I think you find in the USA that the vast majority of people have had alchohol well before they reach 21. Not that means you should change the laws to accomodate those who break them(myself included). I just think that laws based on age are generally ludicrous. I guess I have a different perspective on things because I have been on my own since a pretty early age, but I know folks in their 40s who shouldn't be able to drink.
Likewise, it is becoming more and more difficult to find 18 year olds who have not had sex with anyone yet in the USA. While it's gross to think about 40 year olds and little kids getting it on, I don't think it's the age that identifies the act as a crime so much as the circumstances. If anyone uses their position of influence or power to make someone sleep with them then it is a crime.. . Whether they are 13 or 30.. Again though because of people's need for privacy this sort of thing is very hard to track or enforce.
Its been said in this thread plenty already, but whether its beer, sex, drugs, or whatever it really comes down to a person's mentality and values. How they were raised and what is important to them. It is exceedingly difficult to make laws that effectively govern things like that.
Ok, here's a 20 year old with some sticks to throw on the fire...
How can someone be responsible and clear thinking enough to be able to make a decision to marry, supposedly sticking with one human being for life, and all it entails, ie. kiddies, and not be trusted with a bottle of wine?
IMonaghan also made a comparable point, there are teenagers in the military, potentially in combat situations in charge of protecting lives and/or actually taking them...which in terms of human existance is the most profound thing one can do in both positive and negative ways, yet walks into a bar and is refused a beer, which frankly will do him much less harm than a big mac meal...hmm I sense another topic...;-)
And do these laws actually stop people going out and getting wasted and/or having sex? I've been going clubbing since I was 15, fully equipped with fake ID freshly printed off my computer...! Before that age me and my buddies would sit in a bush with our skateboards and get bladdered on the dodgy lager that we'd persuaded some tramp to buy for us in the nearest offy... Obviously that was just me and individual examples don't mean much, but it's a case in point, and I can guarantee at this very moment there will be teenagers in bushes across the country doing the very same, and worse.
And to distil the issues further, specifically in terms of risk, rights and responsibility to others, how about this for an argument...
How can drinking at 20 be wrong and driving a car at 17 be right?
If you go on a bender, unless you're a violent drunk, the only person you're likely to harm is yourself. Fine. Obviously there are arguments against, especially in Britain due to the National Health Sevice, but I'm playing devil's advocate...
How can you give a 17 year-old a ton of metal which they're allowed to drive around at up to 70mph and assume that they're responsible and clear thinking enough? The potential for the harm of others is huge, and proven. It was brought home to me recently when I crashed my car. Luckily I was fine, as was the car of the guy I ran into (it had to be a Saab...) but the potential for carnage was there, I could actually have killed someone.
Is it fine that I have that responsibility, yet can't wander into Safeways for a bottle of sauvignon blanc?
Hmm...any thoughts ;-)
I've been reading everyone's replies and they're starting to make me laugh. I think this law about sex is only for the religious folks and the natural law abiders in the crowd today. My point is, unless girls are hiking up there skirts in public, how the hell is a police officer every going to know wether you're having sex or not? This is an absolutely rediculous rule in the first place, and I think that if society wasn't so closed minded on the idea of sex, and looked at it as a natural act that all humans and animals eventually will encounter in their lives, the government would never have to worry about bardging in on our personal lives, because people of all ages would more responsible. Sex will occure in the world. I can almost guarantee that if sex were a more talked about subject in the family and school structure, there would be much much less early teen pregnancies, because teens would understand that sex can be fun and sex can be great, just as long as they remain responsible. Well that's all,
i totally agree with what you guys are saying about the law... the fact that the law is there wont stop anyone from doing it! the point for the law i think is more legal reasons... someone is a 'minor' if they are under 16 in a court of law.. the fact that a 15 year old girl has sex with her 16 year old boyfriend, consensually... should not be a crime.
and i think that point about a soldier fighting in a war to save people.. going into a bar and told he cant have a drink is a very good point! thats just absurd to tell an 18 year old that he can have sex, get married, drive a car and fight for his country, but isnt man enough to drink a beer
anyway this is pretty much the same as what everybody else has said so i think i'll be off now...
"I think this law about sex is only for the religious folks and the natural law abiders in the crowd today. My point is, unless girls are hiking up there skirts in public, how the hell is a police officer every going to know wether you're having sex or not?"
George, I don't think that's what the minumum age for consensual sex law is about, I think it's more about protection of minors.
