This day in 1919 was irrefutably one of the darkest days in American history — the day the 18th amendment to the Constitution was ratified, making Prohibition the law of the land.

Forever the hallmark of nanny-statism run amok, Prohibition was a progressive dream come true — an amendment to the Constitution that limited freedoms rather than securing them.

Interestingly enough, the 16th amendment paved the way for the 18th amendment. With the income tax in place, the federal government was no longer reliant upon taxes from alcohol producers.

In his documentary Prohibition (which I highly recommend), Ken Burns explains:

Then the Great Depression happened. Income tax revenue saw a sharp drop and our beloved federal government looked elsewhere for cash. And so, Prohibition came to an end.

There were of course many, many other factors that led to the downfall of Prohibition. Regardless, the relationship between the nanny state and and taxation has a long, sordid history.

Any time I think America can’t possibly be stupid enough to (insert whatever stupid thing the government is considering), I remember that we voluntarily banned legal consumption of alcohol for 13 years.

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