California was once the mythical land of sun and sand. A rich, fun playground for North Americans and world travelers alike, California was the model that other places tried to mimic.
Image: Six Californias Initiative
But over time, the gold turned into rust, and California’s adventurous spirit turned into a mass power grab by a strange alliance of eco-fascist lobbies, government unions, and federally funded immigrant/minority activist networks. This queer melange of authoritarian collectivists portends a progressively darker future for a once-shining gate of opportunity.
A number of influential Californians would like to re-introduce a fresh sense of opportunity into the former Golden State by dividing California into a number of smaller US states. Here is more:
Essentially, the idea is to section off California into six horizontal slices, with Silicon Valley getting its own region stretching from the Sierras to the Bay Area beaches.
Southern California would also get its own slice of isolationist glory, with the new state “West California” consisting of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, among other areas.
In an email, Draper tells me there are five key reasons he’s pushing the initiative:
“1. It is about time California was properly represented with Senators in Washington. Now our number of Senators per person will be about average.
2. Competition is good, monopolies are bad. This initiative encourages more competition and less monopolistic power. Like all competitive systems, costs will be lower and service will be better.
3. Each new state can start fresh. From a new crowd sourced state flower to a more relevant constitution.
4. Decisions can be more relevant to the population. The regulations in one new state are not appropriate for another.
5. Individuals can move between states more freely.”
Getting such a measure on California’s wacky ballot will be no easy task. Attempts to get initiatives on the state ballot can cost millions of dollars, and often fail. That said, California has a long secessionist history, and there are a number of folks who want to split the West Coast into smaller territories. And Tim Draper, who recently announced plans to
step downskip the next fund from his investment firm and has been dedicating more of his time to educational initiatives, certainly has the clout and financial resources that can be helpful in turning political visions into reality.
It is an out-of-the-box idea, to say the least. But it’s in line with Silicon Valley’s recent history of hyper-ambitious ideas.
Facebook Investor Peter Thiel is funding a floating, sovereign libertarian utopia island. Investor Balaji S. Srinivasan infamously called for a separate “opt-in” territory for radical experimentation. Google’s Larry Page hinted at the same techno-utopian island.
It won’t be easy. Just getting the initiative on the California ballot will take all the savvy of its wealthy, connected backers. Even if all of the tech billionaires on the west coast team up to push the initiative, the political opposition will be immense.
Official California is not just a state, it is a massive and corrupt political empire that is accustomed to getting its way on a national and international stage. Trying to take power away from corrupt power brokers and bosses is never easy.
But the secessionists have vision and backing. The idea will not simply disappear. Watching the behind the scenes maneuvering would be entertaining, if not for the fact that other things that are far more important require attention.
We intend to check in on this and other secessionist movements from time to time. Stay tuned.