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“I express in my book that I do not approve of many things: Homosexuality, eating shrimp and most controversially: the consumption of alcohol. I also argue I am a perfect God. Well, recently I've given it some thought and I've decided prohibition is a bad idea and that I must have been drunk on power when I created that rule, because no perfect, homophobic, shrimp hating God would ever stand in the way of humans getting drunk.”
Prohibition was a former American government policy decided in an effort to try and destroy fun, one of three policies around the same period alongside The Great Depression and The Manhattan Project. Like all things sinister it was conspired by the Republicans in the 1920s and then repealed in 1933 by the Democrats. The reason for the repeal was put down to "We got so caught up in prohibition, we forgot how good it feels to get fucked up."
As you might have guessed by now, banning alcohol in a time where most of society was dirt poor, did not sit well with the masses. Illegal alcohol was manufactured in every corner of the country, often laced with methanol and other adulterants to make the profit margins larger and killing off all future customers. Although alcohol did become illegal, very few people found themselves being punished at the hands of law enforcement, this is partly because the law makers forgot to factor in that most of the police of the time enjoyed their booze as much as the next man.
edit Post World War I America
America emerged from World War I victorious and unlike Europe, in one piece and with plenty of money. A massive party was held. Booze was consumed by the gallon, kids were getting drunk in the street and beatings of wife and kids skyrocketed to levels unseen. Something needed to be done to stem this culture of "Booze for all" and to restore "Traditional family values". It was thus decided fun would be replaced with fundamentalism, at least 500,000 vagrants and hobos migrated north into Canada when the dreaded 18th amendment passed into law.
edit Nobody Likes Prohibition
...And then the reality dawned on them. It took a grand total of 20 minutes after America went dry for people to go "hey wait a second..." (10 minutes in Detroit, 5 in Alabama) because they realized people not being allowed to get drunk, included themselves too. Organisations like the Italian mafia were quick to respond to the distressed public, smuggling vast amounts of illegal liquor from
south (Americans did not trust Mexicans back then... more so) north of the border, local law enforcement was powerless to stop them due to carry of semi-automatic weapons or simply being bought off with a week's wages so they could go get pissed. Speakeasies became the Starbucks of the 1930s, so much so they you could not tell if that sign that said "Detox clinic" was legitimate or not.
Subsequently millions of dollars worth of alcohol related revenue went completely un-taxed right when America was in the financial shitter and it didn't even put a dent in alcohol consumption.
edit Prohibition today
In America, prohibition no longer exists, hurrah! However it has "evolved" into a term often referred to as the War on Drugs which, like it's predecessor is failing at an alarming rate. When asked to comment on the question "The War on drugs is failing, could this be due to how it forces drug users to buy off dealers which enables dealers to make a massive profit when this revenue could be raised by the government if they were sold legally?" Presidents have simply responded with "Every American is entitled to make a reasonable or, more than reasonable income. Drug lords inclusive. Just imagine what would have happened to all the bootleggers during the depression years, they'd have starved. Every American is entitled to the American dream, Colombian and Russian drug lords included."
edit Individual prohibition: Quitting booze
In this hectic modern day world people resort to excessive alcohol consumption to cope with stress, depression or lack of employment. This can in turn cause alcoholism, a dreadful condition which can have the unfortunate complication of quitting alcohol forever. This is done through Alcoholics Anonymous where you sit in a circle with a bunch of dropkicks and tell the story of the time you punched a baby in the face after being reassured that "There are no judgments here".
Like normal prohibition it can also be repealed through the classical "bingeing relapse" also known as the "Nah mate, I'll just have one".