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NATIONAL PROHIBITION, Issue 15666, 3 December 1914
[Published by Arrangement.] ,
WHAT WOULD SURELY FOLLOW.
The articles that from time to time have been published with a view to showing that there is an answer, and a very strong answer, to the many rash and ill-balanced assertions that are* persistently made by biased opponents of the legalised and regulated sale of alcoholic liquors _ have shbwn beyond reasonable that Prohibition does not prohibit. But the evidence submitted goes further than this. It has shown not only that drink that has been solemnly denied lawful consumption within a given area is consumed in large quantities in that area, but, which is more important, that the conditions under. which this unlawful liquor is consumed are plainly injurious to the moral tone of the whole community. This Is the main article in the Indictment that Is brought against the proposal to abolish the manufacture, Importation, and sale of alcohollo_ liquors. It is not only an inherently unjust proposal; it is not only presumptuous upon the part of any man or woman to cav to their moral and intellectual equals iou shall not be permitted to import, manufacture, or consume a certain article of diet,” but the evils to the individual and the community that inevitably follow upon their legal banning are even more demoralising and perhaps more harmful than the evils it is thought to cast out. It is not necessary to do more than mention a few of these. _ Readers of the daily Press must bo cognisant of them. Ihey obtrude themselves in ■ all sorts of repellent forms. A glance through those of comparatively recent date afford illustrations in point. Here are a few : “ Drinking in a stable, three young men fined,” Invercargill, July 9. “A raid in Milton,” June 16. “ A charge of murder, outcome of keg party,” Invercargill, September 1. “Sly grog shops open when hotels ■ closed during strike time. Auckland, November 19. “Died by drink—-a slv grog victim,” Masterton, March 4. “‘Carousal in a hut,” Invercargill, March 25, and so on. . No one will deny that incidents and episodes such as these are disgusting, but there is a very strong difference of opinion as to how to effect a cure. The Prohibitionist in his haste says: “ Abolish the drink itself; never mind whether you or I or hundreds of others can take it with positive benefit, for inasmuch as these not very admirable representatives can only deg'rado themselves by its use, abolish it altogether. I do not caro if it is unjust to you and others; I do not care if the Church has failed to reach him; 1 do.not care how good a specimen of manhood he may be ; fling out your liquor; that is my last word.” The moderate user of every good gut answers: “Do not do harm that an assumed good may come. Your Prohibition districts breed falsehood, deceit, and crime. We believe that while the abuse of drink may continue that it will be more surely reduced and brought within bounds under stricter regulation and legal supervision than bv any prohibitory law. Such, Broadly stated, is the line of demarcation between the extremists and the moderates. The latter say that the use of alcoholic liquors is not necessarily harmful, that its sale is attended with dangers, therefore it should be a licensed trade The extremist does not reason. He simp.y says ; " 1 cannot win by reason, therefore 1 must resort to force.” But since the prohibition of the traffic in and the use of alcoholic liquors does not prevent the sale and use of such liquors, there are other and greater dangers than those arising from their surreptitious use. The quality of the liquor .sold will deteriorate. It will be both dear and bad, and as there can bo no protection to the consumer in this direction he commits not only an illegal act, which does nut greauy trouble his conscience, but he runs the risk of doing himself physical harm as well. Prohibition drives out the good liquor and brings in the bad, and as it is certain that numbers will continue to deiy a prohibitory law one certain effect thereof will he the health deterioration of considerable numbers of the public. And beyond this there is tiic certainty of illicit stills, the coming into being ox a vast network of petty fraud and genera, disreputablenc-c-s that will need a large force of police to successfully cope with it; much smuggling ami, of Cour.-e, a loss in revenue that must, as Mr Snowden tola the House of Commons, he made up In some form of indirect taxation that will press harshly upon all. it is utterly impossible to deny the satisfaction of a 'legitimate demand. That demand must and will he mot either legitimately or the reverse, and all trustworthy evidence, as well as the genera! experience of mankind, supports an ordered, licensed, legal traffic as preferable to one that is disorderly, unlicensed, anti lawless.
“ During my 25 years’ work I have received lees aid from total abstainers than from any other class. -All the best and most useful help I have obtained has come frtom the strictly moderate drinker.” —■ Dr B. W. Branhwaite. International Congress on Alcoholism, l»ndon. 1909.
NATIONAL PROHIBITION, Issue 15666, 3 December 1914
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