Alcohol and Liberty

crimesIn a fascinating chart highlighted at Wine Industry Insight and written about at the Washington Post, we learn that access to alcohol due to turning 21 years old absolutely results in increased crime. It’s not something you might think about, but when you see the data in a graphic you realized, “of course it does.”

The question is: Is there anything we can or should do to eliminate the crime that results from people turning 21 and having legal access to wine.

Of course this is something you could do. You could simply push back the legal drinking age to something like 30 years old when, presumably, people are more mature and less likely to be made stupid with sudden legal access to alcohol.

Or, you could limit 21 years old to access only to low alcohol alternatives. But let’s face it, they’ll just drink more.

The fact is, nothing should be done to respond to the fact that at 21 years old, new drinkers get momentarily more stupid and commit more crimes while drunk. It comes down to whether or not we are willing to accept certain negative consequences in a society that values a relatively high level of  liberty of action. We must be willing to accept these negative results only because the alternative is really oppressive restrictions on our liberties.


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