California seemed like the star of the USA. People could move out there and get a new start. That mentality enabled one of the last-settled of the American territories to adopt a generally laissez faire view of social mores and values. In California, anything goes.
The rest of the nation seemed to be rebuked by this. Why live under those starchy old rules, a hybrid of Western European cultural knowledge like The Odyssey and the Ten Commandments, when in this brave new anarchy zone, anyone could do anything and be anyone they wanted to be? The individual was most powerful in California.
A street vendor from New York could move to California and become a millionaire in entertainment. Rock stars and actors took drugs, had affairs and partied the nights away. Their ability to do this, and become wealthy, made those old stodgy rules seem totally irrelevant. California was the leading light of the Left and played a key role in cultural upsets in the 1930s and 1960s.
But the power of the individual comes at a high cost. When there are no standards, anything goes, and the result is that really bad notions become accepted behavior, then get written into law in order to support all those individuals. This is why California had a reputation first for being the most free-wheeling state, like Texas on steroids, and then became the most liberal, then the most Leftist.
In this way, we see the path of individualism. At first it is rugged and anarchic, but then, as all those individualists gather together, it takes on the role of defending the individual against consequences of social rules. Those rules are based on time-proven methods for avoiding disaster, so the last stage is to protect the individual from the consequences of his actions.
As part of its descent into Leftism, California has embarked on a strong pro-diversity platform. They spend about $25 billion per year on illegal immigrants, and much more on other social issues, which means that California is perpetually broke and could not fund updates to the 50-year-old Oroville Dam even though they would cost only a fraction of what it spends on immigration and social issues.
The crisis has eased for now as the rains have abated, but the point has been made: California has bankrupted itself spending on entitlements, or payments that go directly to voters, instead of updating its infrastructure. Its government is unsustainable as a result.
Ironically this all happened in Yolo County, echoing the internet slang for “You Only Live Once,” which is usually followed by the corollary that it is better to party today and not worry about tomorrow than engage in those fuddy-duddy calcified midwestern morals that say you should not eat the seed corn. Not updating a 50-year-old dam while spending lavishly on social issues is the embodiment of “YOLO” thinking.
In Californication, we see the problem of democracy. People live in small bubble worlds. The size of the bubble depends on their intelligence, moral fortitude and experience. A high intelligence person who is driven to understand his world and has run his own business is aware of much, much more than the average voter.
But under democracy, the numbers have it… and the vast majority of people know only what is in their bubble. This means how many rights they have at their jobs, what payments they get from the state, and other benefits that sound good for them or allow them to play “keeping up with the Joneses” through virtue signaling. Free money gifts from government are a symbol that make people feel good about themselves.
This means that democracy creates a chain reaction where whoever adopts the most insane idea affects others who, in order to compete, adopt it as well. The government then spends all of its time on what wins votes, even though this is diametrically opposed to the actual issues facing the state, like infrastructure. To say “we are out of money” is to lose votes, so it is rarely if ever said.
California seemed like the future. Then it spent itself into oblivion, and now as a bankrupt state, can no longer live off the benefits it enjoyed from the work of people in the past, like the Oroville Dam. Instead, it is headed toward default and collapse, much like the notion of Leftism itself, which by making all people equal has made common sense taboo and even dangerous to utter.