Our title line conflates two Victor Davis Hanson articles of late, but we think appropriately so as they are related in the land of fruit and nuts. Hanson is great at exposing underlying philosophical /sociological /psychological traits. Both articles via American Greatness, cartoons our input from over the transom.
The Rapid ‘Progress’ of Progressivism (excerpt)
One, what is welcomed as progressive on Monday is derided as intolerable on Tuesday. The French and Russian revolutions went through several such cycles. After reformers had removed absolute rulers, the reformers were soon derided as too timid. Then came far more radical revolutionaries, who were in turn beheaded or shot as dangerous counter-revolutionaries.
Second, when rules and regulations are always watered down as too exclusionary, the descent to no rules is quite short. The ultimate destination is nihilism and chaos. We see that now in Venezuela and Cuba—and increasingly in California as well.
Understanding the California Mind (excerpt)
. . . if a Californian is deemed to be law-abiding, a legal resident, and with some means, the regulatory state will audit, inspect, and likely fine his property and behavior in hopes of raising revenue. That is a safe means of compensating for the reality that millions, some potentially dangerous, are not following the law, and can only be forced to comply at great cost and in a fashion that will seem politically incorrect. . . .
. . . Elite progressive virtue-signaling is in direct proportion to elite apartheid: the more one champions green statutes, the plight of illegal aliens, the need for sanctuary cities, or the evils of charter schools, . . . so too the more one avoids those who seem to be impoverished or residing illegally, and the more one is likely to put his children in expensive and prestigious private academies. One’s loud ideology serves as a psychosocial means of squaring the circle of living in direct antithesis to one’s professions. . . .
Californians, both the losers and beneficiaries of these unspoken rules, have lost confidence in the equal application of the law and indeed the idea of transparent and meritocratic government.
Cynicism is rampant. Law-abiding Californians do whatever is necessary not to come to the attention of any authorities, whose desperate need for both revenue and perceived social justice (150,000 households in a state of 40 million residents pay about 50 percent of California income tax revenue) is carnivorous.
A cynical neighbor once summed up the counter-intuitive rules to me: if you are in a car collision, hope that you are hit by, rather than hit an illegal alien. If someone breaks into your home and you are forced to use a firearm, hope that you are wounded nonlethally in the exchange, at least more severely than is the intruder. And if you are cited by an agency, hope it is for growing an acre of marijuana rather than having a two-foot puddle on your farm classified as an inland waterway.
I could add a fourth: it is always legally safer to allow your dog to be devoured by a stray pit-bull than to shoot the pit-bull to save your dog.