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Repeal the Drinking Age

 Jeffrey A. Tucker argues for repeal of minimum drinking age laws at Mises.org

In the 19th century, and looking back even before — prepare yourself to imagine horrific anarchistic nightmares — there were no drinking laws anywhere, so far as anyone can tell. The regulation of drinking and age was left to society, which is to say families, churches, and communities with varying sensibilities who regulated such things with varying degrees of intensity. Probably some kids drank themselves silly — and we all know that this doesn't happen now (wink, wink) — but many others learned to drink responsibly from an early age, even drinking bourbon for breakfast.

Really, it is only because we are somehow used to it that we accept the complete absurdity of a national law that prohibits the sale of beer, wine, and liquor to anyone under the age of 21. This is a restriction unknown in the developed world. Most countries set 18 as the limit, and countries like Germany and Austria allow 16-year-olds to buy wine and beer. In the home of the brave, the police are busting up teen parties, shutting down bars, hectoring restaurants, fining convenience stores, and otherwise bullying people into clean living. We read the news and think: crazy kids, they shouldn't be doing this.

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