Breaking News
Home » Community Blogs » Christian Probasco » California Looms
California is a behemoth among states. If it seceded from the United States, as Libertarian blogger Ron Getty advocates, its gross national product of $1.62 trillion dollars would make it the seventh largest economy in the world. California has approximately 16 million more people than Australia. How can the Rocky Mountain States not be affected by everything California does?

California Looms

California is a behemoth among states. If it seceded from the United States, as Libertarian blogger Ron Getty advocates, its gross national product of $1.62 trillion dollars would make it the seventh largest economy in the world. California has approximately 16 million more people than Australia. How can the Rocky Mountain States not be affected by everything California does?

Hollywood has molded the image and the myths of the Rocky Mountain West for the entire world. Much of the technology that went into the computer on which you’re reading this article was developed in Silicon Valley. Much of the food in your refrigerator probably comes from the Central Valley. Much of the new population of the interior West’s cities emigrated from California.

California is a trendsetter state. Much like the weather, every Californian fad eventually makes its way over the Sierras and diffuses into the intermountain West. That’s wonderful, and it’s frightening, because there are some pretty disturbing things going on in the Golden State right now.

O.K., I’ll admit: disturbing to people who take their civil liberties seriously. But I’m one of them. So here’s the list:

First off, we’ve got Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement. The residents there recently passed “Measure G,” to lower the whole city’s greenhouse emissions by 80% before 2050. Quoting from an article by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Jones,

“Some measures will be popular and easy, like a car-share vehicle on every block and free bus passes, but others will be bitter pills, such as strict and costly requirements that homes have new high-efficiency appliances, solar-powered water heaters, insulation in the walls and other energy savers.”

And further on:

“…builders will use only recycled and green materials. Residents will be told exactly how many carbon units they’re generating based on the cars they own, the distances they drive, the waste they generate and the energy they consume.”

“Enlightened,” you might think, but Jones further notes that Berkeley residents “already pay some of the highest taxes in the state” and that landlords will be “allowed” a small increase to cover the bus passes they’ll be mandated to buy for their tenants. There are three words which should trouble every Westerner: “taxes,” “mandated” and “allowed”—the last implying that rents are controlled, which, in fact, they are. Also, forcing landlords to buy bus passes puts the lie to the notion that they are “free.” Even if they were issued “free,” the taxpayers would still have to pick up the tab. There is no “free.”

Then there’s San Francisco, where animal cruelty laws dictate—another despicable word—that dog “guardians” serve their pets water in a “nonspill bowl in the shade. Their food must be wholesome, palatable and sufficiently nutritious,” which leads me to ask, ‘what makes dog food wholesome?’ and, ‘sufficiently nutritious by whose standards?’ And I also wonder, ‘how would you know whether the food was palatable to your pet or if it—excuse me, s/he–was just really hungry? Would you consult a pet psychic?’

Speaking of which, if you do want to know what your neighbor’s animal companion is thinking, using your psychic abilities, you will first have to obtain a $357 license and show the appropriate city government bureaucrat a valid ID, detail to him the last five years of your employment, provide him with a residential address and other personal information, get fingerprinted and pass a background check.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors banned smoking in all open spaces owned by the city–except for golf courses, initially, because golfers contribute greens fees to the city, while the rest of the smoking rabble do not. Realizing how that made them look, they have now kicked smokers off the greens as well.

The citizens of San Francisco attempted to pass one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, pretty much banning handguns within city limits, except for those carried by cops. This would make sense to me if the criminals in the City by the Bay were uniformly honest, friendly and non-violent and if they all paid scrupulous attention to such prohibitions, but my research has led me to believe that there are a few ‘bad’ criminals who aren’t, and don’t.

Back in 2005, San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell tried to pass a bill which would have required bloggers engaged in “electioneering communications,” i.e. political advocacy, to register their blogs with the city’s Ethics Commission and report all financial activities related to their sites.

There was also the famous bill that would have banned spanking of children in California, introduced by Mountain View (Silicon Valley) Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, and shot down in flames.

