Prohibition… May 28, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Economy, US Politics.
Okay, there’s no end of things going on, not least the privatisation of VHI which I’ll return to again, but… for something a bit different… there’s an excellent podcast (and an – ahem – painful title to the podcast) on Slate.com where The Big Money, their business and finance side (intriguingly liberal for the US – well worth a listen in any event) discusses a new book by Daniel Okrent, “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” on the Prohibition era. I have to admit, I’ve always been fascinated by that strand of US history. As the author notes, in the US Constitution Prohibition was utterly anomalous by attempting to constrain individual behaviour. There’s also some remarkable information, such as the links between temperance and suffrage which – when one thinks about it – make perfect sense in the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th. And then you also had a bizarre situation where the KKK supported suffrage and the IWW supported prohibition.
That Prohibition was only revoked in the early 1930s is in itself notable.
But as much so is the attitude one experiences in the US in relation to alcohol. I think it could be termed generally one of caution and moderation. Obviously those of us who have been there know of exceptions, but drinking patterns say compared with the Irish experience are immediately recognisable as distinct. And this presumably comes in no small measure – so to speak – from the enduring legacy of those times. A fascinating conversation and a book that would be I suspect well worth reading.