California? No, in this case, it’s North Korea, Walter Russell Mead writes at the American Interest. After linking to a BBC report on the Hermit State’s H20 woes, as equally avoidable as California’s, Mead responds:
The North Korean state will likely do what it normally does: pass blame while glorifying itself and continuing to subjugate its people. But the bad luck of natural phenomena like droughts merely throws the failures and incompetence of state policy into relief. As the great science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein once wrote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as ‘bad luck.’
North Korea’s ills aren’t bad luck. When societies don’t govern themselves well, the conditions aren’t right for the people who could think through an issue like how to manage mass industrial farming. The Kim regime is so repressive that it makes the emergence of effective institutions and or individual problem solvers impossible. The North Korean would-be geniuses are mostly in gulags or starving or marching in a military parade.
After comparing Saudi Arabia’s totalitarian regime with California, Steve Green concludes:
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy based on Islamic sharia law, which forbids drinking alcohol, oppresses women and unbelievers, and protects its borders.
California is a single-party state based on modern progressivism, which forbids smoking tobacco, oppresses the middle class and unbelievers, and protects “the environment.”
I’m not saying I prefer Saudi Arabia to California — not by a longshot. But unlike California’s Democrats, at least the Saudi Royal Family makes the toilets flush on time.