Roughly a century later, we are witnessing a new type of prohibition. This new moral authority is attempting to either blot out or silence any aspect of culture it doesn’t agree with, applying terms like bigot, racist, or homophobe to those who try to get in the way.

History Does Not Repeat Itself But It Rhymes” is an apt way to put the cultural trends I’m witnessing in contemporary society. I liken the extreme positions that leaders and the elite media class are propping up to the temperance movement of a century ago.

Before diving in, I’d like to set the record straight that was much to be said of the temperance movement of a century ago. The photo I chose is not meant to mock or poke fun of this movement, rather to highlight the level of moral sophistication and pearl clutching this photo so wonderfully embodies. In these stern faced women I see many a contemporary “liberal” bearing a similar standard.

While we can debate the merits of alcohol prohibition, history has left us with 2 undeniable facts: the movement was short lived and ultimately a failure. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20.

Speaking of 20/20, as we enter the early 2020s, I’ll argue that society finds itself in a new temperance movement, which in my opinion is more sinister than trying to curb alcohol consumption. I liken our contemporary temperance movement to the prohibition of expression: the drowning out of the common voice that goes against elitist narratives on a myriad of topics: the pandemic, gender, comedy and “equity” to name a few.

Similar to the temperance movement of a century ago, the proposed solutions are reactionary, poorly thought out and lead to many unintended consequences that only make society worse, not better. Remember, that the mafia was born during prohibition and besides some good movies and NASCAR, I can’t say society was better off as a result of our 20th century moral panic.

Hitting the Delete Key on Aspects of Contemporary Society

In a short period of time, we’ve witnessed the elimination of mostly harmless elements of our society in some vein attempt to improve race relations. In the wake of 2020’s summer protests, it was decided, not by myself, not by you the reader, I’m not even sure who made this decision, but Uncle Ben’s rice was the big problem in our society.

Now I can appreciate the assertion that “Uncle Ben” was considered derogatory, but as early as 2007 his namesake was appointed chairman of the board, a position from which he dispensed “grains of wisdom.” Nobody had a problem with Uncle Ben back then in 2007; around 2 years later the first black president would be elected, a milestone for race relations. Wouldn’t that have been the opportune time to perhaps retire old Ben? Apparently not since nobody seemed to have a problem with Uncle Ben during Obama’s two terms. We had to wait until 2020 for the discovery to be made that the true impediment to racial harmony in society could be found in none other than starch section of our supermarket.

The problem I have with the decision to so quickly scrap Uncle Ben’s rice is that the choice lines up perfectly with what a white supremacist would do. Think about it for a moment. If you are a racist in the true sense of the word – not to be confused with how it is used today as a club to attack people – the last thing someone is going to find in your cupboard would be a box of Uncle Ben’s rice.

Not only was the rash decision to cancel Uncle Ben’s rice foolish, it fell perfectly into the laps of the true white supremacists who will be happier to no longer see his namesake when shopping.

Have race relations improved since the removal of Uncle Ben’s? I doubt it. Now that his namesake is gone, what would be a better replacement? It obviously couldn’t be a white chef. I guess you could the new Uncle Ben a female chef but then you ignore the transgender community. And if you decide that Uncle Ben’s 2.0 should be a different race, then it leaves out the others. Perhaps the new corporate sponsor should be Pit Pat!

Taking this a step further, who should decide on the future image of Uncle Ben’s? If it’s a committee of mostly white people then that won’t do. So now a diverse committee must be drafted to select the name but how can we ensure that there are enough delegates? Isn’t unfair to Pacific Islanders and Samoans if they don’t have say about the future of Uncle Ben’s?

It would be one thing if Uncle Ben’s were an isolated incident, in this case I’d turn the tables and say perhaps I should be writing about other things. But it wasn’t just rice. Aunt Jememiah got cancelled along with Land of Lakes butter. Suddenly the Washington Redskins franchise had to go. I, for one, am truly grateful that this impediment to progress has now been lifted.

Certain Dr. Seuss books had to go. It wasn’t me who found an issue or I’m sure you the reader, but a small group of out of touch elitists with nothing else better to do than create enemies where none are to be found.

Similar to prohibition, many unintended consequences result in the hysteria to cancel things without thinking them through. Once again, white supremacists will be vindicated that Aunt Jeremiah, Uncle Ben’s and the Land of Lakes butter representative have all been removed from products, leaving only white faces as our representatives: Wendy’s, Colonel Sanders, Mr. Clean, Pringles, the Lucky Charms leperchaun, Chef Boyardee, the Brawny man, and the Rice Krispies mascots are now the most recognized corporate images.

Defund the Police

J.K Simmons’ character in the Oz series would have been ecstatic to learn Uncle Ben’s rice can’t be sold anymore and that police budgets were cut in minority dominant cities.

In the wake of the summer riots, the next thing to get cancelled was the police force. To determine whether or not this is a good idea, you don’t need to try it out on the public, all you need is $20. The experiment is very simple. Take the $20 and buy a copy of Sim City. Go about building your model city with the neat rows of industrial, residential, and commercial areas. Now, when it comes to taxes, move the slider for police all the way to the left so that the department is left without any budget. Or, just don’t build police stations in your city at all. Simply wait and find out what happens to your city.

