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ANKIND in the mass seems better for alcohol, says a writer

in Harper's Weekly. Totally abstinent races and peoples do

not seem to get ahead. For instance, the strip of northern Africa extending from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Sahara Desert to the Mediterranean was in the days of Carthage the garden spot of the world. In those days when its inhabitants drank

some too much, others not as much as they would have liked and others not at all—the country was lively and prosperous. Now for over a thousand years these people have been total abstainers and they have proven themelves incapable of self-government.

Persia in the days of her later greatness construed the Koran very liberally and old Omar himself is indicative of their habits. They were doubtless very bad in regard to alcohol.

Then came a revival and with it a stricter construction of the Holy Book; the sinfulness as well as the evil of wine-bibbing was impressed upon the people, abstinence was enforced and concurrently with this came the decay of Persian art. The wonderful pottery, the embroideries, the tapestries, the rugs, with their sense of joyous life, everything giving the impression that the artist who created it must have sung as he worked, are from the golden days before the people of Persia went to sleep. There is no evidence that the artists who made these things of such surpassing beauty were drinking men. They surely would not have done such work had they drunk too much. We only know as a fact that concurrent with this marvelous development of Persian art the Persians drank, and that Persian art withered and died concurrently with the introduction of what amounted to prohibition.

In this country we have also had illuminating experiences. For instance, in Maine after Neal Dow had incited State-wide prohibition the Greenback idea found favor among the voters and a majority of them followed the notion that a promise to pay is payment. They lost their grip on things, and the sober, steady sense of fainress to everybody seemed to depart from them. So also in Iowa and Kansas, with prohibition came populism, the vagaries of Jerry Simpson, and the idea that if one is a farmer" he should have unlimited credit at the treasury of the government. In Georgia, Texas and other Southern States prohibition amendments were followed by increased abnormalities towards negroes; where erstwhile they lynched, they now burn at the stake.

These apparent sequelæ of total abstinence from the use of alcohol, on the part of large groups of people taken collectively, show a remarkable series of phenomena. Viewed inversely as to elapsed time, we note as early symptoms the lynchings and burnings in the Southern States, Populism in the West, and the Greenback heresy in Maine, stupor in Persia, and in northern Africa hopeless inability, a race intellectually dead. In other words, intense excitability with entire loss of inhibitory powers, unrestrained passions, great excitement over foolish ideas, and final collapse the evidence of drunkenness in all its stages. Therefore, although not conclusively proven, it would seem to point to the view that the practice of total abstinence from alcohol by a whole people results in the appearance of serious national intoxication.

If this view is justified we should seek the cause and test out such theories as present themselves..

The apparent national drunkenness that goes with abstinence is possibly an auto-intoxication, but it may also be the natural way of the animal man. His cruel savagery we find in the methods of modern warfare, his selfishness and deceit we find in the attitude of nations treating with one another; in short the group would seem to represent the individual, unimproved. The normal man is not a good citizen until he learns how. Ages of life of his forebears in the woods, in the huts, and in caves, have predisposed him toward selfishness with little heed for anyone outside of his immediate family or clan. Conscious of the eyes of others, as a member of civilized society, he restrains himself more or less; but without these social inhibitions he is like a savage, or a man poisoned with alcohol. For alcohol destroys these inhibitions for the time being, and the old saying, in vino veritas, truthfully indicates that in drunkenness the veneer of civilization becomes transparent, and one sees the wild man, as he is, underneath.

We learn from Professor Ehrlich that when a poison is taken into the system there are immediately formed side-chains, so-called, of anti-bodies which counteract the work of the poison. There can be no question but that alcohol is a poison if taken in excess (even as common table salt is), and it is also presumable that when so taken into the system there are anti-bodies formed which help

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us to overcome its evil effects. Indeed, they may go further in their good work than we are aware. Their presence may account for the sanity, balance, sobriety, and give-and-take qualities that are found among peoples who drink in reason and which seem to be singularly absent from peoples that are wholly abstemious. Do the anti-bodies, then, make for sweet reasonableness among those who can stand the alcohol? The real question, which does not seem to have been answered thus far by physiological experiment or otherwise, is whether, among the great majority who do not drink to excess and yet who do drink within reason, there is induced by these anti-bodies an indisposition to give away to excess and a disposition to act in harmony with others. This is the path which leads unto civilization.



ILBERT K. CHESTERTON, the English moralist and

humorist, has recently delivered himself in an entertaining

fashion in the Illustrated London News, regarding that social meddling which results in Prohibition, so-called.

"I am glad to see that the protests are beginning to rise against those crazy exaggerations of the philanthropists, who are always wanting us to sacrifice the natural to the unnatural and the certain to the possible. Our social reformers have a wonderful way of manufacturing fifty fresh vices on the pretence of suppressing one. For instance, there is the maze of immorality that spreads whenever a State attempts the ridiculous experiment called Total Prohibition. I was told by a friend who had travelled in what the Americans call a 'dry State' that his innocent request for a glass of whiskey in a hotel had been answered by radiant and animated directions as to where he could find 'the hat room. His first feeling was that the hat room was the headquarters of the Mad Hatter, who evidently ran the hotel. His second was a dim speculation as to how whiskey tasted when drunk out of a hat. At last it occurred to him that ‘hat room' was American for what we commonly call 'cloak room;" but even then he could not imagine what it had to do with whiskey. He soon found out; for everything was quite ready, and the custom was clearly in full swing. In the cloak room were stored a number of strapped trunks and suit cases labelled in the names of various fictitious American citizens and crammed with bottles of beer, wine or spirits. From these he was handsomely regaled; and the trunk was then strapped up again, so that if the police entered that temple of abstinence the management could profess ignorance of the contents of luggage left in its charge.

Now, suppose my friend had drunk four times as much whiskey as he wanted and rolled dead drunk down the front steps of the hotel, could he have fallen lower than the lowness of that exquisite legal fiction? See what a number of new sins the ‘dry State' succeeds in creating in the course of failing to cure that of drunkenness. The man going to the hat room has all the drunkenness he wants, with the following additions: (1) He has become a liar, calling things by false names and doing one thing while pretending to do another;


(2) he has become a rebel and a bad citizen, intriguing against the law of his country and the efficiency of its public service; (3) he has become a coward, shrinking through personal fear of consequences from acts of which he is not morally ashamed; (4) he has become a seducer and a bad example, bribing other men to soil their own simplicity and dignity; (5) he has become a most frightful fool, playing a part in an ignominious antic from which his mere physical self-respect could hardly recover; (6) he has, in all probability, come much nearer than he would in any other way to having a craving for alcohol. For anything sought with such terrible secrecy and pertinacity has a great tendency to become magnetic and irresistible in itself; a sort of fetich.

"And all that brought about in order to prevent a man getting a glass of whiskey—which he gets after all. People who support such prohibitions can have no care for human morality at all.”

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