Prohibition Party’s Bill Bayes to Run for President

According to Rick Knox, national chairman of the Prohibition Party, Bill Bayes, the Prohibition Party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, will seek the 2020 presidential nominations of both the Prohibition and Constitution parties.

Bayes, 66, lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he owns a manufacturing business.  He is a former teacher and band director.  His role as the running mate of 2016 Prohibition Party presidential nominee Jim Hedges, marked his first run for public office.  The Hedges-Bayes ticket received 5,617 votes, the most for the party since 1988.

Earlier this month, Bayes again ran for office, standing in the Republican primary for city council in Hattiesburg.  In a three man race, he finished third with 41 votes or 4 percent of the total.  You can watch him participate in a debate for the race here.

Bayes considers himself politically conservative.  In an interview last year with Mississippi Today, he expressed pro-Confederate positions, strong support for States’ rights, and endorsed the controversial HB 1523.  He linked his decision to join the Prohibition Party with the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nomination of Senator John McCain, whom Bayes described as a “liberal democrat.”  Bayes said the only presidential candidate he “really” voted for was Ronald Reagan.

106 thoughts on “Prohibition Party’s Bill Bayes to Run for President

  1. NewFederalist

    Prohibition and Constitution nominations. Why stop there? AIP? American Heritage?

  2. NewFederalist

    Perhaps. It was Amondson who brought down the Dodge machine and opened up the party for potential future growth.

  3. Michigan Voter

    I was hoping Hedges would run again. He was interesting to listen to. He actually was progressive on environmental issues and thought it would be a way to get younger people to pay attention. I am by no means a Prohibitionist (sipping a beer as I type this), but Hedges is the first ever Prohibition Party candidate I would have considered if I was doing a protest vote.

  4. Jonathan Makeley

    Hedges decided he was too old to run again in 2020. Although, it’s still two years until the 2019 convention, so its not certain yet that Bayes will be the nominee (though there’s a good chance he will). It may be possible that another member may seek the nomination, as with 2012 (where both Hedges and Fellure sought the nomination), or that events come up that direct things in a different direction, as with 2016 (where initially Greg Seltzer sought the nomination before being appointed to the Maryland board of elections, and Hedges who was seeking the vp nomination then sought the presidential nomination).

  5. Tony From Long Island

    But who will be the candidates for the Whigs and the Free-Soil Party?

  6. Rev. James W. Clifton

    Bayes and Knox, according to several Party members, have been in collusion to divide the Party and create the American Independent Statesman Party.

  7. JamesT

    Interesting. I wonder given the rise of fringe ideologies and contrarianism if the PP can get a larger cult following in the years to come. I’m morbidly fascinated by them

  8. Tony From Long Island

    Why would anyone be fascinated with a party whose name itself harkens to one of the most failed experiments in American history?

  9. Jonathan Makeley

    National Prohibition was actually rather successful in reducing alcohol use and improving conditions in society. Much of what people think about prohibition is actually based on myths created after the end of prohibition, which don’t match up with the actual historical facts.

  10. Tony From Long Island

    And why should the government be involved in reducing alcohol use?

    Prohibition created one of the greatest crime waves in the history of our nation.

    Regardless, I find your claim of reduced alcohol use as a result of prohibition to be dubious at best. Maybe DURING prohibition, since it was ration difficult to procure it, but I’m sure the day it ended alcohol use per capita was not much different from the day that it began.

  11. Jonathan Makeley

    No it didn’t. That is one of the myths about national prohibition. The nation’s crime rate decreased by about 1/3rd during the period of national prohibition. Actually the prohibition period helped end one of the largest crime waves in the nation’s history; the crime wave of the 1910’s.

  12. NewFederalist

    Jonathan… are you a member of the Prohibition Party? You seem very well versed in party history.

  13. Cody Quirk

    In fact if not for Prohibition my great uncle wouldn’t have gotten wacked at such a young age, in the war zone that was Chicago then.
    And sadly still is… Albeit for different reasons.

  14. Cody Quirk

    One of the few benefits -never mind the high murder & incarceration rates.

  15. dL

    National Prohibition was actually rather successful in reducing alcohol use

    The use of some forms of alcohol. It also triggered an increase in consumption of more toxic forms of homemade alcohol like moonshine. I had a jar of that once…man…

    improving conditions in society.

    Subjective criteria RE: that. My objective criteria in judging other’s subjective moral criteria is that if takes a bunch of laws and uniforms w/ guns to enforce it, your subjective moral criteria for an improved moral society sucks…

    The nation’s crime rate decreased by about 1/3rd during the period of national prohibition.

