Victor Davis Hanson’s recent experiences of life in California read like one of those everything-goes-wrong-for-the-ordinary-guy movies. All that’s missing is some heart-warming MacGuffin that the obstacles delay until the end of the movie.
On a more-serious note, though, I do wonder if his essay might give some reason to be grateful for Rhode Island’s small size:
What makes the law-abiding leave California is not just the sanctimoniousness, the high taxes, or the criminality. It is always the insult added to injury. We suffer not only from the highest basket of income, sales, and gas taxes in the nation, but also from nearly the worst schools and infrastructure. We have the costliest entitlements and the most entitled. We have the largest number of billionaires and the largest number of impoverished, both in real numbers and as a percentage of the state population.
California crime likewise reflects the California paradox of two states: a coastal elite and everyone else. California is the most contentious, overregulated, and postmodern state in the Union, and also the most feral and 19th-century.
Rhode Island certainly doesn’t lack for these systemic insults, but Hanson essay relates manifestations of the division that don’t apply to the Ocean State. Being so small, Rhode Island can’t quite achieve that level of bifurcation and insult. It isn’t possible for the haves to rope themselves off to the same degree as in California. (Don’t get me wrong; it’s bad enough.)
That raises an interesting question about what would happen if the states weren’t so small in this part of the country. The idea of living in a state in which D.C. and New York City were like the East Coast’s Sacramento and Los Angeles is downright frightening.