Laws might be laws, but they aren’t always just

Rob does bring up some good points, but I think that the experience of the rest of the world will back me up. If alcohol consumption in the late teens slows brain cell production, wouldn’t the majority of Europe be dumber than us? After all, many European countries have ridiculously low drinking ages and more accessibility to alcohol at any age. They aren’t any dumber than us, right?

About high school students getting their hands on alcohol, this is where my plan about needing a diploma comes in. Of course, even if the age were simply 18, I don’t think the effects on high schoolers would be as profound. In my experience, those in high school who wanted to drink were able to get their hands on it in some way or another, I honestly never knew how. Those who weren’t really interested in drinking didn’t worry about finding people to buy it for them, and I think this would stay the same, even if a few high school seniors were able to buy it.

I will stand by my earlier argument that drinking in 18-20 year olds would decrease, but I will modify it slightly from how Rob worded it. Drinking itself might not decrease, but binge drinking would. I know that the point of alcohol at a party is to loosen people up a bit, but if people were able to buy their own alcohol they wouldn’t be so prone to overdoing it when they go to a party. Sure, a few people just like drinking too much, and they would continue getting wasted no matter what, but I think that overall, less people would be among that crowd. Just like there are less adults over 21 who get wasted all the time than people who just drink a little to loosen up, I think the 18-20 crowd would become that way as well.

Finally, on Rob’s drunk driving argument: I don’t think lowering the drinking age would have much effect at all on drunk driving. This is unfortunate because we really need to find a way to lower the frequency of these tragedies, but I don’t think that lowering the drinking age would increase them. There are plenty of 16-21 year olds who drive drunk as it is now, and for the most part they are in the same crowd as those who drink too much routinely; they are going to continue in the same pattern whether it is legal or not. For the rest of us, the harsh drunk driving laws are deterrent enough to keep us off the road if we’ve been drinking, let alone the fear of death or killing someone. I don’t think that there is so much difference between 21 and 18 year olds that 18 year olds think it is OK to drive drunk. By the time we are 16 and we get our drivers licenses, we know that it is a horrible idea, and waiting until we are 21 isn’t going to cement that any more than it will already be cemented when we are 18.


A law is a law for a reason

Now, I know I won’t be making any friends in the college crowd, but I’m going to have to say that lowering the legal drinking age would be a bad, no, horrible idea.   And there are many logical and scientific arguments to back this up.

First and foremost, it is scientifically proven that human brain cells continue to develop into the early to mid 20’s.  It is also proven that alcohol will halt the production of these brain cells.  If the legal drinking age were to be lowered to 18, or anything lower than it is now for that matter, the U.S. government would essentially be encouraging our teenagers to stop their development long before they are ready to.  Plus, teenagers are still at the maturity level where they are more likely to consider their own entertainment over intelligence, leading to a higher chance of alcohol poisoning and alcohol related injuries.

And it’s not just college students that would be affected by this law change.  The biggest effect would be on high school students, who currently have a much more difficult time getting their hands on alcoholic beverages than their college counterparts.  There are many people, myself included, that turned 18 at the very beginning of their senior years.  Now tell me, does high school and alcohol sound like a good mix?  Of course not.  Just like in college, the younger people would get their hands on alcohol from the older ones, and we’d have even younger people drinking illegally.  High school students are just not at the right age and maturity level to handle the responsibility of consuming alcohol.

Now, one of the biggest arguments for changing the current law is that drinking would actually decrease in people aged 18-20 because they’d be allowed to do it.  Not only is that argument absolutely ridiculous, but it’s completely based on speculation.  Well here’s my speculation.  Many people don’t consider a party worth going to if it doesn’t involve alcohol; a little bit loosens you up and it’s always interesting to see that one guy who gets totally wasted making a fool of himself (you all know what I’m talking about).  Would it really make people less likely to throw these parties if it was less dangerous to do so?  Is that really even a question?

Finally, we come to the reason the law was passed in the first place, to prevent alcohol related car accidents.  People are told from the time they’re very little that drinking and driving is a terrible idea, and yet people still do it all the time.  How could it not be a good thing to keep 18 year olds from driving drunk by making the consequences for them worse.  At that age level, these people are the most likely to make that mistake, so why not make a greater incentive to avoid driving drunk.

So lawmakers were on the right track when making the decision to make the drinking age 21, and it should most certainly stay that way.