    Not versed in the relative crime stats of the time off the top my head, but I imagine that if prohibition had been enforced to the letter of the law, those crime stat would have been just a wee bit higher than what was recorded. Of course, it goes w/o saying that prohibition turned localized/regional gangs into an international syndicate.

    All this is a bit of red herring. There’s little chance of the old alcohol prohibition returning. The modern alcohol prohibition is increased age limits for legal consumption and the DWI racket.

  16. ATBAFT

    I bet if we criminalized eating more than 2,000 calories per day, we could cut obesity rates by more than 50%. Wonder how the Prohibs explained Jesus turning water into wine so the party blast could continue?

  17. NewFederalist

    Read Charles Wesley Ewing’s “The Bible and its wines”. Explains it all.

  18. NewFederalist

    In the interest of full disclosure… I wanted to vote for Professor E. Harold Munn, Sr. in 1964, 1968 and 1972. He was the presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party all those years and a professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan. Hillsdale does not accept ANY money from any level of government. Unfortunately, the Prohibition Party failed to secure a position on the Michigan ballot for any of those elections so I voted for other nominees. I believe that write-in votes are rarely tabulated. I voted absentee ballots for grandparents until I was old enough to vote on my own.

  19. paulie

    Who did you end up voting for in 1964? I know in another old thread you mentioned that you voted for Wallace in 1968 and iirc Schmiz in 1972, correct?

  20. NewFederalist

    I voted my Great-Grandmother’s absentee ballot for Barry Goldwater. My choices were Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson and Eric Hass of the Socialist Labor Party. Of those three I went for Goldwater.

  21. NewFederalist

    Year Nominee preferred Actual vote cast
    1964 E. Harold Munn, Sr. Barry M. Goldwater, Sr.
    MI Prohibition Party Republican Party

    1968 E. Harold Munn, Sr. George C. Wallace, Jr.
    MI Prohibition Party American Independent Party

    1972 E. Harold Munn, Sr. John G. Schmitz
    MI Prohibition Party American Independent Party

    1976 Roger L. MacBride Roger L. MacBride
    MI Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    1980 Edward E. Clark, Sr. Edward E. Clark, Sr.
    TX Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    1984 David P. Bergland Ronald W. Reagan
    TX Libertarian Party Republican Party

    1988 Ronald E. Paul Ronald E. Paul
    TX Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    1992 Andre V. Marrou Andre V. Marrou
    NM Libertarian Party Libertarian Party
    (Now regret not voting for independent candidate H. Ross Perot)
    1996 Harry E. Browne Harry E. Browne
    NM Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2000 Harry E. Browne Harry E. Browne
    NM Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2004 Michael J. Badnarik Michael J. Badnarik
    PA Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2008 Charles O. Baldwin Robert L. Barr, Jr.
    PA Constitution Party Libertarian Party

    2012 Gary E. Johnson Gary E. Johnson
    PA Libertarian Party Libertarian Party

    2016 Darrell L. Castle Darrell L. Castle
    PA Constitution Party Constitution Party

    My complete voting record.

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  23. paulie

    There were several states where they had enough signatures to get on the ballot in 2016 but the paperwork got messed up in one way or another. Hopefully those mistakes will not be repeated.

  24. Darcy G. Richardson

    Best of luck to Mr. Bayes in his quest to extend the longevity of America’s oldest third party.

    Speaking of the Prohibition Party, my latest book — The Lowest Ebb: Norman Thomas & America’s Minor Parties in 1944 — will be released in mid-July. I’ve already promised copies to a few IPR regulars — New Federalist, Trent Hill, Peter Gemma, Tom Knapp, Richard Winger and perhaps one or two others — but I should have a few extra copies once the book is published if anybody here would like a complimentary softbound copy. Since my supply will be limited, it’ll obviously have to be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Needless to say, I wish I could send a free copy to everyone at IPR, but that’s just not feasible. If you’re interested in receiving a free copy, shoot me an email at darcyrichardson at comcast dot net.

    While my book contains an extensive political biography of the Socialist Party’s Norman M. Thomas, “America’s Conscience” and arguably the greatest civil libertarian in American history, it also includes three rather lengthy chapters on the Texas Regulars and the incipient anti-Roosevelt movement brewing in the “Solid South” that year. The latter, of course, was a disquieting precursor to the Dixiecrat movement of 1948, which ranged from New Orleans industrialist John U. Barr’s year-long quest to draft Virginia’s reluctant Harry F. Byrd, Sr., for the presidency to the unsuccessful efforts of leading anti-fourth term Democrats to persuade colorful Texas Sen. W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, one of the New Deal’s most outspoken and arguably most quotable critics, to mount a third-party candidacy. I also devoted a couple of chapters in my narrative to the biographically-neglected Claude A. Watson, the Prohibition Party’s quick-witted presidential nominee in 1944.

