Skip to comments.The Quiet Californians
Posted on 10/02/2012 9:39:06 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The Obama Paradox
No state has suffered the last four years as much as has California --- given that its progressive governor and legislative majorities serve as force multipliers for the Obama national agenda. We live in a 2X Obama state. And it is desirous for twelve or sixteen, not just four, more years in Washington.
The bluest state is polling at a 20 to 24 point lead for Barack Obama. Who cares that it is struggling with nearly 11% unemployment and facing a $16 billion budget shortfall? What does it matter that its public schools rated variously from 45th to 49th in the nation and that it is home to one-third of the nations welfare recipients, forty percent of the nations illegal aliens, and the largest prison population in the country? If Ohio supposedly has a million Obama-phones , I shudder to wonder how many are in California.
Bleak? But such stats do not necessarily translate into the bad life for those Californians who vote --- a least in comparison, I suppose, to Minnesotas winters, Mississippis rate of welfare payouts, Baltimores streets, or Mexicos police. We are living on the fumes of natural wealth and a century of prior investment by some pretty hard-working and far-sighted long dead Californians; and it takes a long time to screw all that up.
Indeed, the states voting population accepts the status quo: the growing underclass expects entitlements always to grow even greater; state employees are more than happy with in-the-future-unsustainable benefits and packages; and the coastal elite have enough money that they do not care whether they have to pay a bit more to subsidize others and create tranquility in their anointed souls. Meanwhile, California is clear and 78 degrees without humidity — in late September.
In other words, we are a happy-go-lucky, sunny Greece around 2004 before the fall — a Mykonos or Rhodes with a German ATM machine. Those sourpusses in the private sector who are not happy and not rich either have left or contemplate leaving — or hide and hope the scanning, red-eye gaze of Sauron in the dark tower at Sacramento passes them over, at least on this latest sweep. As one of my local critics told me, Get over it! and Youre just jealous — and, my favorite, Why not leave, then?
Two miles away someone found a corpse a while back in a small Selma park that was once lovely; in high school I once helped to plant trees there. The murdered? No biography, no name, no details of the deceased. I suppose someone brought him to the morgue, and some next of kin went to the coroners office. End of story. Forty years ago it would have been front-page news; today it is not even a footnote . The anonymous and unknown killer? I suppose I pass him often on the way into town. The point is that corpses now just show up out here, cars are found abandoned in vineyards, and dogs wander around without owners, all as the new normal. The quietist tiptoes around it — given that those who caused the conditions who spawned the chaos are usually far away in the Berkeley Hills or Newport Beach.
This November the California voting public is poised to raise state income taxes  on the top earners to over 12%, ensuring that the states rates top both Hawaiis and Oregons. With sky-high sales and gas taxes, Californians are already the highest-taxed in the nation. The state’s schools and infrastructure are among the very worst. In the old days, one might write, Despite high taxes, California public schools are poor. But we are getting to the point in California where quietists say, Because of high taxes, schools are. Or: Due to high taxes, schools are . More money, not reform, is always the answer and therefore there is never reform.
When the UC chancellor writes alumni that without a new tax hike higher education itself is imperiled, dont assume that he means the UC diversity czar and his horde of $100,000 per year assistants are slated for lay-offs. He means instead that students will pay more fees and the French or classics department may be shut down. (And no, reader, there is no irony here: the targeted French professor never makes the connection that his job is in the cross-hairs because there is a new bureaucracy to figure out how Berkeley is racist by having Asians overrepresented four-fold, whites slightly underrepresented, and Latinos in much smaller numbers on campus than their percentages of the state population.)
Failure Is Very Much an Option
We know what would save the states public schools — a return to grammar and syntax, reading, history, math, science, and the elimination of the entire therapeutic, multicultural, and politically correct curriculum. But we, the quiet ones, also know that to reset schools would evoke such outcry that it is not worth the effort — take the Wisconsin mess and treble it here. The rich who designed and hence ruined the K-12 public schools avoid them; the middle class seeks to staff and run them; the poor both suffer in them and do their own smaller part to make things worse. (Cannot we also blame the gang-banger who sneers at the teacher while he uses his cell phone in class, or the 15-year-old girl who needs prenatal counseling, or the graffiti artist who destroys the bathroom?)
