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United States," and it is possible that that designation, by its frequent recurrence, has become engraved upon the memory of many of our citizens. The words "Maine" and "Liquor Problem” are, for reasons too sadly familiar to all Americans, immediately connected. And so from them I trace the suggestion that I should study the liquor problem when I arrived in Switzerland.


I would have been under the greatest difficulties in my research had it not been for Dr. Antenrieder, for I came to Basel from Frankfort on Rhine with my German but little improved after a visit to Heidleberger Schloss, or even after an hour at the University. I went on from that pleasant borderland city through Zurich, into Lucerne, and then down through the South, (where my Italian was found to be completely unusable) round about through Interlaken, to Montreux, Lausanne and Geneva, where I had to rediscover that I possessed a simple working knowledge of French. But nowhere did I obtain so complete and interesting an insight into the Swiss attitude toward the American situation as was given me by Jacob Antenrieder, M.D., former town councillor of St. Gallen and now a resident of Hottingen, a suburb of Zurich-a gentleman who is certainly regarded by his countrymen as one of the great authorities on the liquor problem. The doctor talked well of conditions here and abroad. Of his own volition I heard my host talk of America and, as he seemed as interested in us as in his fellow countrymen, I did not hesitate to ask him questions concerning American problems, especially concerning the victories of prohibition in the South. I shall give the doctor's own answers in the English which he used, though I floundered about in German with most of my questions:

"There are two factors which, to my thinking, account for them. There is first the naïve inexperience of your ruling classes which makes them the ready victims of professional politicians. The second is the nature of your national drink. As for the firstmentioned item, only consider how prohibition movements originate. Their primary source is mostly a pure one, so far as social interest goes. The two least sophisticated groups of American societyrural housewives and rural clergymen-are banding together to stamp out the drink evil. Their influence upon society stands in inverse ratio to their social insight: the former is enormous and

far-reaching, the latter exceedingly narrow and rendered worthless. as far as it goes, by a provincial outlook upon human relations, Conceive, if you can, of an army utterly in the dark as concerns the strategic position of the enemy. Yet that is exactly the case of your church armies of prohibition. They are up in arms against "The Enemy.' 'The Enemy,' as they view the case, is not drunkenness, not the means whereby intoxication is induced, but the traffic in these means, and its headquarters-the saloons. If these religious bodies were as wise as they are earnest, they would perceive that saloons may flourish without 'Rum,' and that 'Rum' will invariably flourish and spread without saloons. They are too busy, however, for comparing notes. They must needs bully and importune their local politicians, until their local politicians are ready to gratify their ardent desire to be fooled. One of the two political machines-or both-clear the deck for coercive action in public, while driving their bargain with 'Demon Rum' in the privacy of ‘inner circle' confabs. Then comes the day, when the clangor of a thousand church bells and of a hundred thousand human voices lifted up in thanksgiving pronounces 'The Enemy' dead—'The Enemy,' remember, being the saloon-not drunkenness, which rages worse than ever. And this survival of the saloon by rapidly spreading intemperance brings me right down to a consideration of the second factor explaining your prohibition victories.

"You are a New Yorker, aren't you? Well, don't forget a fact which the metropolitan vista is likely to overlook; to wit, that beer is a drink practically unknown to vast stretches of the American area, especially in the South and Southwest. The civilizing mission of beer on your side of the Atlantic is but of yesterday, as days are counted in the history of a nation. It began in the fifties of the nineteenth century, and its spread is still contested by human denseness confounding friend and enemy alike in its hostility to 'Demon Rum.' Victorious prohibition has killed the saloon, without knowing, of course, that 'Rum' does not need the saloon, or else prohibition would not have been victorious." My collocutor twinkled at me over his eyeglasses and there was flattery in the twinkle. It was as if a highly trained mechanic were taking our social organism to pieces, showing wheels within wheels and complimentarily assuming that he was holding converse with a fellowcraftsman.

The doctor knew a lot about us, I was finding out, and not less about high license than the other questions. The latter, I soon found, however, was the one scheme the thought of which made him most indignant, and there was a change in his voice when he spoke of it.

"What prohibition can and does prohibit is beer-a true beverage and a wholesome, nourishing liquid containing about four per cent. of alcohol. It can and does prohibit it, because beer cannot be produced save by vast and plainly visible machinery, nor profitably shipped save in conspicuously large receptacles, nor privately preserved without artificial cooling. On the other hand, prohibition neither can nor does prohibit ardent stimulants or liquor containing from forty to sixty per cent. of alcohol, producible with ease by one man's work in the smallest backyard of a private dwelling, transportable in vessels of tinest compass, requiring no care or special contrivance in the storing and practically imperishable, nay, even improving in its fatal effectiveness with age. And there you have in a nutshell the liquor situation in your prohibition States: sixty per cent. of alcohol taking the place, in popular consumption that was previously occupied by four per cent. because the sixty per cent. liquor can hold its own by stealth and the four per cent. drink can not. Mark also this: whatever wholesome qualities the stronger liquor may have possessed before the reign of prohibition are sure to disappear at its advent. The genuine article disappears from the surface and the vilest adulterations take its place. Whatever part in the difference in manufacturing cost does not go to the politicians and the police, represents the dealer's premium for taking an unlawful risk.


