Prohibiting Things with the Experts

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Question: What do government COVID lockdowns and Prohibition have in common?

Answer: They were both advocated by “the science” and “the experts.”

That’s Jeffrey Tucker’s point in a great essay he just published: The “Expert Consensus” Also Favored Alcohol Prohibition.

Tucker hits on quite a few points, including the extreme tact that anti-Prohibitionists had to use when questioning the Establishment on the merits of Prohibition, for fear of coming off as a crackpot.

He also paints this short portrait of Irving Fisher, a man whose bust probably ought to grace the Self-Righteous Hall of Villainy:

The most influential pro-Prohibition economist of the next generation was the rock star academic and social progressive Irving Fisher, whose contributions to making economics more about data than theory are legendary. So was his push for eugenics. No surprise if you know this period and such people, but he was also a passionate opponent of all alcohol. It was he who made a decisive difference in convincing Congress and the public that a complete ban was the right way.

And even as Prohibition was giving rise to speakeasies and organized crime, the experts didn’t back off, urging just more enforcement. Here’s Fisher himself:

Although things are much better than before Prohibition, with the possible exception of disrespect for law, they may not stay so. Enforcement will cure disrespect for law and other evils complained of, as well as greatly augment the good. American Prohibition will then go down in history as ushering in a new era in the world, in which accomplishment this nation will take pride forever.

Tucker also points out that opponents of Prohibition were ridiculed as bootlegger fans and drunks, just like people who question government lockdowns are derided as fools who wear tin hats and believe in conspiracy theories . . .

. .. .. all because they have the temerity to question the real fools: the experts and those who docilely listen to them.