The Charlotte News
Tuesday, March 11, 1941
States Can No Longer Afford The Luxury of Prohibition
One difficulty the drys seem not to have counted on in their crusade to restore the prohibition law. It is simply that the country can no longer afford it.
Surely it is no accident that the Great Experiment was thoroughly tested out in a time when the country was enjoying unprecedented prosperity, or thought it was anyhow. And was it an accident that it was abandoned at the very time when the depression had finally convinced the country they can no longer afford many luxuries?
At any rate, the factor of cost is obviously operating to block dry hopes now. Despite a referendum which indicates that a great majority of South Carolinians still believe in the prohibition dogma, the Legislature of that state has not seriously considered ordering an election on the question--for the reason that it doesn't know where to get the $2,000,000 which would be diverted from the State treasury to the bootleggers if prohibition was restored.
And last week the Legislature at Raleigh sent the dry bill for a referendum on liquor stores in North Carolina to the House Finance Committee. The drys had managed to wangle a favorable report from the House Committee on Propositions and Grievances and wanted to avoid submitting it to the Finance Committee.
Everybody agrees that it isn't likely to get by that committee. With a budget of $166,000,000 for the next two years, North Carolina cannot afford in these times to let the bootleggers have the five million smackers it now gets from the liquor stores in 26 dry counties. And, with sources of revenue increasingly monopolized by the Federal Government, there is no prospect that it will be able to afford it at any time in the future.
England Has Sound Cause To Refuse This Scheme
The British Government says that Herbert Hoover's scheme for feeding the people of the countries occupied by Hitler would be "false humanitarianism," turns down his demand that the blockade be lifted to allow food to pass.
To that Hoover retorts that conditions in the occupied lands are far worse than the British admit, and goes on:
"It is no false humanity which saves the lives of helpless children."
Which totally distorts the issue and constitutes an emotional appeal to the muddle-headed.
It is dreadful to think of the children in the conquered lands becoming emaciated for lack of food. But the responsibility for that rests entirely upon one man and one nation, Adolf Hitler and the Germans.
It is nonsense to say that food sent to those countries will not aid Hitler. Whether or not he ever lays hand on an ounce of it is beside the point. What he wants is for the food production of these countries to be released so that he can build up a great food reserve for a long war.
Undoubtedly conditions in the occupied countries are rapidly growing worse. And the reason for that is simple: Hitler has greatly accelerated the rate with which food is being carried off to Germany, is rapidly cutting down rations for the conquered. Beyond question the whole thing is a squeeze play designed to arouse sentiment in America and make us take over the job of forcing Britain to raise the blockade and allow us to feed his victims.
Hoover's scheme is inevitably a scheme for Britain to lose the war, for Hitler to win it. That is unhappy, but it is a grim fact, nonetheless.
Darlan Confronts Britain, U.S., With Nazi Trick
Admiral Darlan pretty well pulled the mask off the Vichy Government yesterday with his remarks about the relative humanitarianism of the Nazis and the British, and his demands and his threats.
According to the Admiral, the robber who steals your all and hands you back some of it is a good humanitarian.
It has been apparent all along to everybody who knew anything about these men of Vichy that they were either defeatists and Fascist sympathizers like Petain or outright traitors like Laval, Flandin, and Darlan. They sold France out on the plea that the Allied cause was hopelessly lost. Then Britain, standing alone, proved that to be a falsehood. And now they greatly fear that Britain will win, an eventuality that will cost most of them their necks. For the French people have not so far been fooled which is why this gang has never dared to take France wholly into the Nazi camp.
Darlan's threat to convoy food to France with the British navy constitutes a desperate squeeze play. On the one hand it is hoped to frighten the United States into forcing Britain to raise the blockade. In that case Germany will be able to take over the whole food supply of France and leave its feeding to the United States.
But if that fails, then it is hoped to portray the United States and Britain to the French people as being out to starve France, to convince them that Germany is their real friend and only hope.
And in fact it does leave the United States and Britain in a dilemma, for a more contemptible gang than this one has not been developed by the war.
States Cut Ground From Own Feet by Shabby Acts
There has been a great deal of complaining from the states during the last eight years to the effect that the Federal Government is rapidly taking over their power and making them mere shadows of their former selves. But the behavior of the states themselves is often so irresponsible or so selfish as to rob them of sympathy for their position. The case of the progressive Balkanizing of the nation by internal tariffs--forbidden by the Constitution--will come immediately to mind. But there are other fields in which the same short-sighted and grasping spirit is shown. Take the case of the laws governing marriage and divorce.
The existing situation is one of shabby anarchy. North Carolina's statutes requiring medical certificates of freedom from venereal and other diseases is largely vitiated by South Carolina's refusal to interfere with the lucrative Gretna Green business of the marrying squires--a source of revenue to the State as well as the squires. Iowa does exactly the same sort of thing to her surrounding neighbors in the Middle West.
Fifteen states have laws similar to North Carolina's pending but most of them hesitate to enact them because they have neighbors like South Carolina or Iowa. Georgia is a case in point.
And even more venal is the attitude of some of the states about divorce. The cases of Nevada, Florida and Arkansas are well known. But now Missouri is considering a bill to reduce the residence requirement to three months. And Arizona, with the tourist trade in mind, is thinking of going whole hog and reducing it to 30 days.
When the states behave with no more dignity and decency than that, it is hard to think their loss of power is altogether an unmitigated tragedy.
Showing How the Profits Of An Industry Recede
One thing is clear about the white liquor business. It doesn't seem to be very profitable anymore. Gone are the days when big operators sometimes rode about in new Cadillacs--sometimes in overalls and with bare feet.
Anyhow, that is what appears from the advertisements of the District Supervisor, Alcohol Tax Unit, Bureau of Internal Revenue, in The News.
The "revenooers" pay little attention to anything but liquor upon which taxes have not been paid--white "bust-head," that is. They have their hands full with that.
The advertisements in The News have to do with the automobiles seized. There were ten of them. Of these one was a 1940 coach, another a 1939 model, and the third is a 1937 sedan. Good cars, but not big new cars as sometimes in the old days.
The rest were:
2 coaches, 1936
1 coach, 1934
1 sedan, 1934
1 coach, 1933
1 coach, 1931
1 coach, 1929
For the main, that is, the white liquor business seems to be operating on the jalopy level.
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