Spuds MacKenzie didn’t need a drinking license.

Since I haven’t discussed central planning urges quite enough tonight, this from Ezra Klein:

21 is, of course, a bizarre marker. Demanding that kids refrain from drinking for three years after they become legal adults and, in most cases, leave their parent’s supervision, is a bit odd. “Welcome to adulthood, except when it comes to beverage choice!” But this could point the way towards a grand new education policy scheme: Drinking age is 18…if you attain a college-worthy GPA. Otherwise, 21. Implement that and you’ll blow those other, way lamer, educational attainment proposals out of the water.

He refers to the recent urging from a group of college presidents. Until he reached but, I was with him. The drinking age is ridiculous. There is no principled defense for denying certain adults a set of rights acknowledged for other adults.

But the but is too much. Witness how Klein packages his recognition of rights. This is not a chance to defend rights. It’s a chance to implement grand new policy. You can have your rights if you meet our standards. Who sets the standard for a “college-worthy GPA”? Will all students be held to an Ivy League requirement? Community college? Who decides? And what about someone like me who never drank or dreamed of drinking during high school and college? Maybe I can have free speech from 18 until 21 if I attain a “college-worthy GPA”?

This is the problem with collectivist thinking. Rights can be embraced, but there’s no need to demolish the status quo just because the right exists and it’s currently denied. Rights are not the end for individuals to use as they desire. No, rights can be embraced but the status quo should be reshaped rather than abandoned. Someone else always knows better. Klein would let young adults drink, but he would still infantilize them to the state.

Link via Andrew Sullivan.