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MR. FOX'S REPLY
Part of Mr. White's rejoinder is a deliberate attempt to fool the public, and the balance is merely a repetition, backed up by documents, of his belief that figures supplied by local favorites are more reliable than those in the Bulletins of the United States Census. Mr. White's answer to "Indictment No. 1” is simply buncombe; it is unworthy of him. I sought to prove by Mr. White's own paper, the Emporia Gazette, that liquor law violations were common in Emporia. I referred to various articles and editorials published from January to July, 1914, but I was in error in quoting as headings to these articles the titles under which they were indexed among the clippings preserved by the United States Brewers' Association. The articles did appear; Mr. White knows perfectly well they appeared; they prove conclusively what was claimed, and yet Mr. White wilfully tries to mislead his readers. For instance: he was charged with printing an editorial headed : “Booze and Cards for Kansas Women; Society in Prohibition State Mixes Bridge and Booze.” This should have read, an editorial on “Booze and Cards, etc."
Mr. White states that “no editorial under that heading ever appeared in the Gazette, nor did that heading ever appear on any page of the Emporia Gazette." This is literally true as to the heading, but readers may judge for themselves as to the editorial:
“WHY NOT COME CLEAN? While we are cleaning up the pool halls, which is all right, why not come clean, and abolish society gambling for prizes, and polite drinking? Every week the columns of the Gazette contain news of bridge parties where the prizes are of more or less value, and every month or so a story is whispered around about some woman who takes too much bridge and booze together and loses what sense she has.
In a prohibition State, where the poor man is deprived of his bar, rich women, who claim to be respectable, have no moral right to drink at bridge parties, and to play for valuable prizes. It is a bad example to children; it's a horrible example to those who can't afford it, and it's a filthy habit beside.
Just roll this in your cigarette and smoke it.”
This is merely an evidence of Mr. White's method of dodging the issue. He easily recognized the editorial by its description, but took refuge in quibbling about the heading.
Mr. White states that “The whole charge that the files of the Gazette showed that Emporia is wet, or even reasonably moist, is without any foundation, other than the desire of some defender of the liquor traffic to make a point for his employers” and that "the whole grist," from the columns of the Emporia Gasette, "does not show enough liquor sold by bootleggers in six months to much more than make up the morning's business of a quiet little saloon, on a quiet corner of a country village on a busy day." Yet, on September 23, 1914, an article in the Emporia Gazette, entitled : “The Irony of Folly,” states that “In the Kansas jail the other day were fourteen men on the rock pile working out fines for drunkenness," and the man in charge of them was a 'trusty,' who was serving a long term for booze-selling. Here are fourteen drunkards and a dealer gathered together, according to the columns of Mr. White's own paper; and yet in six months there was not enough liquor sold to equal the morning's business of “a quiet little saloon."
Emporia, Kan., according to the Census of 1910 (which, of course, may not be convincing to Mr. White), had a population of 9,058. I have before me nineteen clippings from the Emporia Gasette regarding drunkenness or booze-selling. They are all of recent date, but Mr. White states that the charge that Emporia is even “reasonably moist,” is without foundation.
Mr. White ought to admit the error of his ways. He has the hardihood to make it appear that the figures he cites for Kansas can be brought into comparison with those for the rest of the country. That Kansas does not have a place in the latest reports of the United States Government, because it was not, at the time of their publication, admitted to the registration area, does not worry him in the least. He even pretends to knowledge concerning States for which no official figures whatsoever are published. Besides, he stands convicted of having stated things which are untrue. Instead of explaining how this happened, or apologizing, he is content to produce a statement, made under oath by Dr. S. J. Crumbine, Secretary of the Kansas State Board of Health, which is much more likely to mislead than to enlighten.
Mr. White made the astounding assertion that “Kansas has fewer deaths from kidney diseases than any other State." As about one-half of the States are outside of the registration area, and do not publish reports about deaths of this kind, it is perfectly obvious that Mr. White's statement is not entitled to serious consideration ; but to bolster up his case, he cites figures provided him by the Kansas Board of Health. It should be noted that these figures are
given for the year 1912, while for the registration States compared, as well as for the whole registration area, the figures pertain to 1911. This is not unimportant, and it is significant of misleading methods, for which no explanation is offered. But worse than this, a few States are singled out for comparisons, while the less comforting facts in regard to others are passed or ignored. The Board of Health selected California, Colorado, Washington and Missouri as the States with which to compare the Kansas figures. No reason is given for this odd selection. First, the rate of deaths from cirrhosis of the liver is shown per hundred thousand population, Kansas coming out second best, with a rate of 7 per cent. as against 6 per cent. for Washington; but why, in this instance, did they omit the registration State, Utah, which has a rate of 5.5 per cent. ?
Next come statistics of violent deaths (accidents and homicides). Comparing Kansas in 1912 to other States in 1911 (which is, of course, improper, statistically speaking), Kansas is given a rate of homicides of 4.8 per hundred thousand population, as against 6.6 for the whole registration area. But the Board of Health does not mention, for instance, Connecticut, with a rate of 3.7; Michigan, 2.4; Minnesota, 3.8; New Hampshire, 1.6; Rhode Island, 3.5, etc.
