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STATEMENT OF M. LOUISE GROSS, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, WOMEN'S
MODERATION UNION, HARRISON, N. Y. Miss Gross. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to thank Bishop Hammaker and Mrs. Colvin for so graciously allowing me to interrupt their proceedings. I appreciate it very much.
I have come here to oppose the passage of S. 265, because I feel it is a step toward national prohibition. As one of the former repeal leaders who worked for 13 years to help repeal the eighteenth amendment and prohibition, and who is still interested in the success of repeal, I am glad of this opportunity to be here and present this statement. I hope your committee will bear with me if my voice rings with pride. I cannot help feeling a little proud of our victory; and when you realize that I come before you with 14,663,547 votes of good American men and women who left their homes to go out to the polls and cast their vote against one of the most iniquitous laws that was ever passed to burden a country with, you will agree with me that it is rather nice to stand here as a “victor” after 13 years of being the “vanquished.”
S. 265 states that it is a bill to prohibit the transportation in interstate commerce of advertising of alcoholic beverage, and for other purposes. These last four words are the dynamite in this bill. Knowing my opponents as I do, and how they operate after 13 years' battling with them, I can assure you that they will translate and twist the meaning of these last four words so that even their own mother would not recognize them.
Mr. Chairman, under these last four words, if I were to write you a letter and say that I enjoyed a cocktail at Mrs. A's cocktail party, made from some well-known brand of liquor, or if I wrote and told you I had a good glass of beer or wine at such-and-such a home with
a my dinner, and this letter fell into the hands of my opponents, under S. 265 I could be arrested, sent to jail, and fined because I mentioned an alcoholic beverage and it went through the mails. If that is not putting a strait-jacket on the American people, I would like to know what is.
Now, I am not a distiller, brewer, vintner, manufacturer, wholesaler, or an agent or broker, engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages, neither am I a publisher or common carrier or their agent who transports through the mails any newspapers, newsreels, magazines, photographic films, and so forth, advertising alcoholic beverages, nor am I soliciting for the same, to whom this bill directly applies. I am just a housewife, familiar with the tactics of my opponents and with the evils of prohibition, and I think I can speak for the millions who voted against prohibition 13 years ago and who do not want to see the return of any part of it.
I am not going to take up your time with any more reasons why normal Americans oppose this bill. You will find all the reasons you want in the Wickersham Report, where expert opinion both for and against prohibition are set forth and which apply to my opposition to this bill. If you remember, the Wickersham Report urged a change in the prohibition law. Before concluding my remarks I do want to answer some present-day criticism which my dry opponents are making.
One is that women are drinking more today than they did before prohibition 25 years ago; while I do not agree with this statement, I will say that if women are drinking excessively today it is because prohibition and our dry opponents forced it upon us. Take myself, for instance; I never drank in my life until the prohibition law said I could not drink. Then I and millions more of us decided we would drink; being Americans, we were not going to be told what we could eat and drink. And the vote for repeal proves my statement.
There are no new arguments the drys can produce today which would warrant this Congress to adopt S. 265 and cripple the alcoholic beverage industry and its allied trades, which are adding millions of dollars to our taxes and to our Treasury, as well as providing good jobs for returned GI's and other men and women. I have talked with many returned men and women from World War II and asked them if they want national prohibition, and their answer is “No.”
The medicinal value alone, of drinking alcoholic beverages is inestimable, and I beg of you not to pass any bills that will put extra burdens on the sick, the aged, and those in hospitals.
Then of course my dry opponents will raise the same old cry about young people drinking and drunken driving. All you have to do, gentlemen, is to consult the police records or talk with any police chief, and you will be assured that drunkenness among minors and drunken driving is not nearly as bad as it was during the 13 years of prohibition. The vote for repeal also proves this statement. At least the drinking today is in public and under State supervision, not hip flasks and petting parties in parked cars.
