In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 3, 2008 / 3 Elul 5768

The Drinking Age Myth

By John Stossel

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's a myth in this country that the drinking age is 21. But that's only the legal age. The fact that government says you can't drink before 21 does not mean younger people don't drink.

More than 100 college presidents understand this, and now they want the minimum drinking age reconsidered.

"The 21-year-old drinking age is not working," says the Amethyst Initiative, launched by former Middlebury College President John McCardell, president of Choose Responsibility Inc.

The college leaders' statement charges that a "culture of dangerous, clandestine 'binge-drinking' — often conducted off-campus — has developed" and that "By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law."

It makes the obvious point that 18-21-year-olds are "deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer."

States started raising the drinking age to 21 in 1984, after Congress passed a law that stopped federal highway money from going to states that kept the age at 18. Curiously, the law was backed by President Reagan, a self-proclaimed advocate of federalism. Federalism presumes that we'll get better laws if states are free to compete in making public policy. Federal mandates kill useful experimentation by enacting one-size-fits-all policies.

The college presidents make a lot of sense. Forbidding things like underage drinking or smoking marijuana doesn't stop them from happening. The activity is just driven underground, where it is less subject to constructive social convention.

Of course, the Amethyst Initiative statement was angrily denounced by the usual activist groups that believe the answer to every problem is strict laws. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) said the college presidents "have signed on to a misguided initiative that uses deliberately misleading information to confuse the public on the effectiveness of 21 law". MADD cites a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate that the higher drinking age "reduced traffic fatalities involving drivers 18 to 20 years old by 13 percent and has saved an estimated 25,509 lives since 1975".

MADD also claims that "In most countries with lower drinking ages, intoxication is much more common among young people than in the United States".

But does the "21 Law" really saves lives or reduce intoxication? Choose Responsibility responds, "Depending on where you look, you'll find many different numbers, all attributed to 'science.' What 'science'? In fact, the statistic(s) cited are the result of a simple mathematical formula ... [that] takes 13 percent of the difference between one year's alcohol-related traffic fatalities and the next and attributes the product to the 21-year-old drinking age. Recent research has called the consistent application of this formula into question."

Even if MADD's claims are right, McCardell counters that studies also show that those students who drink do so in more dangerous ways than they might if drinking could be done in the open.

Jordan Ballor of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty adds: "[C]ulture has a lot to do with how people respond to newfound freedoms or possibilities. ... Where the use of alcohol is not a taboo that can become part and parcel of a young-adult 'rebellion' experience, it seems less likely that binge drinking will function as a gateway to adulthood".

I agree. We grow into adulthood, but laws like the 21-year-old drinking age presume that individuals change from child to adult at the stroke of midnight on their 21st birthdays. That's nonsense.

What about MADD's claim that intoxication is more common in countries with lower drinking ages? It's not true, says anthropology professor Dwight Heath of Brown University: "In countries where people start to drink at an early age, alcohol is not a mystical, magical thing," and they are not prone to "drink to get drunk ...". He adds that "Several years ago, a study at the University of North Carolina found that '[D]rinking with parents appears to have a protective effect on general drinking trends.' ...

"The fear that teaching kids to be responsible drinkers will only teach them to be heavy drinkers has been unfounded in Italy, Spain and other 'wine cultures.'"

Bring back federalism. Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong  

Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.

JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.

© 2008, by JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.