Newspaper Page Text
We would still have with us the problem of national and
local enforcement of the prohibition law. The Argonne forest would still have to be taken, else it stays there, a menace and a stronghold, until it has been captured. W hy waste time to do anything else but worry and work our way through it and hasten the day for peace and *rest. Let’s go on through the Argonne now. Your Money I".very who receives this paper lias had a share in supplying the league with the money it is using. From time to time malicious newspapers and our enemies en deavor to cieate the impression that there is something sinister about the Anti-Saloon League’s method of obtain ing funds, whereas there is nothing any more sinister about it than about where the church gets its funds, be-' cause we obtain them from the same %>urcc—from the good, generous, consecrated Christian public, who con tribute their iunds to the Anti-Saloon League at the time when the cause is presented in the churches and sub sciptions are taken or when some of those who were not present arc visited by our solicitors and contribute pri vately. \\ hat we do with the money is an open book. Lvery year we publish our annual financial report in the columns of flic American Issue and we always stand ready to report to our friends in full detail on all such matters. And what do we do with it? That also is equally well known by our friends and by the readers of this paper. \Yc do everything which we can think of to help *he cause of prohibition enforcement and protect the law against the attacks of its enemies. This means the gathering up of information, putting this information in the form of tracts and leaflets or pub lishing it in our paper. It means spreading information, writing articles for magazines; it means the publishing 01 books and pamphlets. It has meant the preparation of moving pictures, which have been shown to thousands upon thousands of people. It means the preparation of debates, by which the arguments of the wets arc brought before audiences in a particularly attractive way and arc answered with force and success. Then, with such a political situation as we confront here, the prohibition law is in constant danger of mutila tion or repeal. So part of this money goes to pay the salary of men who are trained to learn the political situa tion, get acquainted with candidates, their records, find out how they have acted in the past and arc likely to act when confronted with prohibition problems. This in formation we furnish to friends and to voters as far as possible to guide conscientious voters when election ~ comes around. Then another very important part of our work is in connection with the enforcement of the law. Other men employed by the league keep in touch with the prohibition officers, bringing such information to them An Old Chestnut A prominent candidate for public office in Illinois re cently said: “All human experience proves the futility of attempting to regulate morals by statute.” The man who hands out to the public as a piece of wisdom such an old platitude as the above, to which everybody agrees, we are told, once taught school. What grade, we wonder—first or second? The Volstead act, or any other criminal code, does not assume to regulate a man’s morals. But they do regulate a man’s actions. And sometimes a man. com pelled to act riRbt for a while, conics to like it as the norma! way of living. The Real Truth of the Matter A wet candidate for the United States Senate said, not long ago, "that the Volstead act has been in the hands of its friends with all the sources of the federal government at their command.” 1 lie above statement contains some truth and much falsehood. J he enforcement of the law in several states and in numerous sections of others has been in the grip of many open enemies and a vastly larger number of 'ccret ones. Many federal enforcement officials, appointed on the recommendation of certain United States Senators and other influential politicians, manifestly with the primary object of building up their political machines, have basely betrayed their sacred oath and the public welfare. Knforcement of the law from the state angle and rep resented by county judges, state’s attorneys, sheriffs and mayors has suffered grievously at the hands of unworthy officials. But things are constantly bettering along both fronts of federal and state enforcement. The situation is in finitely belter than in the saloon days. A trip into any town where the saloons once flourished confirms the ahoye statement without arguments to honest observers. The honest citizens of Illinois and the nation are rap idly coming to see the farce of placing a dry law in wet hands for enforcement. After thr wots, by popular vote, have secured «uch changes in the construction of the Constitution of the United States as will meet their refined tastes, how would it do to tarn over to them the Nineteenth Amend ment, which gives the women the franchise, and let them work at that for awhile? The brewer:,’ crowd never liked that pesky amendment any too well, either. The old and excessive Southern doctrine of states’ rights is being vigorously revived by Northern advo cates ot" the brewers’ beer and wine program. But we have understood, somewhere, that this peculiar doctrine, when it interferes with the public welfare, is no longer in good standing anywhere under the Stars and Stripes. The touching solicitude so tenderly expressed by an increasing number of booze candidates in behalf of the boys and girls of our country because of the alleged danger to them of acquiring drinking habits under the prohibition law is enough to move a wooden Indian to tears. Of course, the way to decrease the danger of contracting the drink habit is to multiply the oppor tunities for securing the drink. as we can secure, co-operate with them in their plans for apprehending criminals and render much assistance to county attorneys in the preparation of cases. We also co-operate with the appointing powers oftentimes in securing unbiased information about candidates for federal positions. It is Tery difficult for those who ap point enforcement officers to obtain information which is not biased by partisanship or by the desires of the friends of the applicant for a job. The Anti-Saloon League in such cases can often render very valuable assistance in obtaining such information. 