Haggling over the drinking age
At a dinner party one night, an inebriated Winston Churchill asked the aristocratic lady next to him
"Madam, would you sleep with me for, say, ten thousand pounds?"She paused and responded
"Well, Sir Winston, I believe I would."
"How about for ten pounds?"The lady was indignant.
"Sir Winston! What kind of woman do you think I am?"To which, Churchill smiled and replied,
"Madam, we've already established what kind of woman you are. Now we're just haggling over the price!"Tonight Parliament is scheduled to discuss the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill, which was drawn from the parliamentary members' ballot last week.
Parliament has already established that there should be a drinking age. Now they're just haggling (again) over what it should be. Retrogressive MP Matt Robson wants to return the drinking age to 20. It was set at 18 in 1999. At 18 is where it should stay.
There are all sorts of consistency problems with having different ages of majority for different activities. To illustrate, if the youngest candidate standing for Parliament this year is elected, it is only fitting that he should legally be able to go to the Backbencher and celebrate with a drink. If this bill is passed, he won't be able to. I say that if Phil is deemed old enough to govern the country, he is old enough to go to the pub and buy a beer.
But the real problem is just that to raise the drinking age is to treat adults as children. Such paternalism is second nature to most of our current crop of Parliamentarians. It is, nonetheless, wrong.
For most drugs, no age limit is set at all. To protect minors and to uphold the right of adults to ingest whatever substances they please, we need to make all drugs R18. Parliament must set an ingestion age, an inhalation age, an insufflation age, an injection age, a sub-lingual absorption age, and a rectal absorption age, to keep company with the current drinking age.