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just as reprehensible as a money bribe. That the thing may be done by indirection does not palliate it. So long as the fear or baser motives of voters are traded upon in order that they may give the lie to their convictions, a tyranny is exercised which has no defence. But it has long since come to pass that open boast is made of coercion to gain the kind of legislation which inevitably spells failure unless supported by an overwhelming public opinion.

And now we are called upon to witness a new application of political coercion for the purpose of regulating personal conduct. Congress has been petitioned to submit for ratification a constitutional amendment forbidding the manufacture and sale of intoxicants throughout the country. To become part of our fundamental law the proposed amendment must be accepted by thirty-six out of the forty-eight states. But the hostile attitude toward prohibition of the most important urban centres is well known. They cannot be won by persuasion, therefore must be coerced. The scheme is so simple that no one can be blind to its meaning.

The end to which the temperance movement in the United States is now being perverted has long been foreshadowed. For years the periodical accounts of the "gains" for prohibition have almost exclusively dealt with the extent of the territory made dry and the proportion of the general population living within it, but have been significantly silent about the successes attending enforcement. This substitution of issues has a distinct purpose. The alleged rapid expansion of dry territory is paraded as evidence of an irresistible demand for nation-wide prohibition. Hence, when the petitioners recently made their plea for a constitutional amendment, they did not base it upon the blessings of prohibition as now exemplified, but upon the numbers living within areas from which the liquor traffic has legally been excluded as indicating beyond doubt that a majority of the population already favor such an amendment.

It is really a challenge to one's intelligence when one is asked to compare the number of square miles covered, respectively, by dry and wet territory as proof of gains for prohibition. Yet reputable magazines and newspapers have of late helped to perpetuate the absurdity. As if it mattered that barren wastes, forest and mountain land and thinly settled agricultural districts, which never supported a saloon, have been added to the prohibition area ! And anyone can easily compute that in a license state without local prohibition the surface of the districts from which drink-selling is excluded through self-operative causes must exceed that of the places in which the traffic finds a footing. Nor can one accept at its face value the claim that "fifty-five per cent." of our population now live in dry territory for it is subject to so many radical qualifications, aside from the fact that the figures named are often open to doubts. At present only about 15,000,000 people in the United States out of the 91,000,000 (census of 1910) live under statewide prohibition laws, and even of these a goodly proportion dwell on the borders of license states and need but cross an imaginary line to obtain drink. Thus the great bulk of the population said to typify an anti-saloon sentiment lives under local prohibition laws. But here again it is found that untold numbers have their habitat in dry districts conveniently near license places with every opportunity to make use of what they offer. Take a familiar example: The no-license cities and towns suburban to Boston (license) and geographically a part of it contain about 400,000 inhabitants who have the amplest access to liquor supplies and can only be said to live under prohibition in a technical sense. Like conditions prevail throughout this commonwealth and are exemplified elsewhere in a multitude of places nominally under local prohibition. That they have outlawed the saloon doubtless signifies an enmity toward this institution, but it must not be confounded with a full-blown enthusiasm for national prohibition since the condition upon which they remain dry is that handy-by places keep wet. Under the circumstances it is rather meaningless to take gross percentages of the population in license states that live under local prohibition as actually showing the numbers which are made to feel the effects of sumptuary legislation and would welcome its general application.

Moreover, it is venturesome for purposes of convincing argument to omit all reference to the numerical strength both in statewide and local prohibition territory of the minority. It is a matter of history that Maine, after generations of experience, succeeded in saving its constitutional prohibition only by a handful of electors. It is a matter of history that local prohibition is often enacted by insignificant majorities that are easily overturned. It is a matter of demonstrable fact that majorities apparently favorable to local prohibition would oppose state, as well as national, prohibition. Nevertheless, we are solemnly asked to accept the statement about the fifty-five per cent. of population living in dry territory, as proving that a majority of the people would welcome national prohibition.


One finds other cogent reasons for believing that many of the alleged millions of temperance people and embryonic national prohibitionists are but phantoms, useful only to apostles of a fictitious sentiment. There are the ominous figures of the production and consumption of liquor which of recent years have shown an unmistakable steady upward trend. No trick of explanation can harmonize this fact with the extravagant claims about the increasing multitudes that are seeking the blessings of prohibition. Rather one is led to question the usefulness of laws which do not even have the primitive result of keeping consumption at a uniform level, not to say of reducing it. To take refuge in the argument that people living under license are responsible for the growing use of intoxicants is arrant nonsense, for it would argue an amount of localized overindulgence contrary to all known experience. The growth of the production and consumption of liquor is a very proper reason for advocating remedial measures, but the opposite of proof that prohibition throughout a vast area is an actuality. It is probably on this ground that the question of enforcement is studiously kept in the background by those who contend for that constitutional amendment. Yet before the final step is taken one must demand an exemplification of prohibition thoroughly enforced on a large scale. Here is an ugly chapter in the temperance movement. One is reluctant, however, to thresh over the old straws which have been turned so many times and always with the result of discovering rottenness underneath. The situation may be summed up by saying that all outside, impartial and trained investigators have reached the conclusion which the Swedish Medical Society in its profound study, entitled Alcohol and Society, puts tersely, by saying that prohibition in the United States has only existed in name. Even ardent friends of the prchibition idea abroad find that we have not provided them with a model, but rather with a deterrent example.

