Bootleggers & Baptists: Volume 4

Essays 1-10:

Bootleggers & Baptists: Volume 1

Essays 10-20:

Bootleggers and Baptists: Volume 2

Essays: 20-30

Bootleggers & Baptists: Volume 3

Essays 30-40:

Bootleggers and Baptists- XXX: USB-C Mandate in Europe

Bootleggers and Baptists-XXXI: Microchip Shortage

Bootleggers and Baptists XXXII: The Bootleggers of Mask Mandates

Bootleggers and Baptists XXXIII- The Three-Tiered Distribution of Beer in the “Bible Belt”

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXXIV: The Supervisor Spot at Work

Bootleggers & Baptists-XXXV: Multiple Listing Services & Real Estate

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXXVI- Woke Capitalism and Coalitions of Opportunity

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXXVII: Salmon in Alaska (The Fight Against GMO Food)

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXXVIII- Prop. 5 (California, 1998)- Tribal Gaming

Bootleggers & Baptists XXXIX- AB-5 and Uber

Bootleggers & Baptists: XL- Joe Rogan: Team Spotify v. The Medical Establishment

Supplemental Content:

Editorial Graveyard- Part III: The Bootlegger and Baptists of Woke Capitalism

Bootleggers & Baptists: XL served as the rough draft for Censorship Isn’t the Answer to “Misinformation.” But Retrodiction Markets Might Be- Published by The Foundation for Economic Education”.

Bootleggers & Baptists: LXIII- Walmart Raises Wages

Walmart has decided to raise its starting wage to $14 per hour. This seems contrary to conventional wisdom, as firms strive to minimize labor costs. Walmart may appear to be the proverbial white knight in this scenario. By the end of 2023, less than ten states will have minimum wage requirements that exceed Walmarts starting wage. In the context of a Bootleggers and Baptist (1983), is Walmart the Baptist? Is Walmart meeting Progressive politicians and the American public (51 % support a $15/hr. minimum wage) halfway? By offering slightly less than what the left-wing populists want, are they providing voluntary compromise?

Not so fast. On a superficial level, Progressive politicians would be the Baptists for championing the moral concern of the quality of life experienced by low-skill workers. It is important to note that their normative position does not account for the potential negative consequences of raising the minimum wage. Walmart is most likely not enacting this new corporate policy out of the kindness of its own heart. It is important to remember the insights made by Adam Smith (the butcher, the baker, and the brewer) in The Wealth of Nations (1776), business is not charity, Walmart executives need to act in the interests of the firm to survive in the marketplace. Walmart might be upping wages to retain employees, which would be the best-case scenario.

However, there may be a more oblique strategy the firm is circuitously implementing. This is purely speculative and not a conspiratorial claim. The following statements are merely conjecture. If a firm seeks to reduce labor costs; why would the company voluntarily increase wages? Indirectly, such a policy could assist in reducing labor costs. How? Through urging companies to automate operations. The St. Louis Federal Reserve even notes; when the minimum wage increases, the greater the potential for worker displacement.

Per the St. Louis Fed:

“… Increasing the minimum wage is a controversial issue. Although a higher minimum wage can provide higher income for low-wage workers, it can also reduce the number of job opportunities for those workers. Some of the reduction in jobs occurs because a higher minimum wage increases production costs, causing firms to shift away from, or stop, production of some goods…”

While the public would be disgusted by this realization, reviling such business tactics ignores the role of incentives in decision-making. If you were a Walmart executive, you would take the same measures to reduce operational costs.

Bootleggers & Baptists LXII: The Cartel Wants to Get in on Legal Weed

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The War on Drugs waged by the United States since the 1970s has created a myriad of Bootlegger and Baptists (1983) dynamics. Few people question who stands to benefit from the legalization of currently prohibited drugs. This question becomes more prominent as more jurisdictions globally legalize recreational Marijuana. What happens when the most evident Bootlegger of the illicit drug trade (the Sinaloa Cartel) works to legitimatize commercial Marijuana sales? Does this strategic move shift their position in the coalition to that of the Baptists

This essay will examine this point to determine if the bad boys of the illegal dope game have turned over a new leaf. The legal status of Marijuana in Mexico is not as loose as the laws of their northern neighbors,  California and Arizona. Medical cannabis has been legal in Mexico since 2017, but what about the recreational consumption of pot? Mexico has decriminalized possession of up to  28 grams of Marijuana; recreational cannabis is still not legal. The staunch competition from the United States has caught the attention of various cannabis vendors in Mexico.

