Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Alaska Considers Lowering Drinking Age for Troops

Alaska, the last frontier, is considering lowering the drinking age to 18--but only for members of the U.S. Military.  While we at Twenty-One Debunked would like to see it lowered to 18 across the board, this would be a great first step in the right direction.  And it deserves a 21-gun salute.

It would also be the first time the 10% federal highway funding penalty would be tested since Louisiana did so in 1996.  While we don't know how Alaska would respond to that, one should remember that, despite their tiny population, they have lots of oil that the lower 48 and Hawaii are dependent on.  Thus, it would probably be foolish for the feds to enforce the FUDAA against such a state and risk retaliation.  Also, the so-called "blood-borders" argument (one of the reasons the FUDAA was enacted) would not really apply due to Alaska's isolation from the rest of the nation.  Not like it was a particularly good argument to begin with, since studies of the purported effect have been inconsistent, and the still-tolerated "blood-borders" of dry/wet counties are far worse since they directly involve a much larger share of the driving population.  Besides, a uniform drinking age of 18 would also eliminate "blood-borders" just the same, and even if varying state drinking ages are tolerated the feds would still have the power to make drunk driving across state lines a federal offense punishable by many years in federal prison.  Thus the "blood-borders" argument is a canard.

Remember, Alaska was one of the first states to lower the drinking age in 1970, even before the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age in 1971.  We wish lots of luck to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

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