75 years ago today, the largest liberty-infringing, misguided moralistic social engineering experiment in the history of the United States ended, with the repeal of Prohibition1
As with most prohibitions on most things, the Prohibition era achieved the exact opposite of its aspirations: the cost of bad and dangerous liquor went up; drunkenness and its associated vices escalated. Corruption was rampant; from the “bad guys” who sold an “illegal” product at a huge profit, money flowed to police departments willing to look the other way. Honest folk, who enjoyed a libation, went begging.
What insanity. From this post, a quote from H.L. Mencken about the era:
Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favourite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished.
The United States and its government should not make up a kind of Coast-to-Coast Homeowners Association. There are countless parallels between Prohibition and the War on Drugs, about which many will write more eloquently than I. That, however, does not deter me. I’ll write about the WoD later.
In the meantime, I’m lifting my glass.