Bruce Yandle uses bootleggers and Baptists to explain what happens when a good cause collides with special interests.
When the city council bans liquor sales on Sundays, the Baptists rejoice—it's wrong to drink on the Lord's day. The bootleggers, rejoice, too. It increases the demand for their services.
The Baptists give the politicians cover for doing what the bootleggers want. No politicians says we should ban liquor sales on Sunday in order to enrich the bootleggers who support his campaign. The politician holds up one hand to heaven and talk about his devotion to morality. With the other hand, he collects campaign contributions (or bribes) from the bootleggers.
Read the whole thing.
I'm not sure what to say about Bryan's question about Singapore vs. the U.S.. But one thought I have is that Singapore probably would have less freedom without the security umbrella provided by America.