Monday, September 26, 2011

Ken Burns Documentary Series on Prohibition

Yesterday's Prohibition
Today's Drug War
"Prohibition is a three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (premieres October 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 2011 at 8 PM on PBS) that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed."

Here's more information, with a little extra editing to maybe suggest a sequel for Ken Burns:

"Prohibition The Drug War was intended to improve, even to ennoble, the lives of all Americans, to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol drug abuse.  But the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality. Thugs became celebrities, responsible authority was rendered impotent. Social mores in place for a century were obliterated. Especially among the young, liquor drug consumption rocketed.

Prohibition The Drug War turned law-abiding citizens into criminals, made a mockery of the justice system, caused illicit drinking drug use to seem glamorous and fun, encouraged neighborhood gangs to become national crime syndicates, permitted government officials to bend and sometimes even break the law, and fostered cynicism and hypocrisy that corroded the social contract all across the country. With Prohibition The Drug War in place, but ineffectively enforced, one observer noted, America had hardly freed itself from the scourge of alcohol drug abuse – instead, the "drys" drug prohibitionists had their law, while the "wets" millions of Americans had their liquor drugs

The story of Prohibition the Drug War is a compelling saga that goes far beyond the oft-told tales of drug gangsters in the U.S., Mexico and Colombia, rum marijuana runners, and cocaine smugglers, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation. The film raises vital questions that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago – about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government and finally, who is — and who is not — a real American."

Here's a preview:

Watch the full episode. See more Ken Burns.
HT: Mike LaFaive


At 9/26/2011 3:52 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Explain to me again: I grow a plant on my own property. I cull the plant, chop it up into small bits. I wrap the plant in paper, and I smoke it.

I go to prison.

At 9/26/2011 7:18 PM, Blogger Bernie Ecch said...

Great idea. Legalize narcotics. Make it even easier for the corporate system lords to loot the country by turning the proles into sedated zombies. The NFL and reality TV won't do the job entirely.

At 9/26/2011 8:11 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...


The let us illegalize having a beer and watching the NFL.

I don't happen to smoke pot, but I would have to blow a Led Zeppelin to watch realty TV....

At 9/27/2011 1:35 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Why wait on Ken Burns when there is so much here and now?

At 9/27/2011 2:22 AM, Blogger Kristjan Velbri said...

Russ Roberts from EconTalk had a very interesting interview with Daniel Okrent on the prohibition.

At 9/27/2011 5:53 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Bernie Ecch: "Great idea. Legalize narcotics. Make it even easier for the corporate system lords to ..."

Maybe you shouldn't take them. And what makes you think the "corporate system lords" aren't behind the prohibition? Maybe you're already their pawn.

At 9/27/2011 8:40 AM, Blogger morganovich said...


people who use insane phrases like "corporate system lords" are always someone's pawn.

it's a clear sign of brainwashing and an inability to formulate clear ideas about reality.

At 9/27/2011 8:41 AM, Blogger morganovich said...


given a choice between supporting monsanto and genentech as opposed to the cali drug cartel, the crips, and the bloods, isn't the choice pretty obvious?

At 9/27/2011 9:31 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The same reasoning can be used to legalize illegal immigration.

At 9/27/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from PeakTrader: "The same reasoning can be used to legalize illegal immigration."

You say that like it's a bad thing.

At 9/27/2011 1:19 PM, Blogger Ian Random said...

Florida in essence had legalized drugs prescription drug abuse. Amazingly people could actually pay the doctor the prescribing doctor. Users still died. Maybe it has something to do with an abuser having access to large quantities of the substance. I think Frontline did something on meth and talked about a graph correlating purity and ED use. The only graph I could find shows the opposite.

At 9/27/2011 1:28 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"You say that like it's a bad thing"...

Hey geoih, can you say dangerous?

At 9/27/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger Marko said...

So, in states that have largely legalized marijuana (or decriminalized at the state level) have crime rates fallen more than in states that have not done this? Have the gangs gone out of business? Is the culture recovering from 'prohibition' yet? Is there any empirical evidence yet that partial decriminalization has done what the advocates say it will do?

Real question.

At 9/27/2011 8:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "Geoih, it wouldn't be bad for illegal drug users and illegal immigrants."

But doesn't legalization make them drug users and immigrants?


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