Third-World California


<music> hello and welcome to the classicist podcast. I'm your host. Troy senic here with Victor Davis Hanson the Martin L. E. Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Victor. We're going to have one of our occasional conversations about or mutual homestate California. You still live there. Of course I don't which is a occasionally cause of sorrow for me and then I read one of your columns and it just flushes that romanticism straight out of my system awesome <hes> the one that precipitates our conversation today you wrote for National Review and it's entitled America's First Third World State now now. I've read the piece I lived in the state. I know exactly where you're coming from here but let me play devil's advocate on behalf of the people who have had neither of those experiences in are just hearing this title in our maybe saying to themselves. Are you telling me that of all fifty states. You're saying that the one with Palo Alto and La Hoya and Malibu and Tahoe or at least half of Tahoe and Napa Valley. You're telling me that this cradle of of wealth innovation is third world. How can that be. How would you respond to that well. I think we had this conversation five years ago. When I wrote an article called the other California orange the argument I used then was one third of the nation's welfare recipients twenty two percent of the state population below the poverty line twenty twenty seven percent of the population born in a foreign country highest array of taxes and lowest achieving schools or worse great infrastructure. I think except for Mississippi and my argument then was well what you describe that paradox is the phenomenon of coastal culture. That's affluent most billionaires of any state highest per capita counties in income versus the Interior but I'm not sure that that ex Jesus works anymore because it's it's been five years and I think what I was talking about. If you're looking for outbreaks of typhus or hepatitis infectious hepatitis a potatoes or tuberculosis you actually find them in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco and sounds and if you're looking at power outages or threaten power outages are announcement from Pacific Gas and electric the public utility that by the way is declared bankruptcy that it won't be able to service its customers for variety of reasons. That's in the coast as well the applicant sectors that you detail and Dan when you look at housing I live in Fresno Southern Fresno County which is officially the second poorest part of California and its per capita income's about thirteen thousand dollars a year like Appalachia but when I go into my hometown I don't see the streets lined with buses buses where people are living when I go to work and Paolo Alto San Mateo County. I think the per capita income's about one hundred and thirty thousand ten times higher I see along El Camino Real Allen from Stanford University of these huge Winnebago's and buses were people I guess are renting beds because they come in and out of them all day long and they sort of parked there then they move my point. Is that homelessness which is a third world. Phenomenon is pretty prevalent on the coast. The wealthy California not just the other California so my point in the article was by any barometer of medieval diseases are the inability to keep electricity eddie on in a reliable fashion or the necessity of thousands of people we have half the nation's homeless in California up three hundred thousand people to go live on the street or live in their cars. That's in California throughout the state and <hes> that's pretty scary when I look at I just got back from Greece and that Kinda prompted the article because the Greek freeways as when I lived there in the seventies and the eighties were pretty premodern but now they're Swiss and German built autobahns and they're wonderful make tonal right through mountains and that I I got there in nineteen seventy three and at that point California's freeways look quite Greece's do now now our pre ways look at Greece's of nineteen seventy-three. I just drove five hours up to northern California and it was almost like Odysseus trying trying to get home. There was all sorts of you know there was cyclops zoos and sirens and everything but the point I'm making it was pretty hazardous and this is why the point I wanted to raise with you because there are there are about forty million people in California so that works out to basically one in every eight Americans living in the state and I remember you saying on one episode years ago. The one of the paradoxes of California is that it attracts all these people at the state government seems intent to make get unlivable for a population that size that they do business is they'd be satisfied with a cap of about twenty million in one of your big arguments in this piece and ironically this is how how post-war Democrats like Pat Brown used to think about California is that one of its core needs one of the key ingredients to any future success is better infrastructure so explain. You've already explained that a little as regards the roads but just he's that argument out for us and what causes consequences have been the failure to do that. Well the week California works. This is it has three north south and it's a north south state. It's much longer than it is wider and it has three major freeways the one on one on the coast and then the ninety nine in the east and the five in the interior they overlap and places but they were originally pretty good freeways they had when we had seventeen eighteen million people they had four lanes and large part of of ninety nine. China's still four lanes. All of I five