Many business and products in California have Proposition 65 warning labels affixed to them, warning the ever-unsuspecting public of the dangers of grocery produce, nail polish, solvents, oil, gasoline, you name it. Businesses which fail to post the proper signage can face fines of $2500 per day. Freelance journalist Donald Melanson noted the following label on his computer’s mouse:

“The cord on this product contains lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.”

And finally, there’s a few nanny-state laws lately considered by the State Legislature, as related by San Diegan Adam Summers an economist and policy analyst for the Reason Foundation:

• AB 722 — Would “phase out” the sale of incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs (despite the fact that harmful levels of mercury from fluorescent bulbs can add up in landfills, contaminating the soil and making their way into the food supply). This bill has been amended so that now, instead of banning bulbs outright, it would have the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission set a minimum energy efficiency for bulbs. A nice P.R. move that would, in practice, essentially ban incandescent bulbs.
• SB 7 — Would ban smoking in a vehicle–moving or stationary–in which there is a minor.
• AB 86/AB 90/AB 97/SB 490 — Would restrict the use of trans fats in restaurants and school cafeterias.
• SB 120/SB 180 — Would require caloric, trans fat, saturated fat, and sodium content information to be printed on restaurant menus.
• AB 1634 — Would require dog and cat owners to spay or neuter their animals by four months of age.

Is this the same state that legalized medical marijuana? What happened to California?

“Nothing,” says Ron Getty, “Other than year-round politicians who feel that to look good they have to show how tough they are on (fill in the blank) or show how caring they are on behalf of (fill in the blank). The majority of (the nanny laws were) introduced in basic essence by legislators who are at heart control freaks.”

Santa Rosa resident Skaidra Smith-Heisters, also of the Reason Foundation, points out that such laws are not unique to California. New York City has already banned trans fats. It was the first city in the nation to ban talking on cell phones without a headset while driving. “Cultural norms differ from state to state,” she says, “but the underlying attitude is more pervasive than one might first imagine.” However, “What is perhaps different about California is that politicians and voters are not shy about approving radical laws. They enjoy the sense that California is the first state to try new things. The irony that the justification for things like this recent rash of smoking bans came from Washington—from President Bush’s Surgeon General, Richard Carmona—is totally lost on them.”

Adam Summers believes California’s nanny laws are “an evolution of a political mind-set that probably dates back to around the 1960s or so.” The state, he says, has “not always had such an activist government, but the trend has been going this way for some time.”

Getty doesn’t see much prospect of California’s current experiments in freedom-curtailment coming to a legislative body near you but Summers does. I’m with Summers.

Both Summers and Smith-Heisters, however, believe that lawmakers will use global warming to justify the next wave of overly-restrictive laws, nanny and otherwise. According to an article by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Mark Martin, California Attorney General and former Governor Jerry Brown is using AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, to stick a wrench into San Bernardino County’s 25-year growth plan. Brown is suing the county because several developments on the drawing board don’t even consider smart growth as a way to minimize global warming. And he warns, “This is just the preliminary step in the turbulent waters of AB 32.”

It’s hard to argue against cleaner air and water and voluntary measures to reduce greenhouse emissions, but no politician ever wants to stop there. Just as much as they fear the erosion of rights under the twin wars on terror and drugs, those of a libertarian bent also fear the totalitarian implications of a looming environmental crusade, as evidenced by the extreme measures taken in Berkeley. Or course, in the case of global warming, the whole world is at risk. But the world has been at risk many times before, from hellfire and dysgenics, fascism, communism, capitalism, global cooling, terrorism, and Wal-Mart. The leaders of the crusades against each threat believed they had the facts on their side, and in each case, except Wal-Mart’s, part of the ‘solution’ lay in trampling citizen’s rights.

