Sunday, March 04, 2018

Bars, Students Should be Thankful

Note: A Letter to the Editor of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 3, 2013, was inadvertently not reproduced in FromDC2Iowa at the time and so has been added now, March 5, 2017.

Bars, Students Should Be Thankful
Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 3, 2013, p. A8

Bars are in the business of profiting from the sale of alcohol. Those under 21 are legally prohibited from buying, possessing, or consuming alcohol. The most logical and easily administered standard would be to keep those under 21 from entering bars, as is done elsewhere.

Instead, Iowa City enables bar owners to profit maximize, and those who cannot legally purchase alcohol to be in their bars 20 hours a day. They are excluded only from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. It's scarcely "21-only."

Our City Council's approach is exceedingly generous to bar owners and their student customers alike, something for which they should be grateful rather than protesting.

To keep the underage, 20-hours-a-day bar access, you vote "No." To repeal it you vote "Yes." So voters may be confused. They may not even vote. But few are undecided.

So why write more?

Because there are a couple of really bizarre bits of rhetoric the controversy has inspired that need examination.

One is that people who are legally precluded from purchasing what a business is selling are deprived of their "human rights" if they are kept out of such establishments for the four hours each day when they cause the most mischief.

There are all kinds of laws restricting those underage from, among other things, getting married, driving cars, buying guns, performing in porn videos, purchasing cigarettes -- and yes, alcohol. Never, before now, has any been considered a human-rights violation.

The other is that because the drinking age should be 18, rather than 21, therefore it's OK for underage students to violatre the law and drink alcohol. I follow that argument "all but the 'therefore.'"

Until they persuade the Legislature of their position, (1) keeping those under 21 out of bars is logical, (2) permitting them in bars until 10 p.m. is generous, and (3) leaving them there until 2 a.m. is just asking for trouble -- the trouble we got the last time we tried it.

See, "Underage Drinking As Human Right? I Don't Think So," and links.

Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City

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2 comments:

Nick said...

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