Saturday, May 10, 2014

On Lowering the Drinking Age to 18

Camille Paglia (Salon photo)
Camille Paglia says that it's time to repeal the 30-year-old National Minimum Drinking Age Act:
What this cruel 1984 law did is deprive young people of safe spaces where they could happily drink cheap beer, socialize, chat and flirt in a free but controlled public environment. Hence in the 1980s we immediately got the scourge of crude binge drinking at campus fraternity keg parties, cut off from the adult world. Women in that boorish free-for-all were suddenly fighting off date rape.
If college kids want to get high, alcohol is not only safer than marijuana, it promotes social interaction:
there are many problems with pot. From my observation, pot may be great for jazz musicians and Beat poets, but it saps energy and willpower and can produce physiological feminization in men. Also, it is difficult to measure the potency of plant-derived substances like pot. With brand-name beer or liquor, however, purchased doses have exactly the same strength and purity from one continent to another, with no fear of contamination by dangerous street additives like PCP.

Exhilaration, ecstasy and communal vision are the gifts of Dionysus, god of wine. Alcohol’s enhancement of direct face-to-face dialogue is precisely what is needed by today’s technologically agile generation, magically interconnected yet strangely isolated by social media.
Back in the enlightened 1970's your humble observer learned how to mind his manners--and hold his liquor--at the Friday-night mixers hosted by the residential college dean. [Camille Paglia: "Learning how to drink responsibly is a basic lesson in growing up."] Treat 18-year-olds like adults, and most will behave like them.

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