To use liquor la to the nervous system like placing
sand In a watch: It wears out rapidly, making it a worthless
thing. -- Luther Bur hank
The human race has been pouring alcohol down its
throat for more centuries than there is a record of, and the
human race is still here, and so is the corner bar. Yet so
far as the popular l^LIef , saws and literature on alcoholism
can tell you, the race should have been burned clear to hell
before Egypt. — Ferdinand C. Helwig, M.D.
"The best of life Is but Intoxication." 1 Do you think
so? What la drunkenness? Is drink harmful?
Being interested in this subject of alcoholism, I
decided to investigate it in order to better answer these
questions . Do not think that I mean to influence the reader
either pro or con as to the alcohol problem. This is merely a
presentation of the facts and Ideas that I uncovered In my re-
To be able to tell whether or not a man i3 drunk is
sometimes a difficult problem. According to science, when the
brain receives the stimulus or spur or encouragement or what-
ever it receives from the first drop of alcohol, the Individual
is drunk. This first Impulse, however, is no indication to
society of inebriation.
There are evidently three stages of actual or notlce-
able drunkenness. The first stage is a blunting of the capac-
ity for self-criticism. Along with this go all feelings of
care and despair and the sense of humor. True; the drunk may
be humorous enousji, but, unless the joke Is on someone else,
he is apt to become angry or even enraged. The advance into
the second sta^e is apparent enough. The Intoxicant begins to
lose muscular coordination and sense of perception. This is
evident from his incoherent and mushy speech and his top heav-
iness in walking. The "pavement, faithless to t he fuddled
1 Bvron, Lord G-eorse Gordon
2 Christian Century, Dec. 24, 1930, p 1591
foot"3 is clearly demonstrated. Undoubtedly he is now in the
most comical stage or the funniest to observers. Seeing double
is also connected with this condition. In the last inevitable
stage narcosis is complete; the drunk falls into a stupor or
a gutter or anything else at hand.
It is these stages and their after-effects which has
led the Jury of science to deliver a verdict against alcohol.
In comparing alcohol with water, the following have
been listed: 4
Will not burn. Burns easily.
Has no taste. Has burning taste.
Cools and refreshes the skin. Burns and inflames the skin.
Is necessary to healthy life. Is unnecessarv to healthy life.
Makes a seed grow. Kills the seed.
Softens all foods. Hardens all foods.
Is itself a food. Is a poison.
; ". r ill not dissolve resin. Easilv dissolves resin.
Does not Intoxicate. Intoxicates.
Benefits the body. Injures the body.
Aids decomposition. Prevents decomposition.
■Quenches thirst. Creates thirst.
On the other hand some authors of reputation firmly
believe that all this critical literature has been " ...liter-
ature of truth and exact science, not at all the sort of hoopla
absorbed as gospel by those bossy souls who can't abide anyone's
feeling good, or the smell of whiskey, or the expense; or have
vinegar In their blood or salvation in th eir souls; and in gen-
3 Francis Thompson
4 Deets Pickett, "Alcohol and the New Age", p 18
eral combine a wide Ignorance of their subject with a hot urge
to meddle." 5 They further contend that liquor i3 not the direct
cause of mo.st of the diseases allegedly brought about by over-
indulgence. "Liquor alone and nothing else, just like ship's-
biscuits, bully beef and nothing else, can blast the system " *
they freely admit but are convinced of its harmlessness along
with a regular diet.
This attitude is often chosen, either by habit or
naive curiosity or sport, as a good excuse for a drink. It
works, often leads to drunkeness, and leaves an engineer or
most anyone in a helluva condition to do Thermodynamics home-
5 Walter Hall Smith and Ferdinand C. Helwig, M.D., "Liquor:
The servant of Man"
Walton Hall Smith and Ferdinand C. Helwig, "Liquor: The
Servant of Man, (Little, Brown)
Pickett, Deet3,"Alcohol and the New Age", New York, 1926
Pickett, Deeta, "Temperance", New York, 1934
Christian Century, December 24, 1930 nl591
New Republic, January 1, 1940, p 23