    In addition to Watson’s spirited candidacy — the first of two campaigns that eventually pushed the Prohibition Party’s presidential vote totals back into a respectable six figures — my book also covers quite a few of the dry party’s state and congressional candidates that year, including 79-year-old former congressman Charles H. Randall of California, a man regarded by many as the father of national prohibition who was mounting yet another unsuccessful political comeback hoping to regain the House seat he held during World War I. In addition to the party’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates — and there were quite a few impressive dry candidates that autumn — my book also includes the candidacy of E. Harold Munn, a relatively young member of the Hillsdale College faculty who later waged several bids for the presidency (as New Federalist astutely pointed out in an earlier comment in this thread). Munn was seeking a seat in the Michigan Senate that year while doubling as his party’s statewide communications director.

    Watson, incidentally, was the only candidate for the presidency in 1944 to make an extensive tour of the south.

    Mounting the first of two consecutive campaigns for the presidency that year, the amiable and well-informed yet little-remembered Los Angeles lawyer — rattling off statistics from memory faster than a speeding train — claimed that repeal of national prohibition had actually prolonged World War II. He also asserted that it contributed to a marked increase in crime and juvenile delinquency, as well as an overall decline in productivity due to a spike in work-related absenteeism in the decade following the end of the “Noble Experiment” in 1933. Citing those same statistics, the pink-cheeked, fast-talking Prohibitionist — one of the most colorful presidential candidates in American history — later wrote a book about the country’s moral decline following repeal, facetiously titled Repeal Has Succeeded, which was published shortly after his little-remembered 1944 campaign.

    Railing against a product that “makes a man see double and think half,” the proud Prohibitionist waged a particularly vigorous campaign for the presidency that year — a candidacy that was all the more remarkable given wartime rationing and the relatively severe travel restrictions placed on each of the minor-party candidates — and nearly finished ahead of the Socialist Party’s widely-recognized Norman Thomas, America’s leading third-party activist whose support at the ballot box sadly plummeted to an all-time low that year.

    Despite his dismal showing that year, Thomas later said that he was more proud of his 1944 candidacy — the most grueling and excruciatingly difficult campaign of his lifetime — than any of his other five tries for the presidency.

    Unfortunately, the so-called “Greatest Generation” had little time for anybody running outside the duopoly in wartime America. It was a critically important election, but to the vast majority of the electorate the Thomas and Watson candidacies, as well as the energetic candidacy of the Socialist Labor Party’s Edward A. Teichert, a little-known western Pennsylvania steelworker who outhustled and outspent his minor-party rivals — all three of whom, adhering to their respective party platforms, had plenty of profound things to say that year — apparently weren’t even worthy of a footnote in American history.

    For those who might be interested, you can read the book’s somewhat lengthy introduction here.

  25. James Hedges

    Thank you for the compliments! I’m not going to make another run for office, for any office, because at age 80 my physical decline has set in, and I would not appear as a plausible contender.

    Today’s Prohibition Party must re-package its message to incorporate today’s issues, to appeal to younger generations than mine. That means discussing women’s equality, racial ethnic and religious equality, environmental protection, and access to health care and education; it means not re-hashing the Civil War, not prolonging conspiracy theories about Obama’s birthplace, not alleging malign manipulation of the Federal Reserve. Whether or not any of these fringe issues may be true, today’s young people — the future voters which the Prohibition Party must recruit in order to stay alive — are not interested in hearing about them.

    Beverage alcohol is still a problem. Recent popular books and television shows have sought to attract buyers and viewers by sensationalizing the negative aspects of National Prohibition . Statistics proving the benefits of 12 dry years are available to anyone who looks for them.

    The well-documented failure of the major-party “war on drugs” is largely due to the fact that its basic tactic has been to fill prisons with (mostly) non-violent users, at great cost to the taxpayers and to otherwise innocent lives. National Prohibition was widely successful because it punished alcohol traffickers — the manufacturers and sellers, not the drinkers.

