Sunday, January 2, 2022

Long Past Time To Lower The Drinking Age To 18

It's 2022 now, and this year may be a golden opportunity to finally lower the legal drinking age to 18 after so many decades of it being 21.  As the ignominious Covid regime continues to unravel and collapse faster than formerly healthy young athletes on the field after being injected with you-know-what, more and more people are questioning not only that, but the whole entire concepts of statism, safetyism, paternalism, and authoritarianism in general.  And with all the many parallels that can be drawn between the illiberal lockdown restrictions and mask and vaccine mandates and passports on the one hand, and the illiberal and ageist abomination that is the 21 drinking age, one can easily draw a straight line between these illiberal policies.

The Overton window has finally been cracked open.  Let's get the drinking age lowered to 18 before it slams shut once again.  What better time than now?

Also, be sure to check out some great videos from the legendary Allistair Cooke as well as Leon Louw in regards to arguments against the drinking age.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Have A Safe And Happy Holiday Season

(This is a public service announcement)

It is that time of year again when the holidays are upon us, and many of us Americans (and around the world) will be celebrating with alcohol and/or other substances, even if they are doing it rather differently this year for obvious reasons.  We at Twenty-One Debunked would like to remind everyone to be safe and celebrate responsibly.  There is absolutely no excuse for drunk driving at any age, period.  We cannot stress this enough.  It's very simple--if you plan to drive, don't drink, and if you plan to drink, don't drive.  It's really not rocket science, folks.  And there are numerous ways to avoid mixing the two.  Designate a sober driver, take a cab, use public transportation, crash on the couch, or even walk if you have to.  Or stay home and celebrate there.  Or simply don't drink--nobody's got a gun to your head.  Seriously, don't be stupid about it!  And the same goes for other psychoactive substances as well, and a fortiori when combined with alcohol.

ARRIVE ALIVE, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!   If you plan to drink, don't forget to think!  The life you save may very well be your own.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Fewer Young People In A Hurry To Drive

In the USA today, people still seem to get their driver's licenses earlier than Europeans, as we have more of a car culture over here.  But that gap is closing, since apparently fewer and fewer young Americans are gung-ho about driving or learning to drive these days, our rather persistent car culture and very limited public transportation notwithstanding.

Canada is probably the same way, despite also being a car culture with limited public transportation as well.  And their drinking ages are 18 or 19 depending on the province.  Meanwhile, their traffic fatality rates, both alcohol-related and otherwise, are in fact lower than those in the USA, in every age group in fact.

One can also say the same about Australia as well, whose drinking age is 18, is a car culture, and has even lower traffic fatality rates as well for all ages, both alcohol-related and otherwise.

And so while not completely irrelevant yet in that sense, the tired old drunk driving argument against lowering the drinking age to 18 is indeed far less relevant compared with the way it was one 1980s and 1990s.  But honestly, the drunk driving argument never made sense to us.  DUI is already illegal, and even more illegal now than it was in the 1980s. And doing so is dangerous at any age, not just under 21. And of course, it is perfectly possible to not mix alcohol and driving.  Punishing all drinkers under some arbitrary age limit by depriving them of liberty on the mere supposition that they *might* get behind the wheel after driving (and thus in turn *might* harm innocent people) goes against everything a free society stands for, and is 100% un-American.  And just like "flattening the curve", the best it does is kick the can down the road without actually solving anything.  Studies by Dirscherl (2011), Miron and Tetelbaum (2009), Dee (2001), as well as Asch and Levy (1987 and 1990), et al., bear this fact out quite nicely.

Let America be America Again, and lower the drinking age to 18.  If you're old enough to go to war, you're old enough to go to the bar.  'Nuff said.


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Legalization Of Cannabis Did NOT Cause Carnage On The Highways

The latest Canadian study confirms yet again that legalization of cannabis did NOT actually cause carnage on the highways like the fearmongers had predicted.  And that is for a country that legalized the herb for everyone over 18 at the federal level, while individual provinces could set it higher (currently 18 in Alberta, 18 in Quebec until it was raised to 21 in early 2020, and 19 for all other provinces).  Despite the generally lower age limits in Canada, these results dovetail nicely with those of most studies of the several US states that legalized it for people over 21.

And yes, the most recent study looked at Alberta (18) along with Ontario (19), both provinces whose legal toking ages are equivalent to their drinking and smoking ages.  Neither province showed significant increases in traffic-related ER visits post-legalization, whether for young people or otherwise.  Really.

