Herbert Colborne Oakley   (1869 - 1944)
The Concerned Citizen

Written at: St. David's, Wales, 1931

Printed in: "The West Wales Guardian"


Not to be Confused with Teetotalism.



To the Editor of the "West Wales Guardian"

Sir,- It is fairly safe to assume that the moral backbone of Britain is based on the principles and precepts of the Bible; and among the virtues we are therein encouraged to pursue is temperance, a term often arrogated to themselves by teetotallers and by them confused with teetotalism.

St. Paul, the chosen apostle to the Gentiles, exhorts not only that we practice temperance but we should make our moderation known to all men.  It follows that if we are not exhibiting our moderation and temperance, we are not running life's race in accord with the word of God.  It also follows that teetotalism is not temperance, but intemperance, because their zeal is unbalanced, exaggerated, fanatical, and often uncharitable.

The moral citadel needs to be defended against many evils, and if we concentrate too much on any one place we are in danger of allowing the enemy to make  breaches in undefended and valuable parts of the citadel.

There are zealous teetotallers whom we sometimes meet who seem inclined to condone certain gross sins of the flesh as being comparatively venial sins - but are ready to hurl heated anathemas and reckless epithets against some beer drinker, whom they are ready to ostracize and place outside the pale of respectability (with a capital R).  Yet it may be frequently noted that these same teetotallers, filled with complacent zeal in prohibiting drinks for themselves and prescribing their negative virtues on others, make up for their self denials by indulging themselves in repletion at the table, and as St. Jude says: "Feeding themselves without fear."  Many doctors tell us that over-eating is far too prevalent in these days, and the direct cause of illness and premature death.  These teetotallers are often excessively addicted to tea drinking which in excess is very bad for the nerves and the health in general, and I incline to the belief that good beer is a better beverage for the worker than tea, and in this connection is it not a pity, seeing that the working man will have his beer, that he cannot everywhere procure good pure beer prepared from malt and hops instead of those chemically prepared beers that too often promote rather than assuage the thirst of the toiler.

Some years ago a devoted Member of Parliament (I forget his exact name) worked hard and long - to pass into law a Bill for pure beer - alas he failed.  The brewing trade interest proved too strong and other obstacles too great, but his name deserves honour for grasping this principle of the saving grace of common-sense;  that as the drinker will drink, let us see to it that he gets something pure and wholesome to drink and so help to make a healthier and more contented people.  -  Yours &c.,


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