Yes I agree that sex should be enjoyed, obviously but also agree what DevonTom says that it is because of protection of minors that these laws are made. I think also though, that there have been some very valid points made, such as if you are a soldier in the army and cannot have a drink is actually ludicrous. Also, the driving a car at 16 and not being able to drink. Maybe after reading all this, I agree, that as well as law it is due to responsible upbringing, and maybe educational matters at school should be brought in. However, me saying all this - I never used to listen to school and always rebelled and went out and partied because I think that's naturally what teenagers do However, also, some teenagers grow up quicker than others, some are more or less responsible than others at a certain age etc. so it may be down to the mentality of that person also. My parents have always been very laid back with me, and never really laid down rules and regulations, so I've grown up very independent, I've probably been less rebellious, and more respectful also, because of that. However it is society I think that made me go out very young and party. The fact that my friends did it, some of them had no upbringing because they had not got both parents etc. etc. which happens alot and so rebelled for those reasons, also not enough sports facilities, encouragement at school I think, did it also. I think at the end of the day it is the society we live in that would make us irresponsible etc. Does anyone agree
I think thats true to a certain extent Rach-a but theres a point where people have to take some responsibility for their decisions, and the younger you are the more likely it you'll make the wrong ones, and as you all say thats what the law is about protecting minors not only from others but themselves.
Tom- your childhood sounds very much like mine Sitting under bushes drinking, dodgy lager(or spirits stolen from the parents cupboard and topped up with water ) , tramps, yep sounds about right
16: you can buy cigarettes, have sex, get married, join the army
17: you can drive a car
18: you can drink in most bars and have gay sex
21: You can drink in all bars
Mim - with regard to the 21 thing, as far as i am aware, that has nothing to do with legality. Some bars are still over 23's, 25's or even 30's. Think it's just the choice of the management rather than anything else.
My childhood was nothing like that. We didn't have any bushes big enough, so it was mainly up trees for us
Sorry in England as far as I know it is a LEGAL licensing law that you can require your patrons to be 21 or over. any other age restriction is as you say the bars own preference.
I have never come across a bar for over 35 but its an interesting point!
Sorry if I'm wrong and a little defensive but after suggesting someone go to Barcelona to see the Guggenheim I'm valiantly trying to defend my reputation!!!
take it easy on me!
Up in Canada the law about statutory rape is as follows: If one of the partners is either under the age of 16, or is 4 years younger than the other and is under the age of 18 then it is automatically statutory rape in a court of law. Of course people have sex before they turn 18- my best friend lost her virginity when we were both 13. A lot of people have said that laws won't prevent people from doing it anyway. Of course they won't! Haven't you heard that laws are meant to be broken??! It isn't really about the laws, though, but more about a personal choice, I think. Whoever makes the laws obviously can't rewrite them for each individual situation. They have to consider when MOST people are mature enough to have consensual sex and understand what the emotional consequences of such are. Honestly, I don't think that 16 is such a bad age. For God sakes, you hardly are physically developed until then! And there are some people who might not even be able to handle it until later than that! My friend who lost her virginity at 13 got pregnant with that boyfriend at 15, had to drop out of school, and now lives at home looking after her daughter with hardly any social life or anything. Talk about being tied down. Just thinking about her situation is depressing!
About the drinking age thing- I think that the fact that there is a drinking age at all makes underage people want to drink more. In Alberta, Canada the drinking age is 18. In other provinces it is 19. I started drinking at 14. I binge-drank a lot. I nearly killed myself drinking, in fact. I would get my older friends to buy booze. I snuck into clubs through the back door or with a lot of people, or I would meet some guys and they would get me in. I looked 19 when I was 15. It was pretty easy. But the funny thing is that when I turned 18 and I could legally buy booze, cigarettes, get into clubs I suddenly wasn't into that anymore. It was the fact that someone thought that I couldn't handle it that made me go so crazy. On the flip side of things, I have friends over in Europe who have never ever been ID'd. You could go to a pub in Germany if you are 14, ask for a shot of tequila and they would give it to you, no questions asked. But they knew that if they decided to drink they would also be held responcible for their actions. It wasn't an act of rebellion, it was just something to do, like seeing a movie in a theatre or having a cup of coffee.
About being man enough to drink if you serve in the millitary- I whole-heartedly agree. My younger brother joined the Canadian millitary when he was 17. There is a bar in the armary where he trained every week. And they told him, "if you are old enough to serve, then you are old enough to drink." It is that simple.
Well, that is my 2 cents on the topic.