Mediterranean Reflections on What Went Wrong All very thoughtful, and well worth reading in its entirety.
In California we are spending hundreds of billions on prisons, in which killers and thugs sue constantly for expanded rights, while universities lay off professors (though rarely nonacademic apparatchiks and administrators), and turn away students. Ravenna invested in thousands of hours of sculpture, we in thousands of hours of legal work in appeals and writs. Our cynical intellectual elites are becoming ever more postmodern even as the undereducated majority becomes premodern.
The state spends more and more on redistributive entitlements, less and less on infrastructure. Its population is bifurcating. A small, highly taxed elite supports museums, the arts, and gives to universities, a growing underclass swarms the emergency rooms, criminal justice system, and welfare roles.
The utopianism of the shrinking elite wants the Saturday night felon to have sophisticated jurisprudence when he is arrested, the best brain surgeon when a .44 magnum enters his skull in a gang dust-up, and humane day care, health care, and counseling—and yet now has no way any longer either to pay for it, or how to convince the growing underclass to become better educated and more productive. (To do so would demand a tragic diction and mindset).
One percent of Californians pays over 40% of our income taxes, perhaps as few as 360,000 out of some 36 million in the state. Each time one of these golden gooses flies east to no-tax Nevada, we lose about $50,000-80,000 in state taxes—or the money to keep a felon in the Corcoran prison house fed, housed, medicated, and counseled for a year. Do the math: one small businessman escapes to Tahoe or Reno, one lifer has no support.