California Dixie Land

It seems that the CalExit foolishness is gaining traction, and has come to the attention of Victor Davis Hanson, who is not impressed.

California Goes Confederate

Threatening secession is far from the only thing that the Golden State has in common with the Old South.

By Victor Davis Hanson, the National Review

Over 60 percent of California voters went for Hillary Clinton — a margin of more than 4 million votes over Donald Trump.

Since Clinton’s defeat, the state seems to have become unhinged over Trump’s unexpected election.

“Calexit” supporters brag that they will have enough signatures to qualify for a ballot measure calling for California’s secession from the United States.

Some California officials have talked of the state not remitting its legally obligated tax dollars to the federal government. They talk of expanding its sanctuary cities into an entire sanctuary state that would nullify federal immigration law.

Californians also now talk about the value of the old Confederate idea of “states’ rights.” They whine that their state gives far too much revenue to Washington and gets too little back.

Residents boast about how their cool culture has little in common with the rest of the U.S. Some Californians claim the state could easily go it alone, divorced from the United States.

Sound a bit familiar?

It certainly should sound very familiar indeed to anyone who has read the history of the period leading up to the recent unpleasantness between the states (better known as the American Civil War).

In December 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union in furor over the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln did not receive 50 percent of the popular vote.

He espoused values the state insisted did not reflect its own.

In eerie irony, liberal California is now mirror-imaging the arguments of reactionary South Carolina and other Southern states that vowed to go it alone in 1860 and 1861.

Like California, South Carolina insisted it could nullify federal laws within its state borders.

Like California, South Carolina promised to withhold federal revenues.

Like California, South Carolina and other Confederate states bragged that their unique economies did not need the Union. They boasted that “King Cotton” had created the wealthiest class in the United States. Silicon Valley now often assumes that Google, Facebook, Apple, and others are near-trillion-dollar companies that are a world unto their own.

But wait, the parallels continue:

Slavery and the extravagant income from cotton warped the Southern economy and culture. A wealthy plantation elite, with its millions of exploited slaves, ensured that there would be virtually no middle, working, or small-business class.

Huge estates were surrounded by the impoverished shacks of servants.

Hardscrabble farmers or small businessmen often fled westward to escape the shackles of wealth disparity.

The export-dependent Southern elite demanded unfettered free trade. It offered bitter resistance to Northern protectionism.

South Carolina elites were opposed to federal infrastructure projects such as the building of roads, canals, bridges, and reservoirs, and other such unwelcome “progress.”

Confederates boasted that their antebellum culture was more romantic, natural, pristine, healthy, and moral than was the bustle, grime, and hyper-capitalism of Northern industrialism. Southern aristocrats believed that they were culturally superior — in terms of music, art and literature — to other Americans.

“Like, totally different!” the Coastal Elites will say… Me, I live among them and say, “A distinction lacking any meaningful difference.”

Of course, this is 2017, not 1860, and California is super-liberal, not an antebellum slave-owning society.

Nonetheless, what is driving California’s current efforts to nullify federal law and the state’s vows to secede from the U.S. are some deeper — and creepy — similarities to the arrogant and blinkered Old South.

California is likewise becoming a winner-take-all society. It hosts the largest numbers of impoverished and the greatest number of rich people of any state in the country. Eager for cheap service labor, California has welcomed in nearly a quarter of the nation’s undocumented immigrants. California has more residents living in poverty than any other state. It is home to one third of all the nation’s welfare recipients.

The income of California’s wealthy seems to make them immune from the effects of the highest basket of sales, income, and gas taxes in the nation. The poor look to subsidies and social services to get by.

Over the last 30 years, California’s middle classes have increasingly fled the state.

Gone With the Wind–like wealth disparity in California is shocking to the naked eye. Mostly poor Redwood City looks like it’s on a different planet from tony nearby Atherton or Woodside.

And then there is the even more stark difference between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto…

The California elite, wishing to keep the natural environment unchanged, opposes internal improvements and sues to stop pipelines, aqueducts, reservoirs, freeways, and affordable housing for the coastal poor.

