The “Expert Consensus” Also Favored Alcohol Prohibition, by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Trust the experts. From Jeffrey A. Tucker at aier.org:

Most people today regard America’s experiment with alcohol prohibition as a national embarrassment, rightly repealed in 1933. So it will be with the closures and lockdowns of 2020, someday.

In 1920, however, to be for the repeal of the prohibition that was passed took courage. You were arguing against prevailing opinion backed by celebratory scientists and exalted social thinkers. What you were saying flew in the face of “expert consensus.”

There is an obvious analogy to Lockdowns 2020.

My first inkling of this prohibition history came in reading transcripts of the then-famous Radio Priest James Gillis from the 1920s. He was against prohibiting alcohol production and sale on grounds that the social costs far outweighed the supposed benefits. What surprised me was the defensiveness of his comments. He had to assure his listeners that he was personally for temperance, that alcohol was indeed demon rum, that it’s true that this nasty stuff had caused terrible things to happen to the country. Still, he said, outright bans are too costly.

Why was he so cautious in his rhetoric? It turns out that during the 1920s, he was one of the few famous American public figures (H.L. Mencken was also among them) who dared to speak out against what was obviously a disastrous policy. Reading this sent me down a rabbit hole of literature at the time in which it was argued by many leading intellectuals that Prohibition made perfect sense as a necessary step to clean up the social order.

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