Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Happy Repeal Day!

tray of champagne.jpgToday is the 75th anniversary of the repeal of the blanket prohibition of alcohol sales in the United States.

Go pour some Champagne, Cava, or fine California bubbly and read Radley Balko’s excellent “Lessons of Prohibition.”

Photo: Jensen.Pernille. Thanks to Sama [link to no longer works].

3 comments on "Happy Repeal Day!"

  • mckt says:

    I guess it’s a good time to open that bottle of absinthe in the cupboard.

  • Mango says:

    Thanks for the link, Adam.
    Where I live, in the province of Ontario, it seems to have come back into vogue to prohibit or restrict anything and everything that cause some level of harm (breeds of dog, electronic devices in cars, and recently all drivers under 21 — and possibly sooner or later handguns). It is so hard to make nuanced arguments about whether the benefits of such restrictions actually justifies the loss of personal freedom inherent in all bans.
    Prohibition, now a great boon to all advocates of liberty, lends a tremendous amount of weight to arguments that might otherwise be speculative and unconvincing.

  • Um, you call that excellent?
    Balko starts his message by trying to relabel American religious extremists. He says those who brought about prohibition were “progressives” with a “grand social engineering agenda”.
    This is a political statement based on revisionist history at its worst.
    Americans in favor of prohibition were called the “Temperance Movement” because they were anti-progressives. The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union as social engineers, teaching progressive ideas at the Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction? Come on. It was the exact opposite.
    The same vein is seen today in the religious foment that passed Proposition 8 in California. Or perhaps Balko would call those calling for a constitutional amendment to ban marriage also a progressive movement?
    The lesson of prohibition should be that religious extremists should be handled with caution in politics, lest they try to enact random ideas of intolerance to obstruct common human rights and liberties for self-serving monetary gain.

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