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Adam Weinberg

Happy New Year, Laura!

I will lose libertarian points for saying so, but personally, I’m OK with a little inconsistency here since there may be a reason not directly related to whether someone is an adult or not that governs the age limit.

If we think fewer people will take up smoking and burden the health care system if we make them wait an extra 3 years before they can legally purchase, I’m not deeply worried about the trade-off there even if it is a little nannyish.

I think when you were in the Legislature there was a similar debate about how old a person should need to be to serve as governor, for example, or how the President must be 35, which can also seem a little arbitrary but represents someone’s point of view about who can exercise certain opportunities.

We don’t allow handgun sales or concealed carry Permits for people under 21, either.

To me, it’s a matter of degree rather than principle, though I certainly understand why many would rather stand on the principle.

Laura Ebke

Happy New Year to you, too, Adam!

I get what you're saying, and can even agree. But what about 18, 19, and 20 year olds who are signing student loans? If they default, that's a potential burden on society in numerous ways. Or the 18-20 year olds who end up serving overseas who are injured, or come back with PTSD, and they cost us money.

You're right about the age for being elected as Governor and President (and for that matter, members of Congress). And those seem a little arbitrary, but I don't question James Madison too often. And those positions are a little different than "typical adult" things.

I don't know what the right age is--whether it's 18 or 21. But if we're going to say that you have to be 21 to buy tobacco or booze, maybe you ought to need to be 21 before you can sign loan papers, or join the military. And vote....

I find irony in lots of places, and I find this issue particularly ironic.

Andrew Sullivan

The Federal government should not be setting these age limitations. Drinking age was only set to 21 because it was tied to Federal highway funds during a time when cars had no air bags, Uber did not exist and neither did mobile phones. The tobacco restriction is just as bad. These should be left to local government.

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