The mandatory seatbelt and helmet laws that most of us have to obey, might just seem like minor nuisances, especially compared with previous governmental intrusions, like sedition laws. But that’s part of the danger. Says Summers:

“In the grand scheme of things, it might seem like a minor inconvenience to buy a different kind of light bulb (and to have to start recycling instead of throwing them away) or to stop smoking in your own car if kids are present or include certain nutritional information on restaurant menus, but such minor violations of liberty add up over time. Before long, you look back and realize that you have given up a lot of your freedoms merely by acquiescing to others’ beliefs on how you should live your life.”

Back in 1909, California progressives enacted a eugenics program which resulted in the forced sterilization of 19,000 people. Oliver Wendell Holmes, reviewing the case of the “socially inadequate” Carrie Bell, in the landmark Buck v Bell, concluded that “her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.” That makes the California eugenics statute a “nanny law.” In light of that misstep alone, you would think that Californians would be eager to enact legislation which severely curtailed the powers of their own government, and meted out harsh penalties to overbearing moralists. But the opposite is true.

“In my experience,” says Smith-Heisters, “the problem is that so many people lack an institutional analysis of policy questions about lifestyle/personal choices. The average person evaluates these policies from a purely individual perspective; on the question of smoking, for instance, the average person forms their opinion of restrictions based on whether or not he smokes, and whether or not he thinks smoking is ‘bad.’”

I might agree with the last part of Smith-Heister’s analysis, but not the first. On many issues, I don’t think there should be an “institutional analysis,” because some factors can’t be reduced to statistics. Lowered highway speed limits save lives, so why not drop the limit to twenty-five miles per hour? And instead of mandating that motorcyclists wear helmets, why not ban motorcycles altogether?

Why not outlaw personal motor vehicles entirely and make everybody pay for and then utilize mass transportation, which is safer, more cost-effective and less polluting? The answer which politicians, bureaucrats, social engineers and even a segment of the voting populace hate to admit is that there is some other intangible human quality against which the number of saved lives must be balanced, which is individual freedom. What most people really want, more than their government looking out for them, is to be left alone.

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.

As for Berkeley, my gut feeling is that it can meet its goals if it sticks to its program, but that it’s demographics in 2050, outside the University of California, will be almost entirely made up of people old enough to remember when Nixon was president and rich enough not to mind 60 percent of their income going to the government, instead of their children, who will have to live far away. I will also predict that by then, residents will be wearing Darth Vader-style masks to capture their carbon dioxide output for future sequestration, that they will have to fill out an environmental impact statement to start up their cars for a drive in the country and that, if they leave their super-duper, high-efficiency light bulbs on all night, the “appliance police” will kick down their front doors and beat in their false teeth.

That may be fine for Berkeley but I hope they don’t export it to the rest of the West.

About Christian Probasco

Christian Probasco is a roving reporter for New West. In fact, he roves all over the West driving a semi-tractor. When he is not driving, he makes his home in Mt. Pleasant, Utah.

Check Also

Clark Fork Officially Turns 100

It’s evident that a lot happened around here 100 years ago. We celebrated the centennial of Sandpoint’s founding a few years back, and shortly after that we celebrated the centennial of the long bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille to reach us. Kootenai and Bayview both celebrated centennials last year, as did the East Bonner County Library, and we also remembered—although we could hardly be said to have celebrated—the centennial of the great fires of 1910. On the weekend of July 4, we reached the centennial of the incorporation of Clark Fork, a village of some five or six hundred souls clinging to the upper inner edge of Idaho, just a few miles short of the Montana line.


  1. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    – C. S. Lewis

  2. Berkeley and San Francisco don’t count. They’re the experimental lab that the rest of us try to ignore until whatever they’re tinkering with becomes irrefutable. Like cigarettes causing cancer. Personally, I think I’d rather than cancer than San Francisco, but hopefully it won’t go that far.

  3. John Pearley Huffman

    For a second (and just a second) forget about all the intended consequences of such laws and consider the unintended consequences.

    For example, in California anyone under 18 is required to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. Kids, being kids, don’t want to wear helmets. So instead of adopting helmets and continuing to ride their bikes, they’ve just stopped riding their bikes. No, I don’t have data to back this up (if someone has done a survey, I’d love to see it), but what I do see are empty bike racks at my kids’ elementary school. And I don’t see kids out riding bikes for transportation… It’s as if what was a vital part of child has been sliced away. Sure kids still have bikes, but they don’t use them how they used to.

    And then everyone wonders why kids are getting fat.

    What will be interesting to see is how long these sorts of laws can survive in light of ingenious workarounds (Peterbilts for everyone who wants to tow a boat!) and ugly public prosecutions (Who will be the first to stand trial for barbecuing beyond their carbon allowance?).

  4. Well this just lends support to something I heard someone say a while back (about 6 years ago, in fact): Liberals don’t care what you do, as long as it’s mandatory.


  5. “Lowered highway speed limits save lives”

    Not to nitpick, but the evidence doesn’t support this contention. Great post otherwise. Californian politics have one great saving grace – initiative and referendum. Maybe it’s time to push an initiative to reign in nanny laws, particularly stuff like AB32.

  6. “Currently, there are more people leaving California than moving in. […] Most of the reverse-Oakies are looking for a more affordable place to live.”

    This is true, but what Mr. Probasco didn’t mention is that many of the people fleeing California are enthusiatic supporters of that state’s nanny laws; they just don’t want to pay the inevitable costs imposed by those laws.

    So what do they do when they arrive in another state? They immediately start pushing for exactly the same destructive “reforms” in their new home. They try to turn, say, North Carolina into a clone of California. And those of us who grew up in those places say to them: The hell with you and your “reforms”! If that’s what you want, go back where you came from!

  7. “That may be fine for Berkeley but I hope they don’t export it to the rest of the West.”

    Been to Denver lately? It’s already too late for Colorado.

  8. “Currently, there are more people leaving California than moving in.”

    While residents from other states are not relocating to California in numbers to offset CA residents leaving, we certainly don’t seem to have any problem attracting illegals. Of course, because they are breaking laws by the mere presence in the Golden State, I don’t suspect they will give much thought to what kind of light bulbs they can purchase or whether or not their tacos are appropriately labeled.

  9. I work at a ” big box” in western colorado. I have to agree with J. Some new people from cali were in to buy some faucets and were amazed that we did’nt have the no scald type mandated by cali law, while all the time commenting on the lower cost of living in colo. I asked them why they thought it might be cheaper here, but they could’nt put it together, they did’nt understand how it all worked. I really believe they thought there was no connection. Which when you think about it is probably the crux of the bisquit.

  10. My husband and I are California natives. We love California and would love to live there again. However, we refuse to live in a nanny state or raise our kids in that kind of oppressive environment. So we live in Utah, in a town where our kids can actually play out in the street in front of our house and we don’t have to lock our doors. We visit our homeland, where we still have family; but it seems we’ll probably never be able to go back there to live.

  11. I didn’t know my mouse could be so dangerous. I am going to call my state representatives first thing Monday and ask why they aren’t involved in every single aspect of my life first thing Monday morning. I can’t see how I can continue to function without the all-knowing government leading the way.

  12. My wife and I are “native” Californians. She grew up in Marin county in Northern California, whereas I am from the San Diego area. We currently live near Santa Rosa, in Sonoma county. In short, we have had it with California due to the exploding illegals population, the skyrocketing home prices (we own, but have no hope of moving to a bigger/better house anytime soon), high taxes, unrestrained building, gang violence (Mexican Mafia) and overcrowding. I support legal immigration 100%, but what is happening in this state is disgusting. It feels as though the state we knew growing up is becoming alien to us, where ordering a hamburger from Wendy’s, or going to Target often has us contending with people who can barely speak English, let alone understand what you are saying. I recently visited a Target store and was surprised to see that a lot of the merchandise (I was looking for a toaster oven) on the shelves was in Spanish, so I had to turn the boxes to the English side in order to read what the product was about. What I find insidious about all this is that there appears to be no pressure or inclination to assimilate into American society. I feel like Mexico is slowly taking back California. When my mother’s family came to America, they busted their asses trying to become Americans, to speak the language; to assimilate. I get no indication that those who are finding there way into this state illegally are ever going to be of that frame of mind. I was driving down highway 101 the other day and saw a Mexican flag flying higher than an American flag, on the same pole. Very sad, but nicely sums up my feelings about how California is changing these days. Anyway, I’ll stop my rant here. My wife and I will be leaving this state for good, and we will miss it everyday I’m sure, but California has really already left us.

