From NPR: ‘How California Is Turning The Rest Of The West Blue’

Full post here.

Thanks to a reader for the link.  Culture and ideas matter, as many Californians are fleeing California, looking for jobs and economic growth elsewhere.

As to these wanderers:

‘Nevertheless, they also tend to be fairly progressive on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion — and overall may be more liberal than their new neighbors in other states.

“You see that in other parts of the country, too,” says Ruy Teixeira, a Democratic demographer at the Center for American Progress. “You have the phenomenon of relatively conservative people leaving a liberal state and moving to a conservative state where they’re relatively liberal.”

Colorado has been a hotspot, as well as Nevada.

On Joel Kotkin’s thinking:

‘As progressive policies drive out moderate and conservative members of the middle class, California’s politics become even more left-wing. It’s a classic case of natural selection, and increasingly the only ones fit to survive in California are the very rich and those who rely on government spending. In a nutshell, “the state is run for the very rich, the very poor, and the public employees.’

Well, California has Silicon Valley, a strong tech sector, tourism, immigration, the call of manifest destiny, great port cities, great weather, the entertainment industry, rich natural resources as well as many other things going for it.

It’s been the operating theory of this blog that NPR’s ideals, similar to ideas active in California culture and politics, are a natural consequence of liberalism and are part of the trade-offs that come with liberalism, harboring progressivism and 60’s idealist collectivism within itself.  Such ideologies can lead to the same problems driving many people away from California at the moment:  Strict environmental laws, strong public sector unions, a progressive culture of multiculturalism and abstract equality which rewards activism through the laws.

In California, these ideals have come to dominate education and health-care in particular, and large swathes of public sentiment more broadly. In practice, this has led to one-party control of the political process, economic stagnation, bloated bureaucracy, deficits, race and identity group politics and a shrinking pie.

So for all the free-thinking Jerry Brown displays in the video below, the practical politics that result from these ideas are another matter:


Other parts of the country are NOT California of course, full of more rooted, generally more traditional people, but the whole country, regardless of political ideology, is facing global competition for jobs, rapid technological change and loss of manufacturing and other low-skilled jobs, municipal defaults in many areas, and have not figured out how to fulfill the promises they’ve made for their citizens.

Walter Russell Mead suggests this is emblematic of the failure of the ‘blue model’:

‘The frustration and bitterness that fills American politics these days reflects the failure of our current social, political and economic institutions and practices to deliver the results that Americans want and expect.’

Victor Davis Hanson’s advice for California may be true of what’s increasingly part of the furniture for our national politics and liberalism more generally:

Soon, even the Stanford professor and the La Jolla administrator may learn that illegal immigration, cumbersome regulations, and the terrible elementary schools affect them as well.

The four-part solution for California is clear:  don’t raise the state’s crushing taxes any higher; reform public-employee compensation:  make use of ample natural resources: and stop the flow of illegal aliens. Just focus on those four areas-as California did so well in the past-and in time, the state will return to its bounty of a few decades ago.  Many of us intend to stay and see that it does.’

I know where much of what’s become of mainstream liberalism will likely pull the culture: Towards this collectivism, solidarity, activism and Statism, and it’s arguable how liberal this really is.

***See Matt Welch’s piece here on how the New Republic has gone full progressive in many ways.  In this blog’s opinion, neo-liberalism is more like that of Will Wilkinson, or can be found at the Economist.

They’ve got to keep up with the times: A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

 Ken Burns makes a good documentary, but he’s also arguing he absolutely needs your tax dollars in service of what he assumes to be a shared definition of the “common good” as he pursues that art.  The market just can’t support it otherwise. Repost-From ReasonTV Via Youtube: ‘Ken Burns on PBS Funding, Being a “Yellow-Dog Democrat,” & Missing Walter Cronkite’From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?…We’re already mixing art and politics, so…

California’s anti-union and anti-immigration democrat-Full video and background on Mickey Kaus here.

A good post on Robinson Jeffers from Malcolm Greenhill, which highlights how the rugged and vast beauty of California makes it easier to imagine what culture is, and what it ought to be on this outpost of Western Civilization.

Conn Carroll At The Washington Examiner: ‘California In Crisis’


-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

-A map from Immodest Proposals on how to divide California.  Topographic crime map of San Francisco. 

Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest

Related On This Site:  Victor Davis Hanson Via Youtube Via Uncommon Knowledge: ‘The New Old World Order’Victor Davis Hanson At The City Journal: ‘California, Here We Stay’

Dream big: Via Reason: ‘California’s Public Transportation Sinkhole’ A great city deserves great art extravaganzas…: L.A.’s New Public Art Piece ‘The Levitated Mass,’ Or As The American Interest Puts It: ‘A Moving Rock’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

California Dreamers From The Atlantic-A Brief Review Of Kevin Starr’s History Of California

The people who promise solutions to poverty and homlessness seem to be engaged in a utopian cost-shifting exercise which favors their interests and overlooks crime, violence and personal responsbility…hardly a way to balance the budget: Repost-Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘The Sidewalks Of San Francisco’

Some concentrated wealth on top, a stalled legislature with members who know how to play the game…and a service sector beneath…that probably can’t go on forever: …From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’

Onward we go.

Jordan Bloom At The American Conservative: ‘When You Have No Hometown To Go Back To’

Full piece here.

There’s no place like home

Language is the only homeland (for poets, especially).

It’s a challenge to try and keep up with the demographic changes going on in America right now.

