The video embedded below details the decline of California over the last 50 years or so. Arguably, most of the decline happened during the latter half of that period. The narrator lists the usual litany of ills: higher taxes, poorer services, one-party rule, and increasing income stratification. Aside from the first of these, they are all markers of a third-world society. He’s not wrong about any of it.
What’s left unexplained is how this is tolerable for anyone. Victor Davis Hanson has addressed the this question in general terms but he’s personally unhappy with the regime because he has to suffer its negative consequences at his Central Valley farm. My perspective is somewhat different. I can afford to pay the confiscatory taxes and don’t have to deal with homeless or crime* in my neighborhood. Unaffordable housing is not my problem. The climate is great and the cultural amenities are superb. On the surface everything is fine.
This goes a long way to explain the complacency of many Californians. Judging by the bumper stickers and (during the election) yard signs in my neighborhood, I’d bet most folks are Democrats and TDS sufferers. Sure, there are some closet Trumpers; my next-door neighbor once said to me, sotto voce, “There are more Trump supporters here than you might think.” That’s wishful thinking if you ask me. No, life is good for most of the normies, especially those who’ve lived here a long time. There are no red flags, no alarm bells ringing. Have another margarita and enjoy the rest of your afternoon.
There’s already been an outbreak of typhus in Los Angeles and some are warning of the bubonic plague. But hey, there’s no typhus near me so it’s OK, right? Many European cities have monuments of gratitude for the end of black death. If California cities survive into the next century, they might consider erecting similar monuments.
*I almost never lock my bicycle. In over a decade of following this practice on a daily basis it has never been stolen. Someday this will change. Then again, it’s a risk I can afford to take.