Creed

The Twenty-One Debunked Creed:

We believe that 18-20 year olds are adults, not children, and should have the same rights and responsibilities that people over 21 currently enjoy, whether it involves alcohol or otherwise.

We believe that all adults over 18 are sovereign in body and mind, and that the onus is on the state to show that this is not true for a particular individual. We believe it is wrong to punish all for the actions of the few.

We believe that consumption of alcoholic beverages by consenting adults age 18-20, in and of itself, is a victimless crime and is not sufficiently different from the same by adults over 21 to justify its prohibition.

We are 100% against driving under the influence of alcohol at ANY age, or any other acts that actually harm others (or create a definite and significant risk of harm to others), and believe there is absolutely no excuse for doing so. We support tougher penalties and enforcement for those who drive or operate machinery while impaired, as well as those who commit acts of violence or other crimes while under the influence. Alcohol-related misbehavior is a conscious choice and should be treated as such.

As much as we are fighting for the right to drink, we will fight twice as hard for the right NOT to drink, as well as the right to not be harmed by irresponsible drinkers of ANY age.

We believe that the United States of America was intended to be a free country, and those who can't handle living in a free society should take advantage of the best freedom we have to offer--the freedom to leave.

For all of these reasons, we believe that the 21 drinking age is nothing less than a hate crime against young people, and should be lowered to 18 as soon as possible.

And that's the basic creed, in a nutshell. It has much in common with the philosopher John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty. That is:
The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
But what about the children, you ask? Again, we defer to Mill's wisdom:
It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as against external injury.
And generally speaking, the age of majority (adulthood) is currently 18 in the USA. While we do not take a position on whether the drinking age should at some point in the future be made even lower than 18 (e.g. 16 like in some European nations), we currently do not believe that it is a worthwhile goal at the present time. If and when the drinking age is lowered to 18, we support all reasonable efforts to enforce the new drinking age, but even so we do not support the use of harsh criminal penalties on the underage drinkers themselves. Nor do we support any sort of social host laws that punish those who simply allow underage drinking on their private property without physically furnishing the alcohol. Also, we believe that parents should be allowed to give alcohol to their own under-18 children (within reason).

What about those compromises we have mentioned or alluded to in other posts about zero tolerance laws and other alcohol restrictions on 18-20 year olds? Actually, those are primarily based on pragmatism more than anything else. For zero-tolerance DUI laws, we support keeping the status quo (age limit of 21) for now as any attempt to lower the drinking age would be certain to fail if that was changed as well. However, we support reducing the penalties for very low BAC drivers (i.e. below 0.05) while at the same time dramatically raising them on higher BAC drivers of any age (see previous post). The fact that driving after one drink is punished the same as ten drinks for drivers under 21 in some states is just plain ludicrous. And while Twenty-One Debunked ideally wants the drinking age lowered to 18 across the board, we feel that another reasonable compromise would be to keep the purchase age at 20 or 21 for kegs, cases, or any other large bulk quantities of alcohol while otherwise lowering it to 18. That should alleviate any hyped-up fears of increased high-school keggers, while still allowing 18-20 year olds to buy their own six-packs and go to bars. But we will not make any other compromises, period. And unlike Choose Responsibility, we do NOT support the idea of requiring a drinking license for 18-20 year olds. If you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to go to the bar. 'Nuff said.

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