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Newspaper Page Text
How It is Done
One of the most glaring falsehoods—their number is legion—and the one most frequently conjured up by the high priests of the liquor traffic, is in reference to the actual conditions obtaining in “dry” districts. There is a reason for this. In a free-for-all fist fight, one naturally enough pays most attention to the opponent dealing the hardest blows. There is abso lutely no question about the expulsion of the saloon greatly improving financial, social and domestic con ditions in a community. This fact, gathered from actual experience by the most reliable citizens in thou sands of communities, is incontrovertible and is dealing staggering blows to the liquor traffic. In order to minimize and weaken the effect of it, the liquor people either profess a sudden spasm of righteous indignation against the “bootlegger” and “blindtiger” alleged to exist in “dry” districts, or they dig up some frayed, down-and-out politician or newspaper correspondent, a craven creature who has more money lust than con science, and send him into “dry” territory for the specific purpose of falsifying the facts and reporting. These subsidized emissaries, like their prototypes long ago, “take the money and do as they are taught.” They always find what they go after. They report “blind tigers” and “bootleggers” galore, “shocking condi tions, etc. These faked-up “reports” are given widest pub licity. Then the liquor dealers and their stool-pigeons everywhere throw up their clean hands in holy horror at the number of illicit dealers claimed to have been found by these liquor mercenaries in “dry” territory. The liquor press, which always plays the Friday-role to the liquor interests, runs these “authentic reports” under displayed headlines, and comments editorially on “Prohibition don’t prohibit” or some other up-to date theme. These liquor assertions have been cate gorically contradicted, times without number, and that, too, by testimony that would be admitted as com petent in any court, yet the liquor dealers keep right on resurrecting these falsehoods and rehashing them in the hope that the gullible may be deceived thereby. The United States Internal Revenue Record, No. io, shows that there are more speakeasies under license than under prohibition. But a stubborn fact like that is of small moment to your liquor dealer when it is against his business. He will continue to bemoan and to exaggerate the number of “speakeasies” in “dry” towns. He does it for revenue only. He is impelled by the fatuous delusion that he can always deceive the people. In that, however, the deceiver deceives himself. The Rapprochement of the Temperance Forces Many diverse views have been held as to the best method of combatting the liquor traffic. Doubtless, these divergent views have been held just as honestly on the one side as on the other. As Carlyle says in the “Sartor Resartus,”’ the overwhelming majority of men are entirely honest in their opinions and actions. The man worshipping his idol does not do so from any mental or moral obliquity. He does so because he honestly believes it to be right and for his good. The fault lies not in his intent but in the light he has. The light men have on their problems is as diverse as the individuals themselves, and diverse light necessarily leads to diverse opinions. We are under every obliga tion to follow the light we have on any question until fuller light is given. The things presently seen to be true, must be held in strong conviction of their truth. Further, it is our right and duty to propagate these persuasions of the truth in every proper way possible. These facts are being recognized. It is not so clearly nor so generally recognized however, that in the propagation of our deep personal convictions, we must safeguard others in their right to their own opinion. Disregard of this always leads to intolerance and persecution. It is high time for us to recognize that persons entertaining views diverse from our own, may be just as honest and candid in their opinions and have as much right to them as we to our own. They may not be as intelligently held, may in fact be entirely wrong, but it is our mission, in a Christ-like ministry, to let our light shine in the hope that they may come to see as we do. Vituperation rarely convinces and is a virtual coming into court to confess the weakness of our cause. The honest advocacy by strong men, strongly con vinced of the soundness of their position as to the bes method of dealing with the liquor traffic, naturally enough, gave rise in the past to most unfortunate di visions in the temperance ranks. But shall we in the presence of a foe, flushed with power and confident of victory, rise no higher than to engage in an unseemly wrangle over who shall be the greatest? Happily this condition is giving place. Its injustice and strategic folly are being seen as never before. The ranks are rapidly closing up. The artillery-fire of the temper ance forces is being concentrated on the common ene my with telling effect. Fraternization and co-opera tion have practically arrived. A merger of all lines of temperance is not expected nor is it desirable. Each organization has a definite work to do in its own way. Let each bid the other “God speed” and “Quit you like men” as they take up the battle-guage in the place where strong men fight. The issue is not un certain. It is altogether possible, even probable, that none of the existing temperance organizations will marshall the temperance hosts in the final overthrow of the liquor traffic. So be it. Most certainly it would be personally agreeable to have all men come to our way of thinking and to have our opinion crowned with the laurels; but personal or organization victory is not the end sought. The goal is nothing less than the ab solute-, irrevocable destruction of the liquor traffic. Let this boon come by the hand of whomsoever it may, we will be content, so it comes. A united temperance army gives brightest prom ise of the coming victory. Any business which excludes the men who follow it from membership in the great fraternal organizations of the country cannot be consistently licensed or legalized.