America's Most Persecuted Minority
, by Murray Rothbard
, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report
, Aug 1994
Tells the history of post-millennial evangelical pietists (PMEP) or neo-Puritans and their crusades to ban pleasures such as liquor and smoking
"The high-water mark of PMEP crusading was ... the outlawing of all liquor (and by constitutional amendment, no less!). The result used to be common knowledge in America; absolute disaster: tyranny, corruption, black markets and more alcoholism as people went underground to get more intense 'fixes' such as hard liquor rather than beer before the cops could close in."
Booze Busting: The New Prohibition
, by James Bovard
, Future of Freedom
, Dec 1998
Discusses various anti-alcohol laws and enforcement actions, including the law raising the minimum drinking age
"Perhaps the most harmful example of the anti-alcohol bias in recent legislation occurred in 1984, when Congress and President Reagan jammed a new minimum drinking age of 21 down the throats of 26 states. ... Though the 21st Amendment explicitly states that the power to regulate alcohol is vested solely in the states, Chief Justice Rehnquist and colleagues upheld the law ..."
Capitalism and the Intellectuals
[PDF], by Robert Nisbet, Regulation
, Dec 1977
Review of Paul Johnson's The Enemies of Society
"I am sorry Mr. Johnson did not see fit to include those New Prohibitionists who, with hands not on the Old Testament but the latest FDA report, jump gleefully to the task of preventing the great majority of us from having our smoking, drinking, driving, dressing and eating pleasures—not, God knows, in the interests of saving, but of making wretched, our lives and, of course, smiting the business class. Not since I was five years old, in the presence of Bible-belters, have I heard cigarets and liquor spoken of as they are today in almost any Berkeley or Hampton household."
Drug Legalization: How to Radically Lower the Number of Murders in New Orleans
, by Walter Block
, 27 Jan 2007
Suggests drug legalization as a remedy to the increased murder rate in New Orleans and then considers six objections to such a plan and its potential effects
"When alcohol was prohibited (1920-1933) gangs fought it out in the streets with machine guns for the right to sell their bathtub gin. Innocent bystanders were killed in the cross fire ... Nowadays ... Johnny Walker and Four Roses compete with each other not with bullets ... The Mafia is no longer involved. ... But will we not die like flies from these addictive substances once they are legalized? There is no more reason to think so than to believe that when the prohibition of booze ended, it encouraged an orgy of drunkenness. Pretty much the same people who liquored up before 1920 did so after 1933 ..."
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz)
, The Freeman
, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"When and why did organized crime get started in the United States? ... Organized crime arose because of alcohol Prohibition during the 1920s. Enterprising individuals filled the continuing demand for adult beverages. They were often rough characters, because one sometimes had to be rough to enforce illegal contracts—courts wouldn't do it."
Related Topics: United States Bill of Rights
, Compulsory Education
, Federal Reserve System
, Free Trade
, John Hancock
, Warren G. Harding
, Abraham Lincoln
, Right to Trial by Jury
, by Bruce L. Benson
, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
Reviews various arguments made to justify the drug war (e.g., property crime, violence) versus the actual effects of prohibition (e.g., black markets, asset forfeiture)
"Attempts to thwart the drug trade are no match for entrepreneurial creativity, so why do prohibitionist efforts continue? ... The demands of the American Pharmaceutical Association ... the desire by some groups to control racial minorities ... Law enforcement bureaucrats ... These interest groups have interacted with others, among them temperance groups, to strengthen drug prohibition legislation. ... Indeed, given the continued advocacy of prohibition by police and in light of consequences of the drug war, police interests, not the 'public interest,' seems to be at the root of the drug war."
Mencken, H. L. (1880-1956)
, by Rod L. Evans, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism
, 15 Aug 2008
"In the 1920s, Mencken also wrote about Prohibition, which he viewed as an indefensible and self-defeating violation of personal liberty. In December 1924, he wrote the following as part of an editorial for American Mercury: '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.'"
Right and Simple
, by Charley Reese, 30 Dec 2006
Discusses the proposition that "the right thing to do is both simple to state and simple to understand" in the context of the drug war and the political situation in Venezuela, Colombia and the United States
"There are two solutions. One is to legalize drugs and treat the issue as a medical problem. The drug war is just a repeat of Prohibition and has accomplished the exact same thing — the creation of criminal organizations and widespread corruption of public officials. ... The problem is that too many people, besides the drug dealers, make money off the drug war through bigger budgets and, in some cases, generous bribes. Just remember that when it comes to drugs, the corruption is here in America, not in Colombia."
The battle to make America wet again
, by Nicholas A. Snow, 8 Mar 2017
Recounts how the 18th Amendment and National Prohibition Act were repealed, particularly through the efforts of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR)
"Prohibitionists expected the absence of legal alcohol would solve a plethora of social ills created by drinking. Their hopes were summed up by the preacher Billy Sunday, who, on the eve of Prohibition, exulted, 'The reign of tears is over, the slums will soon be a memory; we will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile, and children will laugh. Hell will forever be for rent.' ... Who could possibly be against that? The answer, it turned out, was lots of people."
The Economics Behind the U.S. Government's Unwinnable War on Drugs
, by Benjamin Powell, 1 Jul 2013
Analyzes the economics of the drug war, including the demand-supply effects of prohibition on both users and distributors, the effects of higher prices and variable quality, comparisons to alcohol prohibition and external effects
"Drug prohibitionists want drugs to be illegal in order to minimize the damage drug use does both to users and to the society around them. Unfortunately, prohibition, while decreasing consumption, greatly increases the harm done to the remaining users and to society. When drugs are illegal, they become more potent. In order to minimize the risk of detection per amount of narcotic supplied, suppliers make drugs as small and light as possible. This means higher potency. ... prohibition also encourages users to demand the more-potent drugs because the relative price difference between more- and less-potent drugs is lower."
