Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Prohibitionism

Prohibitionism

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Prohibitionism'
Start a new discussion about 'Prohibitionism'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Prohibitionism is a legal philosophy and political theory often used in lobbying
Lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

 which holds that citizens will abstain from actions if the actions are typed as unlawful (i.e. prohibited) and the prohibitions are enforced by law enforcement. This philosophy has been the basis for many acts of statutory law
Statutory law
Statutory law or statute law is written law set down by a legislature or by a legislator .Statutes may originate with national, state legislatures or local municipalities...

 throughout history, most notably when a large group of a given population disapproves of and/or feels threatened by an activity in which a smaller group of that population engages, and seeks to render that activity legally prohibited.

Examples


Acts of prohibition have included prohibitions on types of clothing
Sumptuary law
Sumptuary laws are laws that attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were...

, prohibitions on gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 and exotic dancing
Striptease
A striptease is an erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner...

, drug prohibition
Prohibition (drugs)
The prohibition of drugs through sumptuary legislation or religious law is a common means of attempting to prevent drug use. Prohibition of drugs has existed at various levels of government or other authority from the Middle Ages to the present....

, the prohibition of alcohol (notably prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 between 1919 and 1934 due to the Eighteenth Amendment
Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established Prohibition in the United States. The separate Volstead Act set down methods of enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, and defined which "intoxicating liquors" were prohibited, and which were excluded from prohibition...

 and the Volstead Act
Volstead Act
The National Prohibition Act, known informally as the Volstead Act, was the enabling legislation for the Eighteenth Amendment which established prohibition in the United States...

), and prohibitions on tobacco smoking
Smoking ban
Smoking bans are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, which prohibit tobacco smoking in workplaces and/or other public spaces...

.

Criticism



The success of a measure of prohibitionism has been criticized as often depending too much upon effective enforcement of the relevant legislation. Some people have argued this is because the majority of the targets of prohibitionism are in the category of victimless crime, where they claim the harm that comes from the crime is non-existent, questionable, or only to the person who performs the act and even then the magnitude of the harm being relatively small. Under this interpretation enforcement becomes a conflict between violation of statue and violation of free will. Since the acts prohibited often are enjoyable, enforcement is often the most harmful choice to the individual. This sometimes results in laws which rarely are enforced by anybody who does not have a financial or personal motivation to do so.

The difficulty of enforcing prohibitionist laws also criticized as resulting in selective enforcement, wherein the enforcers select the people they wish to prosecute based on other criteria, resulting in discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 based on races, culture, nationality, or financial status. For example, American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 philosopher Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 has criticized drug prohibition as being a technique of social control
Social control
Social control refers generally to societal and political mechanisms or processes that regulate individual and group behavior, leading to conformity and compliance to the rules of a given society, state, or social group. Many mechanisms of social control are cross-cultural, if only in the control...

 of the "so-called dangerous classes."

Prohibitionism based laws have the added problem of calling attention to the behavior that they are attempting to prohibit. This can make the behavior interesting and exciting, and cause its popularity to increase. This is essentially in relation with the Streisand effect
Streisand effect
The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely...

.

See also

  • Drug prohibition
    Prohibition (drugs)
    The prohibition of drugs through sumptuary legislation or religious law is a common means of attempting to prevent drug use. Prohibition of drugs has existed at various levels of government or other authority from the Middle Ages to the present....

  • Gambling
    Gambling
    Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

  • Gambling in the United States
    Gambling in the United States
    Gambling is legally restricted in the United States, but its availability and participation is increasing. In 2007, gambling activities generated gross revenues of $92.27 billion in the United States. Commercial casinos provided 354,000 jobs, and state and local tax revenues of $5.2 billion...

  • Lobbying
    Lobbying
    Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

  • Prohibition
    Prohibition
    Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

  • Prohibition in the United States
    Prohibition in the United States
    Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

  • Smokeasy
    Smokeasy
    A smokeasy is a business, especially a barroom, that allows smoking despite a smoking ban enacted as a criminal law or an occupational safety and health regulation. The term is also used to describe locations and events promoted by tobacco companies to avoid or evade bans on smoking...

  • Smoking ban
    Smoking ban
    Smoking bans are public policies, including criminal laws and occupational safety and health regulations, which prohibit tobacco smoking in workplaces and/or other public spaces...

  • Speakeasy
    Speakeasy
    A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the period known as Prohibition...

  • Sumptuary law
    Sumptuary law
    Sumptuary laws are laws that attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were...

  • Temperance movement
    Temperance movement
    A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements may criticize excessive alcohol use, promote complete abstinence , or pressure the government to enact anti-alcohol legislation or complete prohibition of alcohol.-Temperance movement by...


External links