Mapping the world's opinions

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Should the drinking age be 18? Show more Show less

The risks associated with drinking have led most countries to set a minimum legal age for the purchase or consumption of alcohol, but the specific drinking age varies from place to place. The most common drinking age around the world is 18, but the United States has a minimum legal drinking age of 21, and ages from 15 to 25 are used in other nations. Is 18 the ideal standard, or should the drinking age be 21? Should there be a minimum legal drinking age at all?

The ideal drinking age depends on the jurisdiction. Show more Show less

There is no single optimal drinking age because different groups and cultures may have completely divergent views on the consumption of alcohol.
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Cultural and religious beliefs vary widely

People in different parts of the world have very different attitudes about drinking.
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Context

The Argument

It makes no sense to talk about a universal ideal drinking age when different groups of people do not even agree on whether it is permissible to drink alcohol at all. In many places, especially in Muslim-majority countries, alcohol is legally prohibited for all people regardless of age. Alcohol has also been banned in many Western nations in the past, including the United States. While the historical reasons for these prohibitions vary from religious beliefs to public health concerns, they present a stark contrast with standards in many other nations, which do not and never have had a minimum legal age for drinking. Since even these extreme opposite approaches can receive substantial public support depending on the predominant local culture, it is best to leave the appropriate drinking age, if any, in the hands of each individual jurisdiction.

Counter arguments

Framing

Premises

[P1] Many countries prohibit all drinking, whether it be for religious or public health reasons. [P2] We should not put pressure on these societies to conform to a drinking age of 18.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

    This page was last edited on Friday, 7 Feb 2020 at 18:01 UTC