We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Fall is almost here in California. So we know the annual script. A few ostracized voices will again warn in vain of the need to remove millions of dead trees withered from the 2013–14 drought and subsequent infestations, clean up tinderbox hillsides, and beef up the fire services. They will all be ignored as right-wing nuts or worse. Environmentalists will sneer that the new forestry sees fires as medicinal and natural, and global warming as inevitable because of “climate deniers.” Late-summer fires will then consume our foothills, mountains, and forests. Long-dead trees from the drought will explode and send their pitch bombs to shower the forest with flames. Lives, livelihoods, homes, and cabins will be lost — the lamentable collateral damage of our green future. Billions of dollars will go up in smoke. The billowing haze and ash will cloud and pollute the state for weeks if not months. Tens of thousands will be evacuated and their lives disrupted — and those are the lucky.”

Victor Davis Hanson.

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Cesare

    It didn’t happen over night and it didn’t happen by accident. At some point if you would have an adult result you have to act like an adult. They have what they voted for, insistently and consistently and with a self righteous indignation. They should be happy.

  • jmc

    Pretty much every story of how this came about starts with the line – Well back in the 1970’s during the first Gerry Brown Administration…

    The catastrophic wildfires are the direct result of regulation passed by CARB in the 1990’s which made controlled burns almost impossible. The same CARB that was given its current completely unsupervised and uncontrolled form by Tom Quinn, Gerry Browns campaign manager and best buddy back in the 1970’s. Nothing makes sense in Califirnia domestic politics unless you realize just how all powerful CARB is. Despite its many many scandals and now outright corruption with its multi billion “carbon credit” income to disburse as it sees fit.

    There is also a certain amount of schadenfreude when one hears about places like Marin County having their power shut off for days due to a situation created by politicians they voted into office for decades. I do feel sorry for the 1/3 of the voters in California who are effectively disenfranchised by the current system. Mostly ordinary folk, disproportionately vote Republican. But the rest, screw ’em. They voted for the politicians who created the current situation where you breath toxic air for weeks every year. I fell sorry for the ordinary folk burned out by wildfires but for the recent area incomers, who tend to be most of the dead in these fires, I have less sympathy. Because they are mostly coastal urbanites who voted for the politicians who created this current disaster. Karma is a bitch.

    Not sure about all the older people who died up in the Paradise fire but in the recent fires in the North Bay those who died were almost always people who had recently moved to the area and did not know that when someone knocks on your door telling you to get out you have only a few mins, sometimes seconds, to flee. Unless you grew up in wildfire country or listen very carefully to the locals who have its very easy to get in serious trouble when its fire season. Which is why in my experience the only people again controlled burns and proactive ground fuel management were always from big cities, or recent incomers from big cities. Who still had to learn the hard way just how brutal nature really is.

  • Deep Lurker

    Given the amount of vote fraud and other election shenanigans out there, I am… less than 100% certain that “They have what they voted for” is an accurate statement.

  • Patrick

    Mother Nature is a bitch. Red in tooth and claw. She likes the big burns and has been having them for tens of millions of years. She even requires some species to burn so they can germinate. She likes to see the roasted coyotes and koalas – they are sacrifices to her omnipotence. Lefty man thinks he can regulate her away. Sometimes she feels the need to remind man that this is not true. The burning will continue thanks very much matey!

  • Flubber

    VDH is an excellent speaker. I think his analysis of Trump as the flawed hero is absolutely spot on.

  • Mr Ed

    With California, I am reminded of what an Irish chap I met at Checkpoint Charlie in the summer of 1990 said of the East Germans: ‘Why didn’t you leave?” (when you could have done so) and ‘Why didn’t your parents leave?‘ for the younger ones (or in Merkel’s case – Why did your parents take you there to live under Sozialismus?).

    The direction of California has been clear enough for long enough now.

