Thursday, April 26, 2018

California as a Thought Police State

Do you see America’s future in California? When Ross Douthat recently traveled to his home state with his family, he reflected on whether California would become our future.

Those who want it to be so have unleashed a torrent of vitriol against those who oppose their big ideas. They are trying to turn their world into a police state, a state where they have a monopoly in the marketplace of ideas. Douthat calls it a one party state, though it is more accurate to call it a one party thought police state… a state that polices your mind but not behavior.

In the ongoing culture war, tech oligarchs like Jack Dorsey of Twitter want to live in a world where everyone thinks the same thoughts, feels the same feelings and believes the same beliefs. This state has thought police to impose the right ideas on everyone. Its adherents do not want to win territory or even to attain prosperity: they want absolute control over everyone’s minds. That's how they win elections. If that doesn’t scare you, you are not paying attention.

Let’s say that you live in California and do not accept the LBGT agenda. Your children will be taught it and will be indoctrinated in it, whatever you think. Do you want to spare your children such lessons? You have no right to do so.

Todd Starnes reports from California (via Maggie’s Farm):

Parents in Orange County, California may not opt their children out of lessons related to gender identity or sexual orientation, according to a memorandum written by the school district’s general counsel.

“Parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction,” read the memorandum from Ronald Wenkart to the Orange County Board of Education.

A school district spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the memorandum sent to us by a parent.

“However, parents are free to advise their children that they disagree with some or all of the information presented in the instructional program and express their views on these subjects to their children,” the attorney wrote.

The most frightening part of the diktat is that the school district is graciously allowing parents to offer opposing ideas to their own children. Think about it, in what kind of world do parents need to apply to school officials before expressing their views to their children, before providing their children with a moral education?. You know and I know that one of these days some administrator is going to decide that parental authority must not be allowed to make such determinations.

If you like, you can call this liberalism, but it is illiberality on steroids. It is radical leftist ideology. It owes far more to Hegel than to John Stuart Mill.

Why is it happening in California? And why are the tech oligarchs leading the way? It makes some sense. They have established a virtual monopoly over information technology and now they believe that they ought also to have a monopoly over the marketplace of ideas. 

Ironically, they are not the masters of their own minds. They are not independent thinkers, but have been indoctrinated. They believe fervently in the dogmas of the Church of the Liberal Pieties because a band of big thinking academics and media commentators have seduced their minds.

Recall our discussions of how Bill Gates, the world’s richest dupe, was conned by Harvard professor Steven Pinker into embracing a polemic for atheism disguised as a glorification of the Enlightenment.

Douthat comments on the advent of a one-party state in California:

For all its deranging effects, I am always grateful to Twitter for the interesting ideas it surfaces. But rarely does this surfacing happen quite so overtly as it did earlier this month, when Jack Dorsey, the Twitter C.E.O., tweeted out as a “great read” an article series urging national Democrats to seek the kind of final victory they’ve won in California, in which the G.O.P. is reduced to a rump under one-party Democratic rule.

As of now, by all evidence, the 2018 elections will be a blue wave. Republicans have been underperforming in the off-year elections. If the trend continues—a big if—Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives. Whatever power the nation gave to the Republican Party in 2016 seems to have been squandered… in some part because the media has shown such unremitting hostility toward Trump and Republicans that many people are willing to vote Democratic in order to shut down the media vitriol machine….

While Trump has scored some important successes, these are always portrayed as disasters in the making. Trump gets no credit and Congressional Republicans—exception made for tax reform-- do not seem capable of governing. It began when John McCain killed Obamacare reform. Recently an eye surgeon from Kentucky threatened to undermine the nomination of the exceptionally bright and capable Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State for reasons that defied reason.

To understand California, Douthat argues, we must understand that the state has lost its middle class. It is now divided into the hyperrich and the immigrant or minority poor. There is next to nothing in between. The state is beginning to resemble the Central American oligarchies that the new migrants are fleeing. A very rich upper class owns all assets, especially agricultural assets, and the rest get crumbs… or join gangs.

To begin with, you can’t understand the political transformation of California without understanding how much it has been shaped by a long-term middle class exodus — the out-migration, across years and decades, of the kind of people who in the Trump era tend to vote Republican, the native-born petit-bourgeoisie. This out-migration has been compensated for by in-migration, but the new arrivals are more likely to be either immigrants or well-educated professionals: Since the 1990s new Californians are disproportionately likely to make around $200,000 a year, ex-Californians are disproportionately likely to make around $45,000.

An interesting point, so we underscore it. Yesterday we were pondering the fact that the blue state outmigration risks sending Democratic voters into Republican tax havens. In California, apparently, many of those who are leaving the state are natural born Republicans… leaving the state with high tech oligarchs who are using their power to promote their ideology and very poor people. After all, over forty percent of California households do not speak English.