Do you want to be around family?  Do you need to be around family for economic reasons?  Where is meaning and group membership coming from in your life?

‘As Linker points out in his review, it’s the idea of returning home that separates the Drehers and Kauffmans from simply advocating ruralism. He writes, “If you live in a coastal city or suburb, the supremely unconservative message appears to be: Pull up your shallow roots and relocate to a region of the country where you can start over with a simpler, more humane, and happier life.”’

I suspect this may be part of a larger conservative trend, seeking to regroup around family, church, civic clubs and perhaps, a concept of home.  It should be pointed out that a large open market and economic liberalism don’t necessarily lead to social conservatism, at least as some of the current thinking on Margaret Thatcher’s England suggests in her wake.  You can wrest the economy from the unions and from the maw of nationalization, but so much economic freedom may be at odds with the good, moral, upstanding, civic-minded citizens desired on that vision.

In a word:  rooted.

The Reagan and Thatcher eras had in common a fight against socialism, or creeping statism and secular communitarianism and collectivism.  If your ‘community’ tends to be a city, then diversity and multiculturalism will likely have more relevance in your life as practical glue to bring various people together, even if you live in a religious enclave.  If you live in a city, your politics is more likely to be machine politics, and corrupt in many cases, and a path for immigrants to attain a better life and more control.  Such is human nature.

This may also be a bend in the road at which we can observe conservatives and libertarians more likely to part company.  Libertarians tend to draw a ring around the individual and proceed from there.

Here’s a quote from this short essay I wrote, trying to contrast Brooklyn hipsters (many of whom, I maintain, come from the suburbs), and Charles Murray’s vision together (perhaps not successfully):

‘I can understand why many conservatives and traditional thinkers are upset about the decline, as they see it, of our culture.  They arguably control much less of it than before, and have much less influence in the public square than they used to, as does organized religion.  Many people with conservative views feel targeted by Hollywood and the media generally, as though it’s turned against them, espousing ideas which undermine the virtues and duties which maintain civil society.  Even the technology sector tends to vote non-Republican.

Enough! goes the refrain.

Perhaps we could take a look at hipster culture for some clarification (about much I will invariably be wrong):

Instead of how many conservatives might want individuals to live;  looking for meaning and group membership through church and civic organizations, intimacy and love directly through marriage, and vocation through traditional means of work, many hipsters (those who can afford it) withdraw into a bubble of irony, seeming to lack outward enthusiasm for anything.

They tend to seek meaning and group membership (while remaining totally individualistic) through the arts, fashion, music and popular music.  There is some real drug-use there, and a few real artists.  There are definite counter-cultural undercurrents as well.  Intimacy and love are explored further away from marriage, but maybe not terribly far (gay marriage is now the hot topic).  Vocation for hipsters often incorporates ideas of the local, communal, environmentally sustainable, and more often anti-corporate. Sometimes it can veer into the collectivist.

Haven’t we seen these folks before?  I’ve heard the argument that they are less radical, and milder copies of the beats and original hipsters.’

How are the economy and technology, meaning and family, the rural/urban, red state/blue state divides, affecting your life?

Are we inevitably drifting towards a secular, more European-style society?

First National Bank of Houlton, Maine

Related On This Site:   Richard Epstein, libertarian law/economics thinker at Chicago, says family, churches, and clubs aren’t enough, and open markets and a growing pie should fill in the gaps in a pluralist society of over 300 million people: Link From A Reader: ‘Richard Epstein Introduces Chicago’s Best Ideas To Students’

Is technology making isolated individuals out of us, eroding civil society? Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest-’Hey, You’re Truly Unlimited: Didn’t You Know?’

What might the 3 wings of conservatism be?:  Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

Charles Murray is trying to get virtue back with the social sciences, and admits we can’t turn back time:The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

Good luck doing having a conservative revival in The People’s Republic Of California:  Victor Davis Hanson Via Youtube Via Uncommon Knowledge: ‘The New Old World Order’Victor Davis Hanson At The City Journal: ‘California, Here We Stay’

Some concentrated wealth on top, a stalled legislature with members who know how to play the game…and a service sector beneath…that probably can’t go on forever: …From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’

The NY Times op-ed writer and a practicing Catholic? William Saletan and Ross Douthat At Slate: ‘Liberalism Is Stuck Halfway Between Heaven And Earth’…Douthat’s The Grand New PartyRoss Douthat At First Principles: ‘The Quest for Community in the Age of Obama: Nisbet’s Prescience’A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

How does Natural Law Philosophy deal with these problems, and those of knowledge?  Yes, Edmund Burke opposed the French revolution Sunday Quotation: Edmund Burke On The French Revolution

From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’

Full post here.  (including video link)

Detroit may have seen better days, and may have its problems, but is it to be seen through a tragic lens…as an artifact whose meaning is to be determined by young artists looking for a sense of community, social integration, and certain definition of “culture?”

Does it matter that much if these are the people currently adding value back to Detroit and willing to do the work?

Related On This Site: Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?… some people don’t want you to have the freedom to move to the suburbs and are attaching creativity to political goals: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’… From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar Man

Trading Robert Moses for Brailia…an authoritarian streak?:  Brasilia: A Planned City… Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty: Pascal Dangin And Aesthetics

From Reason: ‘Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey’…Reason also suggests that if such creative/entrepenurial spirit gets off the ground, it will have to get around the public sector in Detroit.

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