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Chertoff: Baptists and Bootleggers

In my National Opt-Out Day interview with Art Carden, assistant professor of Economics and Business at Rhodes College, he used an analogy with me that didn’t fit into my story, but I had to share it.

He explained former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff’s involvement with the body scanners as a standard story in public choice economics, in what’s called the Baptists and bootleggers.

“People who were really, really big fans of prohibition were Baptists who were against drinking, and bootleggers who made a lot of money selling illicit alcohol,” Carden said. “In the same way, we can say what we need here is enhanced safety, enhanced safety, enhanced safety, but ultimately, the manufacturers of this equipment are going to make enormous amounts of money.”

To read more about National Opt-Out Day and how it affects Memphis International, click here.


  1. Lori Masonia says:

    Art Carden is a very intelligent man! I enjoy his articles!