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have seemed natural to the Fathers; be cialization, science, politics, rum, disure it would have seemed abnormal to vorce, the young folks. He offers this them. Is this to say that the Founders or that or the other as the cure. But no of the Republic never looked forward to minister in any pulpit offers any cure the time when every citizen would have which requires that what is called the his own conveyance, his own house with nation's 'standard of living' sag back. abundant furniture, when every wife The Capitalist and the Socialist are at and daughter would have silk garments each other's throats, but the issue beand a piano to play upon like a prin- tween them is, Which can ensure the cess? No; it might be said that this was distribution of the most goods to the precisely that to which they did look people? No statesman, no pacifist, no forward; this was an essential part of League-of-Nations enthusiast, would their expectation. Surely they saw a entertain his pet scheme for a moment nation of free citizens in a land flowing longer if he believed it would mean that with milk and honey, gradually lifting ten years later people would buy half of themselves to a new economic level; what they buy to-day. For the standthey saw that citizens would be edu- ard of living to sag back, for the people cated to more and more comforts; that to buy but half of what they used to men's tastes would improve; that wom- buy — everybody knows that that en would want better surroundings. means ruin, and not the ruin of business But they could not foresee what has alone. The national prosperity gone, happened. They could not foresee at the national safety is in danger. This is what a rate the machine would multiply not a fear; it is a fact. If anything were things; they could not foresee how the to happen to industry, there would be prosperity — indeed, the very existence first confusion and then decline in all - of the nation would come to depend our institutions; our great system of free upon people being forced to use what education for the nation would wither, the machine pours out.
our organized charities would dry up, What is the first condition of our civ- the thorn and the nettle would spring ilization? In the final reason, is it not up in our parks, our slums would beconcerned with the production of come fever spots, our roads would fall things? It is not that we must turn out into decay; more than all, our ideals large quantities of things; it is that we of political authority would be a heap of must turn out ever larger quantities of jackstraws; we should hold the kind of things, more this year than last year, government the Fathers gave us to be more next year than this; the flow from a broken reed. mill and mine must steadily increase. Production has played many parts There are a thousand programmes in history; it has taken various forms. cooking throughout the country, there The form which it takes in this, the are a thousand isms and causes and par- Machine Age, is strange and new. ties, each with its own notion of what Consumptionism is a new necessity. must be done for the national good and Consumptionism is a new science. the human good. Some of them are at Through the centuries, the problem has war with each other, but at one point been how to produce enough of the they are allies; some of them are worlds things men wanted; the problem now is apart, speaking languages strange to how to make men want and use more each other — yet one word they have than enough things — 'the science of in common. The minister in the pulpit plenty,' it has been called. Formerly cries out upon materialism, commer- the task was to supply the things men
wanted; the new necessity is to make about them. Prohibition is the expresmen want the things which machinery sion of a change which has been a cenmust turn out if this civilization is not tury in forming. It is reasonable to exto perish. To-day we dare not wait un plain why Prohibition happened to come til men in their own good time get in the year it did come rather than in around to wanting the things; do we some later or earlier year; but it is unpermit this, the machine flies to pieces. reasonable to believe that but for this The wind blewand so the windmill went or that particular circumstance there around. Under the new order, the wind- would have been no Prohibition. It is mill goes around and so the wind must unreasonable to believe that Prohibiblow. It is becoming a matter of gen- tion is here because the church people eral remark that the economic empha- and the fanatics caught the nation off sis is changing; it is shifting from how its feet in war time, or because the to make things to how to dispose of young men were in France, or because the things that are made so that the the women had come to have an influmachine can be kept in constant opera- ence in public affairs. tion. The problem before us to-day is The movement which now reveals not how to produce the goods, but how itself in the form of Prohibition has been to produce the customers. Consump stretching its massive might through tionism is the science of compelling men more than a hundred years. Men first to use more and more things. Consump- saw the Temperance movement as tionism is bringing it about that the something sentimental, as springing American citizen's first importance to from religious and ethical convictions, his country is no longer that of citizen as being a loving, spiritual force which but that of consumer.
moved against disease and poverty, The purpose of this paper is to point against drunken husbands who beat out how the new factor in our national their wives in hovels, against liquor life has already wrought recognizable dealers who prospered when their cuschanges in American democracy. There tomers lay drunk in the gutter. Lookare some who believe that representa ing back upon it now from our vantage tive government has served America's point, it is not difficult to see how this purposes, and that in the new stage of was but the superficial aspect of the her progress another form will serve her Temperance movement; the deeper better; a few even say that democracy meaning can be seen showing through is not a good form for any good purpose. even in this initial stage. The demand, This paper does not attempt to argue for example, that no child be robbed of such questions; it seeks only to show its chance in life by parents who drank that already Consumptionism is mak - did not this already suggest the ing important changes in the American movement's real character? use of law, in the American Press, in But it is in the shape which the Temthe political freedom of the American perance movement next took that retrocitizen.
