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Memories of the 28th Century

Equal Before the Law

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I am shocked that young people havenít already stood up and demanded their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Young citizens of the United States of America fairly often take to the streets to demand something for someone, but I donít recall them demonstrating to demand their own rights. I didn't even think about it when I was a young college student and drinker, but having a minimum age for buying and using alcohol is a clear violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." (My bold to emphasize the relevant parts)

If people of fifty years can legally use alcohol, then so can anyone else who was born in or naturalized to the U.S.A. The concept is quite simple.

I do not especially favor eight year olds getting ploughed, but some could. If had gotten thoroughly inebriated, barfing, falling down, etc., when I was eight, I wouldn't have done that again for a very long time, if ever, and I think that the same would be true for most people, so I am not concerned with creating alcoholics. But there are some people who would regain consciousness and say to themselves: let's do that again, and such people will become alcoholics, and they would regardless of what barriers might be put between them and alcohol. Conversely, there are some people who would never touch another drop. If restrictions are created to save a few, then the majority might be harmed, and laws that benefit a few are also forbidden by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Unfortunately, the states also violate the Fourteenth by not allowing all citizens to vote. I can understand refusing to register anyone who cannot state his or her name, but most people who are of school age are quite capable of voting. Many twelve year olds are more qualified to vote than are many forty year olds, but politicians are afraid of knowledgeable voters.

One dodge for the politicians would be to require that people pass skill tests before they could vote, drive, or whatever. That dodge might work, but it might not work for long, because there are good arguments against it; arguments that might prevail in court.

Everyone should realize that making all ages equal would not make anyone immune to laws against crimes against persons and against society such as: drunk and disorderly, and age related sex crimes would not need to be changed; it could still be presumed that anyone under fourteen years was incapable of cooperating in sex acts.

If parents will be worried about their children drinking when they are not present, then they should supervise their children's drinking by serving them beer and wine at home and with meals.

Remember that the kind of beer that is commonly available was developed for drinking or breakfast and for women and children. Showing children that malt beverages and wine are beverages, rather than intoxicants might make it less likely that the children will drink in great quantities in other situations.

Some people are prone to abusing alcohol, and these people will abuse it at any age and in any circumstances.

Perhaps the biggest impact of fully implementing the Fourteenth would be to retailers, who would not longer have to check I.D.'s, and that is a significant function in bars, music venues, and sports events. But that wouldn't result in a drop in employment, because at least as many people would be needed to serve the additional clientele, and more bouncers would be needed to keep order with so many more people becoming inebriated.

Fully implementing the Fourteenth would also impact other areas; for example, making all drugs legal and available over the counter would be another area, and I am sure that readers will think of other matters that will be loosened up when we fully implement the Fourteenth.

But I do find it strange that no college rabble rouser has ever raised this issue and organized marches, petition drives and whatnot to equalize treatment before the law. But demonstration are a drag, and besides they may have been too high.


  1. kiz_paws's Avatar
    Interesting points made.
    Wonder if this will stir anything up... (you're getting a lot of reads on this one).
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    I get the feeling that people like freedom in theory, but actually having freedom scares them. My most popular post ever was on the same topic, and it has gotten more than 15,000 hits. I've menioned to a few college students who are harmed by discriminatory laws, and they seemed mildly interested.