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For a long time college undergraduates have been struggling along under the burden of obeying or breaking the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. The majority of students, at least in the East, have been breaking the law. It has been an unhappy, hypocritical situation for everybody and nothing is more clear than that a change, and it can not be for the worst, is inevitable. There has been a hands-off attitude toward college students that drink, and, appreciating this, undergraduates have been persuaded to let things go on, hesitating to upset the delicate balance that exists among town, gown, and gendarmerte.
During the past few months, however, it has become fairly obvious that nothing can be done about cleaning up the mess, if everybody except a few fanatical teetotalers and topers remains silently acquiescent to a stupid compromise in which liquor is forbidden in order to please the days, and obtainable in order to satisfy the wets. If it is admitted that the vast majority of college men are dissatisfied with the present situation and that at least a good majority drink, according to their own confession, there will be cries against washing dirty linen in public, In the final, honest analysis, however, there seems to be no possible way to avoid the conclusion that prohibition in its present form is a dismal failure, and that serious effort should be made to do away with the heritage of hypocrisy left the undergraduate by his parents and the Anti-saloon League.
But when it comes to a definite plan of action, the question arises as to what and how. The tentative plan suggested by the Debating Council and published elsewhere in this issue of the CRIMSON is the plan of a small group which designed it to be as attractive as possible to moderate supporters of both sides. As such it is an excellent starting point for arguments by both wets and drys. it is expecting too much, however, to hope that it will satisfy any large body of people. In the lack of cohesion to a definite plan lies the weakness of those who are trying to promote a sane substitute for the present prohibition legislation.
There is value, however, in broadcasting the strong resentment that obtains on American campi against the conditions which have followed the unendorsed 18th Amendment and in arguing the whole matter back and forth. For better or for worse, the college men of today, and there are over a million of them, will be the leaders of tomorrow, and their opinion must be of real value and force. Through their undergraduate publications and other organizations, they have excellent media through which to voice their sentiments. Hitherto, little concerted use has been made of these facilities to express student opinion on national affairs, but the evils of prohibition come so close to college men both during and after their undergraduates days that it seems more than legitimate for the collegiate press to step out of its usual role of disinterested observer.. To keep under cover, the unpleasant sores of prohibition, which can be cured only by being opened, is to postpone the arrival of a happier solution of the problem of temperance.
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