American dispensaries have achieved immense success considering sales for recreational weed are projected to hit “.. $25.1 billion in sales in 2025, with an average yearly growth of %23.60 from 2019 to 2025…”. It is self-evident that the illicit drug cartels would want a piece of the action. Yes, the most infamous cartel in Mexico has been watching. In the city of Culiacan, those left in charge since the incarceration of “El Chapo” Guzman, the “Narcosjuniors”, have established quasi-legal dispensaries. Selling various products ranging from edibles to best-sellers (manufacturing around 1,200 to 1,500 a week); pre-rolled joints. However, the cartel creating formal business networks, does this mean they are making sincere inroads to legalizing a drug with relatively few societal externalities? The transparent motive profit, leading them to create a commercial channel transitioning to a legal market.

If Sinaloa is once again the proverbial Bootlegger, who are our Baptists? We need to look at whom the cartel is employing to ensure quality control. After all, the cartels do not have the best reputation; when it comes to producing primo Marijuana. El Chapo’s successors will not be the Baptists, but they have enough sense to enlist the help of the passionate pot aficionados to cultivate higher-quality weed. They have hired weed-loving growers who have previously lived in California. Their love for cannabis urges them to:

“..We only have the permit to produce. The organization is giving us their money, their trust, and the green light to make the best product. But we can only sell to one client: the organization. We get good pay for our job, not in the millions, but enough to live off well, but more than that, the opportunity to develop top-notch weed,” one of the producers said..”

As usual, the cartel is still chasing profits, but the growers they employ want to grow the best pot in the world. Because of their love for the product, they want to dominate the global market (Canada, United States, and the Netherlands being the current movers and shakers). Only time will tell; once legalization takes full effect, if Mexico can overtake the California market. It would be nice to see an aggressive resurgence of high-caliber Acapulco Gold as a result of market competition.

Bootleggers & Baptists: Volume 3

Essays 1-10:

Bootleggers & Baptists: Volume 1

Essays 10-20:

Bootleggers and Baptists: Volume 2

Essays 20-30:

Bootleggers & Baptists: XX- The Death Penalty

Bootleggers & Baptists- XXI: Qualified Immunity, New Mexico, Cherry Garcia, and an Oil Barron

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXII- Opposition to Joe Biden’s Mentholated Cigarette Ban

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXIII- National Eviction Freeze

Bootleggers & Baptists XXIV: Budweiser versus The Stonewall Inn

Bootleggers & Baptists: XXV- The Energy Drink Crusader

Bootleggers & Baptists: XVI: Terrorism and Prediction Markets

Bootleggers and Baptists: XVII- Prediction Markets and Regulation (Gambling?)

Bootleggers and Baptists-XVIII- Fiat Currency

Bootlegger’s and Baptists XXIX- Arkansas and “Wet Counties”

Bootleggers and Baptists- XXX: USB-C Mandate in Europe

The Linchpin Framework of Adjudication- Submitted to The Journal of Brief Ideas

In the essay, Is Stare Decisis A Sand Castle? (2012), F.E. Guerra-Pujol details how judges possess the discretionary authority to bind and unbundle similar previous court cases. The legal scholarship is in sync with Guerra-Pujol’s observations; horizontal stare decisis does not effectively limit the SCOTUS (Cameron et al. 2019 & Lax, 2007). Why is this an issue? Because the lack of formal institutions restricting the court’s latitude to interpret the law could result in judges reshaping it to benefit their political objectives (Macey, 1994). An accusation made by many pundits after Dobbs v Jackson overruled Roe (abortion access), Justice Thomas expressed interest in reexamining Griswold v. Connecticut (contraceptive access)

.

The Linchpin Framework of Adjudication applies to any legal system that purports to adhere to the judicial doctrine of Stare decisis. It is analogous to pulling the linchpin from a grenade and allowing the bomb to detonate. In the absence of formal limitations, judges can “unbundle” similar cases to meet ideological goals with little regard for the law. Allowing politically motivated judges to engage in judicial activism, blurring the line between making and interpreting the law.

Stare Decisis, Judicial Constraint, & The Linchpin Framework of Adjudication

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After the Dobbs v. Jackson verdict, pundits started to question the impartiality of the Supreme Court. This rhetoric may be; propelled by ideologically driven policy preferences rather than concern for the SCOTUS being free of political influences. I highly doubt that most individuals up in arms about Dobbs would have batted an eye if the high court overturned Heller.

Regardless of the motives of the endless array of talking heads in the media, maintaining governing organizations “independent” of political interests is imperative to constraining state power. We only need to see the post-2008 policies of the Federal Reserve to see how once a governing institution compromised its operational autonomy; policies move towards disastrously interventionist initiatives. This same concern can be directed at the SCOTUS. Since the function of the court is to interpret the law, not to act as a covert extension of the legislative branch.

The one institutional constraint( the Fed’s equivalent to the dual mandate) designed to limit the latitude of the court’s decision-making capabilities is the judicial doctrine of stare decisis. Stare decisis translated from Latin means “…to stand by things decided..”; in other words, the court must adhere to past case precedence. If faithfully adhered to, this doctrinal constraint can act as a powerful check on the power of the judicial branch of government.