Why the disconnect between abject political failure and overwhelming public support for what is destroying the state? Silicon Valley is booming. Apple may become the wealthiest company in history. Google, Sun Microsystems, Intel, Yahoo, eBay, and Hewlett-Packard rack up billions in worldwide revenue. Chevron still has lots of oil and gas wells, and is redeveloping them at record prices. The California Rule: Liberals are quite conservative  in the way they make money. Apple cuts costs. Google lays off employees. Intel demands results. In an odd Obama-way, California businesses have an advantage: because they vote so liberally, they can do almost anything they please.
As long as someone wants an iPhone in Lima, and another in Mumbai sprinkles almonds on his rice, or a cash-flush Chinese provincial governor sends his only son to Caltech, things in California can go on for some time.
How do sane people, without great wealth that might provide exemption from all this, cope? They tune out. They psychologically drop out, in the manner of the ancient quietists of Athens in the 4th-century B.C. (the apragmones in search of hesuchia) who learned that one cannot fight the mob, but only seek to escape it. I bump into and talk with these latter-day quietists quite often. They are generally happy folk but have developed a certain psychological protocol by which to survive. The quietist trusts more the ancient wisdom in hallowed texts that warns democracy implodes when the masses finally assume absolute control and vote themselves entitlements that even the shrinking rich can no longer sustain. So they dont get in the way between the mob and their entitlements.
Look on the Bright Side
If the state idles farm land, puts drilling off limits, and drives out business, the quietist accepts that those who do such things do them because they never affect the authors directly, and when in the future they do, they will cease and desist — and it will be mostly too late. He assumes that the whiners at the $4 a gallon gas pump never make the equation that there may be 30 billion barrels in untapped oil 150 miles away, right off the California shore. (Instead, they rigged the prices.) The quietist assumes that few connect the horrific highways to an incompetent state whose highest gasoline taxes in the nation have translated into some of the countrys worse roads, or to the drivers who customarily lose brush, limbs, and mattresses from their trucks, shutting down lanes for hours.
No matter – the quietist adjusts and drives at weird hours, as if he were some owl or nocturnal beast; it is not that hard to live a life pretty much opposite of what the majority does. There are plenty of quietists who can advise you. They are experts on how to navigate in a beautiful but otherwise insane state. Ask a tree-cutter, small garage owner, custom tractor driver, or self-employed tile setter — they all have advice on how to survive. Usually, however, they end with something like, Of course my kids should get a state job. In 1960, rare state employees were noble folk who were willing to make less for job security and a sense of public service; today they are lotto winners who hit the jackpot.
Empty States within a State
The Coast Ranges and the vast Sierra — outside a Yosemite or Tahoe — are as empty as Alaska. For all the Sierra Club protestations, few Marin County lawyers visit the upper San Joaquin River. They just wish no one else would as well. Although the mountain beauty is within an hour of greater Fresnos million, apparently the Hondas and Camrys of the deprived poor cant make up the grade, so the Sierra remains a haven for the quietist. In fact, one can drive to Cayucos on the coast, or Florence Lake in the High Sierra, or anywhere above Sacramento, and see almost no one. And to prevent insanity, the quietist keeps reminding himself, Is such beauty, such weather, such solitude not worth a 12% premium on your income, or an hour a night to teach your child what she did not learn in school, or a little vigilance to mostly avoid what Los Angeles has become? I am currently computing the cost of losing copper wire in all my pumps versus seeing the sun all of October. In California, one comes at the expense of the other.
The quiet Californian assumes that each year a new regulation, a new tax, a new something will seek him out. I read the State Franchise Tax Board print as I do the hate letters or emails I receive — incoherent, threatening. This year I got a letter from the state explaining that based on my income they estimated that I must have used the Internet to buy x-amount of things and therefore did not pay state sales taxes. Thus, they suggested that I should pay them around, say, $600.
Another such letter came from the Ministry of Revenue yesterday. The state says I have a house in the mountains and therefore may some day require auxiliary state fire protection and therefore should send them, say, $150 — or else!
Note that I pay local taxes to fund county and municipal police and fire. I give generously to the local volunteer fire department. (Would the state send someone in East L.A. some such letter, saying that because they live in an area that often requires the intervention of state law enforcement and SWAT teams, they should send in $150 protection money?) There is never any contract, warning, law — only a need for cash that justifies such confiscation.
