This picture has gone viral.

History intrigues people, especially when it is history, and even more especially when it is shocking history.

And let’s face it, it really is a shock for most modern Americans to consider that in those days, one could walk into a drugstore and, without so much as a prescription, buy something like that over the counter.

It concerned the hell out of Wilsonian busybodies, so much so that they started the war on drugs by pushing through the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 (a piece of legislation so unprecedented in its federal sweep that the Supreme Court only barely upheld its constitutionality by a 5-4 vote, and even that was based on the court construing it in such a way as to save it).

It is easy in retrospect to understand the mindset of the Wilsonians. Middle class Americans were drug addicts, an intolerable situation.

What they didn’t quite get was that turning middle class drug addicts into criminals would not solve the largely unsolvable problem of drug addiction.

It simply created crime.

Now, if we assume (as we must) that there will always be drug addicts, can anyone tell me why it is better to have criminal drug addicts than law abiding drug addicts?