In other words, regardless of the age limit chosen, cannabis legalization was NOT a disaster after all.   So what are we waiting for?  Let's do the Alberta model (legal at 18 for alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis, period) in all US states and territories.  Yesterday. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Stop Scapegoating Kids And Teens For Adult Problems!

 The following Tweet basically says it all:

As renowned sociologist and youth rights activist Mike Males has repeated noted, it seems to be a great American pastime to scapegoat kids and teens for adult problems.  Alas, COVID seems to be no different in that regard.  One thing European countries generally haven't done is force kids under age 12 or so to wear face masks, even in countries where adults are required to.  Whereas while American adults generally have more freedom than their European counterparts now (aside from Sweden and a few other countries), there are many places in the USA (even some parts of Florida where school administrators are openly defying their governor) where kids as young as TWO are forced to wear masks AND (anti)socially distance in school and sometimes even in daycare too.  The USA is one of vanishingly few countries who currently does so, and also one of vanishingly few countries that is in such a hurry to vaccinate kids under 18, let alone kids under 12.  Even 18 months into the pandemic. schools and even colleges are becoming increasingly prison-like these days--and yes, even for those who got "baptized" with the magic vaccine.

That is of course very reminiscent of how alcohol is treated:  the USA has a drinking age of 21 and strictly enforced (with the young drinkers themselves targeted disproportionately for punishment), low alcohol taxes, and relatively lax DUI laws for adults by international standards (even if stricter than in the past).  And alcohol is routinely used as an excuse for otherwise unacceptable behavior.  Meanwhile, most European countries set their drinking ages at 18 or less (and often not even enforced), while alcohol taxes are higher and DUI laws are a lot stricter on average for all ages.  And alcohol is far less likely to be accepted as an excuse for otherwise unacceptable behavior.

And in both cases, defenders of the status quo smugly claim that "Europeans may be able to handle more freedom, but Americans can't."  Because reasons.  All without seeing the irony in literally implying that Americans are inferior to Europeans!  

We at Twenty-One Debunked of course support lowering the drinking age to 18, while also raising alcohol taxes and toughening DUI laws for all ages.  And when it comes to COVID, we believe it is long past time to end all restrictions for all ages, period, regardless of vaccination status.  These restrictions were originally supposed to be short-term measures to "flatten the curve", that is, to merely delay infections a few weeks to avoid catastrophically overwhelming hospitals and buy more time. That's it, that's all these measures are capable of doing.  Beyond that, they are all pain and no gain.  Then the powers that be decided to move the goalposts repeatedly, and as they say, the rest is history...

Imagine the counterfactual where young people were the ones in charge.  By March 2020, or perhaps even February, imagine if young people decided to "ground" their parents and grandparents just for a few weeks to protect them from the virus, while young people were free to live life as normal, partying and all.  Raves, keggers, and even cruises would continue at least for everyone under 30 or 35.  Schools and colleges would be as wide open as the rest of the economy and society.  And instead of discharging contagious COVID patients back into nursing homes, we actually got serious about protecting their vulnerable residents.  And instead of putting all "nonessential" workers of all ages on the public dole for 18 months, imagine if they took that money and instead used it to pay for a voluntary three to six month sabbatical for any workers who were over the age of 60 and/or immunocompromised or with otherwise serious underlying conditions.  And we made any and all promising early treatments and prophylaxis readily available to all from the start.  And we otherwise let the virus rip, which the virus kinda did anyway under lockdown albeit slower and more painfully.  How many lives could have been saved that way?  I think we already know the answer by now.  And herd immunity would have been reached well before the vaccines were launched.

This disgusting perversion of American Exceptionalism needs to end.  Yesterday.  Seriously ageists, KNOCK IT OFF!  The song "Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd comes to mind.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Is There Really Any Link Between Vaping And COVID?

Is there really any link between vaping and COVID?  Most likely not, according the results of the largest study on the matter to date.  That study, done by the Mayo Clinic, found literally no correlation between vaping and being diagnosed with COVID.  And of course, the MSM was predictably crickets about that.

Not only that, they found that current combustible cigarette smokers were at a lower risk of contracting the virus.  That latter finding is rather puzzling until you consider something a bit esoteric that is frequently pointed out by Dr. Dmitry Kats:  some of the nicotine in tobacco, upon combustion (and also in the liver to a degree), turns into nicotinic acid, better known as Niacin (Vitamin B3) which he notes seems to really work wonders in curing and preventing COVID.  To achieve this same benefit without putting one's lungs in jeopardy, it would be better to simply take niacin directly, at least 500 mg at a time, along with cofactors Vitamin C (which gets depleted by smoking), Vitamin D, zinc, quercetin, thiamine (which also gets blocked by nicotine), B-12, magnesium, selenium, melatonin, and the amino acid lysine.  

