Why The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered Term Paper

Length: 7 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Ethics / Morality Type: Term Paper Paper: #71990567 Related Topics: Age Discrimination, Society, Common Good, Paternalism
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Paternalism

Introduction

Goldman and Goldman (GG) state that paternalism involves overriding a moral right of a person, often a liberty to act, for the persons own good (65). The problem with paternalism in a free society is that it creates conflict and tension between the right of the individual to act freely and the need for the society to restrict liberties in order to safeguard itself. This paper argues that while GG show that soft paternalism is justified from a utilitarian ethical perspective, hard paternalism creates problems that undermine the same ethical frameworknamely problems related to the development of personal accountability and justice.

Exposition

It is proposed by GG that soft paternalism is justified in Mills On Liberty, which serves as the foundation for utilitarian ethics. In utilitarianism, the good is that which benefits the majority of the common peoplei.e., the common good of all. Thus, soft paternalism is acceptable because although it may place some restrictions on peoples liberty it is done so in order to benefit the common good of all. Mill advocates liberty in most cases, but does make exceptions in cases wherein the safety of the person or the community may be at risk, such as restraining a person from crossing an unsafe bridge until he can be apprised of the danger, acting paternalistically toward children and incompetents, and refusing to honor contracts of individuals to sell themselves into slavery (66). The principle of soft paternalism is equated with maximizing voluntariness for each act except in cases of extreme long-run forfeiture (GG 70). Hard paternalism on the other hand is equated with the notion of preventing self-harm as sufficient in itself to override choice, whether truly voluntary or not (GG 71). GG go on to contend that soft paternalism is as far as one can go in a utilitarian society.

However, in a diverse society, achieving the common good often requires some compromises, so hard paternalism is something to consider, at least for the minority population so as to preserve the common good of the majority. Thus, GG posit that hard paternalism is necessary in the case of the minority so long as it offers them only a minor inconvenience. This proposition is qualified by the statement that the total benefits of soft paternalism for the majority must outweigh the moral costs of a hard paternalism for the minority together with the costs of administering the laws (GG 76). This is the main point of GG on paternalism.

The larger issue, as it pertains to issues like underage drinking and smoking, is that the rights of young people are curtailed for no clear reason. Young people often point out that at age 18 they are able to vote responsibly and enlist in the military, which means they can put their lives on the line to defend their country. Yet they are not able to buy alcohol and in some cases they are not allowed to buy cigarettes. But by age 21 they are allowed to do both. The arbitrary age discrimination makes no sense on the face of it and often leads to young people breaking the law in order to do something they consider their right to do but that, because of the discriminatory laws, makes them scofflaws in the process. By flouting the law, it creates a dangerous precedent and can lead to excess risk-taking, such as partying to excess at college campuses. Instead of teaching young people to drink responsibly by granting them access to alcohol regardless of their age and trusting that they will make sober decisions on how to use it, society restricts their rights on this matter and pushes them into a direction similar to that which the country took during the days of Prohibition in the 1920s. It is during the 1920s that organized crime came into existence in a big way, as it profited from the desire of people to exercise their perceived right to drink in the face of restrictive laws (Kobler). Todays young people also feel restricted and push back in much the…minor inconvenience: it is an injustice that denies them the opportunity to develop personal accountability and that instead fosters a culture of deviance that then pressures them to embrace deviance in order to fit in with other peers.

As Dworkin points out, Mill intends his principles to be applicable only to mature individuals (76). But that brings one back to the question of whether young people are mature enough to make decisions for themselves regarding drinking and smoking. If they are old enough to vote, then surely they are to be considered mature. If they are old enough to go off to war, then surely it is the same. So why are they not considered legally mature enough to decide for themselves whether they ought to be able to drink or smoke? Cudd argues that in a liberal society citizens have the right to take most drugs (17). A liberal society should not therefore restrict people who are legally considered mature enough to vote and go off to war from drinking or smoking.