  26. Rev. James W. Clifton

    Bayes is a real nut job in my opinion. He believes President George W. Bush intentionally destroyed the Towers on 911, that Bush and Cheney distributed anthrax, that the CIA is praises Allah, that there is no United States as a nation because each state is an independent nation, states Robert E. Lee had no slaves, states the Civil War was not about slavery, states the Confederate rag is about heritage and not racism, practically worships another nut job in Donald Trump, and on and on and on. He makes George Wallace and Lester Maddox look like liberals. I have been a member of both the Libertarian and Prohibition parties since 1984. If Bayes is the nominee, I will resign from the Prohibition Party.

  27. Rev. James W. Clifton

    “That’s an…interesting combination.”

    On the surface, yes. I joined because it is America’s oldest existing third party and the membership kept decreasing and I wanted to help keep it alive. Many of, however, in the Party, are no longer interested in the prohibition of alcohol. We prefer to educate the general public on the dangers of alcohol consumption, especially in excess, and how that excess destroys families, the drinker’s health, is responsible for most situations of domestic violence, contributes to traffic deaths, etc.

  28. paulie

    I didn’t know that. Nothing wrong with that mission, although I’m not sure why it requires a political party, or the name prohibition or a party with a long history of advocating for government prohibition of alcohol. In my mind political parties exist to in one way or another change existing government policies, not to change people’s personal habits. The Temperance Leagues were not exactly known for adhering to the libertarian non-initiation of force principle either, but at least the name seems more compatible with peaceful advocacy of sobriety than say Prohibition Party.

  29. James Hedges

    The Libertarian Party and the Prohibition Party do, in fact, make a logical pair.
    A central tenet of libertarianism is to avoid coercive behavior — to do no harm to others. This has parallels in various religious doctrines and in the Hippocratic Oath of medicine.
    The most recent research — a meta-analysis of many individual studies — shows that any amount of alcohol harms the human body; there is no “safe level” of drinking. Therefore, furnishing alcohol to another person, even as a well-intentioned gift, is to harm that person and is in some sense “coercive” and anti-libertarian.
    This in no way forbids making your own hooch in your own home and drinking it at home (so long as you refrain from beating your wife while under the influence). You are free to do foolish things which result in harm to yourself, you are only forbidden to harm others.
    National Prohibition is a policy aimed only at preventing harm to others — a libertarian principle.

  30. paulie

    Therefore, furnishing alcohol to another person, even as a well-intentioned gift, is to harm that person and is in some sense “coercive” and anti-libertarian.

    In what sense is it coercive? Lots of things people do carry risks and can cause harm to them. The essence of libertarianism is that it is the individuals involved, not the state, who make the decisions as to what risks and harms they accept as worth the price. By contrast, government getting in between a willing seller and a willing buyer is inherently coercive, even if the product is, say, a suicide concoction or amputation of a healthy limb. The libertarian principle is that each individual owns his or her own body and is free to decide what to do with it, including poisoning themselves. As you correctly point out, at the same time they must accept the consequences of any resulting behavior that causes harm to others, such as the likelihood that they may engage in domestic violence as a result of consuming a substance which lowers their inhibitions.

    If the libertarian doctrine was in fact to have government judge what is harmful to people and weigh the risks, costs and benefits for them, that would lead to a highly totalitarian outcome with a government micro-managing many aspects of individual lives that we would never find acceptable. Enforcing such policies is likewise both ineffective and leads to many destructive side effects as we have seen with both alcohol prohibition and today’s drug war.

  31. Seebeck

    The only thing Prohibition was good for was to properly illustrate that it requires a constitutional amendment to restrict the creation, sale, and use of private property (alcohol), not the statutory nonsense that currently exists under the excuse of regulating interstate commerce.

    As for the Prohibitionist Party calling itself the oldest third party, that is very debatable. Oldest remaining doesn’t even work because the Republican Party was originally a third party that formed in 1854 against the Democrats and the Whigs, while the Prohibition Party formed in 1869, after the Whigs’ demise in 1860.

    But since they are in reality a political dodo bird in the modern world, they can claim what they want, and very few if anybody will actually care. I only mention it because I believe in accuracy.

    Now if, y’all will excuse me, my beer is finally cold.

  32. Andy

    Aren’t there some health benefits from alcohol, or at least some form of alcohol? I have heard that a glass of wine a day is good for the heart.

    Regardless of this, I do agree that there can be lots of negative consequences from using alcohol, however, most people who use alcohol do so in moderation.

    I do not think that this should be a political issue. The record of governments trying to prevent people from using and/or abusing alcohol and other drugs is not a good one, as it led to mass infringements on civil liberties, and ironically, more people abusing these substances, as well as increases in crime with criminal gangs rising up to meet the demand for these products, and it also increased government corruption, which includes cases of government officials being caught dealing the drugs that they are supposed to be banning.

