Feature

Say goodbye to the old prohibitions

Prohibition didn&rsquo;t work in 1920s, and as we enter a new era of individual freedom, other prohibitions of various sorts are now headed for the dustbin of history, said Jacob Weisberg in <em>Slate.com.</em>

Jacob WeisbergSlate.com

The term is “prohibition,” said Jacob Weisberg, and it has come to stand for “futile attempts to legislate morality and remake human nature.” It didn’t work in 1920, when the nation launched a federal ban on alcohol, and as we enter a new era of individual freedom, other prohibitions of various sorts are now headed for the dustbin of history.

Within a decade, it’s likely that “Americans will travel freely to Cuba, that all states will recognize gay unions, and that few will retain criminal penalties for marijuana use by individuals.” These changes are already underway; public support for gay unions, for example, has grown so rapidly that their eventual legalization is a foregone conclusion.

Why? America’s long-standing libertarian impulses have been magnified by the Internet, “the freest communications system the world has ever known.” Now that people can choose from thousands of sources of information, and create online interest groups of like-minded individuals, they have raised expectations about being able to make their own choices.

Sorry, you Puritans: “In a world where everyone has his own printing press, restrictions on private behavior become increasingly untenable.”

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