Doug Casey on California Breaking Apart


by Doug Casey, Casey Research:

Justin’s note: California could soon become three states.

It sounds crazy, but a petition for this initiative, known as “Cal 3,” has already received more than 450,000 signatures. It’s now going to appear on the November ballot of California’s general election.

If Cal 3 goes through, it would have major ramifications, and not just for California. So, I called Doug Casey to get his thoughts…

Justin: What do you make of Cal 3? Would you like to see California break apart into three states?

Doug: It’s a good idea, in principle. If you’re going to have political entities, those entities ought to share a culture, language, religious beliefs, and traditions. In other words, political entities should more closely resemble what Greek city-states once were.

California is bigger than most of the countries in the world. If it were its own country, it would be the fifth largest economy on the planet. That, in itself, wouldn’t be a problem if its government in Sacramento wasn’t so involved in business, finance, and regulations of every type. It’s become a domestic empire. A war of all against all, where different economic groups want differing taxes, subsidies, and regulations to benefit themselves. Factions have become very antagonistic to one another. The state has become unmanageable.

My take is that the world—including the US—would be much happier and more prosperous if politics played a much smaller part than is now the case. The world would be better off with 7 billion or so independent political entities, not 235 like we have today. The geographical area known as California would be better off if its 40 million residents weren’t governed, but were self-governing. Of course that’s not going to happen anytime soon. But it’s an excellent goal to move towards.

The closer we get to every person being independent and having complete control of his own life, the better off we’ll be. That being said, three smaller Californias—each of whose residents have a lot in common—would be better than one big dysfunctional agglomeration.

Justin: So, you like the idea of California breaking up into three pieces. But what do you think about the current proposal? Is breaking California into Northern California, Southern California, and New California the right approach?

Doug: It’s unclear to me why the lines of the proposed new states are drawn where they are.

Source: California Legislative Analyst’s Office

The culture in far northern California—the pot and timber growing region—is very different from that of Silicon Valley. The yuppie/hippie culture of San Francisco is very different from the interior’s agricultural culture. And that’s very different from Los Angeles. There might be a dozen different cultural/economic regions in the state—each of them with more population than whole states like Wyoming or Montana.

For that matter, probably a third of California’s residents are Hispanic. How many of them believe in the Reconquista, and would like their own state? Probably a fair number, if a sign saying “Support the Reconquista” (in Spanish, of course) on the wall of a little Mexican restaurant I sometimes visit in Aspen is any indicator. I can assure you that young Latino males aren’t going to want to pay 20% in Social Security taxes in a few years to fund the retirement of old white women in Massachusetts—or anywhere else. They’ll be for a restructuring.

It’s unclear how you’d divide the state up. Economic lines? Cultural lines? Racial lines? Maybe you do it along political lines, splitting up the red counties and blue counties.

But that’s not what they’re proposing. So, it doesn’t seem like they’ve put a great deal of logic into this. The three proposed divisions are an improvement, but not optimal.

A lot of red and blue counties will still be mixed together. So, they’re still going to have the same political problems they have now. The people who live in these red and blue counties appear to want very different things from the government.

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