  13. I live in Nevada – saw a great bumber sticker: “We really don’t care how you did it in California”

  14. J.R.

    Mirrors my feelings exactly.. I spend many times during the day driving around Southern California, the place I grew up, and most of the time, it is with utter sadness for what is gone. It used to be such a wonderful place to grow up….yes, it has already left us…what a shame.

  15. If you want to know what happened in California, I can tell you. I’m a native and have lived there for over 50 years. Ronald Reagan was a California governor and at one time the state was relatively conservative. That was before it was swamped by illegal aliens. The Republicans, about 10 years too late, decided to get tough and tried to cut off welfare and education funding for illegals. This backfired big time and the state settled permanently and solidly into the lap of the Democratic party. The things that you mention that characterizes “the left coast” are what would happen in the rest of the country if the Democrats had the same solid majority they did here. It was only Grey Davis, perhaps the worst governor in the history of the world that allowed Arnold to get in and slow the leftward slide into the ocean.

    If the Republicans seem out of bed with the rest of the country on immigration reform, I suggest that the reason is California. Once those 12 million illegals and their 20 million offspring start voting, they’re going to remember who closed the borders and keep their parents from getting welfare. The next step, is California for the whole country.

  16. Carrie Buck. Bell was the other side.

  17. my husband and i moved to kentucky in ’98…home of the best bourbon, best burley tobacco and beautiful thoroughbreds. we do have alot of baptists who control a few ‘dry’ counties, but we’re more free here than we ever were in san francisco.

    coastal california began to lose its way 20 years ago…about the time i told my husband during a business trip to southern california that i’d rather eat at a truck stop in bakersfield than spend one more minute with the ‘beautiful people’ of beverly hills who were urging us to ‘dine’ with them. whatever values that once existed in those who moved west…individual freedom, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity, common sense…have long been lost, replaced with an elitist entitlement mindset that reeks of a ‘do as i say, not as i do’ lifestyle.

    goodbye, california…’flyover country’ where real people live is just fine with us.

  18. Is that Looms or Loons?

  19. Another example: New Yorkers and South Florida. Thank God for the people of the Panhandle. Now the ex pat New Yorkers are fleeing South Florida, after messing that place up and are moving to North Carolina. That’s now why NC is trending Dem politically. Same pattern for CA migrating to Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada etc.

  20. Berkeley just voted to ban “shouting in public” and “lying on the sidewalk”… you know, because they are tolerant of the homeless.

    In my experience, there is nobody more hypocritical than a former-hippy boomer, and Berkeley is full of them.

  21. “In my experience, there is nobody more hypocritical than a former-hippy boomer, and Berkeley is full of them.”

    Except the former hippies still living in the Haight Ashbury who are now complaining about blight in their neighborhoods impacting their property values. Really, I couldn’t even make that up… there was a story in the SF Comical a few weeks ago on this.

  22. Californian people often vote center-right when an issue is put directly to the voters via the initiative system. It’s the State Legislature, dominated in both Houses by Democrats, that consistently pushes the social engineering agenda. There’s a disconnect between the voters and “those that know better”; and attempts to change this via redistricting have failed.

    For example, back in 2000 Prop 22 — defining marriage as between a man and a woman, passed with 61% in favor. Yet the Legislature has voted several times in favor of gay marriage, as recently as last week.

    And we recalled Gray Davis. Had the Legislature decided that issue (or San Francisco, which voted 80% against) Davis would of finished his term.

    My solution: a initiative implementing mandatory 20% state employee reductions across the board (with a few exceptions like prison personnel). Then tie the budget to population growth, retroactive to 1997. This would go a long way in focusing the bureaucrats’ attention on the job they were hired to do, rather than expanding their influence. It would also remind ‘those that know better” who they work for.

