“Bootleggers and Baptists” is the popular explanation of the public choice theory of “rent-seeking” first offered up by economist Bruce Yandle, in which bootleggers support teetotaling Baptist politicians who keep alcohol illegal, thus preserving the huge profit margins of the bootleggers. For a current example, marijuana growers are unenthusiastic about the moves toward legalization in Colorado and elsewhere because it will cut into profits.
There’s another great example of it under way right now: environmentalists are joining the chemical industry–usually their mortal enemy–in pushing for restrictions on the export of American natural gas. The greens just want to suppress trade in hydrocarbons, and the chemical companies want to assure a cheap supply of their main feedstock. Part-time guitarist and crooner Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute offers us “This Gas Is Dow’s Gas” in response (about 2:30 long):
I’m guessing CEI won’t be getting any contributions from Dow Chemical any time soon. (And so much for the view that all “business” interests are the same.) If you have seven minutes, you owe it to yourself to take in Bruce Yandle explaining it all more fully, as only he can: