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The purpose of the Anti-Saloon League is avowedly the total abolition of the saloon, together with the absolute prohibition of the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any beverage which contains alcohol. By this proscriptive method, the agents of the League would have us believe that the taste and, therefore, the demand for such beverages will ultimately cease.
The advocates of Prohibition have been forced by the logic of facts to admit that Prohibition does not prohibit. But they say, neither do the criminal laws prohibit crime. Thieving is called a "fine art," the enterprising burglar still burgles, the pickpocket is still working overtime. But the act of theft is a crime; the act of drinking alcoholic beverages is not a crime! We don't forbid a man his household luxuries, because of the temptation which they offer to burglars; we punish the burglar! Moreover, all effective laws depend for their enforcement upon the will of the community. A law which governs our personal habits can only be sustained by overwhelming public sentiment. The policeman is the servant of the people; not their forbidding autocrat! There are probably not ten men in a million who would condone burglary, but there are thousands of men who perjure themselves to buy a drug store drink every month, in our Prohibition towns. Prohibition legislation puts a premium upon law-breaking, and corrupts the whole machinery of government.
Almost every function of life can be made a vice, if it is improperly used. Bigamy is a vice; shall we therefore forbid marriage? No man can be a bigamist who has not been married at least once. Extortion is a crime; shall we therefore stop banking? Gluttony is a vice; shall we stop eating? Typhoid is a dire disease; must we stop drinking water? Milk is frequently injurious; shall we kill our cows? There is a limit even to the most benevolent paternalism. We all have to fight for our lives; we must, each of us, work out our own salvation, and there are literally millions of people who indulge habitually, but temperately, in alcoholic beverages, without injury to their physical or moral welfare.
Men of clear vision and intelligence, whose experience has taught them to be worldly wise, are in common agreement upon these points:
That the temperate use of alcoholic liquors is so widely spread as to be a national custom.
2. That this generation of men and women is more temperate than any preceding generation in our history.
3. That the abuse of such liquors, while comparatively small, is nevertheless a grave, and to some extent, an unnecessary evil. 4. That practical remedies are to be found in regulation, education, moral suasion, and in raising the standard of living.
5. That the standard of living can best be raised by improved housing conditions, by liberal expenditures for public health, industrial training, and recreation centers, and by reducing the hours of work and increasing the scale of wages of the unskilled laboring class.
The failure of Prohibition whether in city, county, or State, is conceded by all impartial students of Government. The character, and kind, and place of drink are changed by Prohibition, but none of the schemes which attempt to suppress or ignore the saloon, have checked the evil of inebriety. They have simply driven drinking into secret channels where it is not under social control.
The time is ripe for a thoroughly scientific study of Inebriety and the adoption of a definite and comprehensive plan of dealing with it. The jail-method has proved a hopeless failure. The medical authorities are agreed that drunkenness is frequently a disease. There is sound sense in sending a drunkard to a custodial institution, if the institution provides facilities for competent observation and physical treatment, with special work, proper diet and personal consideration. But the benefit of such a system will only be secured by an indeterminate sentence, according to which the convict will be confined until it seems safe to release him. Even then it will probably be best to send him out on parole, with the understanding that he can be rearrested and sent back to the institution if he returns to his old habits.
The tally of the arrests for drunkenness is most misleading; often the same individual goes in and out of the lockup a dozen times a year, and each time he is counted as a separate unit. To send such a man to jail is worse than useless. Our county jails are
universally condemned as simply schools of crime, and to send a poor drunkard to jail is to lower his moral tone and decrease his power of resistance to temptation.
These questions are hardly ever considered or discussed by the Anti-Saloon League, and the League has done absolutely nothing to further the movement for the study and treatment of inebriety. Indeed their agents have actually hindered it by their exaggerated statements as to the extent of the evil, for their misleading figures magnify the problem to such staggering proportions as to make the cost of the proposed remedies prohibitive.
The crux of the whole question is really this: Can the common use of intoxicants be prevented by abolishing their lawful sale? If not, the practical thing to do is to improve the system of regulating the places where they are sold, and to encourage the sale of those beverages which have the smallest amount of alcohol, while at the same time the work of popular education is continued along the lines of self-restraint and moderation in all things.
THE CLEAN-UP MOVEMENT.
STRONG AND GENERAL EFFORT OF BREWERS TO CARRY OUT THEIR PLEDGE.
Hugh F. Fox, Secretary of the United States Brewers' Association, makes the following statement in Charities and the Com
At the last convention of the United States Brewers' Association a declaration of principles was adopted which set forth the willingness of the brewers to cooperate in the passage and enforcement of rational laws for the regulation of the drink traffic, and for keeping such traffic free from unlawful and improper accessories. It would be unreasonable to expect a revolution in the six months which have elapsed, but enough has been accomplished to make us feel encouraged.
It is impossible to study this question impartially without reaching the conclusion that in a number of States the laws are directly responsible for many of the evils which prevail.
For example, the Ohio constitution forbids the licensing of the sale of liquors, and in lieu of a license an annual tax is imposed, practically without conditions. Under such an arrangement any man who could pay the tax has been able to open a saloon, and it will readily be seen that with no restriction as to the number of licenses, or the character of the saloon keeper, the business has fallen into disreputable hands.
The law of New York State has encouraged the multiplication of saloons, and is directly responsible for the establishment of fake hotels to catch the Sunday trade. On the other hand, the Pennsylvania law, restricting the saloons and placing the licensing in the hands of the courts with power of revocation, has resulted in the saloon being conducted decently and with strict observance of the law.
WORKING OF THE PENNSYLVANIA LAW.
It is true that there are objections to the law from the standpoint of the courts, and that Sunday closing of the saloon has resulted in a great deal of illicit Sunday traffic, which is winked at by the police. However, this has nothing to do with the beer busi
ness, for practically no beer is sold illicitly, and the licensed trade in Pennsylvania has absolutely no connection with the evil.
In Greater New York the brewers have established a working arrangement with the Committee of Fourteen and the bonding companies, which has resulted in the cleaning up of about a hundred disreputable places. The law itself makes the undertaking difficult, and it is further complicated by the overcrowded condition of the courts and the attitude of some of the minor judges.
Neither the brewers nor the Committee of Fourteen are thoroughly satisfied with the result, but they feel that a creditable start has been made, which warrants the continuance of the compact. Similar work has been done in Buffalo, Rochester and other upState cities.
THE WORK IN OHIO.
In October, 1907, the Ohio Brewers' Association established a vigilance bureau to investigate the saloon business and report obnoxious places, with proofs of their misconduct, to the authorities. It demanded that legal steps be taken to close up such places and if the authorities failed to act, the association was instructed to bring legal proceedings itself, to drive the disreputable saloon keeper out of business.
The executive board of the association did not expect to bring about the millennium, but it went at its business thoroughly, employing detectives to get evidence wherever necessary. A letter was addressed to every saloon keeper in the State, calling attention to the law and giving a warning.
Particular attention was paid to the enforcement of the juvenile law, and in many localities the brewers are coöperating with juvenile courts. A special department was organized with a corps of twenty-five men whose duty it was to obtain information as to the manner in which the saloons were conducted throughout the State.
In Cincinnati alone more than one hundred places were reported to the chief of police, and in several other cities the vigilance bureau succeeded in eliminating a large number of dives.
The greatest obstacle the Ohio brewers found in their work of reformation was the evident compact which existed between lawless dealers and grafting authorities. In cities where such conditions existed, the brewers were compelled to prosecute vigorously, in