Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Destruction of the West - California in the Lead

Thanks to lead-in from 90 Mile From Tyranny, we find an epic piece written by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review, "California: America's First Third World State".

California, as the biggest liberal enclave in the US, stands out from the rest of the states in the way that it seems to strive to attain the ideal social structure that so-called progressives long for:  a medieval society of royalty and peasants (as long as they're the ones on top).  In modern terms that means no middle class, just a wealthy, nobility class and a much larger lower (or under) class of indentured servants who keep them in power.

VDH opens with this trenchant observation:
Third World symptomologies are predictably corrupt government, unequal or nonexistent applicability of the law, two rather than three classes, and the return of medieval diseases. Third World nations suffer from high taxes and poor social services, premodern infrastructure and utilities, poor transportation, tribalism, gangs, and lack of security.

Another chief characteristic of a Third World society is the official denial of all of the above, and a vindictive, almost hysterical state response to anyone who points out those obvious tragedies. Another is massive out-migration. Residents prefer almost any country other than their own. Think Somalia, Venezuela, Cuba, Libya, or Guatemala.
It's really worth reading the whole thing, but VDH puts together a strong case to back his points.  I'll excerpt a few here.
By many criteria, 21st-century California is both the poorest and the richest state in the union. Almost a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. Another fifth is categorized as near the poverty level — facts not true during the latter 20th century. A third of the nation’s welfare recipients now live in California. The state has the highest homeless population in the nation (135,000). About 22 percent of the nation’s total homeless population reside in the state — whose economy is the largest in the U.S., fueling the greatest numbers of American billionaires and high-income zip codes.

But by some indicators, the California middle class is shrinking — because of massive regulation, high taxation, green zoning, and accompanying high housing prices. Out-migration from the state remains largely a phenomenon of the middle and upper-middle classes. Millions have left California in the past 30 years, replaced by indigent and often illegal immigrants, often along with the young, affluent, and single.
California’s transportation system, to be honest, remains in near ruins. Despite the highest gas taxes in the nation, none of its major trans-state freeways — not the 99, not I-5, not the 101 — after 70 years off use, are yet completed with six lanes, resulting in dangerous bottlenecks and wrecks. Driving the 99 south of Visalia, or the 101 near Paso Robles, or the 5 north of Coalinga is right out of Road Warrior — but not as dangerous as the fossilized two-line feeder lines such as 152 into Gilroy, or the 41 west of Kettleman City. The unspoken transportation credo of Jerry Brown’s aggregate 16 years as governor apparently was “If you don’t build it, maybe they won’t need it.”
In 1973, when I first visited and lived in Greece, the roads were medieval. The old Hellinikon Airport was dysfunctional, if not creepy. Highway rest stops were filthy. I have lived in or visited Greece in the ensuing 45 years since, including occasionally after the 2008 meltdown and European Union standoff. And yet today, the freeways, chief airport, and rest stops of relatively poor Greece are in far better shape than are California’s. LAX’s poor road access, traffic, uncleanness, crowds, and chaos seem premodern compared with the current Athenian airport.
Power outrages are characteristic of Third World countries. Here in California we are advised to brace for lots of them, given that our antiquated grid apparently contributes to brush fires on hot days. As a native, I do not remember a single instance of our 20th-century state utilities shutting down service in the manner that they now routinely promise.
California’s cycles of wet boom years and dry bust years continue because the state refuses to build three or four additional large reservoirs that have been planned for more than a half-century, and that would store enough water to keep California functional through even the worst drought. The rationale is either that it is more sophisticated to allow millions of acre-feet of melted snow to run into the sea, or it is better to have a high-speed-rail line from Merced to Bakersfield than an additional 10 million acre-feet of water storage, or droughts ensure more state control through rationing and green social-policy remedies.
California schools are usually in the bottom decile of national rankings. No one in polite conversation asks why that is so, given that the state’s K–12 schools used to be among the most competitive in the United States.

