Third Parties

Earl Dodge, 1932-2007

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Earl Dodge, the Prohibition Party's perennial presidential nominee, has died at age 74, presumably of whatever the opposite is of cirrhosis of the liver. Former Reasoner Bill Kauffman wrote an affable profile of Dodge for The American Enterprise during the 2000 campaign. Here's an excerpt:

Earl Dodge is amiable and garrulous—"my mother said I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle"—even after we establish that I would legalize marijuana and he would criminalize beer. While he is a True Believer, he does not routinely break out the Carrie Nation hatchet or subject stray wets to harangues on the Demon Rum. "Don't drive me to drink!" he jokes with wet friends. And no, he is not a reformed drunk out to scourge the liquid that put him in the gutter: "I've got many faults but I've never had a drink of alcohol in my life."….

Dodge concedes that immediate prohibition today is impracticable: "There'd be no point in enacting a law without majority support because you couldn't enforce it, and drinking is an ingrained practice in America." So while "prohibition is the ultimate answer, in the meantime we favor education" and the semi-prohibitionist steps advocated by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "We are slowly going in the direction of a dry nation," Dodge says confidently. "If I live to 80 or 85, I expect to see some form of prohibition."

Although Dodge doesn't "know of a single person in our party who smokes," the party takes a laissez-faire line on tobacco. "Unless they're blowing smoke in your face, they're not infringing on your rights," he says, whereas alcohol "takes good people and turns them into beasts. Marijuana, LSD, cocaine: All those drugs put together don't hurt a fraction of the people that booze does. The only parties that are honest and consistent on the alcohol-drug issue are the Prohibition Party and the Libertarians. They want to legalize it all; we want to ban it all."

Six years shy of Dodge's 80th birthday, how close are we to "some form" of Prohibition? David Harsanyi answered the question in the November Reason.