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The distinctly wet tone of the National Collegiate Prohibition Poll establishes the first actual evidence of undergraduate sentiment on the Eighteenth Amendment. While the Poll is in no sense complete, it definitely replaces popular legend with statistics, at the same time presenting one entirely new aspect to the whole discussion of legal restrictions to drinking.
From first hand evidence of Prohibition in the colleges it was to be expected that the vast majority of the 24,000 students voting would oppose the present laws in theory as well as in practice. But the vote goes further than confirming this suspicion. It turns its attention to the men who do not drink and proves very positively that it is not respect for the law but personal taste that guides them. In this aspect the poll brings the weight of fact to the old contention that legislation is without effect in such moral and personal issues as the use of alcohol. Undergraduates drink if they choose to drink; even those who abstain flout the Constitution in principle if not in actual deed.
It is this fact, and not alone the large scale open violation of the law, which gives serious foundation to the assertion that present day liquor legislation is inducing a very deep and fundamental disregard for constitutional authority. The extent to which this spirit seems to have permeated the youth of the country goes a long way towards outbalancing any much vaunted "economic" benefits of the Eighteenth Amendment.
The returns of the Prohibition Poll indicate that the net result of the attempt of the older generation to solve its liquor problem has been a new problem which younger hands must someday unravel. Legislation of the Volstead Act and Jones Law calibre is no way out of the alcohol tangle. 24,000 college men and women in eighteen different colleges have examined. Prohibition and found it wanting.
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