Is there hope for California?

Every year more Californians answer this question in the negative. We have now reached the point where more native-born Americans are moving out than moving in. There’s lots of grumbling in the Golden State these days, chiefly among those trying to raise families or operate small businesses here. Housing and real estate costs are outrageous. Taxes, regulations, and bizzare new laws are always threatening. I don’t know whether the dog-tethering bill passed (making it illegal to tether your dog for more than two hours), but at least the no-spanking bill was defeated. These things are hard to keep track of. The state that once gave America Ronald Reagan is now the nation’s leading exporter of pornography, methamphetamines, and homosexual propaganda – to name a few choice commodities.

The good news is that it is still possible in California to avoid the madness. Most of California remains rural, agricultural, and generally indifferent to the goings on in L.A. and the Bay Area. (Locals refer to these contemptuously as “Hollyweird and the Gay Bay”.) The northern counties are so culturally different that they have been trying to secede for almost a century. I’d gladly get behind the effort if I thought it had a chance. All of this is merely to introduce a good discussion of the topic in Christopher Zehnder’s essay “Why Is California So Weird? and the many comments that follow.

I think there is hope for California, although today we are at a crossroads. This hope will either be confirmed or extinguished in a generation. Californians would do well to flock to those regions, towns, and neighborhoods where resistance to the designs of Leviathan is strong. There are many such places in this state, but most are still not very conscious of their plight. We see this realignment happening already: the cultural divide in California is getting wider and emerging on sharp geographical lines. When the timing is right – with state bankruptcy and financial insolvency on the horizon – the politicians in Sacramento may be willing to reconsider the benefits of subsidiarity.