by the Left Coast Rebel
I am a California native, born and raised here. Being young(er), even I can think back to a time when my state (that I will leave) was a completely different place.
10, 15, 20 years ago California was a bountiful land of opportunity that beckoned all - out-of-staters to foreigners - to come here and make an exciting new start, to take a shot at the middle class and beyond that the Golden State offered.
Neighborhoods, cities and communities statewide, for the most part were clean, urban yet welcoming, not unlike sleepy suburban areas across America.
Sure, there were problems - the creeping issue of illegal immigration that, despite the will of California residents, continued to bleed state resources and slowly morph inland neighborhoods into venerable third world mini-nations. The state's body-politic was a structural mess but unnoticed and under the radar due to the wealth creation of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, world class ports and dozens of industries, businesses and large corporations that found a welcome home here. Taxes, in most cases, were half of what they are today.
And of course, there were areas in Los Angeles and the Bay Area that featured the craziest socialistic laws, mandates, sprawl, crime, decay....in the country but again, such was mostly off the public radar at the time.
Today the seeds planted years past have come to fruition. Atlas has shrugged and California has changed - government has ruined this place and I will never forget it. The perpetual bankrupt government and business situation has laid bear the vein of systemic issues that were merely percolating, decades past.
I will never forget the incredible decline and the way things used to be here. One of the main reasons that I truly loathe government so, so, much is because of this. I have witnessed the evils of socialism, the lack of rule of law, creeping/crippling regulations and taxes, Bolshevik state lawmakers beholden to special interests, a neutered opposition party, the destruction that the entitlement mentality & entitlements create and the inevitable result of cultural, moral, philosophical postmodern-relativism and bankruptcy - both morally and economically.
And this is the garbage that progressivists have attempted to sell to the nation from Barney Frank to Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama to (fill in the blank).
Our illustrious leader promised to transform the nation. Guess what, America? California is what the transformation looks like. In a sensible America, the decline of California should be the clarion canary in a coal mine call. How can we let the progressive nightmare happen to the nation when a state of almost 40 million (nearly a nation unto itself) has already experienced it?
I have told my wife that I may one day write a book on California. I wonder if anyone would read it?
Either way my ramblings will never hold a candle to those of Victor Davis Hanson. Yesterday he published a stunning piece in National Review that tells the story that I have lived as well, albeit from a Central Valley perspective.
Here's the opening:
The last three weeks I have traveled about, taking the pulse of the more forgotten areas of central California. I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest sales and income taxes, the most lavish entitlements, the near-worst public schools (based on federal test scores), and the largest number of illegal aliens in the nation, along with an overregulated private sector, a stagnant and shrinking manufacturing base, and an elite environmental ethos that restricts commerce and productivity without curbing consumption.The rest is simply a must-read. Discussion at Memeorandum.