July 09, 2010
The 1920 Census
You learn something new every day.
Congress failed to reapportion following the 1920 Census. The failure was in part the result of a difference of opinion over the method of dividing political power. Throughout the 1920s, Congress debated which of two mathematical models for reapportionment--whose outcomes for distribution of House seats differed--would be used. In 1929, one mathematical method was selected for the reapportionment, but it was not applied until after the 1930 Census. Furthermore, the debate about apportionment methods was not over. In 1941, a different model was chosen called "the method of equal proportions." It is still in use today.So what was the practical effect of all these shenanigans? Funny you should ask. In discussing Daniel Okrent's Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition George Will has this to say.
By 1900, per capita consumption of alcohol was similar to today's, but mere temperance was insufficient for the likes of Carry Nation. She was "six feet tall, with the biceps of a stevedore, the face of a prison warden, and the persistence of a toothache," and she wanted Prohibition. It was produced by the sophisticated tenacity of the Anti-Saloon League, which at its peak was spending the equivalent of 50 million of today's dollars annually. Okrent calls it "the mightiest pressure group in the nation's history." It even prevented redistricting after the 1920 Census, the first census to reveal that America's urban -- and most wet -- population was a majority.So that is how the census became delayed. And who was allied with the forces of prohibition and the dwindling rural population? You will never guess. Unless you like history as much as I do.
...President Woodrow Wilson's progressivism became a wartime justification for what Okrent calls ``the federal government's sudden leap into countless aspects of American life,'' including drink.Of course the Progressives had introduced drug prohibition in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act (except that cocaine is not a narcotic - but never mind), but they had bigger game in mind. Now what is so interesting about today's political situation is that "conservatives" spout progressive dogma about Drug Prohibition and yet haven't a clue as to the antecedents of their position.
So it seems that at one time progressives wanted to run all of your life and conservatives thought that your life was your own business not the government's. Now we have a division of labor so to speak. The liberals stand for personal liberty and economic chains while the conservatives go with personal chains and economic liberty. For the most part. They all have their little fetishes that intrude on the opposition's territory though. That is what makes them interesting even if they are mostly unbearable.
Oh. Yeah. The George Will piece is called: Bet on appetite, not law, for Americans. If we look at the opiate/cocaine laws first enacted 96 years ago it appears that appetite is still winning. And the pot laws which are only 73 years old? There are two grow op stores in my town of 150,000. At first they were harassed. Now after ten or fifteen years they are solid citizens. Verrrrrrry interesting? No?
Cross Posted at Power and Control
posted by Simon on 07.09.10 at 02:35 AM
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