« PreviousContinue »
more is necessary to reach the millennium on this earth than to prohibit the manufacture, importation and sale of alcoholic beverages by putting the brewery and saloon, which are held up as the offenders, out of business.
And in the light of the success of prohibition, north, south, east and west, public opinion seems to be succumbing, without much resistance, completely to this unscientific, illogical and perverse viewpoint. Township and county, state after state go dry, seemingly irrespective of any considerations of personal liberty or property rights guaranteed by our Constitution, and that this attitude of the public is becoming fixed and solid is shown by the fact that no arguments based on reason or a sense of justice have any longer any effect on these biased minds. These arguments are not even considered, but simply ignored.
You can make no impression on these minds, it seems, by pointing out the many benefits derived by the government, by states and municipalities through the liquor traffic on account of revenues received through taxation and licenses; by demonstrating the commercial importance of the trade; the many millions invested in manufactories, the number of acres planted to brewing cereals and hops, the number of men and families depending for support on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages; or by pointing out the intolerable encroachment on personal liberty or property rights; or proving the historic fact that alcoholic beverages stood at the very cradle of those races which have made the greatest progress tech. nically and sociologically; beverages that have been the solace of man at his best through the ages on his upward course to an ever brighter and higher civilization. And compare this with the civilization reached by those peoples who, like the American Indians and Australian bushmen, did not learn how to produce them, or to the Mohammedans who have prohibited them, the Buddhists who are abstainers in this respect and the Chinese who are addicted to opium. And all this knowledge of no avail!
Saloons must be destroyed, alcoholic beverages expunged, the manufacture and sale made impossible because they are a conveni ent scapegoat to explain man's downfall, the prevalence of crime and the admitted failure of the church to influence the masses as of old!
And let us be just, even to the point of generosity, and admit that if these people were right, and the liquor traffic were an un mitigated evil and its abolishment justifiable, none of the advantages
Illustration of home Distillery as described in address on "Prohibition, Pernicious Social Waste" by Dr. R. Wahl
above mentioned should stand in the way of progress, and even personal liberty and property rights should be sacrificed to make way for man's higher interests.
But we know this is not true. We know that the viewpoint of the puritanical mind in this matter is based on fallacies and that public sentiment will and must ultimately rally and be restored to reason. We know that the majority of the people, even those in the prohibition states, are not for total abstinence, or for real prohibition. We know that here the laws were not enacted with the intent to enforce them against the so-called "respectable" classes, but against the lower strata of the masses, for instance, the negro of the South.
And while the people do not really want prohibition, they seem perfectly willing that so high an ideal as personal liberty be sacrificed simply to accomplish the downfall of what they consider the arch enemy of society.
But assuming that all traffic in liquor could be stopped and prohibition could be enforced in name, it could not be so in reality, even with the closing of saloons, of breweries and distilleries and the stopping of importation; for the production of intoxicating beverages would go on, and that in the household, without any means of regulation or control and with the result of supplying the demand or desire for alcoholic beverages with products that cannot compare in wholesomeness and quality in any way with those now manufactured.
If the Nation were apprised of the fact that highly intoxicating liquor can be produced at home with common, everyday kitchen utensils, and that from a quart of molasses, a quart of ardent spirits can be made at a cost of 15 cents and that it requires no skill or art to produce this liquor it might give rise to reflection and lead to a realization that prohibition does not mean sobriety of the Nation, but inebriety.
The Means and Method of Making a Quart of Liquor at Home for Fifteen Cents
Scene: A kitchen and pantry.
Equipment: A stone jar; a tea-kettle; a rubber hose, 10 feet long; a pail; a quart bottle.
Material: One quart of black molasses; a penny's worth of compressed yeast.
Recipe: Mix one quart or about 10 cents' worth of molasses
with one to two parts of water in the stone jar. Stir in a penny's worth of crumbled compressed yeast, set on a pantry shelf for three of four days until fermented, then pour the contents into the teakettle, half full, draw over the spout one end of the rubber tube coiled in a pail of water, boil down one-half of the contents of the kettle so that the steam enters the tube, condenses, and the condensed spirits are caught in a bottle into which is inserted the other end of the rubber tube. In this way 11⁄2 quarts of liquor or distilled spirits may be obtained of 50 to 60 proof strength, and by reboiling this liquor in the same way any strength of spirits may be obtained to satisfy the most sordid taste.
Cost: A quart of liquor about 15 cents.
Distillers: Housewife or maid.
Consumers: Family and friends.
Legality Is not and could not be made illicit.
And this liquor, being unrectified, and containing fusel oils, will have a still more intoxicating effect than even the whiskey or rum of the day.
And it will be especially those who need control and regulation of their appetites most who will suffer most through this newly created open door to drunkenness. It will be the riff-raff of humanity, the lower level of population, the mentally and morally weak and defective that will most readily take to such methods of satisfying their craving or desire to excess with a price of a "jag" at the maximum of a few cents.
Prohibition, therefore, will only be a most costly experiment on a tremendous scale with wreck and ruin for untold thousands in its wake, financially, physically, mentally and morally, involving a tremendous waste of energy; causing untold disrespect of the law and the loss of our most cherished ideals since nothing will have been accomplished excepting the defeat of prohibition itself.
And what of beer and light wines? Is there any question that these light alcoholic beverages have saved humanity in the past from the ravages of ardent spirits or drugs, like morphine or cocaine? Has not man always turned to the latter in the past, is turning to them now in prohibition states and will always turn to them in the absence of milder stimulants.
No doubt the world is getting better, and with man's increasing knowledge, his better education and training of the mind and appetite, he is becoming more moderate in all things so that his self
respect will cause him to stop at excesses of all kinds, including that of drink, and that of his own free will and through the operation of the ever greater stress of competition in which he finds himself engaged in the struggle for existence that makes the temperate man more fit in every way than the intemperate.
While, therefore, improvement in this particular has been going on, and will continue as a natural evolution of society, the attempt to effect true temperance or any form of moral reformation by compulsory means will prove a failure as long as man's nature has not been bred up to that strength of character to curb his desires where they lead him against his welfare.
It is, therefore, not alone on the walls of the brewery that Mene Tekel is written; but our society will find itself at Armageddon battling against the very conditions that its own short-sighted policy of destroying the liquor traffic at all hazards will have brought upon itself.
Gentlemen! Here's to man's good friend, a wholesome glass