D. Pontoppidan, Summer Fellow at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Nicholas D. Kristof and others have argued that since war on drugs has been lost, drugs should be legalized. I cannot help but wonder where the debate over America’s absurdly high drinking-age has gone? In many ways it bears resemblance to the debate over marijuana.
In spite of a legal drinking age of 21, I know not one young person in America who has not broken this law more than once. Yet they are seen by the system as criminals. Similar to marijuana. In my home country of Denmark, where the legal drinking age was 15 while growing up, parents were able to take care of young people who got too drunk, and alcohol was tolerated. In America, it seems they just send them off the college and hope for the best. Again, alcohol in America is similar to marijuana, which young people hide from their parents who are left in the dark. And finally, it has struck me how much more widespread the drug culture is in America; perhaps because it is easier to get to than plain alcohol? Or perhaps because anyone who can get you alcohol illegally can get you other things as well!
It seems to me that if America wants to understand its failure at combating drugs, it must begin with its desire to regulate the most basic form of consumption: drinking.