One week of California crazy
California is No Place for the Middle Class
Easy money translated into a utopian view of living. Higher taxes were a small price to pay for the psychological reassurance that a millionaire was still liberal.
Professions of abstract progressive piety make guilt-free grasping materialism possible. I suppose if you make $800,000, having your legislature outlaw dogs chasing bears and bobcats instead of building a reservoir makes you feel as if you make $80,000.
California is no place for the middle class. It lacks the tastes of the new wealthy and the romance of the distant poor, and clings to the pretensions that families of five and six should enjoy good schools, still be able to buy a house, and pop into the SUV on Sunday for an easy drive to the beach or mountains.
I drove home from Stanford after walking down University Avenue, ground zero of the Stanford-Silicon nexus. A strange, wheeled contraption with a screen followed me down the sidewalk, asking me questions with the image of its human operator in a store nearby.
Five hours and 170 miles later, I pulled into the old farmhouse, mostly unchanged since 1880—but first passing the compound of my neighbor and his cobbled together corral of sheep, goats, chickens, and geese, three broken trailer apartments, a Winnebago on blocks duplex, and a half-dozen wrecked cars amid a flock of unleashed pit bulls.
The swat team swarmed another neighbor’s “enterprises” last week, but that is another story altogether.
In California, the postmodern and the premodern are but a few miles apart.