    If you want to do something about the problems of alcohol and drug abuse, you should focus on educating people about why it is bad to abuse these things. Keep in mind though that some people are going to abuse these thing regardless of how much you try to educate them as to why they are bad.

    The key should be to hold people accountable for harm they cause as a result of abusing alcohol or other drugs. You could also shun people who abuse these substances.

  33. Seebeck

    >The most recent research — a meta-analysis of many individual studies — shows that any amount of alcohol harms the human body; there is no “safe level” of drinking.

    Meta-analysis is also known as junk science, since all it is, is crunching summary numbers, meaning it has no meaning.

    There actually has been shown conclusively through actual science that moderate alcohol consumption of certain types of wine actually does reduce cancer risks while not harming the body. Normal intake of fermented vegetables is also quite healthy.

  34. James Hedges

    You’re missing the distinction between buyer and seller: Alcohol pushers, and the vendors of other recreational drugs, are aggressively pursuing sales of an item which, when used as directed, will cause harm to the buyer, and to all those around him, and to the taxpayers. This is “injuring your neighbor,” which is strictly against libertarian ethics.
    Prohibition acts to prevent sales, not to prevent voluntary use of the product itself. And this is the crux of the problem with the “war on drugs:” Governmental drug policy persecutes buyers/users, while Prohibition policy attacks sellers.
    Government can legitimately act to forestall profiting from causing harm.

  35. Andy

    Lots of products can cause harm to people. Also, nobody forces anyone to purchase alcohol or other drugs.

  36. Andy

    The government has gone after people for marijuana for several decades, and it turned out that there are medicinal benefits to marijuana, which is not to say that it can’t be abused, but there are most definitely has beneficial uses as well.

  37. paulie

    Alcohol pushers, and the vendors of other recreational drugs, are aggressively pursuing sales of an item which, when used as directed, will cause harm to the buyer, and to all those around him, and to the taxpayers. This is “injuring your neighbor,” which is strictly against libertarian ethics.

    That’s incorrect. Sellers and buyers are equivalent in a libertarian view – that is there can be no seller without buyers and no buyers without sellers. Sellers simply meet the demand that exists. Someone is going to whenever and wherever demand does exist, and using law enforcement resources to try to prevent willing buyers from finding willing sellers doesn’t actually prevent that from happening, it just creates a whole host of additional problems.

    Virtually anything anyone buys or sells carries risks and some degree of harm. If we apply that standard, we would be living in a bizarrely totalitarian nanny state even far worse than anything we have today. We would all be living in bubbles kept safe from blunt objects, sharp objects, just about any kind of entertainment – but then we wouldn’t have much of any kind of lives, nor is it clear where the resources to pay for these bubbles and enforce all these rules would come from, since most kinds of labor also come with risks and costs.

  38. James Hedges

    That’s still incorrect: Willing sellers can, and do, exist where there are no willing buyers (have you ever held a yard sale?) Willing buyers can, and often do, exist where there are no willing sellers (want to fly to the moon?)

  39. Andy

    There has to be a willing buyer in order for there to be a seller. A yard sale will not sell anything without willing buyers.

  40. James Hedges

    Yes, the improper use of many products can cause injury, and there are defective examples of many ordinarily safe products. The essential point is that alcohol pushers knowingly try to persuade people to purchase something injurious, thereby profiting from the injury. The government does, and should, ban the sale of many other defective and/or dangerous products — it should also ban alcoholic beverages.

  41. Andy

    If we lived in a libertarian anarcho-capitalist society, people like James Hedges would be free to form their own voluntary communities where they could ban alcohol in that community, and in order for people to live there or visit there, they’d have to sign a contract agreeing to the ban on alcohol, and if they violate the ban, these people could be physically removed from the community.

    I probably would not want to live in that community, but there would probably be some market for it for people like James Hedges.

  42. James Hedges

    The putative “benefit” of wine comes from flavonoids in grape skins. I get, we all can get, the flavonoids by eating fresh grapes and drinking unfermented wine (“grape juice”) without incurring the risk of the alcohol in fermented wine.
    I was editor of a professional scientific journal for 11 years and am a published geomorphologist. I disagree with your opinion of meta-analyses.

  43. Andy

    The Christian bible says that Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Regardless of whether the story is true or not, should Jesus have gone to jail for this? Note that the bible says wine, not grape juice. Wine is an intoxicating substance.

