People believe in personal liberty. They regard any interference in the manner or quantity of what they take into their bodies as an invasion of personal rights. They claim these are not questions to be regulated by law, and I agree with them. I believe that people will finally learn to use spirits temperately and without abuse, but teetotalism is intemperance in itself, which breeds resistance, and without destroying the rivulet of the appetite only dams it and makes it liable to break out at any moment. You can prevent a man from stealing by tying his hands behind him, but you cannot make him honest.
The people of this country, no matter how much they may deplore the evils of intemperance, are no longer willing to support a system of spying into each other’s affairs. They know that prohibition needs thousands of officers – that it breeds informers and spies and peekers and skulkers by the hundred in every county. They know that laws do not of themselves make good people. Good people make good laws. Americans do not wish to be temperate upon compulsion. The spirit that resents interference in these matters is the same spirit that made and keeps this a free country.
All this crusade and prayer-meeting business will not do in politics. We must depend upon the countless influences of civilization, upon science, art, music – upon the softening influences of kindness and argument. As life becomes valuable people will take care of it. Temperance upon compulsion destroys something more valuable than itself – liberty. I am for the largest liberty in all things.