I’m away from wifi and trying to post from my iPhone..

George Will has a fascinating and strange piece about prohibition in the Washington Post.
“Another round of Prohibition, anyone?”

After the first few years, alcohol consumption dropped only 30 percent. Soon smugglers were outrunning the Coast Guard ships in advanced speedboats, and courts inundated by violations of Prohibition began to resort to plea bargains to speed “enforcement” of laws so unenforceable that Detroit became known as the City on a Still.

Prohibition agents cherished $1,800 jobs because of the bribes that came with them.


Now that ambitious government is again hell-bent on improving Americans — from how they use salt to what light bulbs they use — Okrent’s book is a timely tutorial on the law of unintended consequences.

I’m not sure how George Will is able to write while sharing a room with a two- ton unseen elephant.

Thanks, Daniel

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12 Responses to Prohibition

  1. claygooding says:

    Lol,maybe he has a bucket full of peanuts in the room?
    More and more conservatives and liberals are looking very hard at the WoD,not because of any injustice or loss of rights but simply because we don’t have the money to continue at our present level.much less gear up for Kerli’s drugged driving issue or even the fight against the initiative.
    There are so many truths coming at them from so many directions and good old Kerli and the prohibition cartels are still only armed with lies and false statistics about marijuana.
    Before this time,all the drug czar had to do was put the statistics out there and they were accepted without question but now people are actually looking deeper and finding the flaws. And WE are going to sites and newspapers pointing out those flaws within hours after
    the ONDCP propaganda machine cranks them out.

  2. Servetus says:

    Daniel Okrent’s book, Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, is due to be made into a forthcoming documentary by Ken Burns. It will appear on PBS in 2011.

    If even a hundredth of what is contained in Okrent’s book (just finished it) makes it onto the screen, the viewing public will have an opportunity to see and hear the policies of prohibition trashed as never before. Too bad it won’t air before the 2010 November election.

  3. Jon Doe says:

    Servetus: I just watched the Daily Show interview with Okrent. Some good stuff there. Ordering the book as we type.

  4. Surfin Serfer says:

    It is the internet and pages like this one that is blasting huge holes in the drug war facade. Hence the internet kill switch.

  5. Rev. Run says:

    More often than not, the best propaganda is subtle.

    If you read Will’s last paragraph, it’s clear he’s not only talking about alcohol.

    Given his demigod status among thoughtful conservatives, George will is (arguably) doing the Lord’s Work.

  6. Paul says:

    He is certainly sharp, and a clear thinker. He clearly does not approve of drugs, but he is too intellectually honest not to admit that legalizing MJ would hurt the cartels. He does so in this video here:

    It is as though he sees how hopeless the fight is, and he sees the obvious solution, but he can’t quite bring himself to sign up. Here’s one of his articles where I get that feeling:

  7. claygooding says:

    “Given his demigod status among thoughtful conservatives, George will is (arguably) doing the Lord’s Work.”

    You need to go to the article and read the comments,I don’t think he is that well liked in DC.

  8. BruceM says:

    Anyone who compares mere regulation (“to make regular”) of something with prohibition of something is a moron, at the outset.

    As usual, though, the most we’ll hear is that maybe we should rethink marijuana, but not a word for all other prohibited drugs.

  9. Rev. Run says:

    Clay Gooding.

    I’ve been reading George Will for more than half my life–and I’m not that young. I also know a little bit about the history of the modern conservative movement.

    George Will was an intimate of William F. Buckley who OPENLY called for the legalization of all drugs. Now, with the exception of Reagan, there is no more revered figure in American conservatism than William F. Buckley, RIP.

    I can assure you that Will, who has a Ph.D. in political theory from Princeton, is VERY familiar with the justification of libertarian thought from John Stuart Mill onward and therefore understands the “harm principle” e.g., if you’re not harming another person it’s nobody’s business what you do.

    I’m not saying Will is a libertarian. He pretty clearly isn’t.

    All I’m saying is that he understands both sides of the argument–which is much more than you can say for the vast majority of Prohibitionists.

  10. Paul says:

    Rev. Run,

    I agree with your assessment of George Will. He gets it, and the logic troubles him, but he still won’t quite agree that legalization is the way.

  11. claygooding says:

    True,I am not familiar with him but was reading the comments on the story. Apparently he has followers and
    critics,as we all have.

  12. Rev. Run says:


    I found your link to the Cato blog very useful. G. Will turned in an awful performance on “This Week,” where he argued that all legalization would be like California’s. That argument is demonstrably false. All other states that have decriminalized have contexts that are radically different from California’s. The dual clusterf*cks in L.A. and San Diego, in particular, are testaments to failure of governance in California, nothing else.

    I wish other states were more liberal, like California. I mean “liberal” in the sense of “freedom-loving” and I guess that states like Alaska and Colorado are best for marijuana but I have to give Californians some credit for creating a new industry. The birth pains are hell, though.

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