Recall Election Could Reverse the California Ideology

September 10, 2021 Updated: September 13, 2021

Commentary

California once was run by conservatives and mostly centrist Democrats.

True paleo-liberal governors such as Pat Brown greatly expanded the welfare state. But they also believed in pushing integration and building freeways, dams, aqueducts, and power plants, while preventing forest fires, directing the mentally ill into state hospitals, and ensuring that the state enhanced the housing, timber, oil and gas, nuclear and agricultural industries.

So, why would anyone deliberately destroy that heritage?

Why allow California to have the highest aggregate basket of income, sales, property, and capital gains taxes in the nation, the highest gas and power prices in the continental United States, and nearly the worst schools and infrastructure? California also has the country’s largest populations of homeless, welfare recipients, and undocumented immigrants.

Remember that the left wing of the Democratic Party became hyper-wealthy through globalization and the tech revolution. Coastal universities such as Caltech, Stanford, UC–Berkeley, USC, and UCLA became global nexuses of millions who flocked to California to learn business, engineering, science, math, and the professions.

University endowments were no longer measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars but in the billions.

Hollywood and professional sports now had a lucrative worldwide audience of billions.

The market capitalization of Silicon Valley was to be measured in the trillions of dollars, as the world bought iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks to do Google searches, tweet, and use Facebook. The result was the greatest concentration of wealth in such a small space in the history of civilization.

Within 40 years, California had created a new plutocracy of Eloi, whose wealth exempted them from all worries about the mundane problems of the distant and despised Morlock others.

The wealthier the long, thin line from San Diego to Berkeley grew, the more the overseers felt they were nearing Utopia, at least in their own lives.

The new Democratic Party liked to redistribute money for the poor and so obeyed the orders from the rich. But they ignored old-fashioned infrastructure that once had allowed the middle class to drive quickly and safely, ensured them water during droughts, curbed their forest fires, and allowed their children to leave school competitively educated.

Reaction, not prevention, was the new mantra. Govs. Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom failed to thin out forests, build water storage, and allow affordable housing.

When those problems exploded, they reacted by citing climate change or some other bogeyman as the culprit rather than government dereliction. They preferred utopian high-speed rail solutions to pragmatic problem-solving. And they ensured that none of their crackpot ideas ever affected themselves.

Why worry about affordable housing and electricity for the masses when all the right people had the means to live in the right ZIP codes without much worry about turning on the air conditioning or heat, since there were rarely any scorching days or frigid nights in coastal paradise?

Why worry about immigration when labor became even cheaper?

Why worry that California public schools had sunk near the bottom of state ranks, when there were more prestigious prep schools than ever on the coast?

And why worry about producing lumber for houses, irrigated crops for food, or oil for gasoline, when the right Californians would always have the money to import their hardwood floors, arugula, and fuel from grubby others far away who would make or grow what was needed?

Yet, ideas eventually have consequences. Soon, even the left-wing paradise on the coast would be infected by the anarchy the rich had created for less-important people elsewhere.

The homeless didn’t just camp on the streets of Fresno, but in Venice Beach and on Market Street in San Francisco.

Fires began to smoke out not just the brush of the inland foothills, but near-saintly Lake Tahoe, home to the right skiers and the chosen shore owners.

Thieves even smashed the windows of Bay Area BMWs and Volvos.

The current California recall election is a choice between Newsom, who embodies the woke, old-boy privilege of the Bay Area, and an alternative direction. Newsom is the epitome of the virtue-signaling elite who patronize the poor and drive out the despised middle class.

Gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder didn’t give us the current California. Indeed, he spent most of his life warning us where Brown, Newsom, and the rarified society of the coastal corridor was taking the state.

A careening California is heading for a colossal train wreck. Voters will have to pick between the incompetent engineer snoring at the wheel or the private passenger who rushes into the cab to get the engine back on track.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is a conservative commentator, classicist, and military historian. He is a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, a senior fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University, a fellow of Hillsdale College, and a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness. Hanson has written 16 books, including “The Western Way of War,” “Fields Without Dreams,” and “The Case for Trump.”