"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Drinking age and military service

I was watching the "talking heads" on TV again. This time the subject was about men or women in the military who are under the age of 21 and should they be allowed to drink alcohol legally. (Well, actually, it was about lowering the age to 18, but the military component was part of the discussion.)

There was a young man talking head who said no; that since the federal government forced the states to raise the drinking age to 21, 25 thousand lives a year are being saved. I don't know how that fact was arrived at. I'm sure a good statistician can make numbers do what he or she wants them too. Although, I'm not saying the 25 thousand lives a year statement isn't true.

There was an older talking head who believed, if I remember right, that since an 18-year-old in the military can be trained to kill, then sent off to kill or be killed, that that person should have the full adult right to drink. That's how I feel about it.

But then I came up with these compromises, assuming the 25 thousand lives a year saved argument. First, no one should be allowed to join the military until they are 21. (Nor should they be allowed to vote. I mean, if we can't trust them with booze, why would we want to trust them with electing politicians to office?) Second, if by having the drinking age at 21 saves so many lives, how many more could be saved by raising it to, say, 30, or even better, 40. Or, hey, how about banning alcohol altogether for the violence- and accident-causing, addictive and health-destroying narcotic drug that it is? Third, why not allow all military personnel who are under the age of 21 to drink, but only at the NCO club on their military post or base? Fourth, and final, why not allow the drinking age to be 18 again, but do not allow anyone to have a drivers license until they are 21, as it seems to me that most of those 25 thousand lives that were being wasted when the drinking age was 18, was because of wasted teen drivers.

Is there a perfect answer to this question? As a wise teacher once told me, "it's not a perfect world." I like my first suggestion best. But when it comes down to it, in the real world, if a person can be sent to a foreign country and give up his life to protect us here at home, it seems to me that that person should be afforded full adult rights.

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