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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

SUBJECT-MATTER  OF LAW AND  ADMINISTRATION.    427
of the United States and of other northern nations. There
is no dispute as to the magnitude of the evil; the dispute
touches the right, the feasibility of repressing it, and the best
way of so doing. As for the right, we need add nothing to
what has been said except that a man under the influence of
strong drink is a source of constant danger to other men;
and if he is in any employment, may cause disaster or death
to those who are near him ; that such a man engages in
brawls which may cause the death of even transient persons;
that by strong drink and drunkenness the expenses of a com-
munity for maintaining a police, for supporting the poor and
the sick, are largely increased ; and that by this means fami-
lies are degraded and pauperized more than by all others.
Society, then, is bound to prevent, or, if that is not possible,
to diminish the evil, unless some right of the individual is in
the way. But surely no man has a right to get drunk, at
least, unless he is shut up within four walls, nor then, unless
he is isolated in the world and it is certain that his habit will
not be a burden to the community. And the sale of strong
drink stands on no lower ground, to say the least, than the
sale of poisons or the sale of violent explosives, or than the
allowing of a vicious or mad dog to run at large. . If the
matter is put on the ground of natural right, either the seller
must be in some degree responsible for the evil that he in-
flicts on individuals, as quack doctors are, or the evil may be
prevented, in a measure, by putting the sale under restric-
tions, or the sale may be prohibited entirely. Let us look at
the measures for preventing it that have been advocated, be-
ginning with the prohibition of the sale.
Prohibition has been supported on other grounds besides
that of the evil growing out of the sale and use of strong
drink. It has been classed with the sale of poisons, because
the alcohol unmixed is a noxious substance in the system.
It has been said that to touch anything which can intoxicate
is a sin on account of the example thus placed before the
weak, which, if it were true, would only affect the action of
individuals acting in the light of personal duty, but could not