So quietist Californians expect about every six months a new fee, dreamed up by a government employee who is paranoid that the state retirement system is broke, and with it his pension. The state employee is now entrepreneurial: without a certain number of traffic tickets written, without a certain number of new fees dreamed up, salaries and benefits dry up. I touch my rural mailbox as I do metal after skidding on a new carpet — a sort of static feeling of anxiety about what new state directive is inside.
I pick up the local paper: it has become a litany of rapes, murders, gang shootings, and molestations, peppered with drunk-driving fatalities and the uninsured and unlicensed who maim and kill routinely. The lurid tales of crime seem almost as if they come from a Sao Paulo suburb or the outskirts of Johannesburg. Yet the more violence, the more worry about insensitivity. So there is a general rule: the name of the driver, the killer, the robber, or the rapist arrested is rarely initially disclosed, much less his biography or photo — as if these are just random stats that can offer no higher wisdom. No worry — there is an answer to our world of Mad Max. Governor Brown will borrow $200 million for high-speed rail.
I note that an exception in California is the marquee universities.
A Stanford, for example, is home to elites and therefore it must be crime-free, so they often send out life-saving alerts that pop up in your email when a male has groped, attacked, or threatened a co-ed on campus. Oddly, the descriptions are graphically explicit: even though we are dealing with suspects — not the arrested. And so the appearance, size, and ethnic profile of the supposed attacker are provided in great, politically incorrect detail. One thing about liberalism: it takes care of its own.
Quietists of the State, Unite!
The quietist assumes that his vote for president does not matter and wont in the state for the next century. He assumes that whom he votes against for governor will win, and that his legislator will either be opposed to everything he believes or, if he is not, will be equally as irrelevant — and yet in homage to the state, he keeps voting religiously and laughing about it with other quietists.
Quietists have become bystanders, now marginalized to be sure, but also convinced that the relevant ones are, in historys cruel calculus, quite unhinged. I have a confession: I like the quietists of California. I see them every day. They keep chugging away — and their spirits keep me going.
Yes, they are woefully outnumbered. From LA where there are millions of illegals, foreigners from every country and liberals, to San Francisco, to every liberally dominated city and enclave near the coastline of California.
The farther you get back into the high desert and into less laid-back places where people actually produce for the country (there are some exceptions), the more you see conservative Californians.
California has had chances to correct the errors every election but have voted in failure. Conservatives have been moving out in droves for years. I know many of them. With the majority of the electorate now being very liberal I see no chance for change. I would say 1/3 of the state has a clue with the rest being clueless. Don’t forget that Free Republic is based in California.
If Romney-Ryan takes California I would do the Snoopy Happy Dance........
I remember visiting California (both north and south) in the 60s (from the midwest) and thinking “this is heaven on earth”.
I feel badly for the good people there who have roots, don’t want to leave, but are confronted with a perpetual liberal governance.
I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and this is so true. Sad AND true.
Last time I was in LA, had to teach a class at a major defense contractor installation near the airport.....I literally did not recognize it as my country.
I did 8+ years in the military, seven of them overseas, so I know foreign, and I know third world.
Mexicans, Hungarians, Russians, FSU country nationals, you name it. Not one what I’d call a traditional American that I heard or saw outside of that Defense Contractor’s Campus. Essentially, I was a foreigner in my own country.
I’m thinking we can let the San Andreas Fault decide that question.
What these maps indicate is that California includes regions that usually will vote socially and economically conservative (red on the stem cell map) and regions that usually will vote socially and economically liberal (green on the employer health insurance map). California even has “swing counties.”
I also remember visiting Phoenix and Atlanta in the early 70s, thinking how nice they were, then 5 million or so folks moved into each one making them look a lot like Chicago with a warmer climate.
I would love to move to Montana, but my children and grandchildren are here, and can’t move...
I was born in Georgia...roamed the streets of Atlanta at night many a time.
Call it racist, I don’t really care...Atlanta proper became unsafe when Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor, became mayor. It has been unsafe ever since then. If you live in the city of Atlanta and go out at night, your more than likely to be a victim. They can’t even protect the students at Georgia Tech, or GSU....at least an incident EVERY week.
I don’t care how the police jiggle their reports and statistics (Chief Beverly Harvard’s Police force was caught by the FBI falsely reducing the crime statistics -— Mayor Kaseem Reed and his bunch are now reporting lowest crime in nearly ever.....same damned thing). They lie to get businesses to stay and to mislead stupid white people to move to “cool city.”
