How to Read Crazifornia If You’re a Liberal

The rumors are true. Crazifornia’s author is a small government conservative. Does that mean the book will be no fun for big government liberals?

Not at all!

A lot of what ails California is non-partisan. Even if you like big government, chances are pretty good you don’t like incompetent big government, or big government that is clumsily or dangerously over-reaching its authority. That’s why liberals can enjoy Crazifornia, too.

A Reading Plan for Liberals

  • Just tear out the Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. They’ll make you bust a gasket.
  • Start on Chapter 5, “Governing: Excellence in Bureaucratic Ineptitude.” Unless you’re an inept bureaucrat who thinks there’s no reason to improve, you’ll find it funny and frustrating.
  • Definitely read Chapter 6, “Business: Roll Up the Red Carpet and Call the Moving Van.” For starters, it has a section on the pornography business – and it’s sure not conservatives who defend pornographers.  Besides, there’s a cost to being anti-business, and before you support your local anti-business legislator, you might as well understand what it does to California when businesses vote with their feet, taking their money with them.
  • If you’re a dyed in the wool California Teachers Association member forget Chapter 7, “Education: All Children Left Behind.” Everyone else can read it. The section on the self-esteem movement in schools may seem a little un-PC to you, but hey! Liberals put their kids in private schools, too.
  • Chapter 8, “Environmentalism: Being – and Burning – Green,” tells some amazing stories about how wrong-headed much of California’s environmental regulations and regulators are. If you burn incense to Gaea the Earth Mother every morning, then (1) forget reading this chapter, and (2) why aren’t you worried about the carbon footprint of that incense?
  • For now, just skip Chapter 9, “Pensions and the Budget: The High Cost of Progressivism,” and the Conclusion, “A Century of Progressive Politics Comes Home to Roost.”
  • Instead, flip back and read the “Jerry Brown, Oil Baron” section of Chapter 3, “Progressivism’s Legacy: Jerry Brown’s Second Century.” Then pause for a moment and think about Jerry Brown in light of the fundamental hypocrisy he tries so hard to hide.
  • Read Chapter 4 next, “Morality in Play: California’s Cultural Revolution.” This is probably the most non-partisan chapter in the book – and to me, the most interesting. I’ve saved you the best for almost last.
  • Then, try to get through the chapter on pensions and the budget. I hope you can, because it just might change you into a conservative. But if you end up throwing down the book and shouting profanities in my general direction, I understand.
  • When you calm down again, pick Crazifornia up off the floor and read the Conclusion.  By now, you will have read enough to understand just how fragile California’s future is, and the Conclusion lays out very clearly what will happen if we stay on the course we’re on – and what you, even if you’re still a liberal at this point, can do to help save this state.

Crazifornia in The Daily Caller: Keep Your Eyes on California

The Daily Caller, my new favorite national political news portal, ran a piece by me as its lead opinion piece in this morning’s edition.  Here’s the link (where you can sign up for a Laer Pearce RSS feed!), and here’s the piece as it appeared:

Keep Your Eyes on California

Don’t think California is done messing with America

By Laer Pearce

After the 2010 midterms, you could almost hear conservative pundits dismissing California as the land of fruits, nuts and irrelevancy. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though California doggedly stayed left while nearly every other state veered right, it still remains the supercharged engine for America’s progressive movement. If anything, the midterms just stomped down its accelerator.

California’s accelerated national influence is evident in what many dismiss as a loss for liberals, the defeat of Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative. Most conservative commentators saw the vote against legal pot as proof that even California isn’t that crazy, but look again. More Californians voted to legalize marijuana than voted for Republican Meg Whitman for governor, even though Prop 19’s supporters spent a mere $4 million on their campaign, compared to Whitman’s $163 million.

Like earlier society-bending propositions on the California ballot — gay marriage and global warming are recent examples — the measure blazed the trail for similar efforts in other states. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, put it this way, “California’s Proposition 19 may not have won a majority of voters yesterday, but it already represents an extraordinary victory for the broader movement to legalize marijuana. Its mere presence on the ballot … elevated and legitimized public discourse about marijuana and marijuana policy.” Students for Sensible Drug Policy, another pro-legalization group, added, “One of the greatest hidden victories of the Prop 19 campaign was that it trained the emerging generation of marijuana reformers on how to run a legalization campaign, and left virtually all of them wanting to win on this issue in 2012.” Colorado is a likely target.

