The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, January 16, 1921, Magazine Section, Page 3, Image 75

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    TIIE SUNDAY O I? EG O XI A N, PORTLAXD, JANUARY 1G, 1921
"KILLJOY" KRAMER AND HIS VIEWS ON "DRY" PSYCHOLOGY
The Pot of Public Disapproval Will Simply Boil ItseU Dry Is the Opinion of the
Man Directing the Enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution
BY WILLIAM ATHERTO.V DUPCY.
OTHTN'G could be easier."
aid John F. Kramer, "than
the enforcement of the pro
hibition law. As time goes by it
will almost enforce Itself. Tou have
but to apply a bit of practical psy
chology to the situation to realize
bow the minds of men act under cer
tain situations, to know -thi4 the
present attitude toward prohibition
is perfectly normal. A little more
psychology reveals the situation five
years hence with all the breakers be
hind." When I heard these statements
from the man who Is charged by the
government with the enforcement of
the act which makes the eighteenth
amendment real, I hung limply to
the straight desk chair in which he
had seated me. I would not like-to
depreciate the friends with whom I
associate regularly because I must
submit to be Judged by them. I am
not particularly choosy about my
friends, however, and, discussing the
matter among ourselves some time
ago we decided that we were middle
class folks. But these friends of mine
tend toward the belief that we have
not got prohibition yet. Many of
them say that it will never be, that It
Is Impossible.
But here was John F. Kramer,
whom his enemies call "Killjoy," say
lng that it was easy. He ought to
know more about It than anybody
' else so I led him to talk. As he did
eo I looked at him a bit harder than
I had ever eyed him before. Again
I noted his spare and wiry form, his
bony face, his close-cropped. Iron-
gray head and mustache. I bore In
mind that there was a humorous
twinkle In his eye and thought may
be It would turn out to be a joke.
"I grant you," he continued, "that
there are otherwise mild-mannered
men who flush with anger over d's
cusslons of prohibition. They pound
the table excitedly, their voices rise
high.
"When this happens we should re
member that this la the most radical
piece of legislation In the whole his
tory of the nation. The abolition of
slavery was nowhere near as radical.
It affected but a part of the nation,
had to do with chattels. This law
affects everybody, puts a personal
prohibition on every man. It" says
thou shalt not' to the whole popula
tion. It is a radical thing.
"lien react radically. Differences
of opinion with relation to it are
very great. Wills are opposed, one
gainst the other. Opposition breeds
extreme statements. The talk be
comes wild.
"These things are happening In
Washington, in New Tork, Philadel
phia, Cincinnati In those communi
ties upon which prohibition broke
suddenly. They are not happening
In the states that have bad prohibi
tion for years. There the indigna
tion of the friends of liquor has died
out. The radical nature of It has
become an old story. It has been ac
cepted. Men resort to newer subjects
for their conversational thrills. So
will it be In those communities where
the pot boils in another year or two."
"Why is It," 1 asked, "that so much
conversation Is given to this subject?
People certainly talk a lot about
It."
"It is a really a mightily Important
thing," said Mr. Kramer. "Nothing
has ever happened that has made
Main street look so different, that
has made such radical changes In so
many lives. It is so revolutionary
that many minds cannot grasp the
fact that it is real. There are plenty
of people who still talk of it as
though it were a thing In prospect,
argue that It can never be. They
brush the fact that It has been pro
vided by an amendment to the con
stitution of the United States aside
as though It were merely one point
In the argument of the opposition. J
Ish. Such an appetite Is a harassing
thing. It leads men to patronize
bootleggers, to resort to home brew.
It Is a reason why a certain element,
not unduly numerous, sees red with
relation to prohibition.
"Happily, most people with the
habit strongly developed are well
along In life. Those who are not
cure will iwd pass away. The ris
ing generation will have no craving.
In years to come this problem will
not have to be met.
