Neo-prohibitionism

If you think Repeal Day, 74 years ago, was the end of the story, think again. Check out this great, exhaustive site by David J. Hanson, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York in Potsdam:

Alcohol: Problems and Solutions

The gist of the site is to explore, even-handedly, the effects of alcohol use and abuse on both individuals and society. Hanson explores just about every facet of this topic you can imagine–youth drinking, binge drinking, alcohol and health, drunk driving, you name it.

Among the resources, though, is a long page of prohibitionist personalities and organizations, both past and present. It’s remarkable how many groups are today actively seeking to discourage and restrict adult drinking behavior. Hanson writes:

Because Prohibition is now recognized by most people as having been a disastrous failure and currently lacks strong political support, modern prohibitionists are using a different approach to achieve their goal.

Their tactic is to establish cultural rather than strictly legal prohibition by making alcohol beverages less socially acceptable and marginalizing those who drink, no matter how moderately. Like the anti-alcohol activists who preceded them, the neo-prohibitionists of today (often called reduction-of-consumptionists, neo-drys, or neo-Victorians) don’t distinguish between the use and the abuse of alcohol. Both should be reduced.

I think this Repeal Day, we owe it to ourselves to take some time and read up on these groups and their tactics.

5 thoughts on “Neo-prohibitionism

  1. Pingback: Jacob Grier
  2. I suspect these new groups are a very small minority, with limited capabilities, compared to the modern new alcohol giants like Pernod. I wish these people would focus on just the bad parts of drinking (alcoholism and drunk driving) because they’d do a world of good. Instead I think they just drive people underground with their problems. Nobody likes to be marginalized.

  3. That’s a good point, Darcy, about the size and reach of these groups, compared to the lobbying power of the mega-corps behind most liquor brands. I’m not trying to Chicken-Little here, I just wanted to put forth that these groups exist, so we can understand their agendas.

Leave a Reply