Thursday, May 1, 2014

Acting Out Through Prohibition

One of the most disobeyed laws in the United States, the Volsted Act, was solidified into the 18th Amendment of the Constitution in 1919. Better known as Prohibition, its roots began in the 19th century when a group of women crusaders took a stand against saloons. With an epidemic of alcoholism and domestic violence on the rise, this crusade had some merit at the time.

By the time Prohibition went into effect, the initial anti-alcohol campaign (with the good instincts of curbing alcoholism) had morphed into a right-wing movement not unlike today's Tea Party. The mayhem that erupted between the "wets" and the "drys" became a guiding force in the landscape politic of the 20th century.

Rule number one: never try to deny a man his drink.

Rule number two: never try to deny a "free" woman her drink.

Rule number three: whenever you prohibit a behavior, the end result is more of that behavior. The natural instinct of a human being is to be free, not to be told how to think and act.
 
Prohibition also had the unintended consequence of stimulating the creation of underground crime syndicates for the illicit distribution of alcohol; the forefathers of the organized crime models seen today in 21st century variations.

Many lessons can be gleaned from this experiment of forced abstinence. To sum it up with a platitude: 

"The more you resist, the more it persists."


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