  44. James Hedges

    Yes, the Republican Party began as a “third party.” Originally, it was a group of reformers and only later on became a conservative mouthpiece for big business. The Prohibition Party subsequently was formed by some of those disillusioned Republicans.
    The Prohibition Party subsequently drifted to the right, also, although it retains some progressives such as myself. You can get an idea of the right wing of the Party by looking at Bill Bayes facebook posts — he thinks Lincoln was a flaming liberal and that the wrong side won the Civil War. (He’s going to have some competition for our nomination!)

  45. James Hedges

    In olden times, people used “wine” the way we use “cider:” It could be either fresh or fermented, and one had to infer from the context which was meant. Most Bible translators do not try to sort this out.
    Also, because the Bible is an anthology of materials from several sources, it is likely that the various Bible writers disagreed among themselves about the use of fermented wine.
    And again, remember that fermentation was a method preserving the nutritional value of food before sterilization and air-tight containers were invented. In its time, it was a useful technique; today, we can do it in safer ways.

  46. Andy

    Fermented wine has been around for a long time, and it was around during the time that Jesus supposedly lived. Drinking fermented wine has long been a tradition at weddings. So it is not a stretch to say that if this story is true, that the wine Jesus served at that wedding was of the fermented variety. If it was, would you say that Jesus should have been arrested?

  47. Andy

    There are cities/towns and counties in this country today that are known as being “dry”, in that alcohol sales are banned in these places. It is still legal for people in these places to purchase alcohol elsewhere and use it in these cities/towns and counties, but they just can’t sell it there.

    I do not think that there are any laws today that would prohibit a private community from banning alcohol.

  48. paulie

    That’s still incorrect: Willing sellers can, and do, exist where there are no willing buyers (have you ever held a yard sale?)

    If there are no buyers, there’s no problem. If I want to sell drano as a recreational drug and no one is buying, I’m just stuck with a bunch of drano nobody wants. Your problem is that there are willing buyers, not that there aren’t.

    Willing buyers can, and often do, exist where there are no willing sellers (want to fly to the moon?)

    The willing buyers in that case just don’t have enough money yet. Also not a particular problem for alcohol sellers. Again, if no one who wanted alcohol could afford it, you also wouldn’t have an issue.

    But just to be clear, Prohibition Party has no problem with homebrewing and moonshining one’s own alcohol? And would be willing to help repeal laws against it? If so, that’s one issue where Libertarians and Prohibitionists could work together.

  49. paulie

    The government does, and should, ban the sale of many other defective and/or dangerous products

    That’s not the libertarian view. Harm and coercion are two different things, and it’s essential to understand the difference between the two in order to understand libertarianism.

  50. paulie

    Note that the bible says wine, not grape juice.

    That’s a matter of interpretation. You might recall that it wasn’t written in English originally. Some scholars have translated it as grape juice, as I understand it.

  51. Andy

    I have never seen it listed as grape juice. The vast majority of Christians say wine, and the Catholic church even serves wine as a part of their masses.

  52. paulie

    There are cities/towns and counties in this country today that are known as being “dry”, in that alcohol sales are banned in these places. It is still legal for people in these places to purchase alcohol elsewhere and use it in these cities/towns and counties, but they just can’t sell it there.

    I do not think that there are any laws today that would prohibit a private community from banning alcohol.

    I’m not aware of any either. I know we do still have dry counties in Alabama and any number of other states. One of the recent Prohibition Party national conventions was in Cullman County, Alabama, which ironically was dry at the time they booked it but no longer dry by the time it was held. At least two of the speakers there were libertarians – Richard Winger and Steve Gordon (RIP), ironically enough a big drinker himself. I think they had about nine people there, including the speakers.

  53. paulie

    I have never seen it listed as grape juice.

    I have. You have to look at some of the hardline protestant denominations and perhaps LDS (not sure, but they are tee totallers).

  54. Rev. James W. Clifton

    Good discussion regarding the bible and alcohol. I don’t think this is an appropriate forum to discuss this in depth, so I won’t. If anyone is really interested in this and wants a fascinating discussion of the words in Hebrew and Greek, I highly recommend “The Bible and Its Wines” by Charles Wesley Ewing, Ewing was an ordained minister of the Evangelical Church Alliance and I believe, a member of the Prohibition Party. I could be wrong about that but nevertheless, it is a fascinating book of impeccable scholarship. And I say this as an ordained minister with training in Hebrew, Akkadian, Ugarit, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. Amazon has used ones for about $10.

  55. paulie

    I don’t think this is an appropriate forum to discuss this in depth, so I won’t.

