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Newspaper Page Text
Therefore, down with the drink
hut not ..in the way favored by the
roystering old song.
A violent agitation sprang up
against drink f onvorkingnien and
many persons dreamed dreams, not
to he realized, of national prohibi
tion. If we cannot have both drink
(for workingmen) and death-dealing
munitions, why, cut out the . drink
(for workingmen) because the
death-dealing munitions we have
plumb got to have!
Increased war taxes had already
driven up the prices of beer and ale,
and very likely the best way was to
pile on more taxes and thus make the
beastly stuff (beer and ale) cost so
much workingmen couldn't buy it
Nothing was said then about put
ting up the prices of drinks at our
club so that we couldn't buy them,
but, of course, those drinks don't in
terfere with efficiency nor with sup
plies of the death-dealing.
A promising movement to get
moral support for the abstinence
proclaimed by the king failed to get
very far because it failed to awaken
that chord of enthusiasm that you
might expect to be struck. The house
of commons contemptuously refused
to throw down the Rum Fiend, in its
precincts, and only two of the cabinet
followed the king into the grape juice
Meantime, in the "hysteria, three
' salient points had been overlooked.
1. How on earth can you expect
men to be efficient when they live in
caves and never have enough to eat?
' 2. The German workingman is ad
mitted to be very efficient and yet he
3. Assuredly, if British working-men
drank to excess they did so be
cause their lives were so bleak and
miserable that drink was forced upon
; The real trouble seemed to be, not
that the British workingman drank
.too much, but that he ate too little.
r & other words, here was poverty,
the internal foe, striking once more
at the vitals of the nation.
Nevertheless, the singular delusion
lingered that if the king, surrounded
with every luxury and provided with
every diversion, could get along with
out beer, the workingman, ill-fed, ill
nourished, leading a monotonous life
in squalid surrounding, could easily h
be satisfied with more tea. v
As a matter of fact, while the agi
tation neither increased the supply of
munitions nor visibly daunted the
Rum Fiend, it helped the government
otherwise, for it served as a "feeler"
toward the nationalization of the
great and powerful brewery business,
which the government has up its
This marked one stage in the inar
velous transformation that, almost
unremarked elsewhere, has been go
ing on here ever since the war began.
The government is assuming new
and startling functions and new and
startling relations to the citizenship.
It is taking over enterprise after"
enterprise, always hitherto in private
It has done this and is doing it be
cause of the exigencies created by the
Therefore it has disproved and re
pudiated the theory so common
among us that private enterprise can
also do anything much better than
the government can do it.
In the stress of war the govern
ment, driven by an inexorable neces
sity, must have the best of every
thing, the best of service, materials,
products. To get the best the gov
ernment is taking the work out of
private hands and doing that work
Railroads, for instance. The first
act of the government after it de
clared war was to take over the en
tire railroad system of Great Britain.
Now this was something that an
entire generation had. quarreled
about. To every plea for the nation
alization of railroads insuperable ob
stacles were raised. It would be a.