1 hen we engage other people who do a great deal of work in organizing the drys, so that when the election time conics around we are prepared for the struggle which ensues. We believe in preparedness and spend time and money in promoting it. The above are only a part of the things we do with the money we receive, hut it gives some idea of the way in which it is spent. Besides all this, money has to be raised by our own workers. 1 lie service we rentier the public are always voluntary. In almost every other variety of business the business supports the men who do the work. In this case our men have to do the work and support the business. 1 he task is a very complex and difficult one. It would be sufficiently so if we had nothing to over come but the natural inertia, indifference and preoccu pation of our friends. But the difficulty is multiplied many fold by the fact that an active, powerful and ma licious enemy is constantly in the field, opposing at every point. They hinder and obstruct law enforce ment. They challenge truth with lies; they mislead and terrify the elect. And in spite of the weaknesses of the human equation fn carrying on so mighty a task results have been the greatest ever achieved by any reform organization in history and that is because God has been on our side. He has made the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. The money entrusted to the Anti-Saloon League in the years of its life have probably accomplished more for humanity and produced larger results in all direc tions for the present and future well-being of mankind than any money ever given at any time, anywhere, to anybody, for any purpose. RESPONSIBILITY BOTH STATE AND NATIONAL There seems to exist in many quarters much confusion of thought regarding direct responsibility for enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment. 1 his uncertainty has doubtless arisen through the one-sided discussion of law enforcement by the metropolitan press. I lie (..liicago papers, for instance, have dwelt almost exclusively upon the responsi bility of the federal officials for the enforcement of the prohibition law and have prac tically ignored the responsibility of the state, as represented by the county judges, state's attorneys, sheriffs and mayors of towns and cities. The clear mandate of the Volstead act, placed upon the shoulders of both tlie state and federal officials, each co-operating with the other, the duty of enforcing the prohibition law. It is the duty of the federal government to go after the smugglers on our boundary line between Canada and the United States and between the United States and Mexico; to guard our coasts from the rum fleets of foreign lands; to supervise the permits issued for the manufacture of commercial alcohol, as well as those issued to physicians and druggists, and to strongly support the state authorities in large towns and cities, or wherever lawlessness is of a particularly vicious and difficult type. It was not left optional with the states to enforce or not to enforce this law. The second clause of the Eighteenth Amendment declares that “the Congress and the several states shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” All but three states have, in harmony with the Constitution, a special law enforce ment code. Illinois has one of the strongest in all the states, secured by the agency and under the direction of the Anti-Saloon League. This law is adequate for the sup pression of flagrant violations when placed in the hands of honest officials for enforce ment. The county judges, the state’s attorneys, the sheriffs and the mayors of towns and cities have taken a solemn oath to enforce the laws and to uphold the Constitution of the state and the nation. They shall not “pass the buck” to the federal officials or the federal officials back to the state with the cheap ejaculation: "Let George do it.” If the enforcement of prohibition law breaks down in any considerable degree in any county of this state the wreckage caused by that breakdown must lie at the door •f county officials who failed to do their duty. THE REASON WHY The charge is continually made that the standard of one-half of one per cent of alcohol, fixed by the Volstead act as the amount permissible in any beverage that can be legally sold under the Eight eenth Amendment, is dishonest, fanatical and ought not to stand. The answer to that is that the per centage allowed is as high as could be safely permitted and assure the effective enforcement of the Eighteenth Amend ment. If a higher alcoholic percentage were allowed it would open the way to the continued and successful violation of the law by the deceitful sale of high powered beverages. This is conclusively shown' by the attitude of the liquor in terests through a long period of years. In Georgia, under the state prohibition law, two per cent had been permitted. But experience showed that the liquor interests, which never have obeyed any restrictive law, were selling the strong liquors under the foam of two per cent beer. The forces of good government were, therefore, compelled to revise the law by lowering the alcoholic content al lowed in any beverage placed upon the market. In Massachusetts, at one time, the sale of beer was permitted and that of hard liquors excluded. But the lawless sa loon gang sold everything under the cover of beer and a change was required to check their deceit. It is an amusing and exceedingly in teresting fact that the standard of one half of one per cent of alcohol, now law ful in any beverage than can be sold, is a standard that was fixed by the liquor dealers themselves, years ago, when the old license law was in good and regular standing. The bootlegging fraternity of that day were selling the saloon products with a high hand and without a license. The Liquor Dealers’ Association, whose members were paying the regular license fees, demanded that the United States government make it unlawful without a license to traffic in any beverage which contained more than one-half of one per cent of alcohol. This was, of course, to protect the license-paying saloonkeepers from the encroachment of the bootlegging fraternity of that day upon the profitable business of the licensed dealers. The decent citizenship of Illinois and America arc using this same effective weapon to protect their homes. The shoe is on the other foot now, and, of course, it pinches. The church undertook a big task when it joined battle against the liquor traffic. It lias no less a job on its hands now to see to it that the dry law is enforced.