Conclusion

The upshot of this argument on GGs position is that it opens the door for a more stable society to be ostered in which there is respect for the law as well as an opportunity for young people to develop personal accountability. This paper has argued that hard paternalism for minorities creates problems in society and undermines respect for the common good. GG justifies hard paternalism so long as the cost of maintain the common good for the majority is not outweighed by the inconveniences associated with hard paternalism for the minority and the cost of enforcing that paternalism. The costs and inconveniences do outweigh the common good of the majority and they are too often unrealized by the majority. Minors need to feel secure in their environments and in themselves, and placing them in an environment where deviance is normalized is not the way to go about things. Rather they should be taught to respect things like smoking and drinking and to do them responsibly…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited


Cudd -- Taking Drugs Seriously -- Liberal Paternalism


Dworkin, Gerald. “Paternalism,” The Monist, 1972, 56: 64–84.


Goldman, Michael N. and Alan H. Goldman, “Paternalistic Laws,” Philosophical Topics, Vol. 18, No. 1, Philosophy of Law (SPRING 1990), pp. 65-78.


Kobler, J. Capone: The Life and Times of Al Capone. New York: Da Capo Press, 2003.


McMurtrie, B. Why colleges haven’t stopped binge drinking. NY Times, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/us/why-colleges-havent-stopped-binge-drinking.html


Throm, A. Lowering the drinking age to 18 is better than keeping it at 21. Daily Nebraskan, 2017. http://www.dailynebraskan.com/opinion/throm-lowering-the-drinking-age-to-is-better-than-keeping/article_a28eef04-983b-11e7-9da0-8fbea1f03e90.html


Cite this Document:

"Why The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered" (2021, July 20) Retrieved November 30, 2021, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/drinking-age-lowered-term-paper-2176450

"Why The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered" 20 July 2021. Web.30 November. 2021. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/drinking-age-lowered-term-paper-2176450>

"Why The Drinking Age Should Be Lowered", 20 July 2021, Accessed.30 November. 2021,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/drinking-age-lowered-term-paper-2176450

Related Documents
Drinking Age Lowering the Drinking
Words: 2132 Length: 7 Pages Topic: Sports - Drugs Paper #: 99074290

The question isn't whether there should be controls, but which controls work best. What has proven around the world to work best is a combination of reasonable laws backed by strong social sanctions. But in the U.S. we treat our emerging adults as infants and get infantile behavior as a result…if adults would learn to temper their patronizing attitudes toward young men and women, more maturity, self-restraint, and social

Drinking Age Values and the
Words: 1913 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Sports - Drugs Paper #: 57649833

Accordingly, "the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that raising the drink age to 21 has reduced traffic fatalities involving 18- to 20-year-old drivers by 13% and has saved an estimated 19,121 lives since 1975." (T, 1) Conclusion: More than anything though, these statistics seem to confirm the fears of both university leaders and law enforcement agencies, who argue that age-based prohibition has made it more difficult to connect with, cooperate

Drinking Age Should Not Be Lowered for Many Reasons
Words: 1397 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Sports - Drugs Paper #: 81457432

Against Lowering the Drinking Age In the United States, underage drinking has been cited as creating immense problems. It has contributed to numerous unnecessary youth deaths and has been the predecessor to various crimes. However, some argue that it is the illegality attached to alcohol consumption that has led to these occurrences. The latter support lowering the legal age of alcohol consumption, while opponents argue that the health risks involved are

Drinking Age in America. The
Words: 1545 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Sports - Drugs Paper #: 36602240

Adults between the age of 19 and 29 have many things to concentrate on. If one is in college one has to handle studies, finals and graduation. If one is entering the workforce one has to concentrate on job searches, interviews and maintaining employment. Statistically college aged individuals are more inclined to take part in binge drinking which has been shown to lead to accidents, deaths, rapes and other negative

Drinking Age the Minimum Drinking
Words: 602 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Sports - Drugs Paper #: 8887233

While many think that if someone is old enough to go to war, one is old enough to drink, they miss the fact that going to war is a voluntary act. No one forces an individual to join any armed force. The decision is one that the individual makes for himself and there is no standing behind him or her forcing him or her to do so. The drinking age

Should D. The Drinking Age Be Lowered
Words: 1490 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Sports - Drugs Paper #: 29575900

Drinking Age There has been a lot of debate whether the legal drinking age should be lowered or not. The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984. This law was passed to increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. There has been a mixed reaction over this act. There are some people who support it while there are others who oppose it. Opponents of this law believe