Drinking Learner Permit Opposition

The Los Angeles Times reported that:

"I [David Hanson] advocate a qualified drinking age for adults 18 [19, and 20]. I propose issuing drinking learner permits for people of that age. The specifics about what would be allowed under the permits would be determined by lawmakers and may change as time goes on, just as we've done with driver's permits. But for example, the person could drink with permission of the parent or in the parent's home, or only in restaurants [not] bars. Then, if they didn't get into trouble, certain of these restrictions would be dropped. They would have to complete a very specified alcohol education course and have no alcohol- releated offenses.

The idea would be to prepare them to be safe drinkers and to help them learn about drinking appropriately if they choose to drink."

A reader named Chris emailed me that my suggestion was harming people and wondered why my educational institution hadn't fired me for expressing my ideas. I responded that we would have to respectfully agreee to disagree and wished him well.

To this he bluntly responded, without salutation:

"There is no agree to disagree What I said was fact what you say is irrational opinion.

I suspect you and your motivations for making these easily refuted arguments which will only sway the ignorant unthinking young and the addicted.

Anyone with one year let alone 40 years studying alcohol abuse and its effects could tell you how wrong you are with no effort as I have.

My assertions about you and your argument is given more weight by you not engaging me on the arguments made and sidestepping them with an explanation of the ridiculous "home cure" con you endorse.*

40 years studying alcohol my ass! Its been known for millenia (that's thousands of years) that addiction cannot be cured. Anyone "studying" alcohol not knowing that fact, would at least know it to be true of alcohol addiction based just on the work done by the groups who lead us into the prohibition experiment.

Alcohol addiction and its effects were that bad, that our nation tried to end all use of alcohol to end the problem of alcohol abuse and addiction which was destroying lives, children and families, as nothing else was working to lower the rate of these effects.

The criminality that ensued was an unintended if somewhat predictable result. The extent it would grow to was not predictable or expectable.

Maybe you should spend your effort to make it easier for children to get intoxicated, on getting therapy for whatever insecurity is driving you to make these irrational claims. Let some of the children who are swayed by your credentials, miss your "message" and live.

Don't you ever wonder how many children you have killed by encouraging them to think of themself as mature enough to do as they have been told not to?

You are about as disgraceful a man as it is possible to be. I put you on the same plane as priests protecting pedophile priests; Morally bankrupt and culpable for the crimes committed by those they enabled.


Another reader was even more upset and said he hoped that my wife would be raped and that my children and I would suffer slow and painful deaths. That seems rather harsh for merely suggesting that we consider a change in alcohol policy.

The goal of this website is to promote discussion of major issues surrounding alcohol and drinking and how we can best deal with those problems.

We need to look at different ideas open mindedly and to judge them on their merits. Personally attacking people who suggest that we consider alternative, and hopefully more effective, ways of dealing with serioius problems is counterproductive.


*This refers to the fact that I serve on the board of directors of the non-profit Baldwin Research Institute, an organization that offers a home study program to reduce abusive drinking and other behaviors.


  • Ogilvie, Jessica Pauline. Is lowering the drinking age a good idea? Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2011; personal email communications from Chris, May 28 and May; personal email communication from Matt, May 28,2011.

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