The Return of the Prohibitionists

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Published on: January 8, 2016

I would rather live a short life in a state of freedom, than survive forever in a state of tyranny.

One of the keys to tyrannizing us is forced association.  The government avers that what we eat, what we drink, what we smoke, and how much of it we indulge in, must be regulated by the government because our freedom is costly to our neighbors.

Well, then, we must stop the government from forcing us to associate; forcing us to pay for each other’s medical care.  And the next generation must be taught that there are severe consequences for taking the steps that lead to addiction.  We no doubt have as many addicts as we do because there is too much non-judgmental help provided by tax supported programs.  It is essential to tyranny to insinuate us into one another’s economic affairs.  This is how it starts.

The appetite for freedom and risk has been chelated out of our neighbors by a drug called government education, which teaches them to take our economic interdependence, and a huge government, for granted.  Government is a gangster (as Dinesh D’Souza has so recently learned) which specializes in the escalation of interdependence leading to the escalation of domestic conflict leading to the escalation of the power of the gang with the biggest stick — the government.  Those of us who long to be free must start doing everything we can to divide this country up, so that there is actually a place for us to be free.  We must somehow separate ourselves from everyone who loves, or even just likes, tyranny.  We must tear ourselves away from the parasite which has grown as large as its host.  This, of course, will kill the parasite.  But it has gotten to the point where there is no other way.  Feeling sorry for the parasite leads to our own death.

Last week on Tuesday night, PBS rebroadcast the famous Ken Burns series on Prohibition.  This documentary quite literally mocks the 18th Amendment for its tyranny and naiveté.  It makes it perfectly clear that the attempt, by government, to control whether or not people imbibe and what they imbibe was a complete failure.  Above all else, we are taught that it was a moral disaster.  It led to mass hypocrisy.

On the very next night, Wednesday, PBS broadcasts a production based on a book about food by Michael Pollan, a professor of journalism at Berkeley.  In this case, prohibition suddenly becomes common sense again, with Mr. Pollan exercising respect and sympathy for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s (and other self-appointed experts’) attempt to limit the consumption of Coca Cola by law.   Mr. Pollan, soliciting belief in mind control, argues that food companies are engaged in “social engineering” through advertising.  Therefore, the government should be allowed to engage in rival social engineering.  It does not seem to occur to Mr. Pollan that the food and drink companies do not have the power to pass laws and actually punish people for not cooperating.   For the first half of the show Mr. Pollan chastises, even ridicules the so-called food experts for all of their mistakes.  In the second half of his Truvia sermon the experts are put back on the pedestal.  They are redeemed by virtue of agreeing with him.  A new expert is born — out of a mere journalist.  The cocoon of modern, bestselling, pop journalism never saw such a pretentious expert butterfly.

On Tuesday night PBS reminded us of how silly, tyrannical, and pathetically impractical prohibition is.  On Wednesday night it tells us that prohibition is the obvious, rational function of government.  And this presupposes that it is an obvious, rational function of government to force us to associate and therefore gain an interest in regulating one another.  We might call it the Busybody State.  Mr. Pollan is a leading model of the elite busybody reminding us that although they may be as ugly as moths, bores like Mayor Bloomberg must be appreciated for their attempt to get us under control.

Obviously the notion that the core function of government is to secure the individual’s freedom has been lost in the irresistible imaginations of children who call themselves experts and dream of a Utopia whose glamour is completely relative to their retinas.  People like Mr. Pollan cannot imagine that the world does not revolve around their particular version of reason and value and liberty.  The liberals have become absolutists, dogmatists, and incorrigible tyrants.  There is nothing left of the liberty-loving, classical perceptions of liberalism.  Mr. Pollan would tell us that good health is the “positive freedom” which must be forced upon us.  It never occurs to someone who looks in the mirror in the morning and sees such a wonderful, enlightened, scientific and caring man, that it is none of his business.  He is sure that only a wild beast would reject his suffocating, expert love.