  23. I’d vote for an initiative abolishing the bicameral system of government in CA… why do we need an Assembly and a Senate when either one doesn’t get much done, which is reflected in the increasing number of voter proposition on each successive ballot.

    If the voters of California have to do the hard work of governing, like specifying what percentages of the budget are be allocated to transportation and education, then why do we need so many elected officials?

  24. …with a few exceptions like prison personnel…

    Prison unions are the biggest, richest, most powerful and most corrupt in the state. Arnold’s been trying to rein them in for several years now, and so far they’ve beaten him off. They regularly give themselves massive yearly raises far beyond what Real People in the Normal World get.

  25. No, former governors Davis and Wilson gave them the massive raises and pensions that bring tears to my eyes. Firefighters are a close second in terms of the benefits of civil service endowed upon a class of public employees.

  26. “The leaders of the crusades against each threat believed they had the facts on their side, and in each case, except Wal-Mart’s, part of the ‘solution’ lay in trampling citizen’s rights.”

    This is not true, Mr. Probasco. Here in Los Angeles, we have exactly FOUR Wal-Marts, to get to any of which would considerably enlarge my carbon footprint. We have much less retail competition than capitalist America has, and I pay more for stuff because of it.

  27. Christian, well done. Your best yet IMO. Keep up the good work.

  28. You forgot to mention the law, passed this passed November, that states that the school nurse in my daughter’s public school – the same nurse who is legally forbidden from dispensing so much as an ASPIRIN to a student – can now legally take any girl, even one as young as 12, to a local hospital for an abortion without the parent’s consent OR NOTIFICATION. … I mentioned the legislation when it was in the works seven years ago to my liberal CA friends, who thought I was “demonizing” the left with this impossible theory. It is now California law.

  29. Californians have found kindred spirits here in Austin for quite some time now and they are flooding this town. It’s okay to trash the concept of “Texas” as a knuckle-dragging bastion of Bible-thumping intolerance but similarly okay to enjoy the economy, low taxes, and to buy out the entire real estate market.

  30. I’m a Californian, born and raised. I’m just looking forward to moving to a “flyover state” post haste as soon as my husband gets out of school.

    I will give up the ocean view and the skiing and all the beautiful people, for a “shall-issue” CCW, and the ability to decide for myself if I want to smoke my lungs into small charred lumps if I so feel the desire to.

  31. …the ability to decide for myself if I want to smoke my lungs into small charred lumps if I so feel the desire to.

    And this is supposed to be LESS selfish than the lefty moonbats?

  32. To Nahncee: re: LESS selfish than lefty moonbats

    Did you type that on purpose?? You cannot be serious – what was this article about?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  33. Sigh. If only California were not so full of idiots and moonbats, I would stay. I would never trade the weather for anything else.

  34. (Shakes head – grins) I don’t know how you peeps do it. I explored SoCal years ago & I’m still recovering.

  35. Roz, I think you should leave too. You’re way too judgemental for me to want you as a neighbor. I hear Vermont is trying to secede. They just might be able to reach the levels of superiority you seem to be claiming for yourself.

  36. To NahnCee: Gee, Nan You are still making my point for me – that’s thoughtful of you, Pumpkin 🙂

  37. New Hampshire is going through the same thing due to Massachusetts residents. They are moving out of Massachusetts and complaining about all the nannyist rules and regulations and the high taxes. They go to New Hampshire and then try to enact the same rules and regulations and lobby for taxes that they claimed to want to get away from. The problem is that they are coming in such big numbers compared to the population of New Hampshire that they are taking over the towns close to the Massachusetts border. The result is that the older residents are being taxed out of their homes and now the impetus is on in the legislature to enact sales and income taxes which New Hampshire has been able to do without for years. I fear for them but am glad I moved out when I did before the new residents do to Massachusetts what they have already done to Vermont with all the influx from New York and Massachusetts there.

