NZ Truth , Putanga 685, 3 Hereturikōkā 1918, Page 5
Water Wowsers on the War-path WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES OF PROHIBITION? "Ricketty" Russell Already Counting the Cost. The Liquor Problem An After-war Proposition. It seems certain that "Truth's" prediction that the water-pump wowsers, who argue that because they are prohibitionists they are distinct from the average kill-joy wowser, are about to go out on the warpath and seek to convulse the country with their un- j democratic demands of draining New Zealand "dry" of every drop of liquor. Already .there are unmistakable indications that these wretched wowsers with their whines of winning-the-war by closing down breweries and hotels, and their unmerciful onslaughts on our brave boys m the trenohes, where, according to high authorities, "rum had undoubtedly saved many men's lives after a heavy bombardment," are about to embark on an agitation, the consequences of which are difficult to foresee, particularly if the sane and sober section of the people are POOLED BY THESE FIERCE AND FRENZIED FANATICS. Of all the unholy agitations engineered by fanatical factionists and sectaries, the present move to chain the community to the chariot of a smug teetotalism ranks second only to the fanaticism of the extremists who would make church- going a matter of compulsion, and failure to contribute to the "offering" something akin to treason-felony. Assorted wowserlsm is attempting to use the war to win prohibition. Whether or not it 1b that they scent an early finish of the war, and the consequent inevitable reaction against all the forces that, during the past four years, have gone far to obliterate the degree of personal freedom that was every man's heritage, the wowsers everywhere are at present whooping their hardest that the war i can only be "won by the immediate prohibition cf the manufacture and sale of any form of alcoholic liquor. It might just as easily be won by prohibiting the manufacture or sale of tobacco, sugar, cayenne pepper, silk stockings, motor tyres, or scrip certificates. The parsons, who are the leading flame-throwers, m this, as m the preceding offensives, concentrate kheir fire on alcohol and Its con,comitants because they think, rightly or wrongly, that the feminine mind is more susceptible to tales of the horrors and atrocities happening under the banner of "Der-rink" than elsewhere. They know that sufficient screaming and reiteration is LIABLE TO STAMPEDE THE WOMEN on a wave of hysteria, to reason with whioh is about equal to reasoning with a whirring -windmill. They are well aware of their miserable case for (curtailing further the liberty of the citizen rests on nothing tangible m the way of precedent or evidence. Two great instances m confutation of these dour folk are provided by Russia and Germany. Amid a storm of wowser applause, the Romanoffs, right at the commencement of hostilities, no doubt urged therto by THE RASCAL RASPUTIN, 1 ukased that no more vodka must be manufactured or consumed "during the currency of the war." Germany decreed that, if anything, the people should keep their pecker up by increased production and use of stimulants. Prohibitionist Russia collapsed like a pricked balloon; beer-drinking Germany continued on her militaristic career without abatement, and, indeed, with determined obstinacy. After nearly four years of it, tho position Is that the German occupies a huge slice of Western Russia and almost the whole of her Baltic waterwaywhile not one Allied soldier has succeeded, on any front, m setting an invading foot on German territory, Teetotalism broke down m Russia; alcoholism has not degenerated the German as a fighting machine. We are not arguing that a nation can drink itself to victory. But neither will cold -tea ism turn defeat to victory if left to its anaemic self. And especially must it prove ineffectual when, for. base motives, we find, after four years, the war being used as a lever to secure an end that hadn't the ghost of a hope m times of peace. Almost all through history, army surgeons have ordered strong waters for many of their cases. In the present war lads who went away a« total abstainers took kindly to the tot of rum needed to send warmth tingling to their trench -bitten toes. Napoleon Bonaparte distributed 40,000 bottles of wine among his troops to key them up on the cv« of the battle of Wagram, and duly conquered on the morrow. But our wowsers are not amenable to reason or precedent. They do not "come" all at once. Gradually, "m the interests of the noldierg," they hava been paring 1 away at the popular habits of tha people. The slamming i of hotel doors after six o'clock and I anti-shouting', etc., etc., are but the I straws of a big 1 advance. i THIS ADVANCE OR OFFENSIVE is the 'Jsmiinu for National Prohibition on the limes laid down by the National Efficiency ISoarcl a board of i wowsers who seem to imagine that the i war is to be won only by New Zea- I land turning 1 off the tap. The so-called I National "Deficiency" Board seems to have usurped the functions of the eabai known. -as the National Government, and the idea of the board is to shut up -.the breweries- and hotels, prohibit the importation of liquor and to I ];ay over to those interested m the liquor trade the huge sum of 4,--1 500,000 by way of compensation. Never m the history of wowserism m this i country has a. more ridiculous proposii tier: been made, and it is just as well that those people who believe that the I payment of such a huge sum as £4,- I 500, C00 will end the liquor trade and i the noise and confusion attending our I liquor trade legislation should realise "Tho Fool's Paradise" into which they are being* led. The cost of National Prohibition would, according- to the Hon. G. W. Russell, m addition to I the principal sum of £4,500,000, amount to £1,300,000 per annum; that is to say, the taxpayers of New Zealand would, m addition to the burdens I which they are now bearing, and are likely to bear for many years to come, be saddled with increased taxation to yield over one and a quarter million sterling: per year— and all to please a pack of fanatic Prohibs. It i is no wonder that a wobbling polltii cian of the G. W. Russell type gravely doubted nt rhmedin during the week the poKHil)ility of giving eTfect to the hoard's proposal during the comin;: HesKieni of Parliament, and-subsequently i:i the .same session pass the necessary legislation to give effect to the decision. If National Prohibition was carried the right of 80,000 soldiers to vote must be considered. He had doubts if the country- would agree to pay a huge sum as compensation, for which no tangible asset remained. It is interesting also to learn that the Efficiency Board has also stated that "any legislation must prevent any effort to resurrect the Trade, and also be, mad© effective as regards total Prohibition." Such a proposition emanating from so-called level-headed men savors more of I THE RAVTNGS OF A MADMAN, The National Efficiency Board cannot commit or bind posterity, or even the Parliament which would give effect to the Board's recommendations. We would' not end the confusion and the agitation 'which is inseparable from the solution ofothe Liquor Trade. Far better to await the end of this dreadful war, and then apply to the solution of this problem commonsense or sanity, and "Truth" cannot forbear from remarking that when the war is over the J
question' of State Purchase and State Control of the Liquor Industry, will be one of the most important of all after-war questions m all countries. The National' Efficiency Board's recommendations are only trifling with a world-wide conundrum. Wowserism during the war has revealed itself, as an arch-enemy of democracy, and consequently in' seeking- to complete the enslavement of the people while autocracy prevails, the wowsers are endeavoring to gain a tyrannical power, with which when the war is over, to fight for their existence, which most assuredly will be assailed.
question of State Purchase and State Control of the Liquor Industry, will be one of the most Important of all after-wav questions m all countries. The National' Efficiency Board's recommendations are only trifling- with a world-wide conundrum. Wowserism during the war has revealed itself as an arch-enemy of democracy, and consequently in' seeking- to 'complete the enslavement of the people while autocracy prevails, the wowsers are endeavoring to gain a tyrannical power, with which when the war is over, to fight for their existence, which most assuredly will be assailed.