is outside of Los Angeles four lanes and outside the metropolitan areas. One one is still for lane so my point is you added. Twenty people without changing the infrastructure were we talking nineteen seventy-one about the California water project in the Central Valley Project. We would say that they were the most sophisticated water transfers engineering products and the history civilization you look at the California aqueduct was brilliant but it was never designed without. It's logical expansion in a deputation of tertiary. The third level downs to suffice for forty million person California so we go go from one year. Existential drought were long Di people or on rationing they don't bathe until the next year were we've got so much water. We're leading fifty million acre feet out in San Francisco Bay because we have no where to put it because we never expanded or finished and system and so we are living wien an third world infrastructure and boy when I go into Paolo Alto and I I drive by the neighborhoods where I'm told the Google and apple and facebook executives live I see all these Atherton Menlo Park Timber Woodside and Portola Valley Zillionaires the average gated homes but the roads are just despicable their potholder dirty. When I Walk Down University Avenue it's full of homeless people and and <hes> I can drive in places and Stanford were I'll see islands that have trees and grass will be homeless people camping in there and so it is a third world country and that Third World Ism has gone as I said earlier to the other California and it's a product of sort sort of California's infrastructures struck stuck an amber while we have twenty million more people and it's not just twenty million in more third-generation Californians of all cultures and background? It's to a large extent twenty. Seven percent of the population was born in California pointed that means we have a lot of people that we need to a cultural weight and make sure they know English. They understand the basics of American citizenship ship. Many of them are from Asia and many more from Central American Mexico many of them come without legality. They don't come and measured fashion. They don't come with critic skills. They don't come with a diploma or English and they don't even come with legality and you put all about Anna. The mixture in hyper progressive state has given up hope on that melting pot and adopted identity politics sanctuary the city's salad bowl then you've got the. I say you have the ingredients for California that we never envisioned under Pat Brown. It's the the front line of this <hes> immigration challenge for California by that I mean that's where people who are not week equipped with a birth certificate or they're here illegally. They go to get something they need to operate a car and because the I'll give you one example will the federal government after nine eleven said within a finite time any state that allowed people to have an alternate license without ide- requirements payments I e illegal aliens then would have to have a real I._D.. So we now are telling Californian's like other states. Come next fall well. If you don't have a real I d you cannot fly translated that means say at the Fresno airport that has three flights a day to Guadalajara Mexico and they're always packed these people who are flying for the most part not U._S.. Citizen and most of them are here illegally so they need need to get on that plane and they don't have passports so they go to the D._M._v. and they say I need to get my real I._D.. Will the D._M._v. says the federal law says you have to have a birth certificate which many of them don't have or you have to have a passport which none of them have and then you have to have to prove of residencies power bill or phone bill and then you have to have a social security number which most of them don't have so. How are they going to get a real real real real I._D.? That distinguishes them from a regular California license which distinguishes them from a a license granted to people that are here illegally and the answer is is I found out when I made an appointment and then leapt two hours later is that a lot of people just take pictures of stuff in other words. They'll get a birth certificate from someone else. Cutting pays put a piece of their her name on it or they will get their residents and they'll get a W.. Two and change the social security number and take a picture of it or <hes> Xerox <hes> and then they go to the D._M._v. and they're told no that's not going to work you have to have the original copy and then people say well. That's not fair. Then the person at the windows has let me go get my supervisor and most of it is conducted in Spanish and you can imagine when it's one hundred five degrees in Hanford or really and that that same I'm office is still giving is swamped because it's giving licenses. They're all licenses to illegal aliens first because to get a real I d you need a prior fire California license so you can imagine what that does and when you compound the fact that the Democratic Party the Progressive Women Sees The D._M._v. is a way of registering people to vote even though the people who are on their license roles are illegal and they're supposed to distinguish wish ill illegals who have driver's license from legals and we're told that at least in the case of seventy thousand the last election they were accidentally accidentally on purpose <hes> conflicted and we had to fire the D._M._V. Director apparently and now there's reports that maybe a million people voted in congressional districts that were not Hanging in thousands of very poor people in offering them parody in the American dream and because that's