    We don’t usually get into theology too much here but in the case I don’t think it would be a problem. I wouldn’t want it to spread to most of our threads but I think a lot of the arguments for prohibition have been religious, and it did come up in this thread, so I feel like it would be on topic here. Do others here disagree?

  56. James Hedges

    This has become an impressive discussion. I’ll try to look at all of it later today. Meanwhile….

    Yes, a lot of the argument in favor of prohibition is religious. I try to keep mine evidence-based, to avoid the inevitable dispute over what the Bible writers meant by “wine.”

    I have a few brand new copies of “Bible and It’s Wines” still on hand. They’re free, if anyone would like one. Send me your PO address — Jim Hedges, Box 212, Needmore, Pennsylvania 17238

  57. Andy

    Since religion has been used as a reason for prohibition, I think that it is fair game for discussion.

  58. Seebeck

    I was editor of a professional scientific journal for 11 years and am a published geomorphologist. I disagree with your opinion of meta-analyses.

    I’ve been a mathematician and computer scientist for 23 years. I drive and help build satellites for a living. I’m married to a published agronomist and have helped her with her own studies, both published and not. We have 4 STEM degrees between us, and both of our fathers were engineers. I know statistics and how they are manipulated to achieve a predetermined result, and that tends to be what meta-studies do, because they tend to exclude contradictory studies from their sample set–cherry-picking their data. Averaging averages and deviating deviations means nothing more than trying to apply mechanical physics beyond the fourth dimension–it may look sexy on paper, but it has no validity in reality.

    The government does, and should, ban the sale of many other defective and/or dangerous products — it should also ban alcoholic beverages.

    That is both entirely un-libertarian (so much for that compatibility nonsense) and goes against why tort law exists.

    The error in your reasoning is the same error in reasoning with California’s Prop 65 warnings: anything can be harmful or dangerous if used improperly. You want to ban claw hammers, automobiles, firearms, tobacco, and water? All of them when used improperly can harm or kill–just like alcohol.

    The moment you start down that path, you wind up with a nameless and faceless bureaucrat placing some things on one list of being “legal” and others on another list being “illegal”, and we wind up with the same nonsense that both Alcohol and Drug Prohibition have been in their colossal failures. Such statism is completely incompatible with both libertarianism, and more importantly, individual freedom.

    National Prohibition is a policy aimed only at preventing harm to others — a libertarian principle.

    Nope. The libertarian NAP is not about preventing harm to others. It is about not doing harm to others. It is not up to you as Person A to prevent harm to Person B by Person C (although you may defensively if you choose, but you better know the full situation first!). It is only up to you as Person A to not harm Person B or C or D yourself. The only way prevention comes into play is by self-discipline, not discipline of others by aggressive force.

    Prohibition acts to prevent sales, not to prevent voluntary use of the product itself.

    And it is not the role of government to interfere in the peaceful voluntary exchange of goods and services, no matter what excuse is contrived. BATFE should be a convenience store, not a government agency.

    And during Prohibition itself, the government did in fact bust private users who were self-brewing, under the premise that by brewing, they intended to distribute–the very same bullshit that they use to this very day in the failed War on Drugs.

    Fact is, Prohibition of any product is un-libertarian, and people like me, who average a beer 6-pack every 6 months, by personal choice, do not need people like you to dictate my life to me. The American public generally agrees, which is why the Prohibition Party is in fact a political dodo bird and people drink and toke regularly without any problems.

  59. paulie

    The libertarian NAP is not about preventing harm to others. It is about not doing harm to others.

    It’s not even about not doing harm to others; it’s about not violating the consent of others. If two people agree to participate in a boxing or mixed martial arts contest they are going to do some harm to each other, the degree may vary but some harm will result. If several people want to play football or rugby or any contact sport they will suffer different degrees of harm. If you get into a car you will breathe some amount of exhaust, even if you don’t get into any kind of accident. If someone asks another person to dominate them in rough sex play there will be some harm; even if the sex is not rough it can result in venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancy, or even a wanted pregnancy can well cause harm to the mother or cause harm to both parents and the child depending on whether they stay together or what kind of parents they are.

    Not only can we not expect the government to decide which risks and costs of which mutually voluntary behaviors are acceptable, but it’s not even realistic to demand a “do no harm to anyone whatsoever” standard of ourselves. We can certainly decide what level of harm or risk of harm we are willing to accept for ourselves or to participate in with others, but the only legitimate question for libertarianism as such is whether any given activity is coercive, that is violating the will of one or more people involved, not whether or not it is harmful. That goes double for anything that we can allow any government to do.

