California has long prided itself as “the Golden West”, but lately the golden bear has been looking a lot more like a tarnished brass idol.

California has lost a net 2.5% of its population – a million people – to other states over a decade. The state struggles to keep its electricity grid running in summer and the streets of San Francisco are literally paved with shit.

As much as a TV exec writing for The Hill manfully struggles to prove otherwise, it really is liberals who are to blame.

The dream this time has apparently been ruined by an excess of liberalism. Big government projects and overregulation are to blame for the shattering of an illusion.

Those two sentences encapsulate the pea-and-shells dodge the author tries to pull off. In Ameri-speak, “liberalism” does not mean what liberalism actually means: free minds, free markets. When Americans talk about “liberalism”, what they really mean is left-wing authoritarianism.

In other words…big government and overregulation.

Without question, California sometimes suffers vertigo from tilting too far left; the San Francisco Board of Education’s crusade to rename schools is one handy example. Small-business owners here can rattle off a long list of frustrations about government micromanagement.

But this is also a state where voters last November overwhelming rejected progressive ballot measures to end bail, restore affirmative action, strengthen rent control and hike taxes on commercial property.

Again, this argument deliberately conflates grass-roots political initiatives like California’s ballot propositions with the political and cultural establishment. When it comes to who runs the show in California, it absolutely is wall-to-wall leftism.

None more so than the billionaire class of Silicon Valley.

Rather than liberalism, California is the victim of something quite different: high tech and the rough economic beast it calls “creative destruction.” A generation ago, Silicon Valley was heralded as the state’s salvation, but it has instead constructed a winner-take-all world of the superrich serviced by gig workers who face anxiety and uncertainty with every sunrise.

Classical leftism, in other words. Every socialist state has ended exactly the same way: a nomenklatura of super-rich and a vast underclass of impoverished proles. One need only look at the fleets of super-yachts bobbing in Los Roques while the rest of Venezuela slaughters family pets to survive.

Once, California – hypocritically enough, given its pretensions to peace and love and liberalism – thrived on the back of the military-industrial complex. Millions flooded to the state, lured by steady, well-paying jobs. But, as depicted in 1993’s Falling Down, the end of the Cold War threw hundreds of thousands of Californians out of work. While they looked to Silicon Valley as their saviour, the reality has been quite different.

The working world Big Tech has created is very different from the broad prosperity shared by defense and aerospace working families. A relative handful of people have made a lot of money — the kind of money not even Gold Rush barons could dream of. And then there’s everybody else.

By the end of 2018, for example, wages were actually down even in Silicon Valley — for everyone outside the top 10 percent.

The Hill

And if you think Silicon Valley isn’t bluer-than-blue liberal, then I’ve got shares in the Golden Gate Bridge to sell you.

So, yes: American “liberalism” really is destroying California.

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Yes, Liberalism Really Is Killing California

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...