Posts Tagged ‘bootlegging’

More Thoughts on Prohibition

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

I’m not trying to rain on the parade of Nico and Shaun over at The 21st Amendment Brewery Blog or steal their thunder for the roundup of Session #22. However, on a few common themes I feel the need to elaborate. Here’s my original post.

Alan McLeod wrote a relatively thorough treatment comparing the history of Prohibition with the current drug war (this was touched on by Lew Bryson and Jay Brooks as well). Alan gets right to the most critical point: that smoking marijuana is a fundamentally “inherently personal” act and that its continued prohibition is a result of cultural precedence. That is, though Alan never explicitly states it, racism.

I was also glad to see I wasn’t the only one to make a comparison to Proposition 8, though Rob DeNunzio made only a hyperlink aside.

The biggest issue raised by the commentaries of many was the need to prove teetotallers wrong in their characterization of alcohol as evil. We as (let’s face it) professional drinkers must set the standard for responsible drinking and alcohol education. To that end I was buoyed by the mention of the Amethyst Initiative by both DeNunzio and E.C. Delia. For those who are unaware, the Amethyst Initiative is the all-too-overdue campaign to bring discussion of the drinking age back to the national spotlight. It is supported by (at this point) 134 college and university presidents and chancellors. From their website:

In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of 10% of a state’s federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21. Twenty-four years later, our experience as college and university presidents convinces us that twenty-one is not working. A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”—often conducted off-campus—has developed. Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.

For their efforts the Amethyst Initiative has been given the new “Millstone Award” by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. That’s right, the group that largely gave us Prohibition has recognized this cause as promoting “unhealthy, illegal or immoral behavior that [they] believe places children at risk”. According to the post on their website, other organizations considered were “groups responsible for placing pornography on the Internet” and the Montgomery County (MD) Council, for their efforts to eliminate transgender discrimination. In my mind receiving this award seems like quite a high honor.

Additionally I’d like to point out this article over at Madison Beer Review. There are many exciting Prohibition-era bootlegging stories but this one is with the best of them. The Eulberg Brewery brewed full-strength beer illegally for 12 of the 14 years of Prohibition. Features a few good quotes from The Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal.

[edit: I originally misspelled the name of Shaun from 21st Amendment. In my defense, that’s how another Sessioner spelled it.]