A paragraph from "To Destroy the Rum Power," by Henry George, in the February, 1890, issue of The Arena. (The full article follows this single eloquent paragraph.) --
"Almost universal sobriety," wrote Adam Smith in Kirkaldy, somewhere in the early seventies of the eighteenth century. Writing as the wonderful nineteenth century nears its final decade and in the great metropolis of a mighty nation then unborn, I can say no more, if as much. The temperance question does not stand alone. It is related — nay, it is but a phase, of the great social question. By abolishing liquor taxes and licenses we may drive the "rum power" out of politics, and somewhat, I think, lessen intemperance. Thus we may get rid of an obstacle to the improvement of social conditions and increase the effective force that demands improvement. But without the improvement of social conditions we cannot hope to abolish intemperance. Intemperance today springs mainly from that unjust distribution of wealth which gives to some less and to others more than they have fairly earned. Among the masses it is fed by hard and monotonous toil, or the still more straining and demoralizing search for leave to toil; by overtasked muscles and overstrained nerves, and under-nurtured bodies; by the poverty which makes men afraid to marry and sets little children at work, and crowds families into the rooms of tenement houses; which stints the nobler and brings out the baser qualities; and in full tide of the highest civilization the world has yet seen, robs life of poetry and glory of beauty and joy. Among the classes it finds its victims in those from whom the obligation to exertion has been artificially lifted; who are born to enjoy the results of labor without doing any labor, and in whom the lack of stimulus to healthy exertion causes moral obesity, and consumption without the need of productive work breeds satiety. Intemperance is abnormal. It is the vice of those who are starved and those who are gorged. Free trade in liquor would tend to reduce it, but could not abolish it. But free trade in everything would. I do not mean a sneaking, half-hearted, and half-witted "tariff reform," but that absolute, thorough free trade, which would not only abolish the custom house and the excise, but would do away with every tax on the products of labor and every restriction on the exertion of labor, and would leave everyone free to do whatever did not infringe the ten commandments.
It is worth noting that Frances Willard, a major figure in the temperance movement, published, in 1896, An Up-to-Date Catechism. She saw the connection between poverty and intemperance, and recognized that the Single Tax could make all the difference in making life better.
Here's George's full article follows (check out the corset analogy!):