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Apr 8, 2010 3:16 pm

Drinking and Liberty

Although the minimum drinking age is twenty-one in the U.S., it is eighteen in the UK and generally speaking its scope does not extend to private homes so adults can provide alcoholic drinks to older children. However, as you might expect, the British authorities are stepping up the war on booze. Specifically, Britain’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recently attacked what it called the" culture of excessive drinking" in universities and colleges. In a report by Caroline Healy, the council called on vice-chancellors and college heads to withdraw funding for clubs and societies that organise boozy initiation ceremonies and drinking games.

Here Neil Davenport warns us against what he sees as"[a]n initiation into the culture of unfreedom" and concludes:

"The ACMD proposals to ban daft drinking games is the latest shot fired in the war against booze. Drinking and socialising has always been a key area of student life, and learning to negotiate the pleasures and pitfalls of both stands young people in good stead for a responsible adult life. By clamping down on such campus activities, officialdom sees personal autonomy and public freedom as necessary casualties in the war against drinking. In truth, the ongoing infantilisation of young people will store up far greater problems in the future than any amount of excessive campus drinking. If we want to see a robust return to adult values and behaviour, it's time officialdom called last orders on its out-of-control campaign to turn all of us into diet-cola-drinking 12-year-olds."

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