The question becomes does the Supreme Court have any fidelity to its own past decisions? The legal scholarship would suggest that it does not. Cameron et al. (2019) describe horizontal stare decisis as “voluntary” and “..nothing compels courts to follow precedent…”, implicating that the court has no true limitation on invalidating past case law (p. 506). Frequently, the case law laid out by the SCOTUS is expected to constrain the lower courts and not hinder the adjudication of the high court (Lax, 2007, p.591). The lack of penalty for violating past case law is problematic as this could enable judges to shape court decisions that will benefit their self-interests (Macey, 1994, p.629-630).

When armed with the potential to have implicitly unconstrained digressional authority over the application of the law, there is the possibility for abuse. In the context of manipulating the law for political ends, overturning Roe v. Wade has been a policy focal point for partisan conservatives for decades. Even if the Roe decision is flimsy, from the standpoint of judicial logic, does it make it morally sound for the court to overreach and make corrections for the erroneous past decision? It would be wise to suggest no. Legal scholar and Neo-Formalist exponent, Lawrence Solum, suggests that :

“Wholesale rejection of precedent would create another problem, which we might call doctrinal instability. Sensible formalists need not deny that some constitutional questions are close, even if one is committed to textualism and originalism” (p.194).

This lack of stability politicizes the American legal system and decreases the public’s faith in the institution (per a recent Gallup poll the public’s current approval of the SCOTUS is at historic lows).

Outside of the direct impact of overturning Roe on abortion access, what are the other downstream consequences? For one, we should consider that abortion access is an unenumerated right (not formally codified in the Constitution) that the 1973 decision protected. In other words, the court used cases supporting similar or adjacent rights to justify their ruling in Roe. This is an issue because many cases that justify the court’s ruling in Roe; could be collateral damage due to Dobbs.

For example, Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)  cited in Roe (p.129); could come under fire with Roe upended. Depending on how the court bends its logic, could Griswold be next? Access to contraceptives is merely an appurtenant concern concerning abortion and does not carry the same magnitude of a moral conundrum. Since Justice Thomas has expressed the need to reconsider Griswold, contraceptive access could be in danger. In this series of events, Solum’s concerns are beginning to manifest themselves in the American legal system. All steeming one Supreme Court decision adjudicated last year.

This brings us to the concept of the Linchpin Framework of Adjudication. Any legal system that purports to adhere to the judicial doctrine of Stare Decisis is susceptible to this phenomenon. The framework is applicable when a case supported by numerous other adjacent cases is overturned, and the supporting cases cited in the nullified decision are at risk of being struck down. It is a chain reaction analogous to pulling the linchpin from a grenade; this results in the bomb detonating. By analogy, overturning the “linchpin” causes all the subordinate court decisions, propping up this single ruling; to be struck down in subsequent court sessions.

Friday Feature Film-Barrett says Roe v. Wade is not a ‘super-precedent’ (Washington Post)

Posting this video is not intended to provide any commentary on the normative claims encompassing the reproductive rights debate or a critique of the Dobbs ruling.

However, this video does ignite an intriguing debate regarding the interaction of the judicial doctrine of stare decisis and whether there is case law that is unquestionably settled (super-precedents).

For further reading, please see Precedent, Super-Precedent (2007) by legal scholar Michael Sinclair (Hat tip/:Prior Probability for recommending this article back in 2021).

Prisoner’s Dilemmas- XXV: Social Justice (Part B)- The Left Cannibalizing Their Own (Sam Harris)

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Part A

There are times when Social Justice rhetoric and Wokism are weaponized and used again another contemporary liberal/progressive public figures. Few instances of this have been as underhanded as how the progressive tastemakers disparaged public intellectual Sam Harris. For years, Harris has exalted liberal values, including economic equity. This has been elicpsed by the fact as he has committed the cardinal sin of attempting to be logically consistent when professing to be a liberal.

Harris has been an instrumental voice in the New Atheism movement, a philosophical movement that perceives irreligiosity as crucial in advancing human progress. It would appear that a growing number of liberals agree, considering there was a ten percent decrease in belief in God among liberals polled over the past several years. To be critical of religiosity requires that all religions to be criticized, including Islam. Despite the conservative quiddity and its virtual incongruence with progressive values, many socially conscious commentators believe Islam is above reproach. For an atheist to give Islam a pass in the name of “tolerance” is intellectual dishonesty.

