The Corner

Politics & Policy

Best to Kill Off Bad Ideas Like ‘Calexit’ As Quickly As Possible

From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

Best to Kill Off Bad Ideas Like ‘Calexit’ As Quickly As Possible

An angle I didn’t get into in yesterday’s piece about secession chic among liberals and the “Calexit” campaign: The state’s extreme dependence upon water sources from beyond the state lines. About 65 percent of the water for Southern California comes from the Colorado River. Los Angeles, San Diego, all the agricultural production in that region… if you think there are tensions about water usage now, think about what it will be like when authorities and consumers in Arizona and Nevada control the water flow to a different country, a group of ex-Americans who chose to secede.

In an irate liberal response to the liberal suggestions of secession, Hamilton Nolan writes, “Donald Trump was just elected president. It is no longer safe to assume that wild, half-joking political ideas will not be realized.” 

Nolan’s a passionate lefty, but everyone across the spectrum can applaud his excoriation of the “I’m taking my bat and ball and going home and forming my own country” attitude after the election:

The impulse to bandy about the threat of secession is not rooted in concern for the vulnerable. It is a tantrum by rich people who are angry that their political power temporarily does not match their economic power. Think about how shallow a self-proclaimed liberal’s commitment to social justice has to be for them to say that the proper response to the ascent of a quasi-fascist amoral strongman is to cede him the majority of the nation’s territory and stop helping to support social programs for everyone not lucky enough to live in a coastal state. Ah, what brave commitment to justice for all! If 51% of your state voted for the bad man, we will condemn the other 49% to misery. That’s what good liberals are all about! We all remember how Abraham Lincoln became an American hero by telling the Confederacy: If you are uneducated enough to think that slavery is good, go be your own country. With time your slaves will certainly come to realize that blue states are preferable!

The other point that California independence fans forget is that most of the industries that it boasts about the most could transfer to other locations if the tax and regulatory environment became bad enough. More than half the country’s television pilots were made in New York, Vancouver, and Atlanta. Silicon Valley is the country’s biggest tech cluster, but it has plenty of others – Seattle, New York, Austin, northern Virginia, North Carolina’s research triangle, Boston. Farms, mines, fisheries and scenic views are hard to move. A company isn’t.

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