Dan McFeely's article in today's Star about changing the drinking age features Butler President Bobby Fong saying some characteristically smart things in favor of reassessing the federally mandated drinking age. And, not surprisingly, the article also quotes some scary scenarios from your local friendly
puritanical neoprohibitionists MADD representatives and their knockoffs, SADD. Spake the SADD flack, "The (age-limit) law has been heralded as one of the most effective public safety laws ever passed," leaving me to wonder who exactly had done the heralding and what was the basis for that sort of astounding claim.
In any case, MADD's statistics are heavily disputed by scholars and it's quite evident that they frequently engage in serious statistical manipulation. What's more striking to me is how uncreative -- to the point of self-parody -- their ideas for combating drunk driving actually are. MADD -- and SADD apparently -- are addicted to an almost exclusively punitive approach to such a degree that they've earnestly proposed having breathalyser ignition locks installed on every car sold in America.
I would think that if you were really serious about reducing drunk driving incidences you could combine some effective punitive measures -- like revoking the licenses of habitual offenders and mandating alcohol treatment and counseling -- with strategies that would alleviate the need for people to drive when they are already intoxicated. And that's what I don't get. As much money as MADD spends on lobbying campaigns to shave yet another hundredth off the legal limit, they could be lobbying to substantially improve mass transit options or, hell, just paying for drunk buses to haul people home from bars at night. But, no, that would require MADD to abandon its moralism and treat drunk driving as more than simply a moral failing.