Kotkin's California Update

Monday, January 22, 2024

I often wince from afar at the anti-freedom political and legal climate in California, but even I was shocked to read the litany of its sins against freedom penned by Joel Kotkin and published recently by Sp!ked.

The whole thing is worth a read, as an update and as a warning for what the far left has in mind if it achieves dominance elsewhere.

Three things stood out to me: (1) the number of ways the "climate crisis" has been used to excuse improper government, (2) how intrusive, on the level of interfering with normal daily business the government has gotten there, and (3) how blatant the government is at redistributing wealth.

On its anti-fossil fuel energy policy, Kotkin writes in part:

The sun is setting on California -- and the rest of America -- in more ways than one. (Image by TravelScape, via Freepik, license.)
Nothing has accelerated California's decline quite like the state's climate-change fetish. Under Newsom, California has passed a series of laws that make it almost impossible to build affordable housing. The state has essentially banned single-family zoning as a part of its 'war against suburbia', which is precisely where most Californians reside. Instead, in a bid to slash CO2 emissions, it seeks to increase housing density and restrict development to places where public transport is widely used. Outside of San Francisco and inner-city LA, this is essentially nowhere. Local control of zoning has been all but eliminated in favour of the state's climate-oriented policies.

Ultimately, California's climate policies erode the lives of middle- and particularly working-class Californians. Environmental attorney Jennifer Hernandez calls such policies 'the green Jim Crow'. The industries that have traditionally helped nurture upward mobility -- manufacturing, construction and energy -- are all being systematically undermined by climate regulation, not least as they have led to some of the highest energy prices in the US... [links omitted, bold added]
That's just a sample of the impact of just one far-left "fetish" destroying freedom in California. It comes after any pro-freedom reader will already be reeling, and the punches don't stop there: This is only about half-way through the piece!

I highly recommend reading this a few times, perhaps in installments so it all sinks in. That said, my main reservation is that, as with almost any American political commentary one encounters these days, it has ideological blind spots. Kotkin, for example -- while correct to call out California for violating freedom of speech on the internet -- lets red states off the hook too easily:
While supposedly 'repressive' Republican states like Texas and Florida work to prevent online censorship, Newsom's California attempts to control social-media content from Sacramento. [links omitted]
The GOP, from the rash of red states requiring government ID to view porn all the way to Florida's proposal to make bloggers register with the state and Nikki Haley's proposal to abolish online anonymity, doesn't strike me as a good alternative -- and boy do we need one!

So my full recommendation: Read this as a small sample of what today's electorate takes for granted, but which its politicians want to take away from you, and keep in mind that while partisans from each side will point to the other, they aren't giving the full picture of just how much trouble we're in.

-- CAV

No comments: