Teenagers and Drinking


Teenagersand Drinking

Whenan issue affects the society, the government has the responsibilityof responding to it. In the article, “It’sTime to Let Teenagers Drink Again”,by Camille Paglia, the author evaluates how the age-21 rule thatdefines the minimum drinking age violates civil liberties. I do notagree with Paglia that the decrease in deaths related to drunkdriving is only the result of stronger DWI penalties and consistentuse of seat belts. Paglia’s argument that the age-21policy violatesthe rights of youth Americans is misinformed since the legislationguides the young people as they start making adult decisions, most ofthe youths below 21 years might be involved in drunk-drinkingaccidents when they are drunk and young people can socializeresponsibly without taking alcohol.

Thefirst reason that shows that the age-21 rule is appropriate is thatit guides the young people as they start making adult decisions. Mostof the social issues that affect the youth arise due to a myriad offactors, but the age-21 rule is not one of them. Those that pushedfor the implementation of this regulation evidently had goodintentions, but their actions did not intrude individuals’ personalchoices as the article’s author suggests. The state might considerpeople as responsible for making adult decisions after they haveattained 18 years, but they would still be transitioning to adulthoodduring this period. Since the youths would just be adapting to theresponsibilities of adulthood before the age of 21, they might notknow the adverse effects of alcohol overconsumption, especially whenoperating machinery. The age-21 law, therefore, protects them fromincidents such as drunk-driving deaths until they are responsibleenough.

Thesecond reason that shows that Paglia’s argument is misguided isthat most of the youths below 21 years might be involved indrunk-drinking accidents when they consume alcohol. The regulation ofalcohol consumption among the youth is a measure of ensuring thatthey become responsible adults. The article indicates thatdrunk-driving deaths have reduced, but it also points out that thisis as a result of the stronger DWI penalties and regular use ofseatbelts (Paglia, 2014). It is apparent that the majority of youthslike experimenting, and they would also engage in risky activitieswhenever they get the chance. By scrapping the age-21 law, manyindividuals under the legal drinking age might be involved indrunk-driving accidents considering that most of them can drive.Moreover, the assertion that the use of prescription drugs is aprimary cause of traffic accidents shows that any form of impairmentwhile driving results in fatalities.

Theother reason indicating that Paglia’s reasoning is incorrect isthat young people do not have to be exposed to the dangers of alcoholabuse before they are mature enough. According to the article, givingchildren sips of wine is a civilized practice (Paglia, 2014). Winemight not be a strong alcoholic drink, but getting a child used to itis inappropriate. One cannot learn how to drink responsibly whentaking alcohol regularly. Additionally, children cannot make wisedecisions the same way that adults do, and giving them alcohol whenthey have not attained a mature age would probably lead them toirresponsible drinking.

Paglia’sreasoning is also misinformed since young people can socializeresponsibly without taking alcohol. Paglia (2014) has the opinionthat the age-21 law denies young people access to public environmentswhere they can socialize and drink beer. It is evident that theparties attended by the youth often involve excessive alcoholconsumption since adults are usually absent. While the articlesuggests that such behaviors result from restricting the sale ofalcohol to those who are above the age of 21, other social factorsbring about these issues. For example, when binge drinking occurs atcampus fraternity parties, it is usually because of an individual’sdesire to conform to what others are doing. Equally important, youngpeople can still socialize in events such as sporting activities evenif alcohol is absent, and this will also keep them away from usingdrugs.

Themost significant explanation indicating that Paglia’s argument isincorrect is that an ideal society is one where people interact witheach other and share their creative ideas without consuming alcoholor using other drugs. The article’s author correctly indicates thatthe moderate use of alcohol is better than abusing prescription drugsdue to the adverse effects the latter have on the body system. Onecannot, however, assume that everyone below the age of 21 would takealcohol responsibly. Although most drinks have their alcoholiccontent indicated, young people might still end up taking excessiveamounts of it if they are not responsible enough.


Youngpeople that are between 18 to 21 years of age can be considered asadults, but some of them might know the adverse effects of alcoholoverconsumption. The age-21 law protects the youths from fatalitiesthat may result from driving or operating other machinery while underthe influence of alcohol. Besides, allowing young people under theage of 21 to take alcohol will not reduce the number of those thatinvolve themselves in binge drinking and taking other drugs.


Paglia,C. (2014, April 3). It`s time to let teenagers drink again. Time.Retrieved on 16 Sep 2016 from http://time.com/72546/drinking-age-alcohol-repeal/