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Sunday, June 17, 2007

The California Nanny State

Currently, there are more people leaving California than moving in. Even if the numbers were roughly equal, however, the influx of Californians into the other western states would be huge. Most of the reverse-Oakies are looking for a more affordable place to live. The median house price in California is over half-a-million dollars. Others don’t care for the smog and traffic congestion. A few don’t care for the crime. And the tax rates aren’t great either. And a small but growing number, I would wager, don’t enjoy being treated like children. If you emigrate from California for this last reason, the concentration of those who prefer a collective, authoritarian approach to personal issues increases, inspiring more people who won’t put up with such behavior to exit, which leaves an even higher concentration of control freaks, and so on, until no one will want to live in the enforced paradise that California has become.

Part of the rise of the nanny state has to do with the rise of personal wealth. It takes someone with the immense personal wealth of Michael Bloomberg to desire to dictate the eating habits of the citizens he rules. These are people whose basic physical needs have been met, who own all the toys they can buy and now they are into self-actualization on a grand scale. They have discovered that when you have every material comfort, you may still not be satisfied. That’s when you take up quasi-spiritual quests (assuming you lack conventional religious faith, as many Liberals do) and decide to re-make yourself and the people around you.
These were grand experiments, tried in Europe in various forms during the 20th century. They were monstrous and they ended in tears.

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