I say we, the people who create the governing power, have a duty to perform. What is it? That we shall exert our efforts and put forth our energies to hasten the dawn of that day when the sentiment which now sustains the drink traffic shall be replaced by a total abstinence sentiment.
If the strength and the sustaining force of the traffic were in the ballot box, there would be a possibility of dethroning it in that way. But, unfortunately, the root of the evil is not there, nor is it in the open saloon, nor is it to be found in the distillery, but it is grounded, and, I regret to say, it flourishes in the passions, the appetites, and the customs of the people, who are the governing power. Public sentiment is the basis of law, and public sentiment is simply individual sentiment taken in the aggregate. A spring cannot rise higher than its source. And prohibition, to be successful, must be the outgrowth of a sentiment which is based upon the self-sacrifice involved in total abstinence, enforced in the individual life of the nation. This involves agitation, education, and regeneration. To educate the public mind and to awaken the public conscience is equivalent to enacting laws upon the subject, because out of the mind and heart of the people the laws of the land are made. The people need to realize their responsibility as individuals; and we should lay down a principle that, while men are licensed to sell liquor, none have a license to take the cunning from the hand of any man, the genius from his brain, or the happiness from his home. If these are laid upon the altar of Bacchus, it is by the consent of the possessor of them.
The man who is a drunkard has no intellectual freedom. Science declares that alcohol seeks the intellectual faculties, clogs the brain cells, distorts the reason, vitiates the mind, shatters the nerve centres, and he who is diseased with inebriety cannot enjoy intellectual freedom.