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physical effects upon the individual make easy both the accidental and permanent abuse of drink, it is inevitable so long as intoxicants are perfectly accesible to anyone who desires them, that they should have as consequences unconsidered, anti-social acts, a deterioration of character and diminished social usefulness. One might reasonably have expected, therefore, that practical moral endeavor should have been directed paricularly toward defining the line marking a proper use of intoxicants and striking at those who plainly overstep it. That this has not been done may probably be due to the ignorance existing until lately and pervading almost all classes regarding the nature and effect of alcohol, thus giving the most injurious and unnatural drink customs a footing in the homes and in the restaurants. The mighty temperance movement of the last decade has strongly influenced the drink customs for the better. But by centering its efforts upon absolute and general prohibition, this movement has placed the whole weight on the question: Total abstinence or not, but has shown little interest in, and indeed drawn attention away from, the question: Moderate or immoderate use.
The foremost general causes of the abuse of alcohol may be summed up thus: The drink customs, lax moral reactions to indications of abuse, and the ease with which anyone may obtain distilled liquors.
(After discussing the trend of different opinions relative to the Swedish temperance movement, and sketching the prevailing liquor legislation and local option, the question of prohibition is considered as summarized in the succeeding pages):
The vital issue in the question of total prohibition may be stated as follows: Can it solve the alcohol problem? While this is placed in the foreground as the most important question, it should also be asked: Are there other ways of reaching the goal? Are there other better and more effective means of preventing the evils which alcohol causes modern society than total prohibition?
Two circumstances chiefly are to be considered in determining how far prohibition will eventually make for sobriety. The oneof a technical nature-is the ease with which alcohol is produced; the other drawn from experience and based on a complexity of conditions-the ease with which much money may be made by selling alcohol.
By allowing a solution of sugar to ferment, a drink containing 12 to 14 per cent. of alcohol can be obtained. Native fruit and wild berries-of which latter there is an inexhaustible supplylend themselves to the preparation of tasty alcoholic drinks. The art of doing so is as yet little known, but would probably soon grow common if it became unlawful to purchase alcoholic beverages for home consumption. The same is true of home-brewed beer. Moreover, alcohol already has and is still more likely in the future to have a wide use for technical purposes and as motive power. Even now pure spirits can be produced from peat for a few öre per litre (10 öre being equal to about 2 cents). One is therefore justified in doubting the possibility of excluding all alcohol from a country. In opposition to this view it is urged that even if it were not possible to suppress all secret illegal manufacture and sale, the difficulties of obtaining spirits under prohibition would be so great-for there is unquestionably a deep-rooted respect for law in Sweden-that an enormous reduction in the consumption would result. It is further argued that, while at the outset obstacles would be met on account of the many persons with fixed alcoholic habits who would try to circumvent the law, one generation after another would eventually grow up lacking experience with alcohol and thus being without a craving for it. It is added that once the legal distribution of alcohol is done away with, and this prohibition accomplishes, it will be possible, although not at once, to deal effectively with the illegal. The conclusion from this line of reasoning is that by the enactment of prohibition the alcohol question will practically be solved.
Admittedly, no one knows how conditions would develop after the adoption of prohibition, for the simple reason that hardly any experience is at hand. Only for the Swedish Lapland has complete prohibition been enacted, but the deductions to be drawn from this field would be particularly unfavorable to the idea of prohibition, as violations of the law in Lapland gradually increased to such an extent, the defiance was so open, and the laxity of the authorities so palpable, that the riksdag abrogated the law in 1897.
Although nothing derived from stated experience can be said about the effect of a prohibition law in Sweden upon sobriety, it is a duty to try and realize its probable results in different directions.
Our knowledge of the desire for spirits as manifested by the advanced alcoholic, how after a very short time it diminishes,
well as a certain experience gained during five weeks of prohibition against alcohol while the great strike of 1909 was on, argues strongly for the opinion that the desire for spirits on the part of advanced abusers of alcohol would not occasion very great direct hindrances to the enforcement of prohibition. Such persons acknowledge that they feel better while not drinking and are content to be prevented from obtaining spirits, provided thereby their self-respect is not wounded. Of course, a reaction would manifest itself differently, as many of them would become incensed and believe themselves morally justified in violating the law. This state of mind is, however, to be expected, not only in some notorious abusers, but in large part of the moderate consumers, especially among those who have seen less of the dark side of alcohol. But, after the law had become an accomplished fact, only a minority would be likely, when left to themselves, to let their feelings so far gain the upper hand that they would actively oppose it, much less become guilty of illegal acts.
