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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
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 172 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.
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 of beer!
THE HOBSON RESOLUTION
On December 22nd, the House of Representatives took up the consideration of the so-called Hobson Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It read as follows:
Whereas exact scientific research has demonstrated that alcohol is a narcotic poison, destructive and degenerating to the human organism, and that its distribution as a beverage or contained in foods lays a staggering economic burden upon the shoulders of the people, lowers to an appalling degree the average standard of character of our citizenship, thereby undermining the public morals and the foundation of free institutions, produces widespread crime, pauperism and insanity, inflicts disease and untimely death upon hundreds of thousands of citizens, and blights with degeneracy their children unborn, threatening the future integrity and the very life of the Nation: Therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following amendment of the Constitution be, and hereby is, proposed to the States, to become valid as a part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of the several States as provided by the Constitution:
“ARTICLE “Sec. I. The sale, manufacture for sale, transportation for sale, importation for sale, and exportation for sale of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes in the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof are forever prohibited.
“Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by all needful legislation.”
The total vote for the Amendment was 197 for and 189 against it, but as it requires a two-thirds vote to amend the Constitution, the Resolution was lost. 114 Democrats, 70 Republicans and 12 Progressives voted for the Amendment. 143 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Progressives voted against it. Thus it appears that 61 per cent. of the Republicans and 44.3 per cent. of the Democrats in the House voted in favor of the Amendment. The Progressives were the only political party that gave more than a two-thirds vote in its favor.
The debate and vote were not, however, drawn on party lines, but rather on individual preference. Among the speakers in favor of the Resolution were:
Mr. Hobson, of Alabama.
Mr. Lindquist, of Michigan.
Mr. Underwood, of Alabama.
Mr. Lenroot, of Wisconsin. In the language of Mr. Linthicum, of Maryland, the House was asked to adopt an Amendment against the sale of liquor, “by one who seems himself much in doubt as to how to accomplish this result.” During the past two years, the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Hobson) “has introduced into this House nine separate and distinct resolutions on this subject on as many different occasions, ... and today he announces that he proposes to offer, at the proper time, certain amendments to the one now pending, making in all ten propositions. If he, after such lengthy and profound study, is not yet certain as to what should be done, ... should we, the representatives of the people, vote to insert into our Constitution an Amendment of which the author himself seems so uncertain and so unsettled ?”
The claims of those favoring the Resolution are summed up as follows:
“The traffic in intoxicating liquors in the United States is directly or indirectly responsible for 25 per cent. of the poverty; 37 per cent. of the pauperism; 45.8 per cent. of child misery; 25 per cent. of insanity; 19.5 per cent. of divorces, and 50 per cent. of the crime."
Many of the speakers against the Resolution contented themselves with the statement that the liquor question is a moral issue