What do you think when you think of California values? Probably you first think of Hollywood: anti-gun, never mind all the gun play in movies; hysterically politically correct, never mind the blacks who never make it to the academies; wedded to climate change, as long as they can keep their mansions, their private jets, and fancy cars; and fanatically pro-abortion.
Perhaps you also think of the San Francisco Bay Area. It was hippie central during the 1960s and Marin County was self-fulfillment central during the 1970s. Thanks to these two influences, the San Francisco Bay Area isn’t West Coast; it’s Left Coast. UC Bezerkley is the academic crown jewel of Bay Area Leftism, with San Francisco the standard-bearer for extreme Leftist thinking supported by massive amounts of money from the next generation of hard Left young internet millionaires and billionaires who are making San Francisco home to their businesses and themselves. Bay Areans are just as anti-gun, PC, climate-crazy, and pro-abortion as their LA neighbors to the South, they just do it with less glitz and more granola.
Or maybe you think of the State of California as a whole. Once upon a time, it was the crown jewel of American states, with the best education, the best business climate, and the best standard of living. It was the American dream played out across a state with extraordinary natural beauty and natural resources.
Hard-Left Slate Magazine says that California has the highest number of illegal immigrants in America. Whether illegal or legal, 61% of California immigrant households with children are living on welfare. Indeed, in California, welfare and SNAP (food assistance) are a way of life for millions of people:
More revealing is the fact that, in 2007, before the onset of the recession, California’s 1.2 million recipients of traditional welfare comprised about 28 percent of the nation’s total welfare caseload in a state with 12 percent of the nation’s population. In 2013, California had a full third of America’s welfare cases, 33 percent.
SNAP use is an entirely different matter. In six years, the number of people in the U.S. enrolled in SNAP skyrocketed 80 percent or 21,167,521 people. By comparison SNAP use in California spiked 103 percent for a total of 2,110,846 people. In Texas, the number of SNAP enrollees was up 67 percent for a total of 1,619,693, considerably below this program’s national rate of increase.
Although California’s huge pockets of wealth mean it has some of the best schools in America, its fealty to teachers’ unions, its huge non-English speaking population, and (my guess) its devotion to the dumbing-down of basic education, mean that California is ranked at 42nd in the nation overall. Dig down, and the numbers are even worse for the state once ranked the best educator in the country:
The Education Week finance information, published Friday, is three years old. It pegs per-pupil spending from state and local sources on California’s six million students at $8,341 in 2011, a few hundred dollars less than what the state calculated because Education Week adjusts the number downward for California’s relatively high cost of living.
That number is the lowest among the 50 states, about $3,500 under the national average of $11,864.
Brown’s proposed 2014-15 budget would, he says, raise per-pupil spending to $9,194, but whether it would increase California’s standing vis-à-vis other states depends on what they do this year as well.
Clearly, however, it would still leave California well below the national average, whatever it might be. Reaching the national average, California authorities have calculated, would cost at least $18 billion more a year.
California students’ performance on achievement tests also drags down the state’s standing vis-à-vis other states. It consistently ranks near the bottom in elementary and middle-school reading and mathematics tests and mediocre in high school graduation rates.
Brown, citing the particularly low achievement of poor and “English-learner” students, persuaded the Legislature last year to direct more state aid to districts with large numbers of those kids.
As the above-quoted article indicates, Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown has been pouring more money into the system, but I doubt that will help much. As a product of San Francisco public schools, and one who watched the beginning of the decline through the 1960s and 1970s, the problem isn’t money: It’s the teachers’ unions, the Left’s march through the academics taught in public schools, and the influx of Hispanics who do not traditionally view education as a virtue. (Asians do care about education, which is why San Francisco schools perform better than they should in the rankings.)
California is a testament to the damage Leftists do once they get a foothold in government. I’m a native Californian and proudly state that I do not have California values. Or, at least, I don’t have modern California values. When someone speaks slightingly of “California values,” I understand that, while this is an insult, I’m not personally insulted. I’d love to see those values vanish so that my Golden State can be returned to its former greatness.
For all the huffing and puffing about Ted Cruz’s use of the phrase “New York values” to describe Donald Trump, I’d like to assume that New York State conservatives fully understand what Cruz means — and that it’s not an insult directed at them, nor is it coded antisemitism (a ridiculous accusation given Cruz’s strong support for Israel and manifest philosemitism). Instead, Cruz is talking about the same California craziness infecting New York: High taxes, high welfare, insane regulations, huge tolerance for illegal immigrants, anti-gun, pro-abortion, and generally hostile to America’s traditional Judeo-Christian values, with their reverence for individual liberty, self-reliance, self-defense, community strength, and life itself. For those in New York who hate the Progressivism that has swamped and tried to destroy their state, the values with which New York has become synonymous are terrible things.
I was rather wondering, watching the debate, why Cruz held his fire when Trump went on and on about 9/11. The reason was that he had a riposte ready, but one that he wanted to save for a time when he has the limelight entirely to himself:
I’m not usually a fan of “non-apology apologies,” but this was a brilliant one and I loved every minute of it.
I’d love to see the last of New York values and California values and start seeing a resurgence of traditional American values. It would be so lovely, one day, to see California as a state that, rather than wishing to leave, I’d love to come home to:
(NB: I’m not using this post to argue whether Trump is indeed a representative of “New York values.” I’m just saying that the phrase is not an insult to conservatives but is, rather, a short-hand for the locust-like plagues that have descended upon and seriously damaged Blue States.)