Vice Squad
Monday, March 08, 2004
Clarence Darrow on Prohibition (II)

Yesterday I started to relate some of what famed criminal lawyer Clarence Darrow had to say about Prohibition in his autobiography, The Story of My Life. I thought that I would expand upon the Darrow/Prohibition theme today. Here's a brief excerpt on the practice of denaturing industrial alcohol in ways that made it not only unpalatable but sometimes poisonous:

"So far as I know, no organization of human beings heretofore has coldly
and deliberately advocated poisoning any one who might run counter to their
will. The prohibitionists insist that alcohol sold for mechanical purposes
and shipped broadcast over all America shall contain deadly poison. They
advocate this, knowing that much of it is redistilled and used as a beverage,
that many people might and do get it through accident and without any design
to take intoxicants; and that, at best, or worst, to drink it is only a minor
offense; yet men and women, who in ordinary life are kind and humane, are so
obsessed by their delusions and so sure of their convictions, and so resentful
of those who do not follow their dictates, that they are willing to condemn
to blindness and death thousands of people, without arrest or indictment or
trial, by putting poison into their drink. Heretofore such measures have not
been resorted to against anything but rats and vermin, and many humane
persons hesitate to do this."

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