The black poweratti of the mayorship is interested in only one thing...how they can get their hands on all that concession cash at the Atlanta Airport and how they can keep on being re-elected..
I remember visiting California (both north and south) in the 60s (from the midwest) and thinking this is heaven on earth.
had that same feeling (from the South). It’s such a shame but when you two or more liberals together they can screw anything up. Liberals and green liberals are insane. It must be the water, too much altitude, too much fresh air, not enough fresh air - I don’t know. And, they settle along the coast where they can surf or skate their brains out on my dime.
I would like to leave CA, as others here have expressed, but we own a small business and are stuck for now.
I tell my husband we cannot afford to retire here and he says, "I was born in California and I want to die here."
My response: "That can be arranged."
Sort of wordy. CA is a drunk, addicted to unionized public employees and their outsize pensions; regulatory regimes within regulatory agencies gone thoroughly amok, and uncontrollable spending on all manner of benefits for illegals. It’s a damn shame, but the idea that it can be reversed before the state turns into an utter hellhole is patently absurd delusion. The voting districting has been gerrymandered into a morass of self-immolation that very obviously has to hit bottom before it reverses. Having lived in CA for 40 years, I expect to be leaving within 40 days.
I moved out of Calif. in '97....One of the best things I ever did.
Your three state map is one of the betters I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t put Kern County in with the southern “state.” It has more in common with the Sacramento Valley than LA. Trinity County as “coastal” doesn’t sit well with me either but not to as great a degree. Methinks the map should be more topographical and less political.
If the turn out is not very heavily conservative across the country, just like in 2010, then the US will very quickly turn into California.... more’s the shame
If R & R took CA....I'd run naked thru a tick and chigger infested field.
Good thing....it won't happen.
“I see no chance for change.”
Yes, we do have a solution to change California. It’s been tested and it works. It’s called Reconstruction, and it was designed to deal with rogue states.
California is declared a state in insurrection. A military governor is appointed and troops, investigators and judges are sent in. The major traitors are arrested and put on trial. Their assets are seized. That sends a message to the rest of the criminal commies in California to leave America. Pronto.
Of course we could wait for the next civil war and clean out the commies that way. That won’t avoid the fact that Reconstruction will need to be implemented after the war.
If someone has a better solution, I haven’t heard it.
there also the state of Jefferson.
Yep, in California the last poll in the local newspaper obama was up 25%.
It’s just weird.
I have seen on two signs for Romney, none for obama.
Bumper stickers I saw one on an old woman’s car, but it was from ‘08 and none for Romney.
You wouldn’t even know it was an presidential election year.
The GOP may not win the WH, or the Senate ( though I think we will) but the House will stay GOP..and become ever more conservative, for the rest of the decade. California MUST go bankrupt....there is no way to resolve the debt crisis without tossing out the civil service labor and pension contracts..as has already happened in a few smaller cities..the state can’t get out from under otherwise. And with a conservative GOP controlling the House, California can forget about ANY bailout..which is all that the Dems in Sacramento can now hope for..
For years I have been saying nothing will be done to change our course...short of the 'checks bouncing'.
That time approaches but I can't predict the outcome. Those 'on the take' may react by rioting, just as they are in Spain, Greece....
Will we have a livable country then?
You sound hopeful, on various fronts.
I will stipulate to the fact that CA will not be able to cure itself, even if it goes “France” and raises taxes to 75% on upper-earners.
I’m not so hopeful that whatever mix we get vis a vis Congress, that some national security concern will not educe a bailout for CA. The US has become the character in Blazing Saddles who holds a gun to its own head and threatens to kill the guy as if the victim is a third person. The US (and most state) debt situation is so serious, it could well take a GDP reduction of 5-10-20% (the actual number is around 40% if you do the math) and here we are, crying tears of abject destruction in a fetal position over cuts that total maybe 1%, at best. To solve this debt issue, GDP is going to have to contract more than it ever has by a massive degree, and it will produce the most vicious depression ever conceived. Whatever political party invokes this or is in power when this occurs will be out of power thereafter, permanently.
Maybe, in the long term, this is the highest and best use of the GOP-e. But the pain that is to be inflicted during this readjustment is something no American will ever willingly ratify.
Want to see where the USA is heading within then next 10-20 years? Look at Argentina.