Yet, again in medieval fashion, the professional schools and science and technology departments of California’s premier research universities — Cal Tech, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC — are among the highest-rated in the world. Imagine something like the scribal oases of Padua, Oxford, or Paris in an otherwise frightening 13th century. If one wishes to be schooled as an electrical engineer or cancer researcher, California is an attractive place; if one wishes to be a knowledgeable graduate of a public elementary and high school, it most certainly is not.
California now has the nation’s highest basket of sales, gas, and income taxes. With a state surplus, and a slowing economy, one would think that the legislature and governor would pause before even considering raising more taxes. After all, new federal tax law limits write-offs of state and local taxes to $10,000 — radically spiking upper-bracket Californians’ federal tax liabilities.

Yet the rule in California is to punish the upper middle class while pandering to the rich and romanticizing the poor. Thus, the legislature is now considering a punitive new inheritance tax, and it just imposed an Internet sales tax.
What caused this lunacy?

A polarity of importing massive poverty from south of the border while pandering to those who control unprecedented wealth in Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the tourism industry, and the marquee universities. Massive green regulations and boutique zoning, soaring taxes, increasing crime, identity politics and tribalism, and radical one-party progressive government were force multipliers. It is common to blame California Republicans for their own demise. They have much to account for, but in some sense, the state simply deported conservative voters and imported their left-wing replacements.
Go read the rest.  Yes, I left some. 

In many issues and at many times, California has started changes that filtered into the rest of the country.  Many of the movements that are pushing California into third world status are elsewhere in the country.  Seattle.  Chicago.  Portland.  New York City.  Jersey City.  New Orleans.  And others.  These things VDH describes should be flashing warning signs, saying "don't do what they did", yet too many seem to want to go down the path into the third world. 


  1. So very sad. I watched it go from a beautiful place to a 3rd world dump in the 35 years I lived there.

  2. Start with a bigger gulp from the keg of reality:

    The state of California is the victim in this rape.
    The perpetrators are your own toothless, banjo-playing kinfolk, and the early Communist refugees who'd already destroyed Bahstun, NYFC, Chicongo, Detroitistan, D.C., and the Baltimorons.

    And when Califrutopia crashes (inevitably) they'll be coming right back home to you, for every value of Not Born Here, and bringing maid Lupe, gardener Pedro, and their 400 cousins with them, to your little patch of heaven.
    Mark my words, it's coming. You will see this material again.

    Wrap your heads around that (which even VDH won't point out), and you've got the full picture of what was, is, and will be here.

    My state - and I'm as native, if not as long-lived here, as VDH - was mugged. And raped. Those of us few remaining natives know this in our bones, and we don't suffer from any idiot Stockholm Syndrome. We want heads on pike poles and city gates. And the push-back when the pendulum swings the current iteration right over the cliff is going to be biblical.

    Such catastrophes are seldom marked by kindness and civility. Failed communist states, and their leaders, seldom fare well afterwards.
    California will be no exception, and the reckoning is going to rock a lot of folks on their heels, and open quite a few eyes. The people east of I-5 had pretty well had it with those west of it, for decades now, and all this wants is a suitable match to put to the fuse.

    Or the kind of tumbling catastrophe of Fail that would do ancient Babylon credit.


    1. And if you think those "homeless" (read "mentally-ill drug addicts and criminals" rolled into one giant ball of crap) are from California either, I've got a bridge for sale, cheap.

      Those are 90% yours too, who only stopped here because they couldn't walk any farther once they hit the shoreline of the Pacific, and stayed because your communist transplants here thought to feed them and mollycoddle them. When the government's teat here dries up, they'll be coming back home too.

      And those who sent them, and laughed about the consequences to us for decades, are going to be repaid, in spades.

      I wouldn't give you a nickel for the chances of illegal immigrants here come The Great Fall either.

      I-405 and I-15 will be backed up to Bakersfield with traffic heading south of the border all of a sudden. We won't be about learning to live with the narco-cartels, as Mexico has done.
      We'll likely begin to deport the entire garden-plot they thrive in, in about a month.

      Or else there's going to be a 50-state run on large tree chippers.

      Gird your loins.
      This is something else that's probably coming to you, after starting in California.


