Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Nice Try

New Hampshire state Rep. Jim Splaine has sponsored a bill to lower the legal drinking age for military personnel to 18, arguing that the United States is "disrespecting" the young men and women who are sent into harm's way by not allowing them a glass of wine before they leave for war.

Well, that's one way to boost recruitment.

The problem is, it's still not logical. There's no inherent respect involved in alcohol, and enrolling in the army does not make one per se more responsible than his or her peers.

On the other hand, if 18 is the age at which we feel the child becomes a legal adult able to vote, bind in contract, and risk life and limb in war, then it is not rational to claim a sip of beer is just too much to handle. Yes, they are statistically more likely to wind up drunk. They're also statistically more likely to screw up their credit, have unprotected sex, drive recklessly, and make many other stupid decisions about personal safety. But instead of taking away the right to contract and fight in wars for a few more years, we're harping about the wine.

Shockingly, the DI agrees, coming down firmly on the side of a lower drinking age.

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