so noble we don't really care about the means necessary to pull it off. That would be the best. Take on the worst. Take on it would be we. WanNa make sure that there's less than seven congressional fifty three congressional districts that are are Republican. We got rid of eight of them. Get rid of them all next time and we don't have one state official whose Republican and we have a super majority in the house and <hes> these simply I should say in the state senate and this is a good model and maybe Nevada and Colorado Colorado New Mexico and Arizona and Texas can follow it and therefore this chaos that I described at the D._M._V. is not seen as chaos oss. It's seen as a kind of inconvenient but otherwise commendable way of bringing a lot of people cross the border that are going to change the demographics of Electoral College in a positive way for those in power. I'd also note your observation in the National Review piece where you you say that there is one. I'm pretty functional brands for the D._M._v. in the state and it's a as you render it as sort of quasi secret location in Sacramento. That's just one <hes> <hes> I found that out by talking to a legislator who kind of winked nodded and said that he just goes to this private little place and he doesn't stand in line because I was whining to him about I wish you had to stain and then I looked it up. When I got home when there's actually a story in the Sacramento Bee that it does does exist and people were outraged about its existence you <hes> you mentioned earlier and you've mentioned in past episodes sort of the cultural contrast that you see if you had the cord north from the central valley up to Silicon Valley or South and Los Angeles and there has been especially in the past decade tercel a growing argument that Californias so immense. If you've got a huge population the states the size of Germany there's arguably because this is more an art than a science somewhere between a half dozen and a dozen kind of distinct regions that and the argument runs that this is a society that is simply too complex complex and too diverse to wrangle in two one st and so we've seen increasingly dramatic reform proposals people talking about breaking it up into smaller states or people people talking about writing a new constitution are you to that point where it seems like absence some big fundamental institutional change. This is not going to get any better yeah. I don't think it's going to get better in my lifetime. My hope would always always be that in matters of illegal immigration that the Hispanic models sort of emulating the Latino <hes> the excuse me the Italian American model of the early the twentieth century but that was predicated on abbreviated immigration spurts not continuous ones by point as for assimilation integration and intermarriage to work. You can't have a million people coming across the border illegally without a high school diploma English just too much it taxes. This is the powers of assimilation to so much that doesn't work but so I don't. I'm not very confident. If you were to split the state in two I think there would be a more conservative mostly Latino state in the middle and I e from Bakersfield to Sacramento and and you would combine the Sierra Nevada which is very conservative and maybe all the way in the west side up to the foothills it wouldn't be nearly as rich as the coast wouldn't have Stanford for Caltech it wouldn't have apple or Google etc but you would not be passing legislation about transgendered restrooms or Straw soon to be banned or against the law to have your dog chase a Bob Cat. It would be more elemental stuff. The powers to high gas is too high. There's not enough housing. We've got to build better roads. It'd be much more pragmatic. That might be good. I think what we're doing now. In California were telling during the minority population we give you guys open borders and we give you guys plentiful on audited <hes> social programs uh-huh and entitlements and we protect your relatives friends family members from deportation when they're residing illegally through our sanctuary city program and therefore your representatives have to get on board with us in not building affordable housing regulating gas and oil out of existence shutting down the timber and Mining Industries and having these boot Boutique Green issues that's what you signed up for its very condescending attitude and somehow that has to be broken and I don't know how it will be because as soon as a moderate or conservative legislator who self identifies Latino <music> something they feel that he's in an end grade or he's not he's not following the party line but until we have a viable conservative or centrist Centrists Latino political movement we're not going to see much change simply because about forty percent of the population now self identifies as Latino probably seventy percent of them are Democratic voters so final question <hes>. You've had a tremendous amount of success this in your career. You've distinguished yourself as a scholar. You've distinguished yourself as a public intellectual all that to say you're not someone who's caught in a mobility trap for you can't just pick up stakes and leave and I venture to say that if Victor Davis Hanson announces tomorrow that he's relocating to Texas there's a welcome party waiting for him at the border but for all these parts for the California border for all of these frustrations you remain Victor Davis Hanson of Selma California why we know it's funny. That's the topic of conversation than my wife and I have because we live in this three thousand. Thousand Square Foot Victorian farmhouse it was built in eighteen seventy with a three