Somebody should publish Salem's best examples!
As an example of the arbitrariness and posturing of political claims, we have here a couple of pieces on hops and prohibition.
Prohibition threatened, of course, to remove the market for hops (see the 1909 cartoon here). Prohibition forces worked not only to remove the demand for alcoholic beverages but also to cut down on the supply of the raw materials. As nearly a sine qua non for beer, hops could be strategic.
We have, it turns out, a fascinating example of the turn to hops. This might be the strangest newspaper piece CT has encountered in our research. We're still not quite sure what to make of it.
One day in May 1910, the paper ran a pro-prohibition piece. It ran among news pieces. Then, the very next day, the paper re-ran the prohibition piece and added, side-by-side, the anti-prohibition piece, whose rhetoric appears to have been taken directly from the pro-prohibition piece. These also ran among news pieces - a baseball score and a note about the spring and start of hops. The way the pair was presented make the whole look on the surface like a clumsy parody. Our preliminary take is that it was meant to mock prohibition forces and their arguments.
If you have a better reading, we're all ears!
THE OREGON VOTER CAN TAKE HIS CHOICE OF THESE TWO
|WANT OREGON FARMER WITH COMMON SENSE||WANT TO KILL HOPS IN STATE DRY FIGHT|
|Wanted, some live, able and level-headed farmer, who can persuade the Oregon prohibitionist that he will profit himself and the world at large by adhering to the principle of common sense instead of accepting as "facts" the intemperate, exaggerated and baseless conclusions promulgated by the "Oregon Dry in 1910" management.||Wanted, some live, able economist, who can persuade the Oregon farmer that he has greater profits in some other form of cultivation than hops. Apply to the management of the "Oregon Dry in 1910" movement.|
|Leading workers in the common sense campaign say such arguments are possible. They have an outline of what can be said on the subject, but they wanted it presented in a cold, precise, business form to which the prohibitionist cannot answer. They want some husky farmer with plenty of mental gray matter to take it up, who will go among the prohibitionists, talk to them, argue and plead. And they want the work done soon. Before the November election has come around, they want the prohibitionists convinced, so that they will be among the leaders in the throng of sensible people who are asked to do everything in their power to keep Oregon among the sane and progressive states.||Leading workers in the prohibition campaign say such arguments are possible. They have an outline of what can be said on the subject, but they wanted it presented in a cold, precise, business form, to which the farmer cannot answer. They want some man to take it up who will go among the farmers, talk to them, argue and plead. And they want the word done soon. Before the November election has come around, they want the farmers convinced, so that they will be among the leaders in the throng of people who are to be asked to do everything in their power to make Oregon wholly and absolutely "dry."|
|Some of the common sense movement leaders have been figuring on this topic. They say that the energy, money and time now wasted by the impracticable application of the mental qualities possesed by prohibitionists and some conscientious but misguided people, could be devoted to a "common sense" movement of regulating and controlling the liquor traffic in the real interest of a permanent temperance movement. Temperance, meaning moderation and sobriety, is practical and of vast profit to all concerned, while prohibition is a delusion, and consequently impracticable. But further than all this, they argue, temperance requires self-control on the part of every individual and strength of character, both of which have a wholesome, permanent influence upon the human race, and aid to upbuild the body along lines laid down by human as well as divine laws. Against this they place prohibition, a delusive theory, which if attempted to enforce, causes demoralization, breeds hypocrisy and disrespect for law and is in every sense a sumptuary measure that is tyrannical, unscriptural and unchristian.||Some of the prohibition leaders have been figuring on this topic. They say that the rich land now devoted to hops can be made to yield a multitude of very profitable crops. These crops, they insist, are more regular than hops can [be] and the prices at which they can be sold annually do not fluctuate like the price of hops. But further than all this, they argue the crops which they mention have a wholesome, permanent influence on the human race, aid to upbuild the body, or furnish clothes or other necessities for the human tribe. Against this fixed, permanent product, they place hops, which, they say, enter almost exclusively into malt liquor products.|
|If the probibitionist advocated real temperance his teaching would upbuild the bodies into which it is assimilated, say the real "common sense" reformers. Common sense laws, based upon practical experience and in harmony with the rights of a liberty-loving people will bring about a permanent benefit through enforcement. A law that is respected gives permanent comfort. The enforcement of a sumptuary law causes strife, resistance and sore heads and hearts.||"If the farmer grows potatoes, his crop upbuilds the bodies into which it is assimilated," say the reformers. "If fruit is the yield, cereals or general agricultural products, there is a permanent benefit from their consumption. If a clothing product is taken the raiment gives permanent comfort. But if hops are harvested, the consumer only gets a red nose."|
|This is the economical aspect which the commonsense reformers view. But they want another branch of economy taught to the conscientious but misguided prohibitionist, and that is, that it would be far better for him to give his support and money to the local parish minister or priest to encourage him in his daily work in preaching the doctrine of the lowly Savior in the literal and practical manner as the Savior and his apostles taught it many years ago [...] at large and the prosperity of the nation as a whole.||This is the economical aspect which the prohibitionists view. But they want another branch of economy taught to the farmer, and that is how he can get just as heavy money returns from his land by doing away with the hop crop for all time.|
|If any practical, stout-hearted professor in the Agricultural College has this problem worked out, he can earn a crown from the "common sense" forces by expounding it just now, so that it may be taken up and taught throughout the length and breadth of this state of Oregon and whenever prohibitionists may be found.||If any professor in the Agricultural College has this problem worked out, he can earn a crown from the "dry" forces by expounding it just now so that it may be taken up and taught throughout the great hop region of the Willamette Valley.|
(Sorry, I can't figure out why there's a giant space above the transcription!)