Basis of Argument
“Let My Teenager Drink” by T.R. Reid and “Don’t Make Teen Drinking Easier” by Joseph A Califano are articles on opposite sides of the teen drinking debate. While Reid has experience living abroad and seeing teen drinking in a real world scenario, Califano has experience as the founder and chairman of the National Center of Addiction and Substance abuse. While both had some good points, the question remains, what are we (as a nation/parents) trying to prevent? Is it the dangers of binge drinking or lifelong alcohol problems? While Califano’s argument was more about lifelong alcohol problems, he had more facts and statistics to back up his argument. Califano’s argument was more credible and more thought out, perhaps because it was precisely a rebuttal to Reid’s. Let’s look at both essays.
Reid’s article was published first and his tone is one of a fatherly concern. He has children and looks at teen drinking with the eyes of a father. He states that he has raised kids in three environments, Tokyo, London, and Colorado. He sees the problem of teen drinking due to the fact that it is done in secret. He asserts that American teens look at drinking as “pregaming”. The goal of this is to get drunk. He maintains that teens abroad don’t have a tendency to do this because they don’t have to hide drinking. It is simply not needed because it is legal to drink there.
Reid uses a logical fallacy we call “begging the question”. He claims that the US drinking age of 21 is the cause of teenage binge drinking in America; teenagers have to hide it because it is illegal. However, there are plenty of families in America, just as in the UK or abroad that allow their teens to drink, so they learn to do so “responsibly”. Reid ends his argument with the rhetorical technique “loaded question” when he says, “In the United States, our kids learn drinking is something to be...