This was just left as a comment on an old post, from 2006:
You don't sound like a supporter of prohibition but if anyone proposes it for the UK, just tell them to study the results of the US prohibition. It lead to an incrase in the alcohol levels of booze, lead to the consolidation of little gangs into massive criminal gangs and a general disregard for law. One of my grandfathers made bathtub gin (he was trying to support his family) and my other grandfather rowed from Detriot Michigan to Canada and back with a case or two of canadian whiskey on foggy nights. He quit this when the criminals made it too dangerous (he was trying to support his family also). Who benefits from a prohibition? Those who chase and catch smugglers and lawyers on both sides of the issue!Here's the eText of a book called What Prohibition Has Done to America, written by Fabian Franklin and published in 1922. I've read a bit of it, and it seems spot on. Interesting chapter on prohibition and socialism.
The danger to individual liberty in a democracy is of the same nature as the danger to individual liberty in a monarchy or an oligarchy; whether power be held by one man, or by a thousand, or by a majority out of a hundred million, it is equally possible for the governing power on the one hand to respect, or on the other hand to ignore, the right of individuals to the free play of their individual powers, the exercise of their individual predilections, the leading of their individual lives according to their own notions of what is right or desirable. A monarch of enlightened and liberal mind will respect that right, and limit his encroachments upon it to the minimum required for the essential objects of reasonable government; so, too, will a democracy if it is of like temper and intelligence. But it is not so with Socialism. Numerous as are the varieties of Socialism, they all agree in being inherently antagonistic to individualism. It may be pleaded, in criticism of this assertion, that all government is opposed to individualism; that the difference in this respect between Socialism and other forms of civil organization is only one of degree; that we make a surrender of individuality, as well as of liberty, when we consent to live in any organized form of society. It is not worth while to dispute the point; the difference may, if one chooses, be regarded as only a difference of degree. But when a difference of degree goes to such a point that what is minor, incidental, exceptional in the one case, is paramount, essential, pervasive in the other, the difference is, for all the purposes of thinking, equivalent to a difference of kind.