Prohibition is becoming the fundamental function of modern government, in spite of the historic failures of prohibition.  Its ambition is to overproduce the only thing it knows how to produce to its vain glory.  The government, by nature, looks forward to more and more prohibition by more and more government.  And, indeed, there is so very much to prohibit (I forgot to mention big cars) and such a great need to prove that it can be prohibited successfully — despite the lessons of history.  All of the laws, all of the regulations, add up to the Progressive prohibition of Freedom.  Progress is now regress.  Modern government is commissioned not to protect freedom but to reverse it.  This is because Freedom is natural the prohibition of Government.  It is all quite simple.  The US Constitution, originally intended to prohibit government in defense of Freedom, has been successfully turned upside down.  The government has taught three generations that the true function of government is prohibition.  The 18th Amendment was a symptom of a sea change in the American mind about the nature of government.  So was the 16th Amendment.  This is how fast government education can undermine freedom.

Above all else, what must be prohibited, at the cost of any amount of “negative” freedom (freedom from government control) is tobacco and firearms.  The government wants us to forget about the miserable attempt to prohibit alcohol.  It is confident that it can do a much better job prohibiting tobacco and firearms.  Liberalism has become fetishism, in which things are inherently evil and cast spells over otherwise innocent people.

It is strange that our government has not changed the name of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms so we could more easily forget the pretentiousness of its ambitions.  Some, with a much more comprehending knowledge of American history, look forward to a total prohibition of tobacco.  They see the same opportunities in it as the bootleggers saw in the prohibition of alcohol.  And many a smoker imagines that the illicit nature of his habit will make it even more enjoyable.  It already does.

One of the journalists interviewed in the Ken Burns story of Prohibition, proudly points out that he is a recovering alcoholic.  He assures us nevertheless, that if the government prohibited his temptation once again, he would start drinking to be drunk with the thrill of rebellion; the thrill of proving that tyranny cannot succeed.  He offers no sober assessment of the cost to his neighbors, which, of course, makes no difference to a drunk.

And if the government finally tries to prohibit guns in a gun-loving nation, I should hope that respect for the law will be virtually impossible to find.  When the law has no respect for freedom, freedom has no respect for the law.

Why is it that people who become part of the government cannot learn from the failure of prohibition that prohibition is not the viable purpose of the state?  The state cannot even prohibit crime.  It can only administer justice after the fact.  But then it is so extremely difficult for government to get really good at administering real justice, that it is always tempted to identify itself with other functions, like prohibiting commerce which has nothing to do with justice.  Big government reminds us that it is not the rule of law, but of bureaucrats.  What else could such gigantism be?

The government, and the impoverished spirits who identify with it, know that gun control does not work.  What they long for is gun prohibition, which they dream will work.  Dream on.

And so we must begin to imagine a whole new world in which we prohibit government because government, as prohibition, has proven to be the genuine, bona fide evil which government claims to find in everything except itself.  Administrative government, with its claim to defy all special interest, must prohibit everything except itself.  It is the only institution which true believers can trust with two-ply toilet paper, for the profit motive corrupts the very fabric of commercial hygiene.  All true hygiene is administered by the government, and prohibition is the heart and soul of social and physical hygiene.

We must reject the bath which modern government has drawn for the unwashed masses.  It means to drown us in it.  The ultimate prohibition is the prohibition of human beings.  Abortion is the pinnacle of prohibition, especially of minorities.  Anything, everything can be successfully prohibited if there is no one to enjoy it.  Turn the bloody bathtub over.  Lay waste to the government’s soap and water in your heart, your mind, and finally your neighborhood.  Let prohibition lead to the overabundance of rebellion.  Suppress the ultimately prohibitive Planned Parenthood gas chambers.  We must prohibit bureaucrats, experts, tyrants, moral poseurs as the constitution originally intended.  Most strategically, smash the stills producing government hooch.  The stills are the government schools and universities.  Until they are prohibited, the poison will continue to flow.

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