Filmmaker Ken Burns on Prohibition, Drug Laws and Unintended Consequences


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"Slavery was our worst idea," says legendary documentarian Ken Burns. "I'm not sure that Prohibition was second, but it's really up there."

Burns talks to's Nick Gillespie about his new PBS film, an in-depth look at one of the most controversial episodes in U.S. history. "The Noble Experiment," notes Burns, left a legacy of organized crime, moral hypocrisy, single-issue politics, and unintended consequences from which we're still recovering.

About 13 minutes. Shot by Jim Epstein, Anthony Fisher, and Meredith Bragg, who also edited the piece.

Go here to watch Burns discuss his ardent support for public funding of the arts, the breakdown of mass audiences, and whether his self-description of being a "Yellow Dog Democrat" affects his creative work.

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