Vice Squad
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Youth Will Not Be Served

The state of Illinois is making it harder for people under the age of 21 to pass for legal alcohol purchasers. Driver's licenses for those under 21 will be arranged "vertically," instead of the standard "horizontal" design. So changing that birth year won't be enough to get you past the scrutiny of alcohol sellers.

The rule of verticality has already been adopted by some other states. Authorities expect that this device will eliminate underage drinking in Illinois. (OK, maybe not. Vice Squad supports enforcing underage alcohol restrictions, at least if the punishments were not overly severe -- and if the drinking age were itself rational. I lean towards an age of 19 for beer and wine, and 21 for harder stuff, but a voluntary licensing system for those 19 or above might be helpful, too. People of sufficient age could choose whether to be licensed to purchase alcohol or not; then, employers and insurance companies could discriminate on the basis of possession of a drinker's license, if they so chose.)

Apologies for neglecting Vice Squad recently. I have now returned to Chicago, though if things go according to plan, I will be out of town quite a bit over the next month. I continue to cling to the myth that come February, sanity will be restored.

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