"The second great cause of viola'
tlons of the prohibition law is bra
vado. There are some people who did
not drink when there were saloons
on every corner who now go to great
extremes, to get liquor. There are
those who were mild drinkers who
are now imb'bing more heavily. One
is sometimes puzzled to know why
they should go to so much trouble.
"There Is the home brew enthusi
ast. He assidulously pursues the elus
ive 6 per cent and invests much
money In patent stills. All his spare
time-Is spent in learning an art In
which he had no Interest until it be
came unlawful.
"The answer to the activities of all
these people Is that they are still
boys. The boyish traits often survive
when the hair is gray. They are de
termined to have the thing that is
prohibited. They respond to that
queer quirk in the human brain which
tights against all restraint.
There is a considerable element In
the population that Is giving itself
to that thing which in children Is
called pouting. Psychologically, these
mental reactions are Just what was to
b4 expected. They could not have
failed to happen. But psychologically,
they are of little Importance. The
novelty of home brewing will soon
pass and the Industry will languish
and die. The bravado of patronizing
the bootlegger will eventually be
overcome by respect for law. Fret
ting against the chafe of the harness
will pass as the wearer gets used to
it. These facts have been well dem
onstrated in communities that passed
through all these stages years ago.1
'But will It not take an army of
agents?" I asked.
"There, too," said the commission
er, "It is- harder at the first. State
and municipal authorities must do
most of the work. When a com
munity has Just gone dry there are
many men In office who owe political
obligations to the liquor Interests.
They have no enthusiasm for driving
those Interests out of business. The
power of these Interests In politics
will gradually slacken. Tammany
admitted in the recent election that
It had lost much of Its former power.
It explained that It had lost S000 of
Its meeting places when the saloons
closed. Saloon keepers are becoming
grocery men, automobile salesmen.
They need no police protection and
are getting out of politics. As liquor
loses its hold on local officials the
Interference with law enforcement
will disappear.
"But back of all this Is a still
actual tendencies of the times.
"At an election In Ohio a few years
back a prohibition measure lost by
approximately 60,000. Two years
later a much more strenuous measure
was enacted by a majority of 290.000.
In Michigan prohibition was voted by
a majority of 68,000. Two years later
an attempt to vote beer back was de
feated by a majority of 270.OD0 con
crete evidence of the tendency of the
public mind for him who approaches
the problem with an open mind.
"It Is preposterous to say that
three-fourths of the states will ever
vpte to repeal the 18th amendment.
There might be eight states In the
union today that would do so. Four
years from now there may be four.
Ten years from now there may be
one. The thing is here to stay till
the crack of doom."
"Mr. Commissioner," I Interjected,
"you say the attitude of the public Is
thus and so. The attitude Is natural.
Is It therefore not the proper atti
tude?'
'It Is natural, but it is not right,1
he said. "It is much easier to preach
about what should be than to analyse
what la. You are now making mat
ters easy for me.
"There are those who say that pro
hibition descended suddenly upon
them like an avalanche. These peo
ple are mostly residents of the east
ern fringe of the nation. They had
not known of the spirit of the land
because they were provincial, were
out of touch with what was going on
in the heart of the nation. They did
not know that you could go Into a
school in Kansas where the children
were IS years old and ask how many
i I HI fe.b 1
flPRl?
S l 1 iFS&fr? &3 5 I ' i i i .IP
KClO H(fcffStL-' V" "y season Is fought, and If It happens
I i V 3 V"' . ' "'(?: v' ' J .OCSS that my team is defeated. I accept the
jffyrft i JT : M5s-'JSSi' result philosophically. I consider the
Vv "f H 'lilVri rt J&f '('VJj7 acceptance of the result in that spirit
tVST VUvi' mi IIP" WVi3v W '- - :lT" ) Al Ts as Eod sportsmanship. It is the spirit
aiS?7 &ff'rJtty& V ft&S ' rVt-' 'i jLT that ta made the Anglo-Saxons the
Ifxv$l3r (v'S, J. yy f---'--i 5fl' kT best sportsmen in the world. If Is
iQYy ti ' V&if7 Zjjl Jma'-Vj V . vY " J tne spirit that makes it possible for a
fflS. t f'l S&sYsA( JS!-' l Jwvr- S man to shake hands with the antag-
KN V. V' wyll Vr2ii?i?C'A onist who has worsted him. It is
k " j-7 j&yyfryVyM A. ' tne hShest mark or a civilized and
IS v i 'gsBaf SiyVnK VysXnh ' "i ttC "1 enlightened and characterful people.
