L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 243, October 19, 2003
"Walk Through the Fire"
Exclusive to TLE
In public, the Republicans talking heads are jumping for joy this week following the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Governorship of California.
In private, the talking heads and the Republican leadership are quaking in their collective boots. They know that given the situation, the likelihood is that the Party is going to end up with egg on their collective faces.
The basic problem with the California economy (and by extension, almost every other state in the Union) is very, very simple:
A century of rampant, unchecked socialism.
California's government (like virtually every other Government at the Federal and State in some cases, even the Local level) has been kiting checks for so long that for all intents and purposes it is bankrupt. During they heyday of the dot-com era, the Californian Government could write checks for virtually anything it liked, in any amount it cared to, and no one would complain. California's economy, after all, is superior to the overwhelming majority of countries in the world.
You can't kite checks forever. In every planned, controlled, socialist economy in the world, there exist government-induced boom-and-bust business cycles. The United States a socialist regime was no exception. California was hit particularly because its government had been kiting checks with what amounted to reckless abandon, having no conception that the gravy train would eventually come to an end.
California is now loaded down with debt, idiotic government services, and tortuously incomprehensible laws. Without enormous tax increases, these can neither be funded nor paid for. Nor is California particularly unique: most other States and even the Federal Government are in a similar situation or are approaching it.
California can be saved as can the rest of the States and even the country. The way to save it is triviality itself. Unfortunately, it requires those in government to cooperate by willingly reducing their power and that is something politicians will never do.
The salvation of California will be had by the removal of the California Government from its citizens lives. Unfortunately, the only way to remove government from citizens' lives is to tear down and dismantle government, something the politicians who serve that government will never allow.
California's government has become an unnecessary albatross hanging from the necks of those it rules not that they'd notice. Californians are an odd bunch I know, because despite the fact that I'm a South Dakotan (by deliberate choice), I have done consulting work in California. I've spent whole weeks in San Francisco and Silicon Valley an extraordinarily beautiful area populated with people so different from me that I occasionally wondered on what planet they'd been born. They convinced me as to the existence of MiB: it's the only way to explain a bald, 35-year-old, heterosexual Irishman wearing light green cowboy boots with the toes cut short and who insisted on calling me "honey" while worked together.
Other evidence that Californians are aliens: on one of my first trips to San Jose, as I was leaving for lunch, one of the people in the office asked where I planned to eat. I named a place, and was then admonished to make sure I didn't smoke, as the town we were to dine in had an ordinance against smoking. Not just in government buildings or even privately-owned restaurants (as if that wasn't bad enough), but not in your car driving down the street, nor in an alley behind the restaurant, nor even in your own home.
That's right: the citizens of this "enlightened" town had actually let their local dictators tell them they couldn't even light up in their own homes.
My reaction was utter amazement. Here in South Dakota, a stupid law like that might well get its enactors justifiably shot. My hosts, however, beamed with pride, stating that they hoped it would be a model for the rest of the state and even the country.
So it's no surprise to me that Californians don't react to a rotting, stinking albatross dangling from their neck, on a chain that grows ever longer and heaver with each passing day. They're aliens: apparently, they enjoy it.
In any case, California's salvation is simple: reduce government. Unfortunately, the only way to reduce government enough to allow the economy to thrive involves California's politicians agreeing to limit their power.
This is something that they will never, ever do. Politicians be they in South Dakota, California, or Washington, DC are in their game for one reason and one reason only:
Power. Sheer, raw, naked force. The ability to control the lives and destinies of as many human beings as they possibly can.
There is no example anywhere in the recorded history of Mankind of a government that, once it started down the road to tyranny, ever limited itself. It has never happened, it never will happen, and it's not going to happen now. Not in California, not in South Dakota, and not in Washington, DC.
Just for those of you with a government education and therefore need to have it repeated three times for it to sink in:
Politicians will never vote to limit their own power, politicians will never vote to limit their own power, politicians will never vote to limit their own power.
Socialist regimes such as the California State and the US Federal Governments ultimately have their power limited in one of only three ways:
Those are the choices. There are no others.
That's what has Republican leaders hiding in their bedrooms today. Oh, they'll come on long enough to talk about how it was a great election, how Arnold is really going to come through and turn things around. Then they scurry back into their bedrooms like little mice, locking the door, and hoping no one notices they actually exist.
They know how California can be saved. They know no politician particularly not Arnold, who is more left-wing socialist than a right-wing one will do what needs to be done. As long as it was a democrat in office while California went entirely to hell, they could claim, "It wasn't OUR fault!" and then take credit for cleaning up the mess by randomly rearranging the broken pieces of the economy.
But now one of their guys is going to be running the show when it finally rots from within and collapses of its own instability. Left-wing socialist Arnold has no intention of doing what needs to be done to save the state I doubt he even understands the real problem.
Here's my prediction of how things will go under the Schwarzenegger Governorship:
Arnold will pass laws that move money around from one program to another. He'll lobby for the abolition of one or two minor state services and call it "trimming government pork." He'll lower taxes slightly, causing the state to kite checks even more than they had.
In short, he'll do pointless make-work, his PR hacks will talk about what a grand job he's doing, Republican whores on talk radio will daily sacrifice a virgin at the altar of Schwarzenegger.
But the problems will remain, and four years from now, things will be in an even sorrier state than they are now.
You can't save California by doing things the same way they were done through the entire 20th century. That's how we GOT here. You need to cut a huge swath through government, leaving whole office buildings empty of human life and never replace them.
The moment that happens, California will turn around so fast that it will make your head spin.
But again, there's no way it will be done. Politicians will never vote to limit their own power.
It's Judgment Day for Arnold. It will be a fun show, watching how he reacts to what can only be a total, abject failure on his part.
Freedom, Immortality, and the Stars!