acre yard and then we have forty five acres of farmland farmland and I'm sixty five and she's fifty six so we're not as young as spicer. We don't have any help at all. I mean I do all yard worked in all the maintenance and she does all the interior cleaning and cooking and she works full time as a professor and I worked full time as well so we're saying maybe we should relocate and then we we start talking and I don't think either my surviving children want to live here for variety of reasons. They marry other people from different areas of California. They're not attached Central Valley to the same degree <hes> so we ask yourself. Why are we doing this and I guess the answer comes comes that <hes> a couple of things one is. I don't want to be the person six generations of sell something that I wanna give my children the chance to make make that decision the way I had that chance and so my great great grandmother built this House when I see pictures of her every day. I'm looking at one right now. That's so it's kind of lethargy or traditions. The other thing is that <hes> I found a way kind of it to insulate myself from things that we you and I have talked about over the years and by that I mean I kind of feel this is like a small little farmhouse in North Africa about five hundred A._D.. When the vandals came and by that I mean there's a lot of people that I went to high school with that are Mexican American and the WHO are my closest friends and and they're all politically centrist or conservative and if anything they're more conservative about the border than I am I saw when I had dinner last night with one I went to first grade with. They have the same concerns that I do and then to. I kind of know the sheriff's sheriffs. I know some of the larger farm families I built a about twenty years ago. I build six hundred foot stone wall around the the whole compound and within. I tried to make kind of a Greek gardens or have a pool and beautiful yard and and I have a six foot and a half wall so when I walk out of the wall I'm out in the real world where my neighbors are engaging in chop. Shops and shootouts and cockfights invites an illegal activity in there and we have a lot of but within my compound if you have five of these Australian in cattle dogs Queensland healers and you're pretty safe and I mean that literally because what's one of the shocking things about it is I live in one of the highest crime <music>. I'm rates. I think Fresno is one of the highest maybe for San Francisco property crime rate areas per capita but when I talked to people who are very wealthy that live on the San Joaquin River and places like Stockton Fresno very affluent areas or I talked to my daughter who lives in Santa Cruz. I talked to even people in Palo Alto. I hear these horrendous stories of break INS and vandalism. I'd never had any of that in the last ten or fifteen in years and I don't know whether that's because the local sheriff's like to do their paperwork in my yard or on good terms with the lot of people but so far on the last time we had a serious break in I think was fifteen years ago pretty scary but they haven't had that lately but otherwise. Why is you know. I'm just not to ramble too much but there is an advantage. I don't socialize with other hoover scholars because I'm here you know when I go to Stanford <unk> working all day from six to eight in my office to get all my business and then when I'm here nobody ever comes over to my house. We don't go out to dinner enter with other couples so I get a lot of work done but you know it's a one hundred six today here and I'm going to hang hang up and try to go up on the roof and figure out what in the world is wrong with my use. Internet and my landline is out as usual when it gets hot and I'd much rather be at Stanford today or up in the mountains so I don't know. How long is this going to Laos but I guess the final answer is I just don't WanNa be the first Lincoln at chain that that broke and I have some competence that things are going to change and I really don't believe that what a person's ethnic background or color or whatever the superficial identity politics stuff is matters at all? I have no problem with the fact that my community used to be when I I was born into it about seventy five percent Scandinavian. This was a Danish each town kings work next door with a Swedish and now it's about ninety percent Hispanic. I think that's great. My only worry is that I'd like the culture to remain remain the same and by that I mean <hes> honest government in efficient government and I I have some competence that second and third generation Mexican American former immigrants follow in that tradition and that they too are not tribal as we think they are when we read about the left left-wing the Democratic Party and so that's my hope but we'll see what happens I could be shop tomorrow by a guy stripping a semi in my yard or I could walk out my house literally to get the Mail on a stray dog bite me and I'd have another decision as I've had two or three times where to get rabies shots or not but right now. I think that's the reason I stay well. We'll choose as I'm sure. Our listeners will to embrace the more optimistic of the forecast. You've been listening to to the classes podcast with Victor Davis Hanson. Remember you can read Victor's work to finding ideas at Hoover Dot Org as well as pick your Hansen dot com and if you enjoy the classes please to show on itunes for Victor Davis Hanson. I'm choice Senate. Thanks for listening. This podcast asked has been a production of the Hoover Institution for more information about our work. Please visit Hoover Dot Org.

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