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NATIONAL PROHIBITION

fPITBUSHED EY AUIUXGEJIENT.]

COUNTRIES WHICH RKSTTXT LAV/ WARNED AGAINST PROHIBITION. All the leading exports on the Liquor Question agree that one effect, of prohibitory legislation is to create a spirit, of lawlessness and to bring law generally into disrepute. This phase, of the question is brought out prominently by tho American Con unitize of riity in their work on 'The Liquor Problem in its Legislative Aspects.' In that work tile committee hay: "The. efforts to enforce. Prohibition during -10 years past have, had some unlooked-for effects on public respect for courts, judicial procedure, oaths, and law in general, and for officers of the law. legislators, and public servants. The public have seen law defied, a whole generation of habitual law-breakers, schooled in evasion and slmnielessncs-s. courts ineffective through fluctuations of policy, delays, perjuries, negligences, and other miscarriages of justice, officers <>) the law double-faced and mercenary, legislators timid and insincere, candidate? for office hypocritical and truckling. and office-holders unfaithful to pledges and to reasonable public expectation. Through an agitation which has always had a moral end, these ImmorElittes havo been developed and made conspicuous." The 'Encyclopedia, Rriinnnicn ' also refers to these widespread evils arising from prohibitory legislation in the United States and various countries where law is respected, against adopting such legislation. As this publication is generally regarded as a very high authority on the various matters dealt with within its pages, oui; or two extracts from the article dealing; with Prohibiting in the United Sijiios may he quoted with advantage. The article in question says : "The story of Ihe id years' struggle in the State, of lowa- between the Prohibition agitation and the natural appetites of mankind is exceedingly instructive ; it is an extraordinary revelation of political intrigue and tortuous proceedings, and an impressive warning against the folly of trying to coerce the personal habits of a large section of tilt* population against, their will. It ended in a sort of compromise, in which the coercive principle is preserved in one Jaw and personal liberty indicated by another contradictory one. The result may be satisfactory, but it might be attained in a less exceptional manner. What suffers is the principle of faw Itself, which is brcught into disrepute." Again, referring to the enormous amount of illicit traffic in liquor carried on in the Uniied Slates the 'Encyclopedia ' savs : "It is'incomparably greatest under complete Prohibition, because the whole of the traffic in these States is illicit. In South Carolina (Dispensary Law) one of the wholesale dealers and 388 out of the /SMI retailers were illicit. In Massachusetts the number cannot be stated, but it is very large. If ihe whole State were under License, the total legal number of licenses (which is limited in proportion to the population) would be 3.100, and in that case there would be some 1.700 illicit retailers. Put a Iniga part of the Sv.afe, probably more than half, is under Local Prohibition, so that- the majority of tho 5.000 retail dealers must, be illicit. These facts, which are typical and not exceptional, reveal the failure of the laws to control the traffic. Only partial or spasmodic ail'mpts are mad" to enforce them, .and to a great extent they are ignored by common eonsent. Tln> illegal trad" is carried on so openly that, the Uniied States revenue officers have no di'iiculiy in coileeiuig the Federal tax. L is not a sate factory state <jf things. iu,r one which counlries where law is re:-;,c ■•;; d would care to imitate. The example, i* a good lesson in what to avoid."

Numerous other authorities might, bo queued to the save" effect, and the warning they all g'wo is one to which Mew Z.CElancfcrs would da well to fjivo need. We c'a not v/ant to create here that widely-prevalent lawless spirit which has been developed in America, very largely by prohibitory legislation. NO-LICF-NSC IN NEW ZEALAND A FA I LLP!-:.