    2. Chill, Aesop. I'm not attacking California and you don't need to jump to defend it.

      I'm pointing out that there's a nationwide trend going that leads to third world status. Probably worldwide as the migrants from the Dark Side push third world ethics onto the civilized world.

      Consider it part of a continuing series on what I see coming. You and I are on the same page. Only I might see things a bit more darkly than you do.

    3. Chill yourself, amigo. ;) No harm, no foul.
      I didn't see anything you wrote as "attacking" California.
      If anything, coupled with distance, you were too kind to it by at least half.

      I'm not defending it, just pointing out where the next section of road leads.
      Socialism fails.
      Everywhere, always.
      What happens afterwards is never pretty.

      And unfortunately for 49 other states, Califrutopia is just a bit farther along than anywhere else.

      I think Illinois is actually closer to bankruptcy than CA (not by much, but still...), but I suspect the rest of that state will simply have the good sense to quarantine Chicongo once the state collapses as well, and be rid of their eternal problem.

      Historically, no one's addressed what would happen if 98% of a state decided to eject an entity as foul and corrupt as Chicongo from their corporate entity, and declare it a free state in rebellion, but no longer part of their territory, nor with any claim to the rest of the state nor its substance. Chicago can keep their congressmen, but it gets no senators, and has no impact on further IL politics. I'm pushing for naming it the Principality Of Stupidia, but that's just the sentimentalist in me.

      But I'd like to see that.

      It might start a trend of territorial divorce that would carry to NYFC, Bahstun, etc.

      WRT Califrutopia, the rot is far more dispersed, and the territory in question too valuable in many ways, plus even the "blue" areas are still only fractionally so.

      That's why I foresee a much bloodier reckoning.
      But a reckoning that's economically inevitable.

      Nobody foresaw the Soviet Union collapsing when it happened.
      Everybody (except the idiots driving the bus) sees where CA is headed, because while demographics is destiny, so is economics.
      49 other states aren't going to bail CA out (please, don't even think about it), and we cannot print fiatbux here, so the only option left is an entire state, wearing a barrel. Millions of state leeches unemployed? Be still, my beating heart!

      Picture the chimp-out when those EBT cards don't work, and no one who votes for a living can afford food, and the inevitable response to that by the half of the state that's redder than a baboon's hindquarters.

      You weren't bashing California, nor am I.
      But predicting where trains will go when they're heading for a missing bridge at breakneck speed isn't particularly difficult.

      Calizuela, here we come.
      Except unlike Caracas, we still have our guns.
      So I rather suspect the Democrats running Sacramento as a private fiefdom are going to be Caucescued. Rather stridently.
      I pray you, don't give any of them exile amnesty. Send them home for the rope neckties they'll deserve.
      And don't do anything about what will be, for some months at minimum, a functional war on Mexico. Let events take their course first. The resultant miles-wide No Man's Land buffer zone from the Pacific Ocean to Yuma is long overdue, and 70-30 pushing all their malcontents and criminals results in a Mexican Revolution, something they're overdue for as well. Even the cartels will conclude that Mexico City is a bigger pushover than the pissed off half of California.

      Can't wait for that day.

      Side note: This time around, I think that red stripe and red star are coming off the state flag.
      But the Grizzly bear headed for The Left will be spot-on.

      Newton's Third law will have it's due.

    4. And that was me.

    5. Just to be fair, California had at least it's own fair share of progressives, communists, and dolts as anywhere else. And other states didn't send them to California. California attracted them. Now that California is being destroyed, the locusts will move on to the places they didn't see as so desirable as California. Wishing ill upon others for things they had nothing to do with (i.e., California being attractive) should be below you. Bitterness is corrosive and you seem eaten up with it. You remind me of the French peasant who freed a spirit who granted him one wish as reward for freeing him, but with the proviso that whatever he wished for, his neighbor would get twice as much. So with no hesitation at all, he wished to have the spirit pluck out one of his eyes...

  3. It's come to the point where the best thing may be to encourage California to secede, then invade, exterminate the progressives, and drive out all the Mexicans.

  4. Okay, the post was great, VDH article is great, the comments were great.

    10/10, would read again.