TO THE EDITOR,
Sir,—Mrs Harrison Lee, the renowned temperance lecturess, has come and gone, and one is inclined to ask for what purpose waa she here ? She and her associates have succeeded inclosing the hotels in the distuct, and finally in depriving the Club of its license to sell intoxicants. What more do they want ? Possibly they will not be contented until they have made it illegal to cultivate gooseberries and black currants, beoause some of us prefer black currant wine to blaok currant tart. I might cay, at the outset, that I have been an abstainer for more than 25 years, and therefore am in no way prejudiced in favour of the liquor traffio. But I should be glad if Prohibitfonists woull give me candid and logical answers to three objections which I tat •to their position. The first objection to Prohibition is—lt deprives a man of free will, and therefore of self-respect and manhood. In my younger days I have often heard the remark : So and so is a fine fellow ; he neither drinks nor smokes. Prohibition was an unknown quantity then, consequently to abstain from narcotics and alcoholic stimulants was a virtue. The Rechabiteß, exercising their free will, chose to abstain from intoxicating liquors, and were accordingly commended. Had Prohibition existed in their day, they would have had no choice ; there would have been nothing to commend. There is certainly no virtue in abstaining from what you can't get. Humanity is oonfronted with the issue : " Choose ye this day whom ye will serve." The choice I make deoides the quality of my manhood. But if the Prohibitionist is to choose for me, then it is ho longer my manhood, but that of the Prohibitionist. And if I obey the latfer's choice I have sunk to the level of an automaton. My next objection is that Prohibition is an altogether wrong method of obtaining the end desired, inasmuch as it strikes at the innocent to reach the guilty. Max O'Rell, the eminent writer and lecturer on Social Economy, when lecturing in a Prohibition State in America, put the following pertinent questions : " Would you cut down an apple tree bejause there were half a dozen bad apples upon it V Would you abolish knives because some men cut other men's throats therewith ?" I will go one better than Max O'Rell nwd ask Prohibitionists whether they would abolish women an \ girls in order to prevent a reocourence of the Christchurch " iniquity cases." Max O'Rell further says : " The State rightly hangs the man who uses his knife to cut his neighbour's throat; therefore do the same to the man who kills his neighbour with strong drink; or even hang the drunkard but for Heaven's sake don't punish the whole of the oommuniby for one man's " offence." Prohibitionists will find that they have undertaken an impossible task - that of making men sober by Act of Parliament. For, go long as it is lawful to grow black currants, men will be able to manufacture a drink.npou which they can get as drunk as they like. A gentleman drew my attention to the fact that the Ten Commandments were of a prohibitory nature. Yes, and that is one of the reasons why the Ten Commandments will never make a man righteous. At least that is the conclusion arrived at by a New Test'ineEt writer, who says : —By the deeds of the lawshall no flesh be justified, i.e., made righteous. My last objection to Prohibition is that it is mainly instigated by the religious fraternity and by that class of them who ought to know better—the clergy. They, of all people, should know that you cannot change a drunkard into a sober man by outward appliances. To do this, you must firet change his moral nature, and the clergy know very well what agency has been appointed to effect this change. Let Mr Isitt and the rest of them stick to their on'y legitimate business. #tGro ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," and let them preach it in the good old apostolic fashion, and I will guarantee there will be more converts from drunkenness to sobriety than will ever be made by all the prohibitory legislation in the world Mr Editor, I hope I havn't trespassed upon too muoh of your space, but from vast experience I know you to be such a good naturad editor that I will thank you in anticipation.-—I am, etc., Total Abstainer.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6614, 6 July 1905
TEMPERANCE ORATORY Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6614, 6 July 1905
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