Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Thursday, June 09, 2005

California - the most conservative state in the Union?
Written by: Dave

Some time ago, I promised to explain why California is actually the most conservative state in the Union. True to my word, I will now attempt to do just that.

Before going further though, we need to disregard some things, the first being our present-day definitions of Conservative and Liberal. You’ll notice that I said California was the nation’s most ‘small c’ conservative state. That was an important distinction.

Most of us recognize that conservative and liberal become relative terms when applied across different societies and cultures. So for my definition of conservative, I am going to go back in history to conservatism’s Anglo-Saxon roots, when the notion of a conservative, that is, a Tory, was first formulated.

The original conservatives emerged in 17th and 18th Century England. They mostly consisted of landed gentry who wanted to preserve the social structure of old England. In effect, they wanted to ensure that land remained the primary source of wealth and power, to limit those who could enter into the landed ranks, and to make the lower classes dependent on their largesse.

So what do they have in common with the good citizens of California? Well lately, many California home owners seem to share these same goals.

The real estate boom in California has effectively priced out middle class citizens who don’t already own a home. This isn’t an accident. Local and state politics have created road blocks which effectively make it impossible to keep up housing supply with housing demand. The results would satisfy even the crustiest old 18th Century English Tory; those with land (i.e. homes) grow increasingly wealthy as their property prices skyrocket, and those without land (i.e. homes) must either rent or engage in risky financing schemes to afford a home.

So, you might ask, what have these California “conservatives” done to create this effect? Well, let’s first look at the local level. Any developer that tries to build new housing in California, particularly in L.A. or the Bay Area, faces an incredibly difficult approval process due to opposition from NIMBY’s (i.e., Not In My Back Yarders). These are area residents who adamantly oppose any new development which would in any way affect their neighborhood. They want everything to remain exactly as it is, complaining about everything from increased traffic to longer lines at their local Starbucks (true example). And the worst possible thing these NIMBY’ers can imagine, gosh forbid, is that an apartment building or other high density project be built near their neighborhood of single family homes - because you know what type of people live in those.

The NIMBY’ers have become an incredibly powerful political force in California, and legislation and political decisions reflect this power, much to the detriment of housing supplies.

Adding to the problem are environmentalists who have succeeded in getting stricter and stricter environmental regulations imposed on development. Ironically enough, these environmental standards are now so onerous that often times it is prohibitively difficult even to do urban projects. This is especially ironic since increasing density in urban areas is the best method of reducing development in rural areas.

Lawsuits are another method Californians use to extract wealth from their property. In particular, lawsuits brought by condo owners against condominium developers have gotten so out of control that many architects and contractors refuse to work on any residential projects. The resulting risk of lawsuits drives condo prices even higher as developers price in the cost and hassle of the expected legal action. As a result, condos become unaffordable to even middle class residents.

Meanwhile, continuing their parallels to those 18th Century Tories, many California home owners manage to increase the dependency of the lower classes by supporting legislation that forces developers to build a certain amount of “affordable housing” in every development. As you might guess, developers that are forced to build housing that is sold at below market prices must still make a profit. The result is that they increase the prices of their market rate housing, helping make it impossible for the lower classes to ever acquire any property except through these government mandated affordable housing programs.


With all that said, I’d have to say I am a moderate where most of these issues are concerned. I believe in the right of residents to oppose new developments which will effect their property values. I understand that some new developments are incongruous with and harmful to their surroundings. I recognize that many condo developers deserve to be sued. And I recognize that environmental safeguards must protect against irresponsible development.

The problem is that California is not behaving moderately, but instead is acting like a raging 18th Century English conservative, or a modern day American Liberal, which in this specific case at least, seems to mean pretty much the same thing.

Contact The Author:

John Beck

Feedback Welcomed

Greatest Hits

The Complete United Nations Posts
Immoderate Moderates
Marketing Myopia
In defense of the Republic
UKIP in America
Playing Connect the Dots
A Point So Often Missed: The Presence of an Administered Rate
Reagan Remembrance
Dr. Wolfowitz, or How I Supported the Right War Waged in the Wrong Way for the Wrong Reasons
Divine Right of Kings and UN Mandates
A Fantastic Idea, If I Do Say So Myself
Why We Were Right to Liberate Iraq
The Crisis of Conservatism

Blogs Worth Bookmarking

Steal The Blinds
Poor Dudley's Almanac
Protein Wisdom
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
New Sisyphus
Jim Treacher
Ace of Spades
Captain's Quarters
Rambling's Journal
Neolibertarian Blog
LLP Group Blog
The Llama Butchers
The Castle Argghhh
The Politburo Diktat
The Dissident Frogman
In Search of Utopia
Aaron's cc:
You Know You Wanna
Classical Values
Clowning Glory
Vice Squad
Hit & Run
Link Mecca
The Corner
Power Line
Michelle Malkin
Mises Institute
marchand chronicles
Enlighten - New Jersey

More Top Reads

SlagleRock's Slaughterhouse
This Blog is Full of Crap
Who Tends the Fires
The Bleat
Outside the Beltway
Small Dead Animals
Kim du Toit
Tman in Tennessee
Hog On Ice
Pardon My English
Mr. Minority
Speed Of Thought
La Shawn Barber
Right Wing News
USS Clueless
Belmont Club
Shades of Gray
Seldom Sober
Roger L. Simon
Tacoma Blaze
A Small Victory
Murdoc Online
Iraq Elections Diatribe
Winds of Change
Enlighten - New Jersey
Random Fate
Riding Sun
The Daily File
Matt "The Man" Margolis
Bastard Sword
Roller Coaster of Hate

News Links

Blogger News Network
National Review Online
Tech Central Station
The Drudge Report
Reason Online
Mises Institute
The Weekly Standard
Front Page Magazine
Town Hall

Affiliations, Accolades, & Acknowledgements

The Neolibertarian Network


Image Hosted by
"More tallent than a million monkeys with typewriters."
--Glenn Reynolds

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Life, Liberty, Property Community

Reciprocal Blogrolling

Accidental Verbosity
Conservative Eyes
The Moderate Voice
Perpetual Three-Dot Column
Sudan Watch
Mystery Achievement
Le Sabot Post-Moderne
Comment Me No Comments
New Spew

Links That Amuse the Writers

Huffington's Toast
The IFOC News
Dave Barry's Blog
Drum Machine
Something Awful
Cox & Forkum
Exploding Dog


March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
August 2006
March 2007
May 2007
June 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
September 2008
November 2008
December 2008
March 2009
April 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

The Elephant Graveyard

We Are Full of Shit
The Sicilian
The Diplomad
Insults Unpunished
Fear & Loathing in Iraq
Right Wingin-It
Serenity's Journal
Son of Nixon
Rachel Lucas


Site Design by Maystar
Ask not for whom the blog tolls...
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

Listed on Blogwise
Blogarama - The Blog Directory


Image Hosted by

Email Questions and Comments

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
eXTReMe Tracker