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Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Gail F

Ken Burns has a new documentary series on Prohibition out, or soon to be out. I was amazed the one and only time I saw a preview for it. Unlike "The Civil War," which takes a largely nonpolemical look at the war from both sides, simply presenting the facts much of the time and allowing you to draw your own conclusions about them, the bits about Prohibition quoted on the preview were not just critical about Prohibition, they were incredulous. Can you believe anyone ever thought this was a good idea? Can you believe anyone ever thought government could accomplish it? The quotes were nearly that blatant. Never mind the fact that, as you say, it was largely a movement by what were then considered liberal or progressive Protestants, out to control the behavior of others -- and in the process making organized crime, general crime, and death by alcohol poisoning epidemic. And never mind that Prohibition was embraced by many sane and well-meaning people, whose motives are at least understandable even if they were wrong. The impression I got is that the show will present them as "conservatives" who want to impose their morality on everyone else, and you know what that means...


"Progressive" is what liberals started to call themselves after "liberal" became a term of ridicule.

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