Furthermore, if young people drink in excess today, it is usually the fault of their parents and nobody else. If a mother is too busy gadding around to meetings, bridge parties, and movies, instead of spending more time in the home with her children, or if the parents are spending their time in the divorce courts you cannot blame the children for getting into mischief. Do not blame a legitimate industry for the negligence of parents in bringing up their children, any more than you blame the manufacturing of automobiles because large numbers of people are killed each year through motor-vehicle accidents.
Are you going to pass laws to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and advertising of candy, cake, ice cream, and other sweets because there are 500,000 diabetics in the country who got that way because they ate too many sweets? Why punish the majority because the minority over-indulged.
The same thing applies to the question under discussion. The whole theory behind S. 265 and the companion radio advertising bill against alcoholic beverages is ridiculous.
Our opponents are saying we should boycott movies that show drinking scenes or display liquor advertisements. Well, I enjoyed the picture Lost Week End and I notice it won an Academy Award, as well as being a box-office success, so I guess millions of other women enjoyed it also.
If S. 265 is passed, the department stores and grocery stores would lose a lot of business, and this is not the time to injure business of any kind. President Truman is doing everything in his power to increase
sales and production so that we can help the world recover from World War II.
If you will recall, the drys put over prohibition during World War I, while the rest of us were doing our bit to help win that war. Do not permit them to take advantage of the chaos created by World War II to bring on another prohibition era. Let us concentrate on getting a peace treaty and let prohibition stay where the American voters put, it 13 years ago. Do not pass S. 265.
I thank you.
Senator REED. Miss Gross, what I am going to say now is not to be taken as indicating any position on this bill. The business of the committee is to hear the testimony and consider it afterward.
One of the great troubles has always been that the hard liquor folks who manufacture and dispose of it never did have any sense. their abuses that brought on national prohibition as much as anything else. From present indications, it does not seem that they learn anything.
Miss Gross. Maybe this hearing will knock some sense in them in that respect. Of course, the cash register is always uppermost in the American's heart. Maybe this hearing will help that matter. You know, they go to extremes. Wets do it just as well as the drys.
Senator McFARLAND. One question. You said that the businessmen would lose money. I take it then that it is your opinion that if this bill were passed, there would be less drinking ?
Miss Gross. No, because in the 13 years of prohibition the bootlegging industry was a tremendous industry and people drank just as much.
Senator MCFARLAND. Why would they lose business, then?
Senator McFARLAND. There is nothing in the bill that would keep them from selling it openly. It is just to prevent advertising.
Miss Gross. If this bill passes, there might be other bills that would come along. There is your danger, Senator. You give an opening wedge.
Senator McFARLAND. I am just talking about this bill. The question is, do you think that this bill would diminish the amount of drinking?
Miss Gross. No, I do not.
Miss Gross. If it is a legitimate industry now, and the American voters went out of their homes to vote prohibition out, why not let it take its course. There are evils in all kinds of business.
Senator McFARLAND. What I meant was, what was the objection to it as far as business is concerned, if it does not reduce the amount of business,
Miss Gross. For instance, the A. & P., if they do not sell liquor any inore, they lose that much business. That is that much taxes that the Government does not get.
Senator MCFARLAND. You do think that this may diminish the amount?
Miss Gross. I do.
Senator McFARLAND. When you diminish sales, do you not diminish the amount of alcoholic beverages consumed ?
Miss Gross. I suppose so, and has it not happened within the last few months there has been a great reduction in the consuming of alcoholic beverages?
Senator McFARLAND. Do you not think that is commendable to reduce it a little bit ?
Miss Gross. I certainly do, yes.
