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“The so-called personal liberty argument in behalf of alcoholic drink loses more and more of its force. Consideration of the public welfare continues to grow and overshadow the rights of the individual. The drink question must be fought out upon the ultimate foundation of morals, hygiene and social order-in other words, the public welfare. If the public welfare requires the suppression of the alcoholic drink traffic it should be suppressed.'' -From an editorial in the American Brewers' Review.
In a debate the first step necessary is to state the question-to agree on a ground on which to disagree. No social or political writer has more correctly stated the basis on which the liquor question is to be fought out, and satisfactory settlement reached, than has this editorial writer on the pro-liquor side of the controversy.
On this basis the question is before the American people ''on its merits'' alone.
In this volume an attempt is made to collect, in systematic order, for purposes of study and further investigation, the main facts of the actual present-day American liquor problem; to get together the materials needed by all who would understand the question broadly, and be of lasting service in bringing it to solution.
It is as necessary to understand the question as a whole, not merely its fragments, as to attempt to tell how it should be settled. It is the hope here very briefly but clearly to state the sources of the problem, the place of the liquor institution in human affairs, its grip on human nature, and its consequences under present-day living conditions. Such a broad view should suggest remedies with some degree of scientific value. Whether the purpose is here accomplished or not, it may be said that the attempt has been made honestly and conscientiously.
Whatever place drink may have served in the evolution of society in the past, its present worth to humanity depends upon present day facts and consequences. What to do about it should be determined by its broader influences in human life and living, on health, wealth, social happiness, moral ideals, and spiritual values. No theorizing about "inherent wrong," on the one hand, or ''personal liberty'' on the other can be of much service. The question is one of practical consequences on every-day life.
The book does not assume to discuss methods. It endeavors to bring out the broad sociological facts and principles relating to the widespread use of alcoholic liquor on which permanent methods of individual and social reform should be based.
To college and university men and women, and to others anxious to be of service to public welfare in the overthrow of drink-in that to which the book frankly leads, its complete banishment, it is respectfully dedicated.
HARRY S. WARNER. CHICAGO, ILL., September 25, 1913.