The logic is inescapable: if half the population cannot be held accountable for even the most minor infractions the other half that can will be.
The essential Victor Davis Hanson’s latest dispatch from Paradise Lost is a sad essay on what life is like for the non-coastal Californian.
Read it and weep.
In California, civilization is speeding in reverse—well aside from the decrepit infrastructure, dismal public schools, and sky-high home prices. Or rather, the state travels halfway in reverse: anything involving the private sector (smartphones, Internet, new cars, TV, or getting solar panels installed) is 21st-century. Anything involving the overwhelmed government or public utilities (enforcing dumping laws, licensing dogs, hooking up solar panel meters to the grid, observing common traffic courtesies) is early 20th-century.
Why is this so, and how do Californians adjust?
They accept a few unspoken rules of state behavior and then use their resources to navigate around them.
1) Law enforcement in California hinges on ignoring felonies to focus on misdemeanors and infractions. Or rather, if a Californian is deemed to be law-abiding, a legal resident, and with some means, the regulatory state will audit, inspect, and likely fine his property and behavior in hopes of raising revenue. That is a safe means of compensating for the reality that millions, some potentially dangerous, are not following the law, and can only be forced to comply at great cost and in a fashion that will seem politically incorrect.
The practical result of a schizophrenic postmodern regulatory and premodern frontier state? Throw out onto the road three sacks of garbage with your incriminating power bill in them, or dump the cooking oil of your easily identifiable mobile canteen on the side of the road, and there are no green consequences. Install a leach line that ends up one foot too close to a water well, and expect thousands of dollars of fines or compliance costs.
2) Elite progressive virtue-signaling is in direct proportion to elite apartheid: the more one champions green statutes, the plight of illegal aliens, the need for sanctuary cities, or the evils of charter schools, so all the more the megaphone is relieved that housing prices are high and thus exclusionary to “them.”
The more likely one associates with the privileged, so too the more one avoids those who seem to be impoverished or residing illegally, and the more one is likely to put his children in expensive and prestigious private academies. One’s loud ideology serves as a psychosocial means of squaring the circle of living in direct antithesis to one’s professions. (I do not know how the new federal tax law will affect California’s liberal pieties, given the elite will see their now non-deductible state taxes effectively double.)
3) California is no longer really a single state. Few in the Bay Area have ever been to the southern Sierra Nevada foothill communities, or the west side of the Central Valley, or the upper quarter of the state. Coastal California is simply far more left-wing than other blue states; interior California is far more right-wing than most red states; increasingly, the former dictate to and rule the latter.
The sharp divide between Massachusetts and Mississippi requires 1,500 miles; in California, the similar cultural distance is about 130 miles from Menlo Park to Mendota.
Read the whole thing.