Bootleggers and Baptists

Today’s But If Not . . . Bootleggers and Baptists

During the early 1900’s the bootleggers, surreptitiously, and the Baptists, unwittingly, came together to promote prohibition.  The Baptists, true believers for sure, sought relief from the demon rum.  The bootleggers, capitalists for sure, sought monopolistic power to sell and deliver their product.  When the true believers and the rent-seekers come together nearly any regulation is possible – and, no small feat, we got a constitutional amendment. 

We know how that worked out.  We had Al Capone, the birth of NASCAR, and speak-easies. 

This idea, explicit promotion of regulation by true-believers on right sounding principles, backed either directly or indirectly from rent-seekers seeking to profit from the new regulation, is widespread – which gives the phrase permanence. 

Understanding it for what it is when we see it is paramount to a full understanding of most regulation.  And I intend to name it when i see it. 

As a consequence, if you are to derive any enjoyment from this blog, you must understand today’s “But if not” – Bootleggers and Baptists.

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3 Responses to Bootleggers and Baptists

  1. Pingback: Fantasy Football for the Greens | But If Nots

  2. Pingback: Keep Your Hands Off My Internet | But If Nots

  3. Moose says:

    I saw a classic “Baptists and Bootleggers” in the local paper today–in which “The Land and Water Conservation Fund” said “Thank you, Senator Burr, for supporting LWCF and working to secure its future”. It then noted that “LWCF is funded with offshore oil leasing revenue to ensure that we balance our use of natural resources with wise investments in stewardship.” At the bottom we are told that “Advertisement paid for by Republicans for Environmental Protection”, a group which probably holds its meetings in a very small room.

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