rfe- j f"'lP f It should be the attitude of the Amer-
j ' ' X$ 1 1 feL Q - ' JL loan people toward prohibition."
! "i" V " --"'ii'i1 ""iSJSa I l - (C -"WeH." I said hesitatingly, "you
John F. Kramer, who says nothing; could be ealer tnasi the enforcement of
the eighteenth amendment.
They don't appreciate it is a compe
tent reality.
"My position Is that this is nothing
which we should allow to disturb -It
Is quite the thing to be expected.
They fret against the harness of a
lev restraint. They fail to realize
the dawn of a new day certain
people carry their overcoats about
for weeks after the warm weather
comes In the spring.
"There are many people who resist
this legislation to the extent of actu
ally violating the law. The first rea
son for this Is that from long asso
ciation with H many people have de
veloped abnormal appetites for liq
uor. An appetite, assiduously en
couraged. eannot be legislated away.
"The possessor of such an appe
tite will attempt to gratify It. He
will resort to denatured alcohol, wood
alcohol, flavoring: extract, shoe pol-1
bigger natural law. It will be easy to
enforce prohibition because the desire
for liquor Is an unnatural desire.
Nearly every one of the ten com
mandments Is directed against some
failing in man that Is due to natural
desires within him. The enforcement
of one of these commandments Is,
therefore, a hard and unending task.
Not so with liquor. It denies to man
a. thing for which he has no natural
desire. The oncoming generations
will require no prohibition enforce
ment." "I hear it said." I ventured, "that
the amendment will be repealed."
"I am afraid that Is psychological
also," said Mr. Kramer with a quite
disconcerting confidence. "The hope
is father to the thought. . There are
those who hold tenaciously to the
idea of repeal. They are not in pos
session of the facts that show the
had ever seen a drunken man and
that not one child in ten would raise
his hand. The middle west has known
for 30 years that prohibition was
coming. It has come because the
majority of the people -tire In favor
of it.
"Well, we are a self-governing peo
ple. The cornerstone of our philoso
phy of government Is the will of the
majority. The majority haS spoken.
As Individuals, as Americans, no mat
ter how strongly we feel about it,
we should bow to the will of the ma
jority. If we are not willing to do
so we renounce the foundational prin
ciple of our government.
"I am a baseball fan. I follow the
teams day by day through the sea
son. My heart Is usually with the
Cleveland team because I am from
Ohio. I always believe the Cleveland
team will win, always root for It.
"But when the last battle of the
seem to be quite sure we are going to
be dry. How long will it be before
that day come3?"
"We are already much dryer in
some places than in others," said Mr.
Kramer. 'Thirty-three states had
dry laws and had made much prog
ress toward the desert condition be
fore the nation acted. Those states
have already passed through the
agony of sobering up. They have
even passed the protest stage. There
is not even liquor conversation in
them. It Is a thing that never enters
their minds.
"It will take the 'east several years
to travel as far. Opposition as a fad,
denunciatory conversation as a suli
stitute stimulant, cellar stocks, will
have disappeared In two or three
years.
"There will remain a memory.
When we become old we will tell our
grandchildren of the days when there
were saloons on every corner, ab.aze
with light to which men of our day
resorted to partake of poison that
stole away their senses and of the
peculiar antics they played when un
der the Influence. And the children
will think of Santa Claus and fairies
and the other unrealtles with which
we have regaled them and will not
believe."
