[CR] in Chronicle of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported today on the recently launched non-profit Choose Responsibility. Chronicle Reporter Paula Wasley writes,

John M. McCardell Jr., president emeritus of Middlebury College, is a respected Civil War scholar. His lectures on the Gettysburg Address command large audiences at alumni meetings, and his seminars on the war always attract eager undergraduates.

Recently the genteel academic threw himself into another conflict. Call it the Battle of the Binge.

The article reviews the basic fronts of the battle between advocates for and against the current 21 year-old legal drinking age. Letting the arguments of the scholars stand for themselves and against one another, Ms. Paula Wasley provides an objective look at how the opposing sides of the drinking age cast their rhetorical planks to construct their own platform on the issue. Though the self-evidence of one particular argument over the other might, or even ought (in my own opinion), to serve one side over the other, Wasley resists the temptation to gloss over the cracks in each side’s argument.

On reading the article one quote, made by MADD Executive Chuck Hurleyr, stands out in light of recent events: “The fact is, legal-age 21 is working better in blue-collar America than in Ivy League America.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Fact IS, a freshman at Rider University died when Frat members persuaded him to try and drink a bottle of Absolut Citron Vodka. Rider University isn’t an Ivy League school, and nor is University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Virginia Tech University, San Diego State University, University of Oklahoma or University of Arkansas, all of which experienced fatal alcohol poisonings in recent years.

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