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The commercial vices are gambling, prostitution, and drugs. The appeals
of the commercial vices are so strong and widespread that attempts to prohibit
them in western countries have always failed.
The evils of these vices are threefold: Those who practice
them suffer, the criminals who sell them prosper, and the
enforcement organizations are expensive, unsuccessful, and often corrupt.
Two commercial vices have been accepted as unstoppable, but
there evils have been minimized by legalization and regulation. These are
the particular drug, alcohol, and gambling. Ethyl alcohol, the drug in beer,
whiskey, and wine does more harm is causing accidents, overdose deaths,
job failures, broken homes, and violence than all other drugs
The United States attempted to prohibit alcohol and failed. The
Mafia made its money by bootlegging alcohol. The gangsters of the twenties
and thiries were in the alcohol business just as the drug peddlers of
today are in the drug business. Both settled trade disputes with gun fire. When
alcohol prohibition was repealed and sale by licensed dealers was instituted,
the Mafia went out of the liquor business and the revenue agents assigned to
stop the illegal business went out of business too. The quality of regulated
liquor became assured and taxed, not high enough to motivate bootlegging,
became a source of public revenue. Consumption of legal alcohol became only