As an extenuating explanation it is said that the effects of local and state prohibition are more or less neutralized by the access to imports from license places, and that the real cause of the apparent failures of enforcement would disappear under a country-wide law. It is a specious plea for it ignores the fundamental reason underlying violations—lack of popular desire to have prohibition enforced, or, to put it differently, popular refusal to place transgressions of this law on par with other crimes.

Then there is the final reply that even unenforced prohibition is better than any form of the legalized traffic, for there must be no compromise with evil. It is a tough morsel for the moral digestion. Is tlie question then not of abating an admitted evil, but of salving one's conscience by subscribing to an academic dictum that it shall no longer exist? Small wonder that this line of reasoning has led present day leaders of the temperance movement to treat so lightly the festering ills that flow directly from the wilful, persistent and concerted violation of fundamental as well as statutory laws. This is the fatal cancer that gnaws at the vitals of a righteous cause as it is now directed.

Nevertheless, we are bidden to court the far graver dangers of attempting national prohibition. The complication of conditions sure to arise from it fairly staggers the imagination. One can pass quickly over some of the more obvious. It would be exceedingly awkward, while of course feasible, to find the hundreds of millions of new revenue to offset the inevitable losses. But one cannot so easily dispose of the far-reaching economic disturbances inevitably following upon the destruction of a business representing in its various branches a capital far exceeding a billion dollars and which is a factor in agriculture, manufacture, transportation, etc. Since economic laws know no distinction of persons, the blow would fall upon the just and unjust alike.

But such considerations, the prospect of international difficulties over tariffs, etc., are to be reckoned as naught against the consequences from an irrepressible illegal sale of intoxicants. Let us look straight at some of the elements that would enter into the situation and foretell not of probabilities, but certainties. There is the demand for stimulants which no legislation affects; there is the ease and trivial cost of producing alcohol; and the universal desire to make easy money. Combine the three, add to it the undisguised hostility to prohibition of all great centers of population and, indeed, of whole states, and we have an opposition which no method of policing can overcome. The watchful eye and impartial hand of the federal government would be withdrawn from the struggle. Having no longer any interest in revenue, it would not search the length and breadth of the land for illicit manufacture. Presumably, it would watch importations, if not attempt the necessary patrolling of the whole coast and borders. The restraint now exercised by a trade jealous of the traffic carried on by persons who pay no tax would disappear. Enforcement would be left at the most important points in the hands of officials unfriendly to law and acting for a population out of sympathy with it. What is now known the world over as the “shame of Maine”—the synonym for debauchment of law and order, the toleration of violation of law for the sake of political gain—would become the general stigma of our country. Against these verities we must balance the possibility of a diminished abuse of

a drink. Vain anticipation! There is to be no embargo on manufacture for home or personal use, nor could there be. One might, therefore, reasonably expect conditions parallel to those of Sweden in the last century when home distillation was legalized, resulting in an amount of drunkenness, the like of which history scarcely records. The unquenchable desire for stimulants will be met by a supply of the most destructive alcoholic preparations, since the lighter substitutes will be difficult to obtain, and no device known to human ingenuity can check it.

Such, in briefest outline, is the prospect we are told to welcome or be forced to accept through political coercion. As before, every effort will be bent to make the issue one solely between the extreme leaders of the temperance movement and the liquor trade, without any opportunity to let those be heard who are just as eager as the former to promote sobriety, but who still would reckon with facts and poor human nature. As at present staged, one can picture a contest over national prohibition between two factions. On one side the advocates, constituting a widespread, thoroughly organized, wellendowed body which is officered by professional spokesmen of no particular political faith, who have forsaken all belief in persuasion and clamor for the strong arm of the law of annihilation. And on the other side the trade and allied interests fighting for their own and matching the maneuvers of their opponents step by step.

As in so many battles waged throughout individual states over the prohibition question, the great public is not likely to be greatly moved over a national contest. The attitude of most is likely to be that of bored indifference which is not simply to be regarded as apathy, but as evidence of a conviction that the game is so played as to shut out the general public from participation. There may be semblances of white-hot zeal for universal sobriety, and doubtless many are touched by it; but it usually cools quickly as if it had been artificially stimulated. What creates this indifference is largely that, instead of fostering a free expression of opinion, deliberate effort is made to thwart it. Then, too, the cloven hoof of those who

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