Temperance and Prohibition By Mrs Vera West

     One topic which I often discussed with Eric Butler was the question of temperance and the prohibition of alcohol. Eric said that the main argument given at the time, was a moral one, that alcohol eroded one’s rationality and free will. Further, the claim that American prohibition was a failure, is not true:

     As one article which reviewed the evidence put it:
“The conventional view that National Prohibition failed rests upon an historically flimsy base. The successful campaign to enact National Prohibition was the fruit of a century-long temperance campaign, experience of which led prohibitionists to conclude that a nationwide ban on alcohol was the most promising of the many strategies tried thus far. A sharp rise in consumption during the early 20th century seemed to confirm the bankruptcy of alternative alcohol-control programs.

     The stringent prohibition imposed by the Volstead Act, however, represented a more drastic action than many Americans expected. Nevertheless, National Prohibition succeeded both in lowering consumption and in retaining political support until the onset of the Great Depression altered voters’ priorities. Repeal resulted more from this contextual shift than from characteristics of the innovation itself.”

    Nevertheless, alcohol and drugs are now so deeply engrained in the prevailing culture, that it is difficult to see how any prohibition-style strategies could work, because the moral basis for such restrain had now been lost. Pleasure and hedonism, rather than doing the right thing for God and the purity of one’s soul, now rules the waves. At least, for the foreseeable future.



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Tuesday, 25 June 2024

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