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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

428                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
be a ground for legislation. It has been claimed that much
of the inferior spirituous liquor is adulterated, which may
be true, as it is of coffee, sugar, and even flour. But this,
while it calls for police inspection of the articles sold in the
shops, does not in itself call for prohibition. The grocer is
bound to ascertain, as far as he can, that his articles are what
they pretend to be and contain no noxious ingredients. And
this will be generally known by the price which is charged to
him, and by the reputation which certain sellers or manufac-
turers acquire. And there are chemical and other tests of
spirituous liquors.
Prohibition, then, if the best measure for suppressing
drunkenness, must be looked at simply as a means of getting
rid of a very enormous evil in society. Is it or is it likely to
become an effectual preventive ? Experience in this country
has proved that it is not effectual; it has proved that it
can be found in states having the most stringent laws against
ardent spirits ; that, owing to the divided opinion in the
state or in the country, or to some inherent defect in
the police, a law against selling intoxicating drinks will be
enforced for a time with great strictness, and then a sudden
relaxation of vigilance will bring things back nearly or quite
where they were before. It of course comes into state poli-
tics : more than once the " rum-sellers " have been in the
ranks of one party and the " temperance men " in those of the
opposite, and quite as frequently the latter have run a ticket,
generally an unsuccessful one, against the other parties.
The public contests, as in all cases where warm feeling is
kindled in benevolent communities towards social evils, have
produced fanaticism and the spirit of denunciation. The
change in the meaning of words which has followed this
movement is remarkable, as indicating at once the greatness
of the evil in the minds of a large class of upright men, and
their almost necessary one-sidedness. Abstinence is the pro-
per word for total disuse of whatever can intoxicate, but
temperance has been thrust into its place; as the word chas-
tity was seized hold of by the ascetic thinking of the early