So why did a previous smaller study seem to find that (younger) vapers were more likely to get COVID than non-vapers?  Well, smaller sample size can magnify any biases and confounders in a study, and one obvious bias is that younger vapers often share devices, which can clearly spread the virus.  They may also be more likely to attend parties that can turn into superspreader events.  But the act of vaping itself, while not exactly the healthiest habit in the world, does not appear to be directly causally linked to an increased risk of contracting the disease. 

Interestingly, even that previous smaller study of teens and young adults only found a correlation with "ever used" vape products, but NO correlation with recent use.  That is a rather strange finding for a study that purports to show a causal link to vaping.

As for the theory that people who got that mysterious vaping illness EVALI in 2019 and early 2020 were at greater risk of COVID later on, that may very well be true.  But we know now that it was primarily the result of black market THC (i.e. cannabis) vape products adulterated with questionable additives, most notably Vitamin E acetate.  And it is very telling that states where cannabis was legal for recreational sale in 2019 saw not only fewer per capita cases of EVALI than states where it was not, but also fewer COVID deaths as well.  Ditto for countries where cannabis was and still is fully legal (Canada, Uruguay) as well as where it is de facto legal (Netherlands) compared to their neighbors where it was not.  Thus, the lingering subtle lung damage from using tainted vapes several months prior may very well increase one's susceptibility to severe and fatal COVID, meaning that the cannabis prohibitionists whose policies created these black markets may have even way more blood on their hands than we thought.

But legal and untainted vape products, whether nicotine, cannabis, or otherwise?  The evidence that they significantly increase the risk of COVID simply isn't there, period.  Another myth bites the dust.

Monday, August 2, 2021

The No-Brainer Solution To The College Question (2021 Edition)

Last August, Twenty-One Debunked had argued that colleges and universities should reopen with minimal restrictions for the most part.  And guess what, we still do, with even fewer restrictions still.  

This time around, that means:

No vaccine mandates or "passports" for anyone 
No mask mandates for anyone 
No testing mandates, except perhaps a rapid test for students upon initial arrival on campus and before and after long holiday breaks, as well as perhaps for certain employees 
No quarantines for anyone unless testing positive and/or showing symptoms 
No prison-like rules or conditions 
No six-foot antisocial distancing rules (at least not outside the classroom)
No public or private gathering bans (ok, maybe a Rule of 500 if you really wanna be anal about it)
No closures or class cancellations lasting more than a few days, if even that
No kicking students out of dorms en masse to be sent home to infect their parents/grandparents 
All classes in-person full-time (unless students choose otherwise)
100% capacity 

And, of course, lower the drinking age to 18, along with the smoking and toking age too.  Or at the very least, treat it as such de facto if not officially.

Let America Be America Again!

'Nuff said

UPDATE 1:  The Tweet below is precisely what we do NOT want to see.  EVER AGAIN.

Ironically, their neighbor "Zoo Mass" sounds like LESS of a zoo in comparison.  As for K-12 schools, once again Sweden still has the right idea overall:

I mean, Team Reality has only been saying exactly this for the past 18 months, right?

UPDATE 2:  As of the end of September, it looks like many if not most colleges in the USA, from state schools all the way to Ivy League schools are NOT heeding our advice one bit.  Even ones with a 100% vaccination rate (!) due to mandates seem to have the craziest rules that would make Orwell himself blush!  These overpriced gilded cage wannabe prisons need to be boycotted at once, as that is the only way to get them to stop this insanity for good.  Honestly, if you can't find a college that offers even a near-normal college experience after 18 months of this madness, perhaps you should take a gap year (or two or three as the case may be) until you can find one.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Another New Study Confirms: Legalizing Cannabis Not A Disaster After All

Yet another study confirms what we have known all along:  legalization of recreational cannabis was NOT a disaster after all.  The study found that legalization at the state level was NOT associated with any increases in drug treatment admissions, violent crime, or overdose deaths, and in some cases even appeared to have the opposite effect.  These findings dovetail with other recent studies as well, and we are really not surprised.  So much for the gateway drug theory, Reefer Madness, and other tired, old perennial Chicken Little predictions from the prohibitionists.

