Prohibitionists, in the current controversy over the Eighteenth Amendment, have exhibited a marked tendency towards fortifying their position with sweeping generalities. Eminent figures in public life, capitalizing prestige, have advanced the cause of the Volstead Act by statements to the effect that Prohibition has been an unconditional success, basing their declarations on moral principles rather than any close study of the situation.
It is as impossible to gain first hand knowledge as to drinking conditions from a professorial chair, or a pulpit, as it is to gain accurate information about Renaissance literature in a saloon. Thus the only people capable of answering the Dry argument referred to are those who actually drink, and if they presume to raise their voices in refutation, prohibitionists, with smug complacency, scourge them as drinkers, law-breakers, and menaces to society, and hence incapable to advancing any decent sentiments.
Typical of these broad generalities implying that Prohibition is the salvation of modern American society, is Dr. Alfred Worcester's statement at the New England Health Institute that drinking at Harvard, regardless of the implications of the Prohibition poll, has declined since pre-Volstead days. The poll results were not intended to be regarded as a bibulous boast, but simply as a frank indication of college opinion on the feasibility of Prohibition. Possibly drinking has declined at Harvard, as Dr. Worcester asserts, but there is no way of substantiating the statement. The results of the poll certainly indicate that liquor still flows for all who desire it, and hence there seems no logical reason for attributing any decline in drinking that may be assumed to the Volstead Act even by imputation. Moreover, remembering that liquid entertainment has been shown to be available in plenty by the poll, the results can be taken to indicate conclusively that there are other and more substantial reasons that thirst for modification of the Prohibition situation.