Saturday, August 09, 2014

Birth Of A Notion

At the AV Club we get a discussion from Mike Vago on secret societies as explained by Wikipedia.  After noting the Ku Klux Klan bated blacks, Jews and Catholics, Vago offers this pearl of wisdom

Incongruously, the ’20s KKK were also big supporters of Prohibition.


I felt I'd dealt with this in the past, so I checked and found an old post, and it turned out I'd once discussed the inverse.  Someone was surprised to discover that the author of the book that inspired Birth Of A Nation was a progressive turned racist.   I noted there's no contradiction. The essence of progressivism was improvement of society through government action.  If you were a racist, as so many progressives were then by our standards, there was no contradiction.

Neither is there anything incongruous with the Ku Klux Klan supporting Prohibition.  I suppose Vago, without sufficient historical perspective, is trying to force today's templates onto the past.  He saw the KKK as a terrorist organization operating in the shadows, and thus not likely to get behind big government programs.  But shouldn't he ask himself just what did the KKK believe in?  They believed they were purifying society.  Is it surprising such people would support Prohibition?

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