    Oddly Portugal which is at a similar latitude and faces the ocean to the West (plus the South – ha!) and which has its own seismic issues seems hell-bent on copying California’s fires by the expedient of planting eucalyptus and pine trees where the fast-burning eucalyptus ‘nicely’ ignites the slow-but-long-burning pine trees. Mind you, this year it doesn’t seem to bad but year in and out they seem eager not to do anything meaningful about this issue, perhaps the EU Habit Directives prevent anything useful being done.

    As an aside, has Karen, I mean Boris, checked that eliminating the Coronavirus Covid-19 is compatible with EU law?

    Whereas, the main aim of this Directive being to promote the maintenance of biodiversity, taking account of economic, social, cultural and regional requirements, this Directive makes a contribution to the general objective of sustainable development; whereas the maintenance of such biodiversity may in certain cases require the maintenance, or indeed the encouragement, of human activities;

  • bobby b

    “‘Why didn’t you leave?””

    I grew up there, and have been back many times. Here’s why people don’t leave:

    It’s a natural heaven on earth. Sunny and in the 70’s year-round. Beautiful surroundings – lush and green, flowers all over, compelling and gorgeous landscapes everywhere, wonderful beaches.

    If we experienced a Stephen King “The Stand” sort of epidemic leaving me and a few other survivors only, I’d immediately start the trek to California.

    But that’s what it would take to move me back there.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I am reminded of what an Irish chap I met at Checkpoint Charlie in the summer of 1990 said of the East Germans: ‘Why didn’t you leave?” (when you could have done so) and ‘Why didn’t your parents leave?‘ for the younger ones (or in Merkel’s case – Why did your parents take you there to live under Sozialismus?).

    Just to get the pedantry out of the way: if this Irish chap was talking of the East Germans, then ‘you’ and ‘your’ should be replaced with ‘they’ and their’. Or, in Angela’s case, ‘her’.

    Having said that, i agree wholeheartedly with the principle. Everybody should be ready to emigrate at short notice.

    Or, to quote Neil McCauley:
    Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.

  • MadRocketSci

    I lived in southern California for a time. It was an eerie place. The state holds a fatal attraction to me as an engineer, because of the history of science and technology developed there – but I suspect all that is gone now in reality. It grew in a climate of freedom that no longer exists.

    Unnerving thing #1: The state economy is some sort of palace-economy: The people who make things work, the working class, have lives that are falling apart. They can’t pay the mortgage or the rent, or the taxes, or the utilities. I was part of an artificial sort of pseudo-middle-class as an engineer working for a large company. Something is very wrong with any place where the people whose work sustains it can’t afford to live there. There are ultra-rich landed property owners, then there are serfs living in squalor in megacities. That desperation is a ticking time bomb that hasn’t gone off yet.

    Unnerving thing #2: California’s “perfect climate” is an *artifact*. The state is naturally an arid southwestern desert. What made their unnaturally productive farms and orchards possible was water infrastructure built by a culture of engineers, who essentially terraformed the state. That infrastructure is now being destroyed by a culture of clueless mandarins. If you drive north along the coast, you’ll pass mile after mile after mile of dessicated farms and dead orchards – the work of decades ruined by the fact that Los Angeles can vote themselves more water. When they’re done with it, these environmental paragons dump their greywater into the ocean. They don’t even attempt to treat it and pipe it back up to the dead farm country as irrigation water. That would require forethought over and above some immediate political-incentive-gradient. I had the choice of two communists for state senator when I voted there: Commie A was somewhat clued into the need to keep the farms alive and wanted to preserve the aqueducts. Commie B wanted to destroy them as an affront to Gaia, and divert the remainder of the water to the megacities. Commie B won in a landslide.

    It’s sort of offensive as an engineer, seeing what a previous generation was able to do in terms of geo-engineering being destroyed by savages who don’t understand what they’re breaking, even as they suffer the degradation of the environment. Not producing enough power, rolling blackouts, and water rationing are getting worse since I left.

    Unnerving thing #3: You’ll never own property there. It doesn’t matter how cushy your pet-pseudo-middle-class position is, it won’t lead to you being able to afford a house. If you go to heroic lengths, you can sort of afford a mortgage on two incomes, that you will never pay off. Nevermind real land or decent property – it doesn’t exist for the likes of you if you work for a living. How are you supposed to put down roots or build a future in a place that will never be yours?