An exception should perhaps be made in regard to the home manufacture of fermented drinks for personal use. It is extremely doubtful whether a hearing can be gained outside the circles of the absolutists for the conception that it is morally wrong to prepare such beverages for personal use. To tamper with the consciousness of right and wrong on this subject is very dangerous, especially as the law would be transgressed not only by those standing low in the moral scale which instead of injuring the general sense of right would rather strengthen it but by unexceptional citizens who would regard their action as fully justified.
The fact that some persons can make large money by violating prohibition is its weakest side. Not the desire for spirits, but the greed for money is the most dangerous stumbling block to total prohibition. The prospect of easy gains, resulting from a suppression of the legal traffic, is a hindrance which this legislation will have difficulty in overcoming. All those who abuse alcohol, but who, when let alone, would bless the impossibility of obtaining it; all those who abuse alcohol, but although more or less discontented with prohibition, hardly have strength enough to violate the law themselves; many of those who use alcohol moderately, but who are against prohibitive legislation; and lastly, a large proportion of pleasure-seeking young people who have never used alcohol-in regard to them all there is reason to believe that they would show
very little power of resistance when greedy persons offered them drink for sale which the law forbade them to consume.
The problem is this: To what extent can the authorities prevent the production, smuggling and sale of alcoholic beverages, in the city as well as in the country districts? That thousands would try to make money in this way, and that hundreds of thousands would buy drink when offered it, may be taken for granted without further discussion even if the prohibition movement should attain the greatest conceivable magnitude, and no matter how strongly opinion may favor enforcement.
The attitude of the authorities toward the proposed legislation would be of great importance; but this as well as the possibility of winning respect for prohibition must in large degree depend upon the general view taken throughout the land of the rights of this question when the law had been operative for some time.
Should prohibition be enacted under present conditions, it would be due, among other things, to a palpably exaggerated notion on the part of the general public, in regard to the nature and extent of the injurious effects of alcohol and to large anticipations about the power of prohibition to diminish every manner of misfortune. All such exaggerations, although the reason for prohibition might be sufficient without it, would naturally be recounted to the disadvantage of the new conditions and thus contribute to undermine respect for the law as well as faith in its very foundation. Should, for instance, idiots and feeble-minded children continue to be born in the same numbers as before; should the demand for hospitals and other institutions for public care become urgent; should the expenditures for prisons and almshouses in regard to the influence of prohibition upon them be differently interpreted by experts; and finally, if the suppression of a subterranean alcohol traffic should prove costly, the eventual effect of the prohibition legislation upon public opinion would be incalculable.
Should, in addition, the tax rate increase in consequence of efforts to enforce prohibition and the lower standing of the country in foreign loan markets; should the law be openly condemned by prominent persons, writers, physicians and scientists, should the more well-to-do citizens while on journeys or by aid of their larger economic resources be able to obtain alcoholic beverages more easily than others, a feeling would arise which an organized opposition to the law would know how to trade upon to its advantage,
and which would greatly intensify the difficulties of enforcement. Even now certain regulations of the legalized traffic are very laxly enforced. (Several such are cited).
It should also be considered that the enactment of prohibition might tend to weaken the organized temperance movement; also that during political agitations the high culture and economic progress of other countries without the guardianship implied by the proposed legislation, would become a favorite topic.
Lastly, and perhaps most important of all, the objection to this legislation might effectively be raised that it is superfluous, in so much as prior to its introduction rational methods of combating the abuse of alcohol were not employed: and therein lies the danger that a law supposedly based on a general sense of right may be undermined and the belief shattered in its adaptability to its purpose—a belief which is a necessary postulate for the success of this untried and difficult legislation.
Meanwhile the above utterances concerning the outcome of prohibition are acknowledged to be suppositions which cannot be proven, possibilities which appear more or less probable according to one's estimate of the powers that operate or lie latent in our people. Perhaps some of the difficulties referred to may not occur or at least not to the extent indicated, and perhaps forces working in the opposite direction may be called into being. Nevertheless, history affords numerous examples of well-planned reforms for the improvement of evil social conditions which when carried out showed the calculations on which they were based to be one-sided; that is, false, and therefore did not yield the hoped-for results. History also gives many instances of other far-reaching measures which at the outset were hailed by the best founded expectations, but which experience later showed to have been built on loose sand.
There are still a couple of view-points in this matter to which attention should be directed. Through bare majorities parliaments decide the most far-reaching constitutional questions and effect economic changes of the widest importance. But when the question is of changing popular habits, as in the case of the total prohibition of liquor, of imposing upon hundreds of thousands of citizens an absolutism in relation to alcoholic drinks through legal measures they do not willingly accept, then the problem is no longer one that can be decided simply by a majority, and not even by a qualified majority. For in such a question the size and make-up of the