The American drinking age law is a byproduct of a lot of other weird laws (including holdovers from Prohabition). That said, you can drink if you’re in the military (18+), since they figure if you’re gonna die for your nation, you should be able to enjoy a beer.
The whole 21 bit, however, didn’t start until 1984. (If you watch that 70s show, you’ll notice how the kids can start drinking legally at 18, which was the drinking age back then in their state). In fact, it used to be a state’s rights issue, allowing each state to mandate it’s own drinking age.
I’m a proponent of States Rights, and I oppose the majority of laws that are forced onto the states. Why? Becuase I’ve read the ding danged Constitution. If it’s something that should be nation wide legal, make it an ammendment. Otherwise, let each state govern itself as was intended.
Now, here’s a kicker. It’s not illgeal in the US to drink if you’re under 21. It’s illegal to have possesion of booze. See the subtlty? And there are exemptions, including religious reasons and being in a private clubs or establishments.
A general pub/bar doesn’t often count as a ‘private’ club because anyone can walk in. But a private, you-must-be-a-member club? Well…
If you, as a parent, take the time to educate your child about drinking and let them have a beer at 12 if they ask for one at home (which is not illegal), then you demistify it.
If you leave your childs entire education up to the government, then you get what we’ve got here. A fucking mess.
So my problem with the drinking age being 21 is that people use that as an excuse not to educate their own children. They use it as a fallback. “Oh I don’t have to tell Timmy about drinking, he can’t do it till he’s 21.”