No reliable evidence can be obtained to prove that No-license has had any effect in diminishing dnmk"nness ni Sow Zealand. On tie' contrary, an examination of the Official Year Books of tho Dominion ctise],,,f, ; , the remarkable fact that dining the seven years preceding the advent of No-licen.-e the cans" of sobriety v. as making ;ood progress, while there has been a ouirl-C"! increase in drunkenness coincident with an increase c,t the votes in t;:vor of No-license. To put .the matte:' in smother w.iv, it may be r-oiiiled out that betwecu 1 K"N r,nd (?fl! the rmivirtio:>s fie' c.'ni.'d. .'line.-'.s had d"fre:!M>d |ls jvor cent., uhoroas umh r No-liccnso conditions the convictions f..r drunkenness reported increased Id" per cent. .This seems to point, to the conclusion 'that drunkenne-s is really increased by prohibitory Jegidrtion. while strongly confirmatory evidence el' that eonelusion is .••fi'orch d bv the evidence from the. Cnited States. 'But there is oilier evidenc<> of the failure of No-'i'-ense in New Zealand. The. attempt 10 unduly restrict the sale of liquor in the Dominion lias had the effect, of l.'irv.eh' increasing the illicit sale of alcoholic drink's. Tins .aspect o) the i!i..it"i; has been referred-.10 by many :n:t horiw.:s. including. .Mr Kdwin A. Viw.t, in hiwork, -The Licensed Trade: An independent Suvvo.\.' In this uork the writer, :i total ahMainer. v. ho ha -; a wide knowledge of hi- su'ejeet. has included a chapter dealing v it); Nolicense, in Nev. Zealand, it.- -.v " The assumption thai .-. - iihstaof la) minority of the community ■'■' ill do v. iihoiit the use of their favotito bevora.g.-' on tho mere vote of a majority of their neighbors fa proportion of uhoiu probably retain welJ-.-toc!;ed ei'll.'.rs; oi their own') is as futile in New Zealand as it is elsewhere. As illustrating, ibis fact. I may mention that, wle-n Nolicense bi'unn to be; an active force jn New Zealand, tie- representative, in th" colony of a well-known linn el' whisky manufacturers in Great Britain sent home an exceptionally large oider for will sky in flasks, and wrote to his principals: 'I may say I obtained this order solely through i. rohihitiou. for. as the law will not allow spirits to be sold on tho racecourse and the people will not he. without their whisky, they buy two or throo flasks xo put in thdr pockets before e(,-j r .o to the course _si> ns to have a drink v. hen they want it. L'nder these eiieiiu,.s;jij:c»'s _:; hirca trade is being don.' in basics.' " The journals of the IJon.se of Representatives show that Police Commissioner Tunbridge has said : It is only by the adoption of subterfuges, or ihe promise of a money reward, to persons to become iuformeis. both <•:' which practices should only be resortc?d to in extreme cases—that in the majority of instances any evidence whatever can be

obtained. Police Commissioner Diunio is reported by the same authority to havo said:

The decrease in the number of prosecutions against sly-grog sellers does not ueccsssrilv indicate & dar.

crease in the number of persons engaged in this d::plornble and troublesomo class of offence, but rather that more secrecy is adopted to prevent detection; and, although special aotion is taken from year to year, and frequent prosecutions are instituted and punishments inflicted, the jesult is somewhat disheartening, as it does not appear to have the desired effect of diminishing the number of offenders* or offences. Still another police authority, Constable Griffith, cays:

I have been stationed at Balclutha for over three years. I have always voted for Prohibition, and my sympathies are with the temperance people, but after three years' ox- • perience in the Clutha I would not ' recommend Prohibition to any other \ district. Prohibition heze is an < utter failure. . . . Anyone imown to assist the police is held up to the gravest odium. . . . For telling the truth when forced, witnesses are shunned as if they had Mine fell , disease. '

Evidence in support of the failure of No-license in New Zealand, might ha multiplied indefinitely. There is, therefore, no reason to suppose if Natonal Prohibition were carried that it would meet with more- success than !oc;a] option. There is, indeed, ever; reason to believe that it would not.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

NATIONAL PROHIBITION, Evening Star, Issue 15669, 7 December 1914

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1,348

NATIONAL PROHIBITION Evening Star, Issue 15669, 7 December 1914

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