Strange news has been coming out of California in recent years: out-of-control wildfires, electrical blackouts, drought-induced water shortages, homelessness, and human feces in the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The description sounds more like a Third World country than the fifth largest economy in the world. It turns out that the problems of California have a common root cause: progressive politics.
California has a Mediterranean climate, and with it comes periods of drought. Other countries with even less rainfall, such as Israel, have solved the problem with careful water management and desalination plants. Then why must Californians shower less to save water?
California does not collect rainwater. Therefore, billions of gallons of freshwater flow unused into the Pacific Ocean. In addition, 70% of the freshwater from the Colorado basin is used for agriculture, but politicians think that ordinary middle-class Americans need to shower less.
President Donald Trump inaptly referred to Finland’s forest fire management as “raking” of the forest undergrowth, but he was essentially correct. Finland regularly burns brush in controlled fires during safe periods to prevent damaging forest fires during droughts. It’s a proven method, but environmentalists refuse to accept that Californian wildlife lives in a symbiotic relationship with humans. Inevitably, ideologically driven mismanagement leads to out-of-control blazes.
Despite its claims of progressive virtue, California is one of the most economically unequal places in the world. While billionaires live safely in gated communities, ordinary residents must contend with mentally ill homeless people, used drug needles, and human excrement in the streets.
Progressive politicians claim it would be cruel to forbid the homeless from breaking laws of basic civility. After all, no human is illegal.
All these problems have a common source: They are maintained in the name of compassion. Water consumption is terrible for the environment, the Californian progressives think, and therefore humans must suffer out of compassion for wildlife. Fire management “intervenes” in nature, imposing on it human standards. Out of compassion, progressives want to leave the forests alone, even if it means hurting humans in wildfires.
No one approves of excrement and uncivil behavior in public areas, but to prevent the homeless from roaming the streets would not be compassionate, so the progressives think. Therefore, ordinary people need to suffer instead.
California politicians could quickly fix the problems, but the issues remain unsolved for purely ideological reasons. As Dr. Jonathan Haidt, an American social psychologist, has shown in his research, those on the left score high on compassion to the detriment of all other moral dimensions. The modern progressive creed holds Middle America in contempt and directs all the love and caring toward those the progressives perceive as weak and vulnerable interest groups, such as wildlife and homeless people. They do so deliberately and proudly at the expense of ordinary Americans.
California is burning and littered with feces because the politicians care so much.
Read more from Onar Åm.
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