Posted On: Friday - May 22nd 2020 10:38AM MST
In Topics:   Liberty/Libertarianism  US Feral Government  Morning Constitutional
(Continued from Amendment XI, Amendment XII, Amendment XIII, Amendment XIV, Amendment XV, Part 1 on Amendment XVI, Part 2 on Amendment XVI , Part 3 on Amendment XVI, and Amendment XVII .)
The whole of it:
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
I like that Section 3, BTW. Right into the amendment, a time limit was set for ratification. So, if the legislature of Tennessee, for example, was voting on Amendment XVIII, they would know that unless 75% of the States got on-board within 7 years, this was a no-go. (The "Equal Rights" proposed Amendment of the 1970s was given a 7 year deadline for ratification, but that was as specified by Congress, not in the short 3-section Amendment itself. It got ratified by 35 States - too bad, so sad ... whewwww!) There's also that 1 year delay for this amendment to take effect, even after full ratification. Both of these deals were new things to the amendment world.
There's one thing that I'll give the nation's political system credit for, back in 1919. Unlike with the "War on Drugs", the full process of amendment of the Constitution was undergone, rather than some "stroke of the pen, law of the land" bullshit. Why did it need to be? Oh, yeah, it was that pesky Amendment X of the Bill of Rights, I suppose. However, Amendment XVIII (or any other power grab amendments, for that matter) did not repeal Amendment X, so what gives?
As the Interpretation Page of our US Constitution go-to site notes, there was this big flurry of Amending, from 1913 to 1919*. The writers there differ from Peak Stupidity opinion on some of this, as we've discussed before, but I think that decade was a disaster for the future of America.
Surprisingly, former College Professor and Globalist President Woodrow Wilson, responsible for a lot of grief for America and the world, vetoed the Volstead Act, the Federal Bill that established the prohibition of alcohol, starting exactly on the day that Amendment XVIII allowed. That Volstead Act is the law known for creating all of the moonshiners, bootleggers, prohibition and Federal "revenuers" who sprung up due to the simple economic law of supply and demand. Organized crime may have been a smaller thing, just in places like NY City before this, due to large groups of unsavory immigrants, but it's the Volstead Act, and more fundamentally, Amendment XVIII which made the future Volstead Act Constitutional, that caused more widespread organized crime.
Besides organized crime, there was unorganized resistance to "Prohibition", as it was simply known. People wanted to drink, and un-like Delaware Destroyer George Thorogood, they didn't all want to drink alone**, or just with their Old Grand Dad, buddy Wiser, and friend Johnny Walker. You just don't prohibiting a (usually) minor vice and a big part of most of the world's culture willy-nilly.
If you read something about the long off-and-on campaigns against the demon alcohol, you will find that women were a large part of that movement. The story was that it was the domestic violence caused by drunkenness that was the big problem. Well, there are 2 sides to every story, and there's also often confusion between cause and effect. Is alcohol the drug that still causes the most misery to others? I can't argue for or against, but those who have just an occasional beer or drink one or two nights a week at a moderate level are no threat to anyone. That didn't seem to matter, as these women (and plenty of men) had a CAUSE.
Without knowing the time-line of the Constitutional Amendments, it'd be tempting to blame the 18th Amendment directly on the 19th. Yes, that's out of order though, and the guaranteed women's right to vote came a few years AFTER the prohibition of alcohol. However, Amendment 19, a fiasco soon to follow, was not about ALLOWING women to vote, but about REQUIRING the various States to ALLOW it. There were many States that already had no voting restrictions against women. This fact, and the fact that women could influence politics in various ways other than voting, was behind the long push for Amendment XVIII.
Anyway, this amendment was an extremely bad idea, both for its bad economic incentives and for its usurpation of new powers yet again for Fed-Gov. Our Founding Fathers would have been livid about any such thing. (A whiskey tax, just 5 years after the adoption of the Constitution, was bad enough.) They'd have been especially "triggered" by the latter aspect of this abomination along with the former - with their love of whiskey and beer***. none of the new Federal Government's fucking business. The learned Founding Fathers may have put this another way, of course ... say, " ... none of the new Federal Government's fvcking bvsiness".
Americans learned a lesson from the screw up of Amendment XVIII and the Volstead Act that implemented prohibition. Economic incentives and rebellion caused the increase in organized crime and other general lawlessness due to the people's wanting alcohol whether legal or not. "Ahaaa!", they said. "We can just repeal it." It was repealed with Amendment XXI in 1933, only 13 years after having taken effect in 1920. That was some mighty quick learning, legislating, and Constitutional amending, compared to the way things happen today.
Over the last 5-6 decades the screw-up that was prohibition of alcohol was repeated with "the pot" and other drugs. Same incentives for bootlegging, organized crime**** and that, same bootlegging and organized crime and that. This time, no amendment was ratified. America was apparently over all that by the 1970s and '80s.
As much as I am still an admirer of Ronald Reagan, his drug clampdown to me was one of the worst of his policies. The wife Nancy had her "Just Say No" campaign. That was just a voluntary, talk-to-the-school-kids sort of thing, but really, these unelected wives - or maybe a 1st man coming (is Stacey Abrams married? Either way, I think I'm gonna be sick...) should just bake cookies. The Hildabeast was wrong on that particular issue... along with everything else. The first wives really need to stand down on this sort of thing, going forward.
Along with having made no amendment of the Constitution to possible override Amendment X of the Bill of Rights, it took arguably 30 to 60 years to realize this same mistake repeated just a half-century later. At least we don't need to do all that hard work on an amendment to repeal anything.
Peak Stupidity gives big accolades to those American people and local politicians who made the effort to repeal Amendment XVIII. We need that same energy now to repeal a whole bunch of others, and we're not even done discussing them all here yet!
* 16 through 19, the last not covered by Peak Stupidity yet, allowed for a Federal Income tax, direct election of Senators, the prohibition of alcohol, and then made the allowance of women's voting by States mandatory. Grand fuck-ups, all of them, and too bad they weren't all repealed. There's no time limit on this Amending business, so ... you know ....
** "You know when I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself" When you first hear this part, it's a WTF moment, as in, "of course, if you're gonna drink alone, you HAVE TO be by yourself!" One can interpret that a different way, though. Hey, small quibble there, George - I'm still a fan.
*** According to the Spruce Eats blog, Mr. Franklin' quote regarding this matter was about wine, not beer:
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."
**** To a MUCH HIGHER level. Compare the days of Al Capone in Chicago to the power of the Mexican drug cartels. Holy Moley, they've got wars killing 50,000 people a year down there. Good thing that's only down in Mexico ... for now.