    Anyway, the state is an apocalyptic disaster waiting to happen. No matter what happens with politics, at some point the accumulated infrastructural train-wreck will leave cities of 10 million people starving and dying of thirst in the dark. It’s like living Atlas Shrugged. The relief when I arranged to move back home was palpable.

  • The billowing haze and ash will cloud and pollute the state,,,
    No it clouds and pollutes the whole country. We all get to live with Newsomes policies.

  • bobby b

    “No it clouds and pollutes the whole country.”

    No kidding. I’m sitting in central Wyoming wondering if we’ll ever see the sun again. The sky is gray-white, the clouds of smoke drift quietly through, and everything smells like a campfire. The folks at home in Minnesota tell me it’s getting hazy there, too. That’s half the country away. All because the West Coast idiots don’t want to upset Gaia.

    On a brighter note, for the US people, Happy Constitution Day!

  • Snorri Godhi

    Unnerving thing #2: California’s “perfect climate” is an *artifact*. The state is naturally an arid southwestern desert.

    That is only the case for Southern California, innit?
    The one full day that i spent in San Francisco, it was raining so hard that i could not see any of the natural beauty.

    Unnerving thing #3: You’ll never own property there.

    The way i would put it:
    You **should** never own property there.

    Property is for suckers. People with functional brains are always ready to emigrate.

    But of course, there are degrees of dysfunctionality. Owning property in California is more dysfunctional than owning property in some (if not most) other states, or countries.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    MadRocketSci,

    That was a disturbing, yet beautifully written evocation of the current state of California. Thank you for posting it.

  • Eric

    Unnerving thing #3: You’ll never own property there. It doesn’t matter how cushy your pet-pseudo-middle-class position is, it won’t lead to you being able to afford a house. If you go to heroic lengths, you can sort of afford a mortgage on two incomes, that you will never pay off.

    That’s a bit hyperbolic. I’m an engineer by trade, and I live in a house I bought in CA. I would have had to stretch to buy a house in one of the tonier areas (where isn’t that true?), but with interest rates just a few points above zero and constitutional protection from high property taxes, it’s doable for a professional. Though you may have to commute, depending on your profession.

  • Fraser Orr

    @MadRocketSci
    It’s sort of offensive as an engineer, seeing what a previous generation was able to do in terms of geo-engineering being destroyed by savages who don’t understand what they’re breaking, even as they suffer the degradation of the environment. Not producing enough power, rolling blackouts, and water rationing are getting worse since I left.

    The problem with water in California is simple — you don’t pay the costs. Because water isn’t supplied in a market environment people use too much of it in an inefficient way, and that leads to the aforementioned mandarins having power to allocate it as they see fit according to their priorities rather than actual need. Let me give you one simple example — if you look at those aqueducts carrying water from the Colorado river down through the State to Los Angeles and San Diego, one thing strikes me – they aren’t (generally speaking) covered. So that means massive amounts of that water evaporates and is unusable. Why not cover? Well because it is too expensive. But it is only expensive because the real cost of all that evaporated water is not borne by the people who could monetize it.

    It might very well be that those farms in California should go out of business. After all, building a strawberry farm in the middle of a desert doesn’t seem very wise. But on the other hand building it there has certain advantages. So should it be built there or in Florida, or Texas, or Haiti? Well the normal answer is to balance all the factors to find which is the most efficient place. But in the case of California that equation is heavily skewed by the heavily subsidized water than they need. And so Florida’s one advantage — lots and lots of rain — is nullified. And the biggest irony is that those same Florida farmers are subsidizing their competitors through their taxes.

    FWIW, I agree though, the California water system is a triumph of Engineering over Gaia. All those earth worshipers in Ritzy Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, don’t realize that were it not for our overpowering nature, and the destruction of the natural order of things, they’d be living in a hellhole desert. In all their love of Gaia they seem to forget what a bitch she really is.

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