The New Prohibition Party


By ROGER W. BABSON, Economist and Candidate for President of the U. S. Prohibition Party

Delivered over Columbia Broadcasting System, from New York City, June 19, 1940

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VI, pp. 668-669.

I AM only a businessman. Moreover my field is dry statistics. These statistics have, however, taught me this fact:—For the Business of any nation, state or community to prosper, the better people must continually fight evil wherever and whenever it appears.

Statistics also show the great loss to the nation through crime, liquor, roadhouses, gambling, indecent publications, block-booked movies, curb-loan companies and other commercialized evils. Statistics indicate that this needless waste amounts to about 15 billions of dollars annually, of which only a paltry five hundred million is returned in taxes. But this great material waste is insignificant compared with the loss of manhood, health, and general welfare which goes with it.

Statistics further indicate that over 80% of this evil and waste is due to 25% of the people. The Gallop and other polls show that 25% of the American people have never thought and do not now think. To them thinking is the same as sawing wood or shoveling coal on a hot day. This means that the majority of the people must think for this non-thinking 25%. Otherwise this small minority will undermine the character, health, and earning power of the nation.

Of course, those who profit from these commercialized evils "poo-poo" at prohibition in any form or for any purpose. Yet we all know that scores of things—from the passing of bogus checks to the passing of red lights—are now necessarily prohibited. Statistics clearly show that if democracy is to be saved, this list must be extended. Yet the fundamental purpose of the NEW Prohibition Party is not toprohibit definite things per-se; but to prohibit this 25% from undermining the entire 100%. This is especially important as this irresponsible 25% are breeding faster than the 75% who do think and can be trusted. As we protect property against fire, as we protect industry against unfair competition, and as we protect farmers and labor in their efforts, we should protect the majority of our people, and especially posterity, against this helpless or dangerous 25%. This group, moreover, includes some rich and poor, some big business as well as the submerged tenth.

The NEW Prohibition Party is not asking for reenactment of the Eighteenth Amendment. It is no longer trying to work from the top down. From now on it is determined to work from the bottom up,—starting with young people. Furthermore, it recognizes that all things have their uses as well as abuses. Our first aim will be to have character building the basic goal of schools and colleges. We shall insist upon the consideration of habits and behavior when public jobs and public aid are dispensed. We, of course, would make it a criminal offense for anyone to sell certain products to or to admit into certain places unemployed persons whose families have requested protection.

A study of our platform shows that it applies the same principles to economic as well as to moral issues. This platform states that we should help "certain farmers," "useful employers," "worthy youth and aged," and "friendly nations." It urges that all policies be determined from a character standpoint. This, moreover, is not a new idea. We now prohibit those below a certain age from marrying; we now prohibit those of the female sex from working at certainjobs or during certain hours; and we now prohibit those lacking a required education from practicing medicine dentistry, and other occupations. The NEW Prohibition Partyis merely demanding that—in the interests of all the people-the same principle be extended.

Election statistics also show the great need for the NEW Prohibition Party if righteousness and good business is to reign. I refer to these two facts: (1) At the last national election nearly ten million—who were eligible to vote—refused to vote for the presidential nominee of either of the two major parties. They simply could not conscientiously do so. (2) The great church forces divided their votes almost equally between these two major parties so that their influence for righteousness and good business was almost nil. On the first Sunday of November, 1936, they united in singing the same hymns, and in reading from the same Bible, and in making the same prayers; but two days later divided almost fifty-fifty in casting their votes. If this nation is to enjoy peace and prosperity, this nonsense must cease. This means that the serious-minded people of this country, who want right put before expediency, should separate from the major parties and unite in some new party which stands for righteousness first. I believe that the NEW Prohibition Party serves such a purpose.

Many ask why we all refer to the NEW Prohibition Party. Therefore, let me explain certain differences:

(1) To the old party the word "prohibition" referred only to liquor. To the new party it refers to all commercialized evils. The new party is no longer a "one-track" party.

(2) The old party tried to eliminate these evils by electing a party administration to power which will totally abolish the liquor traffic. The New Party will first direct its efforts to youth; then to those on relief and government jobs; and then to ail of the 25% or more to which I have above referred. Personally, I am willing to trust to the good sense and consciences of the remaining 75% of the people.

(3) The new party appeals for a spiritual revival recognizing that only as men are "reborn" can permanent headway be made. Uncle Sam today is like a man with boils; an unemployment boil, an old-age boil, a farmer's boil and an international boil. The two big political parties are giving various ointments for these boils. As one heals up a new one breaks out. Finally, the man quits doctoring the boils, takes a good laxative, goes to bed early, exercises in the fresh air, eats properly and all boils disappear! Like that man, this country needs only to build up its system, live a normal life, fear God, and its boils will disappear.

To enforce the above policies requires that a political party be in power pledged for such a program,—a party which is free from entangling alliances with corrupt interests.

In this connection it is well to also look ahead. All thinking people must realize that the Roosevelt so-called emergency measures cannot continue much longer without breaking down. Price fixing, limiting the hours for work, paying farmers not to plant crops, and even "social security," as now set up, must before long collapse. As both of the major parties are now promising these same things in order to get votes, some day both will suffer a great reaction. When the people are finally disillusioned and feel that both of the big parties have "sold them down the river" for votes, there should be some new third party, which has been honest with them, to which they can then turn. Today these people are like the hungry mule between two bales of sawdust. We want these disillusioned people to be able to turn to some group other than the Communist Party. Moreover, this must be a group not dominated by any business interests who are using the war as a cover to eliminate many useful reforms for which we have the Roosevelt Administration to thank.

Therefore, the NEW Prohibition Party is today telling the people the truth about social and economic problems. We are telling them that both the unemployed and employers can save themselves only through their own self-improvement, greater moral responsibility and increased efficiency. America's hope lies with being willing to make principles, behavior and habits a requirement for freedom, benefits and government aid. Moreover, Democracy must be saved and enlarged. This means not only within the United States but within other nations as well. This is far more than a military problem. It is a spiritual problem which means that to avoid a World War Number Three, Jesus must preside over the next World Peace Conference.

This especially applies now when people are going "haywire" over national defense. Tanks and airplanes may win battles, but not wars. Wars are won only by character, intelligence, self-control, and courage. In fact, the hope of the world awaits a spiritual awakening whereby men are truly born again. It is well to appropriate money for defense, but these billions will do little good unless accompanied by a corresponding development in the character of us people.

Mr. E. V. Moorman, our Vice Presidential candidate, as well as I, and all of the other NEW Prohibition candidates on state and local tickets hate Hitlerism. We, however, do feel that some happy medium must be discovered between the brutal autocracy of Germany and the unbridled waste of America. Democracy, as now set up, is only an experiment, and is fast becoming "monocracy". We cannot yet consider it a finished product. We of the NEW Prohibition Party believe that democracy and prosperity will be saved only as it is motivated by spiritual forces. One final thought: NEVER WAS A VOTE WASTED WHEN IT WAS CAST FOR A PRINCIPLE.