LACK OF CASH IS CAUSING AMERICANS
TO BARTER WITH EUROPEAN MERCHANTS
One Tradesman From United States' Now Sorely Bemoans Fact He Failed to Accept Perfume for Shoes.
United States Business Man to Lose Heavily in Deal.
lean shoes (especially when he found
them a drug on the market) and have
accepted French perfumery for them?
He has Just seen a similar operation
In perfumery which turned out bril
liantly; and he Is full of new
thoughts.
A big question looms up here, he
says; and many other Americans back
him up. It is the most momentous
and timely topic of American business,
reaching out for Its share of good
things a'jroad not only In the trou
bled present, but for the golden fu
ture, to become established ard not
find, later, all the ground pre-empttd:
Shall we return to the barter sys
tem, because these Kuropeans who
crave our goods but find our dollar
prohibitory for the moment, are Bhort
of cash anyhow; yet having quanti
ties of goods which they want to
trade, why they just trade them, thus
havihg reached the barter stage al
ready. So they say to us: "Come,
barter!" And, recently, the United
States government sent a commission
to Berlin to study the supplying of
German interests with raw cotton, to
be repaid in the manufactured fabrics
when finished. Here is barter with
our government's approval stamped
upon it. .
Big American concerns are barter
ing. They do not hesitate. They have
the organization and capital to sys
tematize It. The Baldwin Locomotive
works of Philadelphia, has been bar
tering locomotives against petrol and
Polish bonds in Poland. The Ameri
can International corporation, if I
am correctly Informed, recently bar
tered a vast accumulated bunch of
bills-of-lading In three ports, one be
ing Constantinople, against "eight
million dollars' worth of Russian to
bacco." It was an enormous deal, in
any case, the soul of barter, and fab
ulously profitable. They are still
bragging about It.
The American Rolling Mill com
pany, of Mlddletown, Ohio, obtainod,
exceptionally, BO per cent cash and
the balance in an assignment On the
national flax monopoly' for a big bill
of sheet steel and other reconstruc
tion materials sold to tho Lettish re
public at Riga. In Poland the same
hustling representative get "practi
cally cash" In a consignment of
sugar which he turned over for rear
cash in Paris, by mall, while dicker
ing. Others, Individual Americans whom
I have met (ono a Chicago man
landing in Sweden with a million
pairs of shoes) have bartered suc
cessfully in Scandinavian countries,
in Finland and Latvia, and even in
Russia, for butter and cheese, lumber,
divers chemicals, leather, furs, and
other standard merchandise; "and the
only thing" they were "obliged to
ship home was the lumber." All the
rest, they "disposed of in European
countries for cash or equivalent";
and they "might well havo shipped
the butter to America at a profit."
But fhe American business man, as
I a rule, does not believe in barter. He
sells only for cash on delivery, be
fore shipment, or f. o. b. New York.
One young American, who has de
veloped a genius for barter, nearly
saved that shoe man in Paris his in
vestment which the bank gobbled. It
was this youth who brought him the
perfumery proposition which he now
regrets refusing.
I met him first when he was taking
profits by a peculiar utilization of
exchange. Working In conjunction
with his father in New York, in the
Jobbing business, he boimlit up, in
I'aris, standard perfumery products
in wholesale lots through chanin-ls
which he did not divulge. Then, "by
watching the exchange," he could
ship those perfumery products to
Affisrica "and undersell the whole
salers there, by S to 10 per cent."
This was all due to taklns advantage
of exchange; but "business depres
sion in the states is now at a point
where retailers quit stocking with
luxuries," and his Xather advised him
not to buy any more perfumes; but,
nevertheless, he should stay in Paris,
"because you cannot make any money
in New York, business is so bad."
All right. You cannot keep a good
man down. Right here in Paris, he
traded off his accumulated perfumery
products for a million or so Gillette
razor-blades from the American army
stocks; and thesa American razor-
blades he shipped back to New York,
where a department store Is at this
hour featuring; them at half the re
tail price.