California’s crumbling roads and bridges sometimes resemble those of the old rural South.

The state’s public schools remain among the nation’s poorest. Private academies are booming for the offspring of the coastal privileged, just as they did among the plantation class of the South.

California, for all its braggadocio, cannot leave the U.S. or continue its states’-rights violations of federal law. It will eventually see that the new president is not its sickness, nor are secession and nullification its cures.

Instead, California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South’s. No wonder the state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy’s secession and nullification. But such reactionary Confederate obstructionism is still quite an irony given California’s self-righteous liberal preening.

The dark shadow of reactionary regression forecast for the “Fly Over” states is lowering over the formerly Golden State even as we watch.

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  • Retired military

    Well given the 9th Circuit’s decision apparantly black letter law isnt black letter law. I say go to SCOTUS and if it becomes a tie then so be it. Trump can then sign a different EO once we have Gorsuck on the court.

    • I believe his name is Goresuch…

    • Scalia

      RM, that’s a really bad typo.

      • Retired military

        Oh well. Look I am fighting a cold (3rd day now) and seriously considering taking tomorrow as a sick day as well.

        Last night consisted of 2 hours sleep.

    • A sua sponte appeal has been filed with the Ninth Circus. Law Professor and Instapundit blogger Glen Reynolds notes:

      Note that even if the court doesn’t go for rehearing, this opens it up for unhappy judges on the 9th who weren’t on the original 3-judge panel to file blistering dissents. Which will be there for the Supreme Court to read if it reviews the panel decision.

  • Mary Gehman

    …Maybe California could take Washington and Oregon along with them, form a new country, name it ‘Califoregonington’…and that’s 55+ democrat electoral votes we will never have to count again…just sayin’…

    • What part of “indivisible” don’t you understand?

    • Paul Hooson

      Many of the Republicans tend more moderate in Oregon as well. My mother was a good friend of Senator Mark Hatfield’s wife. Here’s a photo of my dad with the late great senator at a small event. As a whole, persons in California, Oregon and Washington more moderate to liberal than many states, regardless of their political party. One of my Republican friends strongly supported both Donald Trump and also Democratic Senator Ron Wyden as an example.

  • Paul Hooson

    I have many close relative family members who live in Charleston. In 1860, South Carolina was one of 10 states in which not a single vote cast for Abraham Lincoln was not counted by local election officials, but South Carolina went even farther by not even allowing any popular vote by the voters for president. Local officials restricted elections in this state, instead the local officials chose electors, etc.

    As far as California is concerned, no state should leave the union as it presents serious problems for defense, treaties, economics, etc. for both the state and U.S. as a whole. California should not become like the Ukraine, although persons on both coasts tend more liberal politically than those living farther inland.

  • LiberalNightmare

    If they actually leave the union, I would like to formally name the new country “West Venezuela”.

    To be honest – I would love to see this happen.

  • Olsoljer

    I live in an area where Kalifornia, Nevada and Arizona pretty much come together – PLEASE let Kalifornia secede! (agreed county by county) the expansion of farming, available electricity, irrigation water to the USA would be ginormous. Not to mention the increase of taxes and tariffs to the federal government, etc.

    • Well, if you are on the California side of that three corners, you are in a blue county.

      • Olsoljer

        Oh hell no. I live in AZ.

  • jim_m

    The difference between the civil war and California is that the United States with its capitol right on the border of a hostile nation and having most of its agricultural base ripped out was a questionably viable state. Today’s US without California is arguably better off.

    Whereas the Confederacy could have become a sustainable nation, albeit a poor one and not one with a great future and one which would have eventually collapsed into unrest with a slave population they could never hope to control, California almost instantly becomes a failed state. California lacks the will or the intellectual capacity to protect itself, to maintain a growing economy (it would almost certainly crush its agricultural industry in a matter of a year or two under excessive environmental regulation), and it is so anti rule of law it would descend into a hell hole of crime and violence that would make 1980’s Columbia look as tame as a church picnic.