Economic Aspects of the Liquor Problem

By John Koren | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII.
SOCIAL ASPECTS OF THE SALOON IN GREAT CITIES.

WITH superabundant evidence of the manifold ills flowing from intemperance, it is natural that the saloon, as the fountain-head and distributing centre of intoxicating drink, should have come to be regarded as typifying the vast evils resulting from the liquor habit, and nothing more.

Latterly men have begun to inquire whether, after all, current views have consigned the saloon to its proper place in our social economy. Recognizing in the saloon a social institution ancient in years, flourishing under all conditions, and vital enough to outlive the fiercest assaults from every side, they have raised these questions: -- If the saloon be but a destroying force in the community, how could it thus long have escaped destruction? Since the saloon remains, is it not palpable that it ministers to deep-rooted wants of men which so far no other agency supplies, at least not so adequately?

The commonly accepted estimate of the saloon is a deduction from obvious phenomena of saloon life as seen from the outside, but not necessarily the essence of this life. The questionings of this estimate, on the other hand, arise from a closer acquaintance with the larger functions of the saloon, and the conditions which characterize the majority of its patrons, and from a

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