October 2, 2012
THE QUIET CALIFORNIANS: Victor Davis Hanson recommends a sense of stoicism for those us behind the lines as California continues its seemingly endless slow-motion slide into oblivion:
So quietist Californians expect about every six months a new fee, dreamed up a government employee who is paranoid that the state retirement system is broke, and with it his pension. The state employee is now entrepreneurial: without x-traffic tickets written, without y-new fees dreamed up, salaries and benefits dry up. I touch my rural mailbox as if I do metal after skidding on a new carpet — a sort of static feeling of anxiety about what new state directive is inside.
I pick up the local paper: it has become a litany of rapes, murders, gang shootings and molestations, peppered with drunk driving fatalities, and the uninsured and unlicensed who maim and kill routinely. The lurid tales of crime seem almost as they come from a Sao Paulo suburb, or the outskirts of Johannesburg. Yet the more violence, the more worry about insensitivity. So there is a general rule: the name of the driver, the killer, the robber, or the rapist arrested is rarely initially disclosed, much less his biography or photo — as if these are just random stats that can offer no higher wisdom. No worry, there is an answer to our world of Mad Max. Governor Brown will borrow $200 million for high-speed rail.
I note that an exception in California is the marquee universities.
A Stanford, for example, is home to elites and therefore it must be crime-free, so they often send out life-saving “alerts” that pop up on your email when a male has groped, attacked, or threatened a co-ed on campus. Oddly, the descriptions are graphically explicit: even though we are dealing with suspects — not the arrested. And so the appearance, size, and ethnic profile of the supposed attacker are provided in great politically-incorrect detail. One thing about liberalism: it takes care of its own.
Quietists of the State, Unite!
The quietist assumes that his vote for president does not matter and won’t in the state for the next century. He assumes whom he votes against for governor will win, and his legislator will either be opposed to everything he believes, or if he is not, will be equally as irrelevant — and yet in homage to the state, he keeps voting religiously and laughing about it with other quietists.
Quietists have become bystanders, now marginalized to be sure, but also convinced that the relevant ones are, in history’s cruel calculus, quite unhinged. I have a confession: I like the quietists of California. I see them every day. They keep chugging away — and their spirits keep me going.
But will the last person out of California remember to quietly turn off the fluorescent Al Gore twisty bulb before he leaves?