Baptists & Bootleggers
Posted in the Russell Springs Forum
#1 Nov 4, 2009
From Wiki -
Bootleggers and Baptists is a theory of the origin of particular regulations on the sale of alcoholic beverages (blue laws), which was first proposed by Bruce Yandle in a 1983 Regulation Magazine article. The story is based on an actual phenomenon in certain communities, though it can easily be applied to other regulations.
The story begins with Baptists in a rural community demanding the local government ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays. "Alcohol", they might say, "is a vile drink and efforts should be curbed to restrict its spread through society, especially on the Lord's day." Under this noble tone, the government complies and enacts a ban.
But the demand for alcohol doesn't disappear when the supply does. People still want to drink on Sundays and so the bootleggers step up and illegally sell alcohol. And because the supply is restricted because far fewer people are selling liquor, one day a week the bootlegger gains monopoly power and the lucrative market that goes with it.
Willie Morris's memoir North Toward Home contains a real-life example of this phenomenon:
Mississippi was a dry state, one of the last in America, but its dryness was merely academic, a gesture to the preachers and the churches. My father would say that the only difference between Mississippi and its neighbor Tennessee, which was wet, was that in Tennessee a man could not buy liquor on Sunday. The Mississippi bootleggers, who theoretically operated "grocery stores," with ten or twelve cans of sardines and a few boxes of crackers for sale, stayed open at all hours, and would sell to anyone regardless of age or race. My father could work himself into a mild frenzy talking about this state of affairs; Mississippi, he would say, was the poorest state in the union, and in some ways the worst, and here it was depriving itself of tax money because the people who listened to the preachers did not have the common sense to understand what was going on.
Every so often there would be a vote to determine whether liquor should be made legal. Then, for weeks before, the town would be filled with feverish campaign activity. People would quote the old saying, "As long as the people of Mississippi can stagger to the polls, they'll vote dry." A handful of people would come right and say that liquor should be made legal, so that the bootleggers and the sheriffs would not be able to make all the money, and because the state legislature's "black-market tax" on whiskey, a pittance of a tax that actually contradicted the state constitution, was a shameful deceit. But these voices were few, and most of the campaigning was done by the preachers and the church groups. In their sermons the preachers would talk about the dangers of alcoholism, and the shame of all the liquor ads along the highways in Tennessee and Louisiana, and the temptations this offered the young people. Two or three weeks before the vote, the churches would hand out bumper stickers to put on cars; in big red letters they said, "For the sake of my family, vote dry." An older boy, the son of one of the most prosperous bootleggers, drove around town in a new Buick, with three of those bumper stickers plastered on front and back: "For the sake of my family, vote dry."
In Kentucky a similar, but thought to be more reciprocal, phenomenon has been referred to as the unholy alliance:
...the marriages of convenience between bootleggers and ministerial associations that occur in small towns all across Kentucky every time a wet-dry local option issue comes up for a public vote.
#2 Nov 4, 2009
#3 Nov 4, 2009
why do'nt u get a life
#4 Nov 5, 2009
Sounds like you're the one who doesn't have a life if you believe the anti-wet propaganda.
#5 Nov 5, 2009
Intelligent response :)
I know it's a long read, but did you even try?
#6 Nov 5, 2009
#7 Nov 5, 2009
CatcherInTheRye and Bla Bla Bla must be first cousins. LOL
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