Old enough to go to war but too young to have a beer

So news this week is that the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to raise the legal drinking age to 21. I’m not a fan of Rudd (I voted for Howard in the last election, shoot me) and this only deepens my dislike for the man.

I feel that if a person is able to fight in a war, then they should at least be able to have a beer. What Rudd is saying is that 18-year-olds are responsible enough to make decisions on taking someone else’s life on the battlefield, but too irresponsible to have a glass of wine. Something doesn’t seem quite right here.

In America, the drinking age is 21 and yet there is still a problem with youth binge drinking within the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 92 per cent of US adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days. Obviously raising the drinking age to 21 didn’t make these people more responsible drinkers.

I’ll be the first to admit that binge drinking is a problem in Australia. It’s also a problem in the UK. Between 2004 and 2005 in Australia, statistics revealed that one in eight adults drank at risky levels. However, I don’t think that the best way to combat this problem would be to raise the drinking age. Nor do I think raising the tax on ‘alcopops’ would help either. The culture of drinking needs to change before people change their habits.

I lived in France for a year between 2002 and 2003 and during this time I attended many a party. Although there was always alcohol present, never did I see anyone out of control and throwing up in the corner. By contrast, every party I attended throughout high school in Australia there was at least someone being sick. (Including me at times.)I put these differences down to the differences within the two cultures.

In France it is unacceptable, not to mention embarrassing, to get out of control on alcohol. In Australia, people laugh it off and in some ways even encourage rowdiness. If we want to change our binge drinking culture we need to first change our attitudes.

Whatever happens, hopefully the younger generation won’t be as unlucky as my dad – he grew up in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and when he was young the drinking age was 21. But when he turned 21, they lowered it to 18. Ouch.


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3 Responses to “Old enough to go to war but too young to have a beer”

  1. cjrutter Says:

    your poor dad.

    Why do you think the attitudes are so different between the countries?

    • carmentheaussie Says:

      I think the attitudes are different because of the way the children are raised. In France, drinking is part of the culture and from a young age children are taught to respect it. However, they’re allowed to drink under age with their parents at the dinner table and it’s seemed as normal. I think this enables them to respect the drinking. In Australia I think it’s a bit different. Respect for drinking is not so ingrained in our society.

  2. Australia – ‘Old Enough To Go To War But Too Young To Have A Beer…’ : Infowars Ireland Says:

    […] By CarmenTheAussie carmentheaussie.wordpress.com […]

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