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After a long period of increasing expectation on the part of both Wets and Drys, the Wickersham Commission has at last made its formal report. But for those who have awaited the outcome of this investigation with bated breath, the results will not seem quite as reassuring as they might.
Numerous suggestions have been made to relieve the congestion of the courts and generally to repair and lubricate the entire machinery of enforcement, while the thrifty Mr. Mellon has long advocated a revision of the Border laws with an increase in the size of the patrol. But all these recommendations, though necessary as parallel measures of reform, fail to strike to the heart of the problem, and serve only to strengthen the impression that the Commission has somehow evaded the issue.
Had the report contained even the suggestion of a measure to make the purchaser of liquors equally culpable with the purveyor, the argument would have been raised from its present obscurity of details to a firm basis of fundamentals. If public opinion should support such an enactment despite its flavor of tyranny, it would show itself definitely committed to Prohibition at any cost, but if it is rejected, a drastic revision of the law itself is the only logical recourse.
Presented with an opportunity to bring the whole vexing question to a head in one bold stroke, the Commission has responded so far only with temporizing and obvious recommendations. If there is to be a Prohibition law of any kind effectively enforced, this issue must be faced sooner or later and the investigation of the Wickersham Commission offers an excellent way to begin.
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