I was born and raised in California, and lived there for half a century. My entire extended family is there, including four grandparents who are buried in Los Angeles county. You could say that I've got roots there, and have bonds that are perpetual.
But guess what? None of that was strong enough to hold me when I finally realized what sort of world my kids would one day be emancipated into. My wife and I sold our house, packed our kids and our business, and fled to Texas seven years ago.
You might think that I've been homesick once in a while since leaving, but curiously, I haven't. That's because my California died a long time ago. The place I left bears no resemblance to the home state I once swore I'd never leave.
And the title? Nay, even the concept and it's very phrasing? "The Quietist Californian"
You are looking at world-class politically correct neurolinguistic programming here, folks. World class.
Because what is actually being described is profound moral cowardice.
Jesus spoke of this when he said: So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth (Rev. 3:16)
"Quietist." So refined. Calm. Considered. Have a sip of white wine with that. Here's a bite of cheese.
What these people are, are California RINOs. They enable the Democrats. They wear the right clothes, work the right jobs, go to the right parties, listen to everyone carefully, and can always see both sides.
And never take any.
Unless challenged, and then they will definitely declare they are taking a side, and be upside that you thought they weren't, and talk about the issues, and have a sip of wine... and commit to nothing. Are you a conservative? Well, they understand! They even own a few guns. They've been a part of a small business, they worked chores as a kid and have calluses on their hands. They get it.
Have a sip of wine.
Are you a liberal? Hey, thnak God someone is fighting back, right? Where would the poor be without these laws, and how much is enough to make sure that we're all not stuffed into someone's idea of a church? Gays? They have 3.5 gay friends - each. With papers to prove it. Same for blacks and mexicans. habla espaniol, dude? Haha, have a sip of wine.
You haven't seen enablers like the ones in California. They make oil look sticky, while never touching a drop themselves. What do you think EST was really about, buddy? Naked chicks in hot tubs? Well, you're right. That's ALL it was about. And now YOU'RE the naked chick in the hot tub, about to get screwed, without a clue as to how much manipulation that modified lounge lizard or soccer mom is smiling at you.
Lawyers get nervous around these people. Think on that.
And that's all they have to do - nothing. Because the Democrats will do the rest. Oh, they vote Democrat, reliably. But hey, it tears at them. Thye can't not vote, after all, apathy is death. But the republicans go too far, it's better to work with the system, team players are in the game, at the end of the day there's still tommorrow, have a sip of wine.
Now take all that, and add antidepressants.
Yep, quiet. Like the townspeople of Aushwitz, closing their windows when the wind shifted, sighing, but understanding that "objection would evoke such outcry that it was not worth the effort..."
Have some wine.
“I literally did not recognize it as my country.”
I thought the same when I moved to Pasadena and worked in downtown LA in the 90s. I felt like I had moved to the whole world. The food was great, but the stress of living around people who do not have the same understanding of life, and can’t communicate well, was really draining. In any transaction, you cannot assume the business owner knows that “the customer is always right”, and on the freeway you cannot assume that the other people will “drive defensively” or use “common” courtesy. Public restrooms will not be used in the manner intended and left in the same shape as when the user arrived. And in school, your kid may be shunned by the ones who only speak Chinese, or Spanish, or whatever.
On the other hand, we now live in Torrance and our family is finding that we have more in common with the aspiring immigrants than some of the other families. They are pro-family and faith, have high expectations of conduct for their children, and always show up to help. Liberal white families let their children mouth off and worry about whether teachers have treated their kids special enough. The non-aspiring families, I don’t know, so I think we are doing a good job of avoiding them, except when one of them calls my kid a name on the playground.
I live in a beautiful place. Now, if we could encourage the rude people to leave...
It would be like a couple who’re deeply in debt getting a consolidation loan. A brief feeling of intense relief, then the leftists would do what they always do to every beautiful place in this country: move in, begin to ‘transform’ and gradually rot it from the inside.
So we’d end up with three Californias. Four more senators. More political power in Washington.
You can’t cut the rot off this fruit. The best we can do is cut the entire rotten fruit from the tree. Good people need to get out while they still can.
California’s congressional delegation is practically ALL Dem. So a GOP House refusal to approve a bailout, absent, the needed bankruptcy, will cost us a few seats in California, but we’ll pick up far more in other states..
Torrance is a nice city...But, Obama will probably win the votes of most folks in that city...
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