Similarly, California’s rejection of Prop 23, ensuring the state would continue its plunge into cap and trade even as Congress is backing away from similar legislation, has reinvigorated global warming activists.  As the Daily Green blog put it, “The federal government needs to take a close look at the result.”

Prop 19 was on the ballot in California, not Kansas or Alabama or even Massachusetts, because supporters of liberal social change know they’ll get more publicity and possibly even a winning vote in unrepentantly liberal California. The state nurtured progressivism a century ago and has given the movement staying power through its modeling of liberal legislation and policies and the sheer number of progressives churned out by its universities — so much so that it’s not likely Barack Obama would be president today were it not for the very blue Golden State.

While the established political parties and their consultants will ignore California and pore over campaigns in other states for clues on how to capitalize on — or crush — the Tea Party’s influence, the Left will be studying what happened in California, so they can replicate it the next time around. What they will find is not so much a magic formula but a vast progressive infrastructure they will then work to replicate elsewhere.

I call this infrastructure the PEER Axis, for the progressives, environmentalists, educators and reporters who collectively run California and influence the underpinnings of America. The PEER Axis remains powerful because politicians and political movements may come and go, but government bureaucrats and regulators, environmentalists and social justice activists, and their supporters in education and the media are pretty much forever. The structure of California ensures that appropriately indoctrinated college graduates will continue to fill the personnel pipelines that run from Berkeley, UCLA and other liberal universities straight into the progressive movement.

Many end up in government offices in Sacramento, where they write policies that are parroted in other states around the nation, as evidenced by the fact that the federal government is following California’s lead in setting the next round of vehicle fuel economy standards. Others will go to work at California’s giant environmentalist organizations, social justice NGOs and activist law firms, or the powerful public employee unions. Some will stay on the campuses, turning out future generations of progressives and writing studies to reinforce and justify progressive government policies, and those who graduate into the media will publicize these efforts and belittle any contrarian thinking. Many will find jobs in California’s foremost culture-bending venture, Hollywood, where they will pummel all the world with green messages (The China Syndrome, Avatar), anti-corporate tirades (Metropolis, Wall Street), anti-war propaganda (Apocalypse Now, In the Valley of Elah) and movies challenging conventional values (Milk, Juno).

Wherever they end up, they will be greeted by like-minded alumnae ready to show them the ropes so they, too, can form and implement policy, bring lawsuits, and mold the next generation. Don’t be lulled into dismissing California’s influence just because of one election, because the California progressives will not be content to limit their focus to west of the Sierras. As Gavin Newsome, the San Francisco mayor and newly elected Lieutenant Governor of California, put it when he declared San Francisco open for gay marriages, “It’s gonna happen, whether you like it or not!”


Laer Pearce, a veteran of three decades of California public affairs, is currently working on a book that shows how everything wrong with America comes from California.

Crazifornia, Here I Come!

Even decades after Al Jolson crooned, “Open up those golden gates, California here I come!” California was a dream state, attracting hundreds of thousands of new residents yearly with its promise of great weather, terrific schools, lots of jobs, and a small government in far-away Sacramento that saw its role as supporters and facilitators of the state’s growth.

My, my, my! How nightmarishly things have changed.  The Crazifornia Project documents those changes.  Or more specifically, how the death-spiral trio of liberal Democrats, no-growth environmentalists and public employee unions have come together in a Progressive campaign to tarnish all that was once golden in the Golden State.

You can help! Via the “Contact Crazifornia” button above, or by email to crazifornia @ laer [dot] com, send me your own story about how Crazifornia’s ridiculous regulations, ludicrous legislation or puerile policies are driving you crazy.  If I use your story, you’ll get a mention in the acknowledgments of my upcoming book,Crazifornia – How California Ruined Itself and is Poised to Take the Rest of America with It.

While you wait for the book to be published, enjoy these posts from my old blog, Cheat-Seeking Missiles, that spawned the whole Crazifornia idea.

Crazifornia Update

Crazifornia: Zero Intelligence in Concord Schools

Crazifornia: Regulators Want to Ban Big TVs

Crazifornia: Imperial Imperviousness

And too early to get the “Crazifornia” moniker:

Coastal Commission Attempting to Ban Fourth of July Fireworks