In regard to suicides, it is found that at least two registration States exhibited more favorable ratios than Kansas, which is given with one of 12.2. Thus the ratio for Kentucky is 8.7, and for Rhode Island, 11.6. In regard to deaths from Bright's disease, Kansas, it will be observed, does not show up as well as the State of Washington, with a rate of 55.0; Montana, with one of 52.0. If, on the other hand, the registration cities of various States are compared for the year 1911, it is found that the Kansas cities have a ratio of deaths from Bright's disease of 91.2, which may be compared with 86.8 for Massachusetts; 68.9 for Michigan; 71.7 for Minnesota ; 71.3 for Washington, and 67.8 for Wisconsin.
Why statistics of deaths from pneumonia should be included, Mr. White and the Board of Health alone know.
In regard to the general death rate for Kansas, of which Mr. White makes much (he states it is 10.6), it may be observed that among the registration States, Minnesota shows a death rate of 10.5; Montana, 10.2; Utah, 10.3, and Washington, 8.9. When Mr. White states that the Census Bulletins show the Kansas death rate to decrease faster than that of any other State, he is plainly drawing on his imagination, as he has no data for comparison.
Mr. White is apparently unwilling to correct his mistaken statements in regard to the proportion of "crime, insanity, etc., shown in Kansas public institutions, as compared with other States. He acknowledges, however, that he made mistakes in quoting statistics of wealth and bank deposits, but tosses off the matter by stating that “they are unimportant," and then he adds this ominous statement: “Somehow I should prefer to trust the Kansas State Banking Department, rather than Mr. Fox." He seems to forget that the figures were not mine, but were taken from the report of the Comptroller of Currency.
Again, relative to the proportion of students in colleges, Mr. White finds the statement of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction more to his taste than the official figures contained in the Census Abstract.
It seems singular, in view of the evidence presented, to find Mr. White saying, “This clears away the indictment.” He goes on in the same paragraph, “Statistics prove little fundamentally.” To this one can only add, that they certainly do when they are improperly used. In the next sentence: “Neither my statistics nor Mr. Fox's are at all important."
One is constrained to ask why, if this be the case, Mr. White, in his original article, relied so largely upon statistics, and why, in his second article, he gives such signal prominence to statistics which still do not prove his case.
Since statistics are merely facts, expressed by means of figures, they carry to the unprejudiced mind, a far greater weight of evidence than the mere reiteration of opinions, to which Mr. White so liberally treats his readers. The best of men may be mistaken in their opinions; facts speak for themselves.
I have no quarrel with Mr. White over his views; it would be inconsistent in one who believes in personal liberty, to refuse him the right to abstain, but I do protest against his backing up his views with fallacious arguments, and inaccurate figures. I have spent some years in studvin, the various aspects of the alcohol question, and have tried sincerely to get at the truth of it, but I am not a little discouraged by the unscientific attitude of the impassioned prohibitionist. There is a tepid virtue in being well
. meaning, but it is obscured by fatuous self-deception.
Hugh F. Fox, Secretary of the United States Brewers' Association.
NEW PUBLICATIONS ON THE DRINK QUESTION
The literature on the liquor problem grows apace year by year. It is more prolific than useful, especially when one considers the writings in the English language. For comprehensive, serious and scientific studies one must generally turn to Europe. The greater the pity since certainly nowhere is the subject so constantly kept before the public as in this country. Of course purely propagandist publications are constantly appearing, but most of them deserve little attention as they consist more or less of fictitious assertions and restatements of well-worn views. Even so pretentious a volume as the one entitled The Anti-Alcohol Movement in Europe, by Ernest Gordon, falls into this class. Its purpose is seemingly one-sided propaganda, although it pretends to bolster up the case with so-called scientific arguments of the usual variety.
In the following some recent writings of special interest to American readers are briefly reviewed. Elsewhere important foreign works on the alcohol problem are considered at length. Articles on the subject in periodicals have not been considered in the present chapter. In passing, however, mention may be made of the muchheralded "What is Rum” contest conducted by Everybody's Magazine. The winner of the contest followed the wisę course of summarizing the findings of the Committee of Fifty, another proof of the vitality of its work.
THE QUESTION OF ALCOHOL. By Dr. E. H. WILLIAMS. This volume of 121 pages is packed with interesting information, and the facts are set forth in a most readable manner. The book is published by the Goodhue Publishing Company, New York City, and deserves a place in a “five feet book shelf” on the liquor question. The subject is treated from the medical point of view and Dr. Williams has blazed some new trails in the search for light.
The chapter on the drug habit menace in the South is the result of first hand research. It is a well known fact that those Southern States which have adopted prohibition have done so mainly because of their desire to prevent the selling of liquor to the negro population. The result is that in many places the negro has substituted cocaine for his whiskey. The cocaine-saturated black man is more dangerous to the community than the man drunken with whiskey