectly and can't possibly drown. They just have more common sense and know their limits better.
Chocolate Ninja

Ah, but for swimming there is a test. For drinking age there is none. Albeit, I'm not sure what the test would be for that anyways. Razz

Eh, I'm not sure about older people even knowing their limits. They just don't get tested.
Koji_Tsunami

Yes, the people who made those laws do seem to just assume you'll know yer limits by that age...
firemastrr

Chocolate Ninja wrote:
Ah, but for swimming there is a test. For drinking age there is none. Albeit, I'm not sure what the test would be for that anyways. Razz

Eh, I'm not sure about older people even knowing their limits. They just don't get tested.


No, it was just a metaphor. The test, whatever the heck it would be (can you down 10 shots and not pass out?), would allow you to drink underage. That would make the age limit pointless in the first place.
Koji_Tsunami

Okay, I'm lost.
I've totally lost track of this disscussion.
Chocolate Ninja

Well, just because you don't pass out doesn't mean that you should be drinking ten shots. Razz I can see how the threat of the test might be effective-ish in deterring people who want to be able to drink, but I don't think there's any really effective way to test whether or not you should get to drink. Or whether you should, but Prohibition didn't work out too swell. Razz
firemastrr

Chocolate Ninja wrote:
Well, just because you don't pass out doesn't mean that you should be drinking ten shots. Razz I can see how the threat of the test might be effective-ish in deterring people who want to be able to drink, but I don't think there's any really effective way to test whether or not you should get to drink. Or whether you should, but Prohibition didn't work out too swell. Razz


Um, I was kinda sarcastic when I said the ten shots thing. I wasn't really serious, someone's gonna get killed. The U.S. Government would be the laughingstock of the world for supporting such a policy.

Prohibition didn't work out so great mainly because with opression comes rebellion. This took place in a time of great change for the U.S., and drinking people had had enough (women can vote now, for crying out loud!!). They said, forget it, we can drink if we want to. The Prohibitionalists were a bit harsh, not taking any time to try to get people to stop drinking and going straight to braking barrels of liquor into public waters. Rolling Eyes I don't know what would be good for this, and I'm glad that I don't have to decide what is.

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