Prohibition Ends: 78 Years of Getting it Right

It is almost so long ago to be meaningless in our world today, but it deserves remembering that there once was a time in our country’s history when drinking a beer or a whiskey was a crime!  No other legislation in our nation’s history (with the possible exception of the 55 MPH speed limit)  has created more lawlessness than Prohibition did.

At the time politics were dominated by puritanical nincompoops, much like the far right is today.  Thankfully they aren’t in the majority like they were in the 20s when Prohibition was enacted.  Although today there is such an infrastructure built around alcohol in the country, and it seems to be the ONLY industry that it both home grown and profitable in today’s economy, it has assured its continuation as an integral part of our culture, and most likely as an instrument of recovery for the down economy.

It is interesting to me, just from a sociological perspective that 90 years ago we were willing to throw away 150 years of culture and tradition for the sake of “morality”, and today we look to that industry to fuel success.  My how times have changed.

I for one am glad that politicians finally realized that all Prohibition really did was to create a nation of law breakers and an infrastructure for organized crime to thrive.  It would have been interesting to find out just how much influence Organized crime had in passing Prohibition in the first place.  It made men millions literally overnight.  It is estimated that Al Capone was able to amass $60 million in his lifetime, a large portion due to Prohibition.  Capone was probably one of the largest beneficiaries of Prohibition, but there were others out there that if you had resources and the will to break an unpopular law, you could amass a fortune in a short time.

I for one am very glad I never lived through something like Prohibition, and will drink to its demise tonight with a whiskey, a beer, and a cigar!  Hopefully I can keep the cigar Nazis at bay in this year’s legislative session.

What are your thoughts about this part of our history?  What will you be drinking tonight to celebrate the END OF PROHIBITION?

-Don

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23 Comments on “Prohibition Ends: 78 Years of Getting it Right”

  1. December 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I say bring it back so our little blog can be considered subversive… 😉

    • December 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      Jim, you guys could probably be considered subversive anyway by some…but, not by me… of course… 😛

      • December 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

        as for what i’ll be drinking tonight…i’ll probably drink some old viscosity…no real reason, just cuz that’s what popped into my head… 🙂

        • Don
          December 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

          Good choice MV. Dark and gloppy. The beer you chew!

    • Don
      December 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      I’ll let the jackboots kick down your door. Blog…What blog? Oh, you mean my BROTHER’S blog…

  2. December 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Well Don, Chris over at Bier:Thirty just informed me that he still has a little bit of the Lost Abbey Angel’s Share on tap today. Seems like a fine beverage to celebrate the day with. Don’t you think?

    Trying to think of current-day parallels in our nation. Online gaming/poker, perhaps? Not coming up with too many. The idea of wiping out an entire industry like that in one fell swoop is kinda crazy to think about.

    • Don
      December 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Sounds like a great idea Chad! If I were in town today, I’d join you. As far as modern day examples are concerned the closest I can come to is the Bush Era legislation against Marijuana paraphernalia. That closed down a bunch of head shops all at once. I’m thinking that they must have relaxed those laws as I’m seeing them pop back up now here and there.

    • December 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

      What’s interesting about the whole Prohibition thing is how the only people that were really penalized was the working class. Alcohol wasn’t outlawed overnight. It took almost a full year to implement, so the wealthy stockpiled a ton of high quality booze to hold them over until the government came to its senses. I believe that if you were a private club, you could still serve booze. You just couldn’t charge for it. Also, if it was for “medicinal purposes”, you could still get a ration of booze as long as you had a doctor’s prescription. My Sicilian-ness applauds the Scofflaws (a term which originated during Prohibition)!

      • Don
        December 5, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

        Yes, there were definitely loopholes built into the legislation, but booze wasn’t available to the masses and it definitely cramped the style of millions of law abiding Americans!

        • December 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

          Totally agree Don. It was a dumbass piece of legislation, and pretty much unenforceable.

  3. December 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    A whisky sounds perfect for tonight! I have a mini of Chivas Regal 12 in my pantry that I need to review, so perhaps I shall partake. Haven’t had it in many many years, so I’m curious to see how I like it. For many years, it was the whisky of choice in these parts whenever anyone asked for a “top shelf” drink.

    Did you see the three part Prohibition documentary? Are you watching Boardwalk Empire? It’s a fascinating piece of American history, and both of these programs are well worth watching. Informative and infinitely entertaining!

    • Don
      December 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      I loved my mini of Chivas I had this summer. Somewhere on this blog is my review. As for Boardwalk Empire, I saw the first one and no more. The boxed set of season 1 is on my Christmas wish list!

    • December 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

      Ken Burn’s documentary was great! I thought it was interesting that it wasn’t just the “puritanical nincompoops” that wanted the country dry; everybody from the Klu Klux Klan, to the NAACP, to the anti-immigrant types were involved in the organization that pressured for the law.

      I’ll have a Modus, and maybe a shot of Stranahan’s and remember my grandfather who didn’t give a crap back then and was a bootlegger.

      • Don
        December 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

        You come from “good stock” Will!

        • December 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

          I guess you could say that homemade alcohol is in my genes since I’m a homebrewer. 🙂

  4. December 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I’ll be drinking water and feeling very high and mighty.

    • Jeff
      December 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      Water for me as well Jim, but only because I’m broke. As for Prohibition? It may well be the dumbest domestic policy ever.

    • Don
      December 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      What is this “Water”??? you speak of? Oh, I remember that is the liquid that is used as the base in Beer and Whiskey. I agree you are very comfortable high atop your perch looking down your nose at the masses, but why water? Just do me a favor and drink a Mad Elf for me…

  5. Wayne
    December 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Don said: “No other legislation in our nation’s history (with the possible exception of the 55 MPH speed limit) has created more lawlessness than Prohibition did.”

    I think we have at least a tie with the War on Drugs.

    • Don
      December 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Not to get into a political debate Wayne, but certain drugs have always been illegal, and (with the possible exception of Marijuana) the country wasn’t founded upon their influence and or use. I don’t know that the enforcement of said laws have created any new source of lawlessness like Prohibition did. Not like there were a bunch of legal drug users that had the carpet pulled out from under them with the war on drugs. Same can’t be said for prohibition.

      • Wayne
        December 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

        I don’t want to argue either, but I suggest you cast your eye to the south a few miles. You think that dust-up in Mexico is staying in Mexico? Also, if you do a survey of our prisons I think you’ll find that most of the inmates have been incarcerated for something to do with drugs–using, selling or something else illegal for the sake of getting the money to buy.

        Prohibition was an attempt to legislate morality. It didn’t work and neither will the War on Drugs–for the same reasons.

        One final thought, were you aware of how many of America’s products–the original Coca-Cola for instance–contained opiates or cocaine? I respectfully direct your attention to: http://www.pharmacytechs.net/blog/old-school-medicine-ads

        • Don
          December 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

          You’re right it is getting pretty crazy down there. We actually know of peope that have been kidnapped and killed in Mexico. Very sad situation that their government can’t seem to control. Not like our government is doing much better, but perhaps doing a better job controlling media coverage about it. I never hear a peep about it in the mainstream media.

  6. December 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I propose a toast to Baptists, Bootleggers, and Bureaucrats! They always serve cocktails that should not be drunk.

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