Bishop HAMMAKER. I would like to ask Dr. Herbert H. Parish to come forward. He is the executive secretary of the National Temperance Movement. STATEMENT OF HERBERT H. PARISH, NATIONAL TEMPERANCE
MOVEMENT, INC., CHICAGO, ILL. Mr. PARISH. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a distinct honor for me to appear before you to present the views of the National Temperance Movement, Inc., relative to S. 265 now under consideration. By way of introduction, I should indicate to you that the National Temperance Movement, Inc., with headquarters in Chicago, Ill., is perhaps the newest national temperance organization in existence. In a little over 2 years the organization has expanded from a mere beginning until today we have a full staff of 7 and 4 women, and cooperating groups in 26 States of the Union and friends in practically every State in the United States. The interest in the National Temperance Movement as a new up-to-date organization emphasizing the scientific, religious, and economic approach to the liquor problem in America is represented by the spectacular growth of the organization from the standpoint of physical appointments as well as national influence.
The purpose of advertising is obvious. No commercial concern would spend large sums of money for advertising if they did not expect in return material increases in sales. The purpose of advertising liquor is, of course, to increase the sale of this commodity. No one in America desires to increase the number of alcoholics. Their number has steadily increased in recent years until now there are 750,000 chronic alcoholics in this country. The distinguished members of this committee will all agree that this number should be reduced at the earliest possible moment.
In addition to that number we are told that there are now approximately 3,000,000 problem drinkers in this country. Many of these problem drinkers will become chronic alcoholics if something is not done to correct their malady.
The passage of this bill will at least be one move in the direction of making it easier for the problem drinker to keep his resolve, to become a total abstainer and thereby become an asset, rather than a liability, to his family and community. Even those who deal commercially in alcoholic beverages have no desire to increase the number of the unfortunate individuals suffering with this disease. No thoughtful citizen would do anything to encourage any of the bright young people in our high schools and colleges to acquire a habit which might
culminate in alcoholism. Our American future and the success of American ideals depends upon those in our high schools and colleges today. Certainly no one interested in the perpetuation of American ideals would knowingly permit the continuance of any program, the influence of which would point in the direction of the ruin morally, spiritually, and physically of these fine young people.
And yet the glamorous pages of advertising in magazines and newspapers, and the enticing sound of such advertising on the air, is a vital influence in causing the problem drinker to continue his habit and the American youth to begin the habit of using alcoholic beverages.
Without a doubt, you desire to do that which will result in the greatest good for the largest number of people. It seems to us in the National Temperance Movement that the recommendation to pass this bill would be one step toward an abatement of a serious problem. No legislation relative to traffic, transportation, or advertising, or in fact any other major program which has to do with correcting present abuses, can be enacted without certain comparative curtailment for some few individuals. This bill, if passed will do that.
But you and we are interested in the greatest good for the largest number of people. By reducing the attractiveness of liquor, through the curtailment of advertising, you will assist millions in their fight against this habit, while at the same time a few may be adversely affected financially. More people will be benefited by the passage of this bill than will be injured thereby.
In recommending this bill to pass, your committee will be taking a forward step in the interest of legislation for the people. This legislation will aid the cause of sobriety and decency, and will more fully establish the principle of State's rights. Too often legislation has been supported which was in the interest of the liquor industry, rather than for the good of the people.
We recognize that liquor is legal and that that which is legal has certain rights. We are ever mindful, however, of the physiological and psychological effects of alcoholic beverages, and we plead with you to recommend the
of this bill in order that the influence of this beverage shall be curtailed in the interest of democracy, the protection of our youth and the rehabilitation of the alcoholics, even though certain interests may lose a few shekols thereby.
Senator REED. Thank you.
Bishop HAMMAKER. One of the most militant and closely knit protestant bodies concerned in this question is the Seventh-Day Adventists. They are represented by one of their official secretaries, Rev. W. A. Scharffenberg. STATEMENT OF W. A. SCHARFFENBERG, AMERICAN TEMPERANCE
SOCIETY, TAKOMA PARK, D. C. Mr. SCHARFFENBERG. I represent and am serving as vice president and executive secretary of the American Temperance Society, which is sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventists.
The American Temperance Society, representing over 400.000 men, women, and youth of America, are supporting the Capper bill, S. 265, against liquor advertising for the following reasons:
A. Liquor advertisements over the radio, in the magazines, and newspapers, as well as on signs and billboards are misleading. By