(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘addiction

“Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water”*…




Americans tend to have a pretty jaundiced view of Prohibition…

… driven by extremists, the country was pushed into an extreme experiment — to ban the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol in the US in 1919 through a constitutional amendment, the 18th. The policy was a political failure, leading to its repeal in 1933 through the 21st Amendment.

There’s also a widespread belief that Prohibition failed at even reducing drinking and led to an increase in violence as criminal groups took advantage of a large black market for booze.

“‘Everyone knows’ that Prohibition failed because Americans did not stop drinking,” historian Jack Blocker wrote in the American Journal of Public Health. He summarized what’s now the conventional wisdom: “Liquor’s illegal status furnished the soil in which organized crime flourished.”

But there’s a lot wrong with these present-day assumptions about Prohibition.

People like [Carry] Nation, as extreme as they were, were driven by real problems caused by excessive drinking, including alcohol-induced domestic violence and crime as well as liver cirrhosis and other health issues. This was perceived as a widespread problem, at least in popular media: George Cruikshank’s 1847 series of drawings, The Bottle, portrayed a father spending all his family’s money drinking and, eventually, killing his wife by attacking her with a bottle. And as historian David Courtwright documented in The Age of Addiction, per capita alcohol consumption increased by nearly a third from 1900 to 1913, largely due to advancements in brewing that helped make beer much cheaper.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the evidence also suggests Prohibition really did reduce drinking. Despite all the other problems associated with Prohibition, newer research even indicates banning the sale of alcohol may not have, on balance, led to an increase in violence and crime.

It’s time to reconsider whether America’s “noble experiment” was really such a failure after all…

America’s anti-alcohol experiment cut down on drinking and drinking-related deaths– and it may have reduced crime and violence overall.  Vox takes a sober look at the an episode in American history clouded in received ideas that may not be altogether accurate, making the case that: “Prohibition worked better than you think.”

* W.C. Fields


As we muse on moderation, we might recall that it was on this date in 1894 (after 30 states had already enshrined the occasion) that Labor Day became a federal holiday in the United States.

labor day

The country’s first Labor Day parade in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882. This sketch appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

source (and source of more on the history of Labor Day)


Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 28, 2019 at 1:01 am

“I’ll give you my one-handed flail when you pry it from my cold, dead hands”*…


From the one-handed flail…

to the flamethrower…

… “10 Crazy Weapons That Are Still Legal In The U.S.

* variation on the NRA’s slogan, popularized by Charlton Heston: “I’ll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands”


As we re-read the Second Amendment, we might recall that it was on this date in 1998 that a tobacco company executive– Steven Goldstone, RJR Nabisco chairman and CEO– acknowledged the health risk of tobacco products under oath to Congress for the first time.

Concern about the safety of tobacco dated back to the 19th Century, and links to lung cancer emerged in the early 20th.  But it was in 1950, with the publication of Richard Doll‘s research in the British Medical Journal, that a close link between smoking and lung cancer was scientifically established.  Many studies quickly followed, confirming Doll’s findings and establishing the addictive quality of nicotine.  Still, as recently to Goldstone’s testimony as 1994, seven tobacco company executives had sworn under oath that nicotine was not addictive.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 29, 2014 at 1:01 am

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