Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Toasting Repeal Day

Today marks the 64th 74th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition in the United States.

For 14 years, Americans were unable to legally have a drink. This led to a dramatic growth in the acceptance of organized crime and violence. Al Capone made his money in the demon rum, and was willing to fight for income and market share. It led millions of otherwise law abiding Americans to speakeasys. The imposition of controls made the problem worse.

Back then, Congress had the wisdom and backbone to recognize a broken policy when they saw it, and passed the 21st Amendment to repeal prohibition.

An awful lot of chaos emerged from that day. People can now buy a staggering variety of vodkas, all perfectly identical in taste. There are thousands of wineries, all around the country, some internationally famous, and others providing great value wines. There’s a movement for the quality brewing of beer, ranging from stores providing everything you need to brew at home to Michelob trying to redefine their industrial process as craft brewing.

So raise a toast to the fact that you can buy booze from a wide variety of producers, and forget, for a moment, the worries of the day.* Enjoy the blessings of liberty which the Constitution aspires to, and hope that they’ll be expanded one day to the entire United States, to our youth, and to a wider variety of intoxicants.

Image: Enoteca, by Conmani, via

* Void where prohibited by law. Advice not intended for people under 21. Emergent Chaos encourages you to enjoy our products responsibly.

[Update: I can’t subtract. Thanks, Puck!]

2 comments on "Toasting Repeal Day"

  • Nicko says:

    I’ll certainly raise a glass to the 21st Amendment today, but let us not forget the awful hangover left from the 18th amendment and still perpetuated by its apologists. The symptoms include:

    • A culture in many places that associates drink with getting drunk, rather than with social activity
    • An environment in which “blue laws” are continued as a sop to those who would still have prohibition
    • The Kafkaesque situation whereby people old enough to vote and fight in the armed forces are not allowed a drink until it’s near certain that they have access to car, all in the name of reducing drunk-driving
    • The “War on Drugs(tm)” (side effects may include destruction of the livelihoods of Third World farmers and the highest prison population in the Western world)

    Most importantly, the 18th amendment was probably the single most significant event in US history for instilling the attitude that when one disagrees with a law one should simply break it. When individual laws are so widely disrespected they diminish the respect for all laws, including good and useful ones.
    So, I raise a glass to the 21st amendment, but the repeal of the 18th was only the first step of many on the path to dealing with America’s problem with drink.

  • puck says:

    actually, today is the 74th anniversary (from 1933).

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