For reasons beyond my comprehension, an unusually high percentage of my reader base hails from California. All of you, and anyone who travels to the Golden State for business, might do well to review the 2019 crop of California laws. The law making the most noise — pun intended — is a thousand-dollar mandatory fine for exhaust noise over 95dB. It’s being enforced aggressively now, which would lead any sane person to wonder: We are told on a daily basis by the California-based media that it would be “absolutely impossible” to successfully identify and deport illegal immigrants, and that “profiling” would harass and endanger innocent people while providing no uptick in the amount of arrests. Yet the California police appear to have zero difficulty “profiling” certain types of cars in order to hand out these $1,000 tickets. That’s right: according to the drivers who have already been caught up in this new law, the police aren’t just sitting on a sound meter, Laguna-Seca style. They are aggressively, and purposely, seeking out certain vehicles. After all, if the police were simply to ticket based on their machine reading, they might end up ticketing the ratty old Toyota trucks or ’97 Expeditions that carry that sweet, sweet low-priced undocumented labor out to the farms. Would the drivers of those vehicles pay the fine? Of course not — and why should they, when they can have a brand new identity and driver’s license for $29?
Perhaps not surprisingly, it was at that point that I thought of the man who calls himself “Sultan Knish”.
“Every city,” Daniel “Sultan Knish” Greenfield writes, “is by necessity a tyranny.” His overall point — that we must sacrifice freedom if we want to live in close proximity — reaches its logical conclusion in this subtly insightful set of paragraphs:
The truly civilized man is expected not to notice uncivilized behavior. Relativism is the expected response to any violation of human norms, but not to violations of any element of the petty codes of urbania. It is very well for a man to strip naked on a train and run from car to car shouting that the aliens are coming, but not to throw his recycling into the trash.
The only free people in cities are eccentrics and criminals. Eccentricity is a necessary performance art in the face of anonymity. And criminality is often the only way to get things done. Everyone breaks some laws because there are too many laws and many of them are unreasonable or unlivable. In their own way, every urbanite is an eccentric and a criminal. It is only a matter of scale. The best eccentrics have features written about them in newspapers. Less successful eccentrics occasion only shrugs. The best criminals become legends. The rest just spend their senior years bemoaning the new thugs who don’t seem to care about honor and are only out for themselves.
Now let’s juxtapose that with the dismissive, contemptuous column by Silicon Valley software millionaire and freethinker Ron Unz, entitled An Open Letter To The Alt-Right And Others:
Silicon Valley is a different story. One-third of the local population consists of Hispanic immigrants, mostly Mexican and a large fraction from an illegal immigrant background. There are huge numbers of other immigrants in the technology industry, and a noticeable slice of them are Muslims. Nearly all of these groups seem like perfectly fine people, very few are criminals, and virtually none are terrorists. Trump and Ann Coulter and others may talk about swarming hordes of “Mexican rapists,” but they just don’t seem to exist in real life. Rightwingers may claim that immigrant crime has been forcing affluent whites to barricade themselves inside gated communities, but Silicon Valley has no gated communities. For twenty years, Steve Jobs lived in an ordinary house sitting on an ordinary street, one which wouldn’t have seemed too out of place in the white-bread San Fernando Valley of the 1950s, and the same is true for many of the other top Silicon Valley execs.
Scott Adams likes to say that America has split into two movies, each movie being the film of choice for approximately half of the population. In my movie, for example, we have a plotline where my wife was hit-and-run twice by, er, “undocumented migrant” drivers during her time in New Mexico. As you would expect, in my movie we are very anxious that it not happen a third time. In my movie, the protagonist (that’s me) assisted a Bolivian undocumented immigrant BMX racer who stayed several years past his visa but eventually got his papers in order and became a senior manager working for a major automotive OEM. So we don’t demonize all immigrants, just the ones who act dangerously — and in our movie, those are common enough to be a problem.
Some of my California readers live in a different movie. In that movie, the undocumented immigrants are a necessary part of daily life. They may be friends, family members, employees. They’ve never had any significant issue with immigration and its consequences. Like Ron Unz and his #Blessed crowd, they effortlessly benefit from the presence of low-cost, no-questions-asked labor everywhere they go. You can’t get any traction for a “border wall” with these people, because immigration has been either a net positive or a net neutral for them.
With that in mind, read through the list of new California laws. Keep in mind that laws are typically written, and passed, to address the pressing concerns of a population. When you read these laws, what issues stick out as the pressing concerns? The cost of living for middle-class people in California is rapidly approaching the impossible, but there’s nothing in there to address that. There is an uptick in violent crime across California, but unless it’s being entirely committed by otherwise law-abiding people between the age of 18 and 21, or otherwise law-abiding ammunition purchasers, there’s nothing in the laws to address that, either. What you see instead is a raft of legislation regarding sexual harassment and gender equality. An alien newly arrived on Earth would read these new laws and assume that humans had just two problems: sexual harassment and loud mufflers.
That’s the California movie. In the Ohio movie, we are passionate and engaged about job creation, affordable housing, and preserving the middle class — three issues which aren’t even present in the California movie. And while the two-movie theory is fun and cute and useful, it isn’t reflective of reality. Only one of our movies can be correct — if, indeed, either movie is correct. So which is it?
I’m going to give you a Choose Your Own Adventure ending to this column:
If you believe the California movie, then here’s the ending:
The only way for America to survive is for it to become more like California. Which means getting rid of borders completely. California thrives because of immigration. The only people who dislike this are white reactionaries who are also engaged in making the workplace a dirty, sexist hellhole. If we open the borders while eliminating (white) racism and sexism, then we will all reap the rewards both spiritual and economic. That’s why Ron Unz isn’t impressed with Trump’s talking points: he can see that the world described in such hateful terms by Trump has already come to pass and it looks nothing like Trump’s fearful, hateful rhetoric. Hispanic immigrants, Muslim immigrants, and everybody else not from America and/or Europe? They’re just Iowans with better food. Most of the country’s ills stem from racist right-wing thinking. Eventually that will become illegal, or at least strongly discouraged, tobacco-style.
If you don’t believe the California movie, then here’s the ending:
The world described in such glowing terms by Ron Unz isn’t a colorblind, borderless paradise — it’s a Brazil-style race kingdom where wealthy whites control the money and the land while the vast majority of brown residents live in overcrowded rental housing and work for peanuts. California’s war on the middle-class whites who once made up the majority of the state’s residents is utterly relentless. They are taxed to death, regulated to death, and driven out of their own communities by skyrocketing real-estate prices. This thousand-dollar exhaust fine, selectively enforced on white and Asian middle-class kids, is yet another way of telling them that they aren’t truly welcome in California. The California movie is, in fact, H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, where a coterie of lily-white Eloi babble comfortably in seven-figure homes about restaurants and luxury travel while the faceless brown Morlock army around and beneath them works day and night for starvation wages. This white overclass expects to control California indefinitely, the same way the light-skinned Brazilians control the world above the favelas. The only threat they see to their thousand-year Reich is the Badwhites who yearn for the return of 1950’s hot-rod California, so they are going to legislate and harass those people into the ground. Once California is 10% Goodwhite and 90% Mexican, they expect to have Paradise on Earth. What they don’t realize is that their servant class will eventually overthrow its masters, at which point they will become undocumented migrants themselves to places like Iowa and Kentucky, where they will absolutely not receive the hero’s welcome they will be expecting.
I can’t tell you which movie is correct. All I can tell you is: if you go to the West Coast, the first movie has the force of law. So watch what you say, and how you accelerate.