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California’s smiley face totalitarianism

There is an interesting article on New West by Christian Probasco, called California Looms.

California is a trendsetter state. Much like the weather, every Californian fad eventually makes its way over the Sierras and diffuses into the intermountain West. That’s wonderful, and it’s frightening, because there are some pretty disturbing things going on in the Golden State right now. O.K., I’ll admit: disturbing to people who take their civil liberties seriously. But I’m one of them.

His description of California reminded me of… Blair’s ever more authoritarian Britain. Another example of creeping democratic totalitarianism?

8 comments to California’s smiley face totalitarianism

  • Brad

    It’s not just native to California and it’s surrounding States (though granted it may be of a greater amount). Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and to some extent Illinois all have this interplay as well. One State will advance cause X, and the rest soon will follow, so as not to appear backward by comparison.

    Also, States don’t necessarily have to ajoining anymore, given all the consortia of various States’ bureaucrats, the flowering of new ideas pass around like the cold virus on an airplane. It stands that all States have likely passed all “good” laws a long time ago (ie those that protect life and property). They need to feed off each other to justify their existence. If they begin to run dry, they’ll just call a special meeting and, voila, a bevy of new legislation is just around the corner.

  • Marx said that the state would dissolve itself eventually.
    Apparently he was wrong about that too.
    No surprise there.

  • This is exactly how daylight savings time got sold to Indiana last year – fear that the state would seem “backward” (never mind it’s been doing fine without DST for over 20 years now). It’s the same reason cities foot the bill for symphonies and NFL teams – just to promote their image, really. I don’t think this sort of competition is limited to US states, either. Canada passes lots of stupid laws just to prove to the world that it’s more “progressive” than the backward ol’ US, and I have the impression that a similar kind of progressivist one-upmanship goes on in Scandinavia.

    This does sort of suggest a strategy for Libertarians, though. Target places like California, that like to think of themselves as “trendsetters,” and stop wasting time preaching to the choir in Montana and Wyoming.

  • Anymouse

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    - C. S. Lewis

  • betsybounds

    Oh yeah, typical stuff for liberals. I heard someone say a while back that liberals don’t care what you do, as long as it’s mandatory.

  • Sunfish

    Someone had to do it. I can’t tell you what we think of Californians in my neighborhood. Okay, I could, but that sort of language would cause Perry to IP-ban me.

    I am Governor Jerry Brown
    My aura smiles
    And never frowns
    Soon I will be president…

    Carter Power will soon go away
    I will be Fuhrer one day
    I will command all of you
    Your kids will meditate in school
    Your kids will meditate in school!

    [Chorus:]
    California Uber Alles
    California Uber Alles
    Uber Alles California
    Uber Alles California

    Zen fascists will control you
    100% natural
    You will jog for the master race
    And always wear the happy face

    Close your eyes, can’t happen here
    Big Bro’ on white horse is near
    The hippies won’t come back you say
    Mellow out or you will pay
    Mellow out or you will pay!

    [Chorus]

    Now it is 1984
    Knock-knock at your front door
    It’s the suede/denim secret police
    They have come for your uncool niece

    Come quietly to the camp
    You’d look nice as a drawstring lamp
    Don’t you worry, it’s only a shower
    For your clothes here’s a pretty flower.

    DIE on organic poison gas
    Serpent’s egg’s already hatched
    You will croak, you little clown
    When you mess with President Brown
    When you mess with President Brown

  • Paul Marks

    Academics and politicians (and other such) have been declaring examples of statism in other lands “progessive” or “modern” and copying them since at least the time that David Lloyd George brought in Bismark’s proto Welfare State to Britain.

    Indeed state education was brought in Britain in the 19th century not because voluntary efforts were failing (E.G. West showed more than 40 years ago that they were not – “Education and the State” 1965) but because Prussia and France had it – so we must not be “left behind” (if someone jumps off a cliff, I must not be left behind I must jump as well).

    Even before this “progressive”, “modern”, “up to date” people were suggesting that Great Britain copy the statism of Louis XIV or (a century or so later) the statism of the French Revolutionaries. Indeed they used to cooperate with these progressive powers to introduce their policies into these islands. However, nasty reactionary people used to hang them for that – no doubt a violation of their “civil liberties” (but I bet it was fun – and I am sure that “Ken” Clarke, Lord Heseltine and all the rest would look so much better with a rope round their necks).

    To return to the post…. I accept the things that people say above. However, I still think there is something special about the statism of California.

    It is not just the tax and spend (that is bad – but worse in a few States) it is pure demented quality of the regulations (they go beyond normal State government madness).

    Of course there are lots of free market people in California (Mr Mclintock the “Jeffersonian Republican” keeps almost getting elected to various things, even though he is outspent as much as ten to one by uber rich “liberals” – i.e. statists), but perhaps it is time to just give up on the place.

    Let the local Democracts set up their “Star Trek: New Generation” people’s republic – and use the consequences as a warning to the rest of the nation.

    They make the classic mistake. “We are very rich and very clever – therefore we can run society”.

    Rich they are, but government is not a business and government spending is not “investment”.

    Nor is cleverness wisdom, and were they ten times as clever they would not be able to “run society”.

    The last act of course would be that the very “poor masses” who they count on to help bring them to total power would turn on them (as California would just be made up of super rich “liberals” and these, partly imported, poor masses – everyone else having left).

    After all the poor would have been taught (are being taught) that their misery is due to the wealth of other people – and there would be no other people with property left other than the liberal elite.

    Still at least such things as smoking bans would no longer be in operation after the poor masses took over.

  • nick g.

    There is an American book out called ‘Jurismania’, about the American belief that laws can fix anything. It leads to some schitzophrenic regulation- in California, the author notes, pregnant women are warned about all the ways that they could be harming their unborn children- these signs are usually right next to the ones extolling their right to abortion! You can kill unborn infants, but you can’t harm them!