"We have never known prohibition in Switzerland—at least not in the sweeping American sense of the term-but some of our cantons used to dabble in high license before the federal government took our liquor problem in hand and forced them to desist. Your great and enormously rich commonwealth of New York thinks itself entitled to anticipate the larger part of the profits of a supposedly sinful business, just because it is sinful. This species of pious rapacity never had a chance with us to grow into full bloom, but there were promising beginnings here and there before our national liquor legislation of 1887. In the exact degree in which

the beer-gardens were burdened and molested, the consumption of schnapps became endemic, until the Bund interfered. The sale, manufacture and import of ardent spirits is a federal monopoly with us since 1887. Don't make the mistake of conceiving of this governmental regulation of 1887 as a of violent act of prohibitionist expropriation a'l'Americaine. The number of existing distillers was slowly reduced to about eighty. Their output is regulated by the government both as to quantum and quality. The revenue they yield reverts to the cantons sheltering these distilleries. The chief innovation, however, that has saved us from American liquor troubles on Helvetian soil is a strict federal prohibition to the cantons constituting our Federation to tax or oppress in any wise the manufacture or sale of beer. As a consequence of this salutary injunction, low-priced beer of excellent quality is readily obtainable in every locality within our national boundaries. Our popular consciousness acquits the beer-garden from every social stigma. It is a family resort frequented without reproach not only by rich and poor alike, but by that very clergy which in America would think itself defiled by casual contact with the saloon. 'Give a dog a bad name and hang it', holds good in part of the American saloon. In the South where prohibition prevails the saloon dog is hung, which is bad. In the North the dog is skinned, which is worse. As long as that systematic fleecing procedure known as high license prevails, you will look in vain for a social airing of the noxious saloon atmosphere. The State then that takes the saloonkeeper by the throat compelling him to disgorge three or four dollars every morning for a bare permission to take down the shutters, cannot complain or affect surprise when its victims, true to the governmental pattern of unscrupulous greed, picks up a living on the shady side of social intercourse. Social taboo and ruinous taxation have made the American saloon a bad influence upon your national life. Whosoever heaps social obloquy upon the front bar, promotes guzzling in rear rooms. Any community demanding an annual thousand dollars from a beer-inn and a hundred only from a "barrel-house" for permission to do business, is directly aiding in the spread of the liquor pest. We do not tell a man in Switzerland, no matter what his representative character, that it is a disgrace to be seen sitting in a public bar-room. As a consequence, no one thinks of downing his drink at railroad speed while standing at the railing, for fear of being surprised in the act. This fear of being seen in a place rendered disreputable

by clerical taboo contributes a good deal to the spread of drunkenness through rapid gulping. It is the revenge of the saloon on its ignorant oppressors, that it turns their fears into verities as long as oppression exists."

"If you have disposed of your liquor problem by banishing oppression," I ventured to observe, "how do you account for the surprising numerical strength of your teetotalers' organizations?"

"Our teetotalers," retorted the doctor, "are minding their individual liquor problem-not that of other people or of the State. In our age of over-strained nerves, every community numbers a considerable minority of people, to whom some of the ordinary stimulants of healthy life are as poison, owing to their quicker yielding. These weaker natures seek to strengthen themselves in their difficult resolve of abstinence by banding together a species of innocent and even laudable gregariousness. The propagandistic power of such organizations is completely founded upon the attractive solemnity of an important voluntary resolution on the part of the individual. At the mere approach of State interference this power of attracting men to itself would evaporate into thin air. Self-prohibition by high resolve and State prohibition by stark coercion are mutually exclusive factors in every civilized community."

At this point I ventured the opinion that it would be a very excellent experience for the thousands of Americans who frequent Switzerland each summer to cut themselves off from their Englishspeaking hotels for a while and get in touch with the people. I had become enthusiastic over their methods and I felt that most of my fellow countrymen would be if they only knew them. They, like me, could learn a great many things that would be to their advantage.

"Exactly," was Dr. Antenrieder's cordial response to this expression. "In excise matters as in others the saying of Karl Marx holds good, that nations, as well as individuals, can and should learn from each other's experience. Your travelers cannot take our mountains with them to America, but on closer inspection of little old Switzerland and its social experiments, there may be other objects as worthy of transplantation and much more amenable to the process.

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