spection obtains a plainer view of its esII
sential nature. For in the second half of
the century the denunciation of drink No great changes are ever the result for the cruelty and suffering it causes of temporary conditions; they must has dropped down to second place in have been long on their way; as Lord the Temperance platform; now the first Halifax remarked, they are half made plank is the plank which describes the before it is plainly visible that men go liquor traffic 'to be a nuisance and a crime' because it is bad for the factory. abstinence was needed. But machinery Now the crime of drink is that it retards on the streets and on the roads, machinthe worker's reactions, wastes his ener. ery tended not by workers but by citigies, endangers the costly machines he zens, creates altogether another proboperates; drink, in short, keeps down lem. The authority of the pay envelope the national output, and so deprives does not reach to the citizens on the the nation of its full measure of pros- streets; only the authority of Governperity. The voice of Temperance still ment can reach to them. The factories sounds in church and in tabernacle, turn out four million motor cars in a but it sounds louder now in the mill year. With this amazing development and on the railroad; it is still moral a saloon on each corner and a drinkingin guise, yet morality has now ceased place at every crossroads do not quite to predominate. Temperance now pre- fit. A man refuses to contemplate the sents itself as the agent of efficiency, prospect of his wife and child in daily as the friend of machinery.
danger of being run into by the driver This movement has been from the whose eyes are blurred and whose hands beginning a purposefully broadening are unsteadied by drink. Machinery bestream. Narrow at first, only wide comes more and more necessary to existenough to take in the drunkards and ence; if existence is to be safe, the use wasters, the stream next broadened to of machinery must be attended with include the workers, particularly those safety. Was, then, the attainment of who worked with machinery. Finally safety the ultimate purpose of the Temwith a great rush it swept out and perance movement? Had it no further reached everyone; no longer a stream, goal than this? Is the Eighteenth it became a sea. The twentieth century Amendment thus to be accounted for? has seen it spread to include more than The argument does not go far enough. the nation's workers; the twentieth The deep purpose of the Temperance century has seen it reach out and take movement was no more to provide in the entire people.
safety for citizens than it was to provide What was it brought this latest ex- efficiency for workers or morals for tension of the Temperance movement? drunkards. These were incidentals. Had Was it still the needs of efficiency, and the only need been to do away with was Temperance but following the de- drunkenness and immorality and the velopment of machinery, following the brewers' white horses, private philanmachine from the factory out upon the thropy and public opinion had amply city streets and country roads? None sufficed without going so far as an but workmen used to run machines; to Eighteenth Amendment. The factories day everybody runs machines: work- and the railroads took care of their men, clerks, merchants, doctors, school drink problem; they needed none of teachers, men, women — everybody.. Government's thunderbolts. And as
The automobile can be made to ac- for the safety of citizens upon streets count for Prohibition plausibly enough. and roads swarming with automobiles, The argument runs easily along the line would not the police and the people of the facts. So long as machinery between them have managed without was in the mill and on the railroads invading the Constitution? Between only, so long as the question of drink Government's power to punish drunken lay between employers and workmen, drivers and the people's fear of being there was authority enough in the pay hurt by drunken drivers, would not the envelope to command abstinence where streets and roads eventually have become reasonably safe? To be sure, this corrective fear of the people would have meant a less great consumption of automobiles; accidents would have considerably restrained the passion of the
from the total. Drink cuts down general consumptive power. Drink takes from the nation's ability to use up goods; drink takes from a man's efficiency to consume; drink lessens the
increase in the number of cars on the limits its own consumption; when it has streets would have been not stupendous its man under the table, that is the end; but gradual. True, this would have there is a limit to the amount a man can meant that four million cars could not drink. But what is intolerable is that have been sold in 1923. But Prohibi- drink makes inroads into the consumption was not merely the response to the tion of all else. Consumptionism cannot need for disposing of four million auto suffer drink because in drink men find a mobiles in 1923.
