In America, alleged land of freedom, a 19-year-old soldier just back from Afghanistan can't sidle up to a bar and legally order a beer.
In supposedly regulation-crazed Europe, meanwhile, an 18-year-old can order a martini. In the beer-drinking cultures of Belgium and Germany, a 16-year-old can ask for beer or wine.
Do you detect a flaw in this story?
Prohibition has been gone for over 80 years. Most agree that it was worse than the disease it was meant to eradicate -- the scourge of drunkenness. Nowadays, backers of drug legalization rightly hold up Prohibition as their model for failed policy.
Yet we see few arguments for lowering the national drinking age from the current 21 to 18, where it was until 1984. On the contrary, the public is still being pummeled by "expert" studies linking virtually any alcohol consumption to a variety of maladies, from cancer to road fatalities.