    Personally I think that the old rules that the legislature only met part time and for no more than 6 months in any two years should be brought back. There really is no reason for the legislature to meet any more than that in any state I can think of. That would help limit the damage they do to the country.

  38. Doesn’t seem pertinent to the point to me. They are protesting federal IRS taxes. New Hampshire does not have, to this point, state income taxes nor does it have sales taxes except for lodging and meals. At the same time they were able to have among the best educational systems and childcare systems (the state was picked as the best place in the country to raise children several times and is still among the top 2 or 3).

    Now if you go to the town meetings you have the Massachusetts immigrants asking for the town to do this or that which would raise the property taxes higher and the locals are fighting this. They have accomplished so much by volunteers that it seems a shame to lose that citizen activism to be replaced with yet another bureaucracy.

    As an example the little town I lived in, the home of Judge Souter, had a library staffed by volunteers, every class had teacher’s aides which were volunteers, day care after school which was staffed by volunteers and the only charge was to pay the janitor to clean up, zoning board which was staffed by volunteers including 2 engineers, a lawyer and a builder who made sure you met all the requirements including fire department access and health needs, and had a paid staff of 5 plus 6 cops. The library was linked to Harvard, Dartmouth and the UNH libraries so if you wanted a book they could get it for you within 2 days. They wanted to build a new school so the town meeting had a discussion where the Massachusetts immigrants were asking for this or that and the school would have cost 15 million. A local farmer said that it could be done for less and get more and volunteered to research it for the next meeting. He did and they were able to build a school that cost 6 million and had 2 more classrooms and a separate theatre. The school had a resident playwright and a resident poet in alternating years. They were able to do this through people power, not the legislature and not through income or sales taxes. Now the immigrants are trying to get both in the legislature and if they succeed then you will just have a Massachusetts North and a Vermont East instead of a state with free citizens that is progressive for real instead of as a codeword for LLL dems.

  39. John, my apologies – I know off point – just curious.

    I do understand your point, though. New Hampshire has a, deserved, reputation in the country for just the sort of actual, real progressivism you describe. BUT, something was ushered in (not in NH!), locally at first then went national, along the continum – I am reminded of a quote, I think by Chernyshevsky, “A man with an ardent love of goodness cannot but be a somber monster.”

  40. Good article, Christian!
    I must say however, with apologies to those who might feel ‘stuck’ there, that I’m glad California is there – especially San Francisco and Berserkely. I’m quite happy to know that someone is experimenting with progressive causes and learning as they go about the cost of turning progress into a lot of regressive laws and taxes. I for one even enjoy an occasional visit, a dose of ‘high’ culture and still feel quite safe in most neighborhoods without my pistola. I know which ones to avoid after three years living there. My thoughts on great cities – wonderful places to visit, but who’d want to live there?!
    I grew up in and spent most of my early life in Utah and came to resent the influence of ‘The Church’ and moved to San Francisco in a time before the ‘progressive’ became ‘regressive’. I spent a lot of time in California before (early eighties) and I was just ‘discovering’ the state. Actually I was aching to have been truly discovering it, to have been there 100 years earlier and that lament became my mantra! ‘Damn! I wish I could’ve been here 100 years ago!’
    Humans can and often do, spoil just about anything!
    Now, I’m back in Utah and looking forward to getting away – to a place further away from the population centers – likely outside Utah! Those of you who actually enjoy humanity enough to share your backyards can deal with all of that and I expect you’ll work it out without my input or my suffering morons who think they can legislate ‘goodness’ of any stripe.
    I hope for the sake of my grandchildren who might not enjoy my brand of elbow room, that our entire society, including international, national and state law-givers can quickly figure out that genuine, inborn, tolerance – true tolerance, maybe learned in the homes churches and schools, but NOT the superficial kind that lends itself to legislation – is the only thing that will save our relations with our neighbors all over this shrinking planet!
    Thanks for your contribution,

  41. Loom is a knowledge representation language developed by researchers a artificial intelligence research group at the university of southern california’s information sciences institute.