Harris is one of the few left-of-center thinkers audacious enough to critique Islam; he paid the price with accusations Islamophobia. The Southern Poverty Law Center attacked Harris for being critical of Islam. Social Justice rhetoric, Wokism, and political correctness caused liberals[1] to start cannibalizing their ideological fellow travelers. Almost utilizing obtuse adherence to the muddled logic of the far-left as a litmus test, separating the wheat from the chaff. Placing social pressure on academics and other intellectuals to tow the party line, regardless of its inconsistencies.

What the left has done is create a Prisoner’s Dilemma by creating no room for “dissenters” in the realm of intellectual thought. This has forced thinkers like Sam Harris and Bret Weinstein to seek intellectual companionship in the most unlikely of places. Does Ben Shapiro in any other universe seem like a potential ally for Harris? What the progressive wing of the left has failed to recognize is that they have only created odd bedfellows coalitions through attacking figures like Harris. If his fellow liberals will not tolerate his earnest commentary, perhaps conservatives will.

The reward for Mutual Cooperation: R= .5

If free-thinking liberals like Harris and the Progressive elites come to an understanding, that would be the best scenario. Odds are Harris will not persuade them nor vice versa; it is best for the Progressive with a political agenda to avoid commentary on the work and opinions of Harris.

Punishment for Defecting: P=-0

Both parties have their audiences (Sam Harris is a best-selling author and hosts a popular podcast), but it is unlikely that Harris or Progressive influencers, public intellectuals, or pundits will lose fans over doubling down. 

·  Temptation to Defect: T= 1

Since the political interests of Progressive political actors have strong incentives to cancel anyone who violates the norms of political correctness, Sam does not have much choice but not only to continue with his work but also to align himself with other pundits who will not attempt to de-platform him.

· Sucker’s Payoff: S= -1

If Sam no longer produced content after the accusations came out, it would have been the death knell for his career.

Condition 1:

· T>R>P>S

· 1> .5> 0 > -1

Condition 2:

· (T+S)/2<R

· (1+-1)/2 <.5

· (0)/2 <.5

· 0 < .5

Conclusion: 

Essentially, the uncompromising nature of the New Left has left open-minded intellectuals like Sam Harris with no other choice but to defect and find flatforms and other pundits who have no incentive to cancel him for criticizing Islam.

Even more concerning is the suboptimal results of stifling intellectual debate through defacto censorship projected by cancel culture. In the arena of advancing knowledge this is poisoning the well. Many brilliant thinkers might prefer to remain quiet than get canceled. 

Notes

  1. Liberals in the contemporary sense of the phrase, not to be confused with Classical Liberalism.

Prisoner’s Dilemmas- XXV: Social Justice (Part A)-College Admissions

Progressive pundits and advocates for social justice often hold conflicting views in the name of upholding political correctness. Analogous to other manifestations of inconsistencies, proponents of contemporary progressive ideals will be backed into a corner by their logically incompatible beliefs. This is not an underhanded jab at modern liberalism; but an observation that suggests that hyper-woke social justice is rationally untenable. The grabbled jargon of critical race theory has only served to muddy the logic behind defending the disadvantaged based on sexual, racial, religious, and gender identity [1]. 

The burning question for every wide-eyed young adult is which discriminated group deserves a privileged status in society. The ideal answer would be every non-white, non-male, non-Christian, and member of the LGBTQ+ community. But this is not a perfect world with cleanly delineated categories. The social justice crowd has tried to rely on intersectionality as a heuristic to make this determination. However, activistic pursuits, like other resources, are finite and best allocated to the most productive use. Activists have ascertained that not every minority group is entitled to the same degree of reparative policies. Some of the most salient evidence is the Asian college admission (e.g. Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College) controversies. Are Asians too successful for us to treat them like a minority in the United States? What about the racial discrimination Asian Americans have faced in recent years since the COVID-19 outbreak? These are some of the precarious questions that social justice advocates need to answer, when does an ethnic minority group’s success place them outside of minority status? 

The reverse discrimination of successful minority groups creates Prisoner Dilemma-like social dynamics. After all, these individuals came to America, followed the law, contributed to their communities, and independently achieved economic success. Harvard’s college admissions practices are a slap in the face. It is not likely that these individuals will lose their work ethic and start slacking off all because of this double standard. It will have other unintended consequences, such as individuals not wanting to fully participate in American public life and choosing to keep to themselves in their ethnic communities. Potentially fostering distrust of non-Asians, regardless of their intentions.

Condition 1:

· T>R>P>S

· 1> .5> 0 > -1

Condition 2:

· (T+S)/2<R

· (1+-1)/2 <.5

· (0)/2 <.5

· 0 < .5

Notes

1.)   In the opinion of the author of this essay, Critical Race Theory was never intended to enter public discourse. It was a highly technical and wonkish framework that was purely academic. There is a danger of unsavvy SJWs misinterpreting the theory and incorrectly applying it in activism. Many of the core assumptions of CRT are inherently flawed.