If California is a laboratory for today’s progressive liberalism, it is fair to note, as Douthat does, that the leftist utopia is becoming a dystopia:

And ambitious liberals will have to do so while evangelizing on behalf of a social-political model that right now looks nothing like the ideal egalitarian society liberalism claims that it can build. Under one-party liberal rule, California is presently as unequal as a Central American republic, with one of the highest poverty rates in the country once you control for its exorbitant cost of living. Its educational performance is lousy and its racial gaps are stark — which is why it’s not only lower-middle class whites moving back to red America, and why black complaints about white liberal gentrifiers in SoCal or the Bay Area can resemble the complaints of Trump-leaning ex-Californians. As in other enclaves where Democrats are dominant, its ruling party has proved itself pretty good at rentier-friendly environmentalism and kicking social conservatives while they’re down, O.K. enough at redistribution, and completely terrible at figuring how to build an information-age middle class.

Think about it, California has every manner of environmental regulation. Today’s liberal left, ensorcelled by Mother Nature, is happy to shut down industry and even a large amount of agriculture in order to preserve the pristine beauty of the natural world. We note that California’s most important industries, entertainment and technology are pure and clean. They are not like mining and manufacturing, traditionally dirty industries. 

Of course, shutting down industry promotes poverty and unemployment. It forces the middle class out of the state. But, perhaps that is what the thought police want. They want to rid the state of anyone who would dare defy their edicts and pronouncements and would reject their dogmatic beliefs.

Of course, it will be a calamity. Thought control inevitably produces a reaction. At least, we like to think so. The peasants with their pitchforks will eventually see what is happening and will put an end to what Douthat calls:

… the sun-kissed aristocracy that liberals have built … in what was once, but no longer, the proving ground for the American dream.


Ares Olympus said...

One party rule is the norm in many places. Don't forget #Calexit. If California wants to go its own way, National Republicans may just let them, and that could tip the U.S. Presidential election (and Congress) majority vote Republican for the indefinite future. With nearly 40 million people, Democratic California is the country's most populous state and the sixth largest economy in the world.

Trump's 2016 3 million popular vote loss would become a 1.4 million popular vote win, and a 304-172 EC blowout. We would have a longer land border to build our wall, but a better chance that California might agree to pay for it.

JPL17 said...

Whether or not California ever formally secedes from the Union, it is already effectively doing so in increments. Their latest effort to void the First Amendment is winding its way through the CA state legislature right now. See

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

It is important to note that the new aristocracy Douthat describes is a cognitive, analytical aristocracy. It really has no soul, no spirit, little creativity and almost no genuine compassion. I hold Gates and Zuckerberg as insidious bookends of this silicon “revolution.” Like all things, it has limits. It is finite. The “Hi, I’m Mark...” campaign was so robotic, so preposterously staged, as to be laughable. Except it’s not funny. Harnessing Facebook/Google data and money could get Zuckerberg a strong candidacy on paper, but he still has to perform on the human political stage. Hillary Clinton’s emotional disconnection notwithstanding (remember: they ALL supported her), she is infinitely more real than Mark Z. Regardless of the intermediate pain and sadness, I’m confident the absence of soul, spirit, creativity and compassion will be their undoing. And, like the 2016 campaign, I will be enjoying my popcorn watching it all... the demise of these Webmasters of the Universe. Once we’ve databased all of human knowledge, what’s left of humanity? I’d love their answer to that one. Pose that question, and their SATs and Ivy League educations can no longer save them.

Anonymous said...

The ridiculousness of all this is by design. The elites are intentionally doing this to expose sensible freedom loving people who do not wish to be controlled. Get them out in the open where they can be swarmed. Then the elites pounce with a full scale media assault to shame and destroy lives. IT’S. TOTALITARIAN.

Sam L. said...

The poor have no/little money. The middle classes are being slowly driven out. This will leave only businesses and rich folk in Cali, and businesses will find it opportune to move out. Leaving only the Rich and the Poor. Then who's going to be left to pay the taxes to support the pensions of the government workers' unions?

Deana said...

The mindset required for one adult to say to a law-abiding adult that they have no right to decide on the moral education of their own children is breath-taking.

Who do these people think they are?

sestamibi said...


The same kind of people who say that parents have no right to save the life of their child. Don't even get sick in the UK.

Anonymous said...

The people who think they can police "thought" always have been, are, and always will be delusional. This attitude has not always been the sole province of the the Left, but it is now. There is a prevalent belief among the Left that if you can enforce "good speech" vs what is called "hate speech" then thought control naturally follows, people who believe this are surprised to find it never works that way and are completely mystified as to why it is themselves in the tumbril on the way to the gallows and not the obvious (to them) culprits.