  60. paulie

    And it is not the role of government to interfere in the peaceful voluntary exchange of goods and services, no matter what excuse is contrived. BATFE should be a convenience store, not a government agency.

    And during Prohibition itself, the government did in fact bust private users who were self-brewing, under the premise that by brewing, they intended to distribute–the very same bullshit that they use to this very day in the failed War on Drugs.

    Good point.

  61. James Hedges

    The Supreme Court has ruled that restrictive covenants in property deeds — as for “whites only,” but also applying to alcohol sales — are impermissible. The notable example is Harriman, Tennessee, which was founded as a “dry” town where alcohol could not be sold.

  62. James Hedges

    I’m speaking for myself, about personal production and use. I think that most members, including myself, would disapprove of doing that, but I would not legislate against it. The principle of doing what you want to on your own land is more important.
    Even that has reasonable limits: If I want to shoot fireworks on my 30 acres, where the nearest neighbor is a quarter of a mile away, there should be no law against doing so; if I lived on the 20th floor of a high-rise apartment building, my neighbors should be protected from my doing so.

  63. William T. Forrest

    There may be some restrictions on property deeds, but counties and states can still have dry laws, and many counties do. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve read that the ruling which restricts racial discrimination in property deeds also restricts banning alcohol.

    If true I think this identifies two areas where libertarians and prohibitionists can potentially work together. Libertarians could work with prohibitionists to restore the right of property owners to restrict alcohol by property deed, and prohibitionists could work with libertarians to legalize homebrewing and moonshining for personal use. Agreed?

  64. James Hedges

    Here is a relevant John Stuart Mill quote:

    The only purpose for which control can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.

  65. William T. Forrest

    I’m going to disagree with Mill.

    The only purpose for which control can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent him initiating actions against the will of others when he is not acting in response to same.

  66. James Hedges

    Some translations are literal, others try to give contemporary renderings of what the Bible writers are thought to have been getting at.

    As I said, I try to avoid stumbling into that swamp…..

  67. James Hedges

    Fermented wine is used in many non-Catholic churches. One practical reason is that circuit-riding ministers in rural areas cannot keep sweet wine fresh all day as they travel from congregation to congregation.

  68. James Hedges

    Only about 9 credentialed delegates; there were quite a lot more warm bodies in and out, including the Mayor of Cullman.

    —-

    I just inadvertently deleted someone’s unread comment — sorry!

  69. James Hedges

    Ewing was Chairman of the Prohibition National Committee 1971-79. As I noted earlier, I have a small stock of his book still on hand, for free distribution.

    —–

    Some of these short comments need no reply.

  70. James Hedges

    Not having analyzed the study in question, I can’t evaluate the potential “cherry-picking” problem. That sort of thing does go on.
    It was especially egregious in studies of Negro intelligence: People, white folks, would take an IQ test designed for well-educated children, administer it to children with other cultural backgrounds, who would do poorly, then do a meta-analysis of several such studies and proclaim incontrovertible evidence of Negro inferiority.
    One of the questions in the standard IQ test is “Who wrote the opera FAUST?” Back in the day, “everybody” knew, because the schools taught music history. (Today, they don’t even teach handwriting!) But unless you came from a prosperous and cultivated family, or were gentile poor, you learned nothing about any opera — and you flunked the question.

    The libertarian tort-law remedy works well enough for rich people. It is not available to the rest of us. We have to rely on laws and regulations.

  71. James Hedges

    Refer back to my John Stuart Mill quote. Also to the “we are our brother’s keeper” principle in religion. It comes down to ethics…..

    I like a lot of things about “leave me alone” libertarianism, but I disagree with the dog-eat-dog conclusion some of you advocate.

  72. James Hedges

    Current “dry laws” have been established by parliamentary votes or by referenda. They are not based on property restrictions.

    I suspect that your suggested Prohibition/Libertarian collaboration would work about as well as sleeping head-to-foot in bed.

  73. William T. Forrest

    Mr. Hedges,

    It would help if you quoted which comments you are replying to. Perhaps you can see them if you are replying to an email notification but they don’t show up on the website for those of us reading along here, which makes the conversation hard to follow.

  74. Seebeck

    It’s not even about not doing harm to others; it’s about not violating the consent of others.

    Point. I was making that specific contrast, but you are correct. Consent was not my contrast, since it clearly wasn’t in his.

  75. James Hedges

    Not if the lawscustoms of his country permitted the use of fermented wine. What people do in their own countries is their own business.

    The Prohibition Party disproves of attempts by both Democratic and Republican administrations to coerce other countries to adopt American ways of life.

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