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100 years ago: A case for prohibition?

23 June 2023

June 22nd, 1925.

AT A meeting of the United Kingdom Alliance this week, a peculiar argument was used in favour of American prohibition. We were told that more people in America keep motor-cars (even working-men) than was the case before that piece of tyranny became law. Now if the speaker could have shown that in consequence of prohibition the horrible divorce laws of America had been repealed, or that the lynching of negroes had ceased, he would have said something ad rem. If he could even have shown that political corruption had diminished, that literature or the drama had improved, that America was more inclined to use its great power in favour of justice and Christianity (say) in the Near East, he would have adduced a respectable argument. We are not prepared to say that even then we could have justified the attack on individual liberty and the perversion of Christian teaching which the prohibition law and agitation entailed. The fact, if it be a fact, that Americans spend on motor-cars the money that they might have otherwise spent on hospitality proves that as a result of prohibition selfishness has increased. We can quite see, however, that the American capitalists who are said for their own avaricious purposes to have subsidized the dry campaign would prefer that the workmen should career over the country in motor-cars rather than that they should discuss the social questions.

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