The Invisible Hand Is a Gentle Hand
, by Sharon Harris
, 14 Sep 1998
Defends the free market and individual liberty, quoting among others Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Jefferson, David and Milton Friedman, John Lott, Isabel Paterson, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Adam Smith, Thomas Sowell, John Stossel and Walter Williams
"Prohibition seems to bring out a terrible vindictiveness and cruelty in some people. In 1929, Mrs. Etta Mae Miller was convicted of having sold a single quart of liquor. This was her fourth such offense, so her sentence was life imprisonment. ... The General Secretary of the Board of Temperance, Prohibition and Public Morals [sic] said, 'Our only regret is that the woman was not sentenced to life imprisonment before her ten children were born. When one has violated the Constitution four times, he or she should be segregated from society to prevent the production of subnormal offsprings."
Related Topics: Right to Keep and Bear Arms
, War on Drugs
, Eminent Domain Protections
, Free Market
, David D. Friedman
, Health Care
, Private Property
, Adam Smith
, Social Security Tax
, Lysander Spooner
The New Deal Made Them 'Right'
, by Damon Root, Cato Policy Report
, Sep 2009
Discusses how various "prominent liberals" (Mencken, John T. Flynn, Al Smith, Burton K. Wheeler and Nock) found themselves categorized on the political right as a consequence of their opposition to Roosevelt's New Deal
"... the attacks from Democratic hero Al Smith shook the New Deal coalition to its core. ... As one of the country's most famous opponents of alcohol prohibition, a group popularly known as the 'wets,' Smith had been deeply troubled by the lessons of the Eighteenth Amendment. Prohibition, he wrote in 1933, 'gave functions to the Federal government which that government could not possibly discharge, and the evils which came from the attempts at enforcement were infinitely worse than those which honest reformers attempted to abolish.'"
The Progressive Era, Part 1: The Myth and the Reality
, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom
, Feb 2006
Examines various aspects of Progressivism's "much darker tale", tracing its roots to 19th century Unitarians and pointing out Progressive support of prohibition and segregation
"Socially, the Progressives were humanitarians who sought to better the lives of ordinary people, with their greatest 'triumph' being passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, which ushered in the era of Prohibition. ... Prohibition was the shotgun wedding of the secular Progressives and the Christian fundamentalists, both of whom wanted to ban intoxicating beverages, but for different reasons. ... Progressives saw it as a way to promote ... 'social virtues,' while fundamentalists thought that alcohol consumption was sinful, which was reason enough for the central government to ban it."
The War on Drugs: Seen vs. the Unseen
, by Angela Dills, 26 Oct 2015
Discusses the drug war in the context of Bastiat's essay "What is Seen and What is Unseen"
"Prohibition in the 1920s reduced alcohol consumption by 10 to 20 percent. ... The production and consumption of these substances are instead relegated to black markets. And yet prohibition generates other harms. Prohibition increases violent crime by generating black markets and then disrupting those markets. Prohibition encourages corruption as dealers bribe public officials to look the other way. Enforcing prohibition is expensive: the DEA, the additional prisons, and the additional police all add up to billions of dollars in drug enforcement expenditures every year."
Thoughts on Freedom - Politics and Prohibition: It Wasn't American Protest That Ended Alcohol Prohibition
, by Donald J. Boudreaux
, The Freeman
, Mar 2002
Explains why, based on the story of alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition will not end solely on the realization of policy failure and side effects such as gang violence
"National alcohol prohibition in the United States began on January 16, 1920 ... Speakeasies and gangster violence became familiar during the 1920s ... But contrary to modern belief, the 1920s witnessed little sympathy for ending prohibition. Neither citizens in general nor politicians concluded from the obvious failure of prohibition that it should end. ... In research we conducted, Adam Pritchard and I found that bulging income-tax revenues made it possible for Congress finally to give in to the decades-old movement for alcohol prohibition. "
We Aren't Children
, by Sheldon Richman
, Nov 2001
Discusses the freedom implications of three recent alcohol regulations in the state of Arkansas
"This is the phenomenon that economist Bruce Yandle calls 'Baptists and bootleggers.' It refers to the alliance inevitably struck between those who oppose some consensual activity for moralistic reasons and those who oppose it out of economic interest. Thus both the Baptists and the bootleggers favored Prohibition — the Baptists because drinking is sinful; the bootleggers because legal booze cut into their profits."
We Need an Angel Like Clarence
, by Lew Rockwell
, Mises Daily
, 28 Dec 2006
Attempts to counter the despair felt by some in the freedom movement by examining, by example, the "unseen" benefits of libertarian activism over the past century
"Preposterously, a small faction that would later be dominant in public life believed that if we could just pass national legislation against drinking, sobriety would prevail. ... The alcohol prohibitionists managed to pass a constitutional amendment banning all liquor — think of that! — but their victory was short lived. Public opinion rose up against them and the amendment was eventually repealed. It was a magnificent reversal, brought about mainly by the force of public ideology that said it was causing more harm than good and violating people's rights."
An Unhealthy Alliance: Tobacco Companies and Anti-smoking
, by Aeon Skoble, 14 May 2015
Discusses the different groups lobbying city and other governments to enact laws banning e-cigarettes and vaping
"Now those activists find themselves on the same side as their formal foes since tobacco company lobbyists are fighting e-cigarettes, too. They're worried about their bottom line. Studies show that vaping is twice as effective as other methods in helping people quit smoking. By pushing for regulations that make e-cigarettes less accessible to consumers they ensure that more people will keep smoking tobacco. We've got a classic case of what some scholars call the 'Bootleggers and Baptists Phenomena.' Well-intentioned activists end up pushing for the same rules in the interests they actually oppose."