Poet Laureate to Hold Job.
Lloyd Georare Say Cliaitjre Is Not
Considered Aeceisury.
BY STERLING HEILIG.
PARIS, Deo. 1, 1920.
Are we coming to barterT
Is trade returning to the Old
"trading" system?
The thousands of American busl
ness representatives, partners and
speculators who have come to Europe
to sell American goods, find a dif
ficulty - in selling although every
body wants to buy from them.
The Europeans receive us gladly.
eager to trade. They like our goods;
they need our goods; they plead to
have our goods and yet they can
not buy! The difficulty Is partly lack
of ready cash; but principally it is
high prices our high prices al
though our prices are low.
It Is the spectre of exchange that
does this hocus-pocus.
It Is the act of translating dollars
Into francs, pounds, lire, which gives
our American prices abroad tnat
strange swelled look that frightens
European commerce.
A dollar used to ba 6 French francs ,
but today It is 16H francs. It is
27 Italian lire where It ought to
be less than six of them. It is 21
German marks Instead of four of
them before the war; and it is 160
Lettish roubles, which are nominally
60 cents' apiece.
An American bank, thus, In Paris,
has 20,000 pairs of excellent Ameri
can shoes in bond, which it is will
ing to let go as a lot at a loss of 25
per cent of Its conservative loan on
them as collateral. The party who
loses them entirely Is the American
business man who brought the shoes
to France to retail at $6 a pair. That
Is low enough, isn't It? But he found
that 6 means Just 100 francs and
that Paris Is full of more attractive
French and English-made shoes at
125 francs a pair.
Yet these good $5 shoes of ours.
before the war, would have sold like
hot cakes at. 30 francs, the then equiv
alent in exchange; and there were
Frenchmen, only recently (before
the bank st In the same) who
wanted to take the lot off the Amer
ican's hands at 10 per cent above his
cost and expenses.
Only only the Frenchman had no
cash. They wanted to pay with a
consignment of standard perfumery!
Did you ever hear of such a thing?
Naturally 'the American refused
with the results which we see. The
bank Itself does not consider the oper
ation brilliant too much like ama
teur pawnbroking. Yet this sort of
thing Is what the rush of American
banks declare that they have come to
Europe for; and those right here in
Paris havo so much stuff for sale at
oargain prices tnat you wonder if
they are not department stores!
As for the shoe man
"American business knows only
cash." he says regretfully. "And gen
erally we want it before delivery. I
made a mistake. I did not read the
signs of the times. Now, I have noth
ing. I might have made good money
out of that perfumery!"
Should he have bartered his Amer-
LONDON, Jan. 15. Robert Bridges,
poet laureate of the British em
pire, will remain In that office de
spite a suggestion that he be re
moved. His fitness to do so was
questioned the other day In the house
of commons by Horatio Bottomley,
who asked the premier if Brltain'n
national bard had written any poetry
on the war, on the declaration ot
peace or on the unveiling of th
cenotaph, and if not, "would the prime
minister consider appointing a na
tional poet whose muse was morn
attuned to the soul of the British
nation?"
Premier Lloyd George replied that
'so far as he was aware, the poet
laureate had written nothing about
the events mentioned, but - Mr.
Bridges had written many poems
during the war, and It was not con
sidered necessary to make any
change."
A wag In the house raised loud
laughter by solemnly suggesting that
Mr. Eottomley himself should take
over the fob. When another member
suggested that Rudyard Kipling
bhould be offered the post, there wan
a chorus of "No!"
Mr. Bridges was appointed laureate
by ex-Premier Asquith, his friend
and admirer. In 1913.
Totem Poles to E Preserved.
WRANGELL, Alaska. Christian
ized Indians of the vicinity of Wrang-
ell recently notified the city council
they were willing to turn over to the
city totem poles that have been rev
erenced in their tribes for genera
tions, providing a suitable place were
provided for their preservation. Tlans
for a museum of Indian archaeology
are being considered.