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April 23, 2014

Camille Paglia: Get Rid of the National Drinking Age

I guess so.

This is one of those things that a lot of people oppose -- whether because of the affront to federalism, or the juvenilzation of adults, or on basic liberty grounds -- but such people suspect there is too strong a lobby for the other side, or, maybe, too much inertia about it, and so while people may agree this is kinda bullshit, they won't actually take any action to change it.

Paglia makes most of her case on culture -- that drinking is part of it.

Learning how to drink responsibly is a basic lesson in growing up — as it is in wine-drinking France or in Germany, with its family-oriented beer gardens and festivals. Wine was built into my own Italian-American upbringing, where children were given sips of my grandfather’s home-made wine. This civilized practice descends from antiquity. Beer was a nourishing food in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and wine was identified with the life force in Greece and Rome: In vino veritas (in wine, truth). Wine as a sacred symbol of unity and regeneration remains in the Christian Communion service. Virginia Woolf wrote that wine with a fine meal lights a “subtle and subterranean glow, which is the rich yellow flame of rational intercourse.”

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. Club drugs — Ecstasy, methamphetamine, ketamine (a veterinary tranquilizer) — surged at raves for teenagers and on the gay male circuit scene.

...

As a libertarian, I support the decriminalization of marijuana, but there are many problems with pot. From my observation, pot may be great for jazz musicians and Beat poets, but it saps energy and will-power and can produce physiological feminization in men.

I like her point that there are limits to the degree can actually control what it deems "Bad Behavior." Forbid 18 year olds from drinking, and they'll turn to more easily portable, more easily concealable mind-altering substances like pot, pills, or worse.


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posted by Ace at 01:44 PM

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