Why we must perform the same experiment in the real world, with real people is beyond me. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that even lousy police are better than no police. A year after the George Floyd incident, homicides in Minneapolis were up a staggering 89 percent from the previous year; violent crime up 14%. Not only was defund the police one of the most asinine decisions in recent history, it never held any major support from our population as a whole, which is why I mentioned in the beginning that these decisions are not taken by a plurarlity.

As the Pew Research center points out, only 25% of respondents wanted the police to be defunded, with half of that support being “a little.” So the report basically shows that from those who responded to the poll, roughly 12% of the population actually wanted to radically defund the police. This means that a large part of our media apparatus does not represent us and in my opinion should not be paid attention to.

Not only were police called to be defunded but there could be no more positive images of police to be found in society either. The cancellation of Cops and Live PD are once again a silly, emotional reaction that will only worsen the image of police. At least when we had Cops you could judge for yourself as to the extent of police brutality. Now we have to rely on social media to form our opinion of the police, and we can see how that has played out so far.

This once again goes back to where we are in society when the unruly mob quickly decides to make a mess of established institutions. It’s been a banner year for white supremacists who are having a field day knowing that police forces in predominately minority communities are being defunded.

While I’m not a conservative and think Fox News is just as bad as CNN, it is a strange state of affairs that the only advocates for upholding police budgets in mostly Democrat cities are found on the right who aren’t advocating for their constituents. It’s obvious they are pandering to their base, it just so happens that incentives, as perverse as they are align. In any case, it proves that they are propagandists for sure but not bigots. If the hosts of Fox News were truly racist, they would simply ignore the uptick in crime in these cities as most CNN anchors do.

Everything is Racist

In addition to emotional outrage over harmless corporate logos, now everything in contemporary society is racist. The term itself has no meaning as it has simply been reduced to a talking point by the intellectually weak for an argument they don’t like.

The hypersensitivity about race in nearly all aspects of our society will only set race relations back at least a generation. I use the case of Jesse Smollet as the quintessential example of this in action. When race relations were very poor in the US, let’s say during the 1950’s, his story would not have been entertained even if it were true. Fast forward to what I consider the peak of race relations in the US, let’s say the late ’90s to early 2000s and his story wouldn’t be picked up by major news outlets because it was obviously a fabrication. It simply wouldn’t get views and enough viewers would see through the bullshit. In contemporary society, however, we have to entertain Smollet’s story, as nonsensical as it sounds, lest we are deemed to be racist for discounting it.

The case of Jesse Smollet sets race relations back for a variety of reasons. First, the corporate media apparatus (CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, NY Times) are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public as if the viewership and opposition like myself are fools. This undermines the credibility of the media since we see what is going on. If we are fed a pack of lies about Jesse Smollet, or Donald Trump being a Russian asset, then what else are we being lied to about? It’s amazing that people cannot understand why someone would object to wearing a mask or taking a vaccine when the message is coming from the same media apparatus.

Secondly, entertaining stories that are obviously fake creates the “boy who cried wolf” situation where now all overtly racist caricatures are met with a skeptical lens. As the hosts of the Fifth Column Podcast pointed out in episode 324, it is neither racist nor wrong to cast doubt upon Harry Dunn’s claim that he heard over 20 Trump supporters shout racist chants at him on January 6th. We don’t have good journalism but if we did, some effort would be spent investigating this claim. Because media outlets are now just activist outlets for political parties, we must rely on independent media to fill in the gap. Kmele Foster, a 5th Column co-host and journalist, has offered a $10,000 bounty to anyone who can produce corroborating evidence. After all, with the ubiquity of cell phones in our society, isn’t a bit strange that not one person in that entire demonstration didn’t have video evidence of this?

Finally, by focusing constantly on race, the left leaning media apparatus has simply made life worse for society as a whole. It’s obvious that it will be more difficult for white individuals to interact with the non-white community when such a landmine of potential hazards has been laid out for them. When a simple hand gesture can get you fired from your job, what do you expect people to do? Times will be very difficult in HR for some time now when it comes to both hiring and firing.

It’s Easier to Do Nothing

The sum of what I’ve outlined above is that those who have advocated for everything above feel that their job is accomplished. It’s as if all racism in this country will end now that a few street signs are changed and corporate images “updated.”

Similar to prohibition, the issues that these movements are attempting to resolve are deep rooted and can take years, if not decades to work on. But that’s now how this mob operates, taking short term goals for all the wrong reasons. Putting a black square on Instagram or sharing an article about Cops no longer being aired doesn’t solve anything, it’s purely superficial.

True change requires effort, failure, and plenty of ups and downs along the way. Personally, I am disappointed with the leaders who represent my generation. We had a chance in 2020 to turn around the direction of the country but we allowed the machine to give us the caricature of what the exact same party says is wrong with society: an out of touch old man who is not physically fit to be in office.

The world is changing rapidly and we need real, young leaders to guide us through it. There are some exceptions but most of our young leadership class are too caught up in the moral posturing of this temperance movement to enact change.

Similar to the short life of prohibition, I am confident that this movement will not have lasting impacts on society and as the pendulum swings back we can start the work that is badly needed. Until then, free thought like this will have to be relegated to the speak easys of the Internet.