Additionally, just days earlier, another tired, old myth bit the dust as well.  Another new study finds no link between cannabis use and the stereotypical "amotivational syndrome" after controlling for confounders.  This particular study followed 14-17 year olds for a period of two years and did not find such a correlation, which is notable since numerous previous studies of the matter have generally failed to find such effects in adults but occasionally succeeded when looking specifically at adolescents.  So the fact that they could not detect such effects in that age group implies that such effects, if they do occur, are relatively rare and most likely confined to the small minority of very-heavy and ultra-heavy users and/or those who began using cannabis even earlier in life still.  And it thoroughly puts the lie to the fearmongers' claim that legalization would supposedly result in a nation of "orange-lipped couch-potato" zombies whose only semblance of motivation is the acquisition of their next hit.

And yet another myth debunked as well:  cannabis use does NOT appear to be independently linked to increased risk of stroke in young adults after adjusting for confounders such as tobacco use, according to another new study.  While previous studies on the matter have yielded inconsistent results, the prohibitionists of course luuurrrrved to spin such studies to their advantage.

Thus, no good reason not to fully legalize cannabis for everyone over 18 nationwide yesterday, and treat it no more stringently than alcohol or tobacco.  Period.

To anyone reading this who still opposes legalization, because reasons, we have a question for you: How does it feel to be on the wrong side of history?  Because we wouldn't know anything about that.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Have A Safe And Happy Memorial Day Weekend

This coming Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day, often known as the unofficial first day of summer and National BBQ Day.  But let's remember what it really is--a day to honor all of the men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, past and present.  And that of course includes all of those who died serving our country before they were legally old enough to drink.  Let us all take a moment of silence to honor them.

As for Candy Lightner, the ageist turncoat founder of MADD who had the chutzpah and hubris to go on national TV in 2008 and publicly insult our troops, may her name and memory be forever blotted out. 

And as always, arrive alive, don't drink and drive.  It's just not worth it, period.  And it's very simple to prevent.  If you plan to drive, don't drink, and if you plan to drink, don't drive.  It's not rocket science.   Designate a sober driver, call a cab or rideshare, crash on the couch, or even walk if you have to.  Or don't drink--nobody's got a gun to your head.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

"No Safe Level" Is A Red Flag For Junk Science

According to a wise man named Paracelsus (essentially the Western world's first toxicologist) long ago, it is the dose that makes the poison.  Anything (even water) can be poisonous in a high enough quantity, and conversely there is, practically speaking, a safe level for everything.  It is all a matter of degree.  So why, when it comes to things like alcohol, do the "experts" seem to lose all common sense?

Take the latest study of alcohol and the brain at Oxford, for example.  This one claims that there is no safe level of alcohol for the brain, that is, any amount will cause damage.  The observational study, which notably has not even been peer-reviewed yet, finds a negative linear correlation between alcohol drinking volume and the volume of gray matter (as well as white matter) in brain scans, even after controlling for every confounder they could think of.  While it is known that excessive drinking can damage the brain, the shocker here seems to have more to do with much lower levels of drinking previously thought to be safe.

I bet the reader can quickly spot the problem here.  If not, here it goes.  A closer look at the data shows that, given how small the overall effect size is, with alcohol explaining only 0.8% of the variance in gray matter, combined with the tendency of people (especially heavier drinkers) to undercount their drinks, the apparent harmful effects of light to moderate drinking may very well be spurious at the lower end of the curve even if likely genuine towards the higher end.  That, and the lack of peer review of course.

They also found an additive effect of "binge" drinking over and above the effect of drinking volume alone, particularly for daily "binging", which was fairly strong and consistently statistically significant.  But given the rather wide confidence intervals, for less than daily "binge" drinking, it was not always statistically significant.  Given the typically fairly low definitions used for "binge" drinking, it would not be surprising that the confidence intervals are so wide.

It also appears from this study that people with hypertension (high blood pressure) and/or a high BMI are significantly more sensitive to the apparent adverse effects of alcohol than the average person for whatever reasons as well.  The interaction was not just additive, but multiplicative.  That will certainly require further study going forward. 

We are not in any way encouraging anyone to drink alcoholic beverages. But specious inferences should not cloud the issue either.

There is a safe level everything, even arsenic apparently.  So why would that not be true for alcohol?  Especially since our own bodies can actually produce a bit of it as a byproduct, believe it or not?

On the bright side, at least the study looked largely at older adults (age 40+) and did not indulge in the usual youth drinking panic routines.  Even if the observed effects are 100% true, that would of course mean that young people are not uniquely vulnerable to the adverse effects of alcohol on the brain.