Drunken stupidity, or just stupidity?

Matt Paulson, Editor in Chief
Matt Paulson, Editor in Chief

So I’m relaxing at T. Phillips the other night, having my favorite drink, a Caucasian, in honor of one the greatest modern comic masterpieces, “The Big Lebowski.”

Oh, wait, I’m sorry; I must have been daydreaming. See, I am only 20 years old, and our state laws prevent me from legally imbibing alcohol.

Getting a drink out of T. Phillips when you’re underage is about as easy as getting a Klan member to conduct a homosexual, interracial, interfaith marriage; it’s probably not going to happen.

Ever since I have turned 18, I have celebrated an endless string of new rights as the government has now decided to declare me an adult, capable of deciding the fate of our state and country but not capable enough to enjoy a cold one.

The one argument most predominantly used by proponents of a lowered drinking age is the idea that: If an 18-year-old can die for his country, why can’t he enjoy a beer?

During the Vietnam War, this logic won. The drinking age in many states was lowered to 18 because, as millions of American teenagers fought and died in Vietnam, it seemed ridiculous that the ones that survived could not finish their duty, return home and, through hops, legally attempt to blur the visions that continued to haunt them.

But, through the idea of fiscal federalism, states changed the drinking age back to 21.

Simply put, fiscal federalism, in the case of the drinking age, is withholding federal highway funds until states raise the drinking age to what is deemed the appropriate number.

This is a nice way of showing the children of America that, if you hold enough money over those beneath you, you can convince them to do whatever you want.

And what is the main reason to raise the drinking age? Safety.

Apparently, allowing an 18-year-old to have a drink is more dangerous to himself and others than shipping him off to some foreign country to dodge mines and get shot at with a hummer full of his buddies.

I can see it now: “Give me that beer. How dare you!? Oh, here, try out this assault rifle. But play nice. Only aim it at foreigners.”

When it comes to alcohol, 18-year-olds are not treated as adults, but as idiots.

Aye, there’s the rub.

Some of us underagers are idiots. We drink and puke; we drink and fight, but, worst of all, we drink and drive. And we kill.

But it’s not everyone. Believe it or not, but some people underage do possess the mental capacity to handle alcohol without hurting themselves or others.

In fact, I am aware of many underagers who are more capable than some people I know that have been of age for years.

So, here’s what I propose. Abolish the drinking age altogether. No more sobriety tests. Let’s make them common sense tests.

You must pass a series of mental tests to be fit to drink. If 18-year-olds can pass, give them their liquor license – not to sell it, to drink it. If a 30-year-old fails, too bad. They should have never been allowed to drink in the first place.

Although this suggestion is obviously purely theoretical, is it such an abomination to suggest that age might not be the biggest factor here? Why aren’t we looking more at common sense? Maturity?

Morons come in all shapes and sizes…and ages. There has to be a better way of doing this.

By the way, this is my last column as editor in chief. Thanks for reading. In the words of Red Green, “Keep your stick on the ice.”

Matt Paulson, a junior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at phil6483@comcast.net.

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