R Street's Kevin Kosar on the Anniversary of Prohibition Repeal

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December 5 was the anniversary of Prohibition ending in the United States, now celebrated as Repeal Day. To mark the occasion, R Street's Kevin Kosar recounted the history around the failed experiment in a column for the Washington Examiner:

"Plenty of hooey comes from the mouths of elected officials. Arguably, the prize for the nuttiest statement of all might go to the late Sen. Morris Sheppard, D-Texas. In 1930, he haughtily declared, "There's as much chance of repealing the 18th Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail."

Sheppard, who spent three decades in Congress, was an anything but an impartial observer. The Texas Democrat had sponsored the constitutional amendment to ban drink and fought successfully for the Volstead Act and other anti-hooch laws. He was often called the father of prohibition, although in truth, this ugly progeny had many parents. Nativists, feminists, evangelicals, captains of industry, and paternalistic progressives joined to form a crazy quilt coalition against drink.

For nearly 14 dark years (1920-1933), the production and sale of alcohol was largely banned..."

Read the rest here.