Eighteen is not too young

This weeks debate is on whether the drinking age in America should be reformed. Last time, I took the “leave it as it is” stance on the BCS system in college football, but this time I’m going to have to propose reform.

First off: Minors should be allowed to be introduced to alcohol by their parents in their own homes. 20 states now forbid that. By forbidding this, they are maximizing the potential for people’s first drinking experience to be wild, crazy, and dangerous. If we learn about alcohol in a safe environment with our parents, we are less likely to lose control when with our peers.

Now: why 21 is too old.

We have the highest drinking age in the world. The only other countries that have drinking ages of 21 are Pakistan, Fiji, Palau, and Sri Lanka. Most other developed nations have a drinking age of 18, and many have drinking ages lower than 18. Why?

If we were to lower the drinking age, we would obviously have less underage drinking. Yes, part of that is because the standards would be lower, but another factor would be that kids don’t have to wait so long to try it out. When you are 18, it seems like an eternity until you will be 21. Many 18 year olds are just starting college, and most of the rest are just starting full time jobs. For the college students, it seems unfair to have to wait until your Junior year before you are allowed to drink. This also fosters binge drinking at parties, which is unsafe and can have drastic consequences, unplanned pregnancy being a big one. While lowering the drinking age to 18 (not exactly my plan, but keep reading) would not eliminate binge drinking, it would lower the frequency of it for most people. Some people just like to get trashed, every day, and will do so regardless of the legality of it. Most people enjoy bingeing less often, but do so more often because they don’t get many chances to drink, and drink as much as they can at one time to make up for it. Also, if it were legal for 18 year olds to buy alcohol, they might not have to go to large parties to get their booze, and small parties tend to generate less trouble than large parties do.

For most 18 year olds who do not go to college, the supervised portion of their lives is over. They don’t have school anymore, and they aren’t children anymore. Many of them move out of their parents homes, and start their own lives. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to drink? Nobody is telling them how to do anything else in their lives anymore, why try to control this?

And of course, the arguments that have been shouted for years, ever since the new drinking age was enforced: Old enough to vote, old enough to be imprisoned, old enough to go to war, but not old enough to drink. It just isn’t fair that we have so many adult responsibilities, and face adult consequences for all of our actions, but we don’t get all of the adult privileges.

Finally, the unlikely plan that I think should be implemented: The drinking age should be lowered to 18, with the stipulation that in order to legally drink, you must obtain a high school diploma, or some sort of equivalent. Otherwise, the drinking age is 20. I know that one of the major concerns about lowering the drinking age is that high school students would then be allowed to drink, but this would make it so it is still illegal to do so. It would also act as an encouragement for some students to stick through high school, which would help them later in life in ways that they can not imagine now. A class on alcohol safety could be added into the curriculum, just as sex education is now. I’m not sure if this would be implementable or even legal, but regardless I believe it is a good idea.

Alternatively, if that doesn’t work, I support a drinking age of 18 like most of the rest of the Western world.


Coming up, BEER!

First off, thanks to everyone who checked out the blog and voted.  We got 39 views yesterday, which may not sound like a lot, but as it’s only our second debate, we’re pretty happy.  So keep on checking out the debates, because we really appreciate your support.

We’ve finally decided on the schedule for the blog that we’ll follow from now on.  We’re going to make the debates biweekly, giving us the off weeks to write our arguments and perfect them, and making sure neither of us are late.  So our next debate will begin next Monday.

And what might that debate be, you might ask?  BEEEER!  Well, now that I have your attention, we’ll be debating the legal drinking age (for all you college students).

So thanks again for the support, and check back Monday for the new opener.  And in the meantime, check out our individual blogs (the links are on the right side).


Decision Time!

Now that you have heard our arguments, it is your turn to make your opinion heard. Is the BCS so bad it should be replaced, or does it have more benefits than any replacements would? Vote in our poll, leave a comment… Make your voice heard! Tell your friends to log on and vote too, the more votes we get, the better the results will be!

We look forward to seeing what you, our readers think. If you have any other thoughts, please leave a comment.


The BCS will live on

You may raise one Rob, but it no good to go all in on a pair of twos!

You did bring up some good points in your rebuttal, but unfortunately for you, I have a response to them all!

You say that the BCS only gives two teams a shot at the National Championship. While this is true in the end, every team has a chance of making it to #1 or #2 before the end of the season. And ultimately, the playoffs narrows it down to two teams as well. So its really all the same, but in your system the good teams play a few more games and get more tired for the big showdown. This brings me to my next point, where you suggest that, in order to keep the season at its current length, teams in the playoffs would give up their winter breaks. While this would shorten the season to the point that it is currently, it would also lower the caliber of play in the final games and increase the chances of injury as the teams would be playing more games and practicing less.