substitute for that satisfaction which is The Eighteenth Amendment was the in the acquiring of luxuries; the pleasure response to closer pressing Consump in drink takes the place of the pleasure tionism. Prohibition is not here for the in things. The more things men have, sake of the automobile industry; the the more they need — this is the workautomobile is but one member among ing philosophy of Consumptionism. many. When Mr. Henry Ford, who is The more drink men have, the less a man born into his time, says we must things they need. Consequently we give up either drink or industrialism, have the Eighteenth Amendment. he is not moved to say so merely because There is a righteous resentment of drink would make people buy fewer Prohibition. Lawyers, for example, automobiles. Instinctively he under- cry out that 'something must be done stands that drink makes people buy about Prohibition'; politicians, men in less of everything, and so Jess of auto- office, publicists, political philosophers, mobiles. When Mr. Gary says that are genuinely alarmed by what they drink and prosperity are incompatible, call the Prohibition mess. Prohibition he is not moved to his conclusion by is seen by this sort of men to be a failmere questions of efficiency in the steel ure; the country has tried Prohibition mills.
and found it cannot be enforced; to Consumptionism is the science of in- keep it longer in the basic law of the tensifying consumption. It is not land is to incur gravest risk; something enough that the desire for this or that must be done, they reiterate — what particular thing be made to increase; they mean is that something must be desire must not run into any blind al- done to preserve the integrity of Govleys; every thing of any kind in the ernment. great variety of our output must be : In other quarters, however, there are able to stimulate the appetite for more a great many people, not inevitably things of every kind; consumption is Prohibitionists, who are for Prohibiall interrelated, feeding upon itself and tion to-day, a large class who never stupendously growing by that it feeds had any moral convictions or any upon. Under the old order, the prod- sentimental notions about drinking. ucts of brewery and distillery added up These do not see Prohibition as a failin the prosperity columns just as steel ure or a menace. Perhaps they once did, and ploughs, and corn; beer and believed that wines and beers must be liquor were equal with all the others. restored, but they are doubtful now Under the new order, drink subtracts if they would lend their votes to even a wine-and-beer modification. These Prohibition was not made by a miscitizens see how the liquor laws go take; it was made by a movement. It widely disregarded; some of them do was not American democracy that needthemselves disregard the laws; they ed Prohibition. The purpose of Pro know all about the bootleggers and the hibition was not to make more valuable stills; they see the struggles of Govern- citizens. The purpose was to make ment. And they are satisfied; they are more valuable consumers. If more valcomplacent. According to the rules, uable consumers could be made only at Prohibition has proved not enforceable. an expense to citizenship, at an expense But they find it well enough enforced to democracy, at an expense to Amerifor all that; they may not be able to put canism, it could not be helped; Contheir finding into words but instinc- sumptionism had to be considered first; tively they feel it.
all else has come to depend upon Con'Enforced' – what do they mean by sumptionism. “enforced'?. The Eighteenth Amend- Prohibition is the Eighteenth Amendment makes liquor dear; a man's circum- ment to the Constitution. But it is not stances do the rest; his circumstances of the same stuff as the other amendenforce Prohibition so far as it needs to ments. Prohibition is the first Consumpbe enforced for the purposes of Con- tionist amendment. sumptionism. Those who break the law - what do they amount to in the view
III of Consumptionism? For mostly those who can afford bootleggers and road Turn now to the Press. “The Press is houses are already provided to the point the chief democratic instrument of freeof saturation with furs and motor cars dom,' wrote De Tocqueville. Ameriand entertainments; it is the millions cans have truly believed it. with the hankering for these things still Something has happened to the Press. hot within them who matter just now All have remarked it. What is it? Radto Consumptionism. From this point icals have no difficulty in putting their of view, Prohibition has proved a suc- finger on it; they can tell you that the cess, not a failure at all. If it were not advertisers and the 'Interests' control for Prohibition, less money would to the newspapers, that is what the trouble day be going to the department stores, is. The Radicals are a generation bethe garages, the movies, the book- hind their time. The conservative citishops. There are more lawbreakers in zens have their own way of saying it; the nation because of Prohibition. But they say the whole trouble is that the because of Prohibition there are both Press has become commercialized, and more consumers and better consumers. by `commercialized' they mean that A great number of America's citizens, ang hent number does merica socitozens
greedy men have used the newspapers and the number does not decrease, feel to make great fortunes for themselves. that it is the consumers who count first And this explanation is, on the whole, to America.
no more accurate than the explanaThose who go through the land cry- tions from the soap-boxes. It is obviing out that something must be done ous to anybody who turns over the forty about Prohibition' imply that Prohibi- pages of his morning newspaper, nearly tion was a mistake, a slip, a misadven- every page half advertising, that the ture. They imply that the difficulty of newspapers do make a great deal of getting rid of Prohibition is not very money. In scores of communities the much more than a legal difficulty. newspaper is now as profitable as the