Back to my point about every team being in the running for a national championship until the very end, the BCS has a good system in place for those who don’t make the final showdown: the bowls. While you argued that they playoff games could easily be the same bowls we currently play, the winner of any given bowl would not be referred to as the “Orange Bowl Champion” but rather, the “5th best in the nation.” There is more respect in being called the bowl champion than just 5th best. Also, in this system, a team that loses miserably in a bowl game for 3rd and 4th place gets to be ranked 4th, while a team that blows out their opponents in the 5th and 6th place bowl is ranked 5th. They would win their bowl, and still be thought of as 5th best, behind that team that got destroyed in the X Bowl.

Now on to your argument about players not playing their best every week. I don’t think there are many people who like to see players getting injured out there, but they also don’t want to see a sub-par performance week to week. Also, while injuries are a threat to a players future NFL career, so is not playing well. I don’t think the current level of injuries is anything unexpected from football, so I don’t think it is necessary to lower the level of play to avoid them, rather I think it is important to practice more to be able to avoid them through conditioning and knowing how to not get hurt.

Finally, you mentioned how the bowl payouts are not nearly as good as they seem. I know this is true, but they are still better than leaving the school on their own to foot the bill. The payout may not profit the school that much directly, but it does allow them to afford the trip. This in turn, builds the schools prestige, and potentially increases their fan base, who then potentially buys more jerseys, tickets, etc. I fear that if the bowls are turned into playoff games, the sponsors would be less willing to offer big payouts to the schools and we might see the deterioration of the bowls altogether as schools lobby for something cheaper.

So, as I just showed, while many see the BCS as an unfair and inaccurate system, it has many benefits, and there are no alternatives that would improve the system while keeping these benefits. I foresee the BCS living on for quite a few more years, and maybe in time people will see the benefits that it actually brings.


Playoffs, here we come!

I’ll take that and raise one.

I don’t really have any new points, but I’ll touch on each of Aaron’s.  First off, with regards to the fairness of the top two teams, how could you say that having two teams in the running for the national championship is more fair than 8 or more.  Sure, someone’s going to complain that they didn’t make it in, it’s going to be that way no matter how many teams there are, but the cutoff has to be made somewhere.  And clearly, it’s better to give 8 out of the 119 division 1 teams a chance at taking the championship than just 2.

Now, a good college football team should play their best regardless of rankings, but I understand that rankings play a big part in the performance of a team week to week.  But how much difference would it really make if a playoff system was created.  It’s still incredibly fierce competition just to stay in the top 8 teams.  In fact, lower ranked teams would be gunning even more for the 7th and 8th spots, which as of now are relatively unimportant, so in my opinion, these games would only become fiercer.

On a side note, even if the playoffs resulted in a weaker performance in some games, is that necessarily a bad thing?  I mean, we all love watching the players giving 110% every play of the game, but is it really a good idea to be running these athletes ragged.  Most of these players are hoping to end up in the NFL, where, as much as I resent it, they’ll get payed much more than I will with my engineering degree.  But an injury, which is much more likely to occur when the teams are playing as hard as they can, can seriously set back the possibility of a career in professional sports.

I also have two comments on the bowls remaining a factor.  First, the bowls do a hell of a lot less for a school than they really ought to.  The bowl payout, which initially seems great, is greatly reduced when you consider it includes all the costs of the teams and bands travelling to the game, as well as merchandising.  Second, there’s no reason to get rid of the bowls that already exist with a playoff system.  These bowls would just be used as the playoff games themselves that lead up to the national championship.  This would even give 2 extra bowl games a chance to join in with the already elite bowls because it would require 6 games to determine the championship players.  Oh, and I’m sure no one is trying to delegitimize the Superbowl.  In fact, the Superbowl is the end of a postseason playoff series…

Lastly, there’s an easy solution to the time requirements for playoffs.  What about the month long winter break.  2 games a weekend for 3 weeks and you’ve determined your #1 and #2 for the 4th weekend.  This won’t hurt the academic performance of the players, and teams that make it into bowl games now have to stay through winter break anyways to practice for their upcoming game.

In the end, the BCS is and unnecessary and completely unfair system for determining the national champions and could easily be replaced with a better system using a little logic and planning.