Sexual politics in California

More evidence that the modern bureaucratic state simply fails to understand family relations—how they work, what they mean, why they matter:

It’s worth noting that such ways of thinking are particularly characteristic of California. The promised boost to family values from the influx of Hispanics and Asians never comes. Instead, multiple cultures lead to multiculturalism and the amoral administrative state.

14 thoughts on “Sexual politics in California”

  1. That’s not quite true. Asian
    That’s not quite true. Asian and Hispanic immigrants pushed Prop 22 over the top, which defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Whites were the least likely to vote for the initiative.

  2. The issue I raised though is
    The issue I raised though is not who in the political landscape tends toward the conservative side on this issue or that, but the nature of the landscape.

    If loyalties and moral traditions are radically fragmented then self-rule—including informal and local forms of self-rule like family life—will be much more difficult to carry on. Much more of social life will be carried on through formal institutions like markets and bureaucracies. And formal institutions have their own way of understanding things, and they impose their views on the things that are subject to them. That’s consistently been my point.

    You don’t get good morals by importing individuals and small groups who have good morals from all over the world. The reason is that as something socially established good morals involves a system of common understandings that everyone assumes he can rely on. And with a continually changing hodgepodge of people you’re not going to get such a system even if the people individually are mostly good people.

    A separate point—in the modern world people who feel in a minority tend to form alliances with the government, because they tend not to trust informal institutions and practices based on other people’s loyalties, attitudes and habits. As a result they tend to support the parties that want to bureaucratize everything in the interests of equality rather than those that want to leave more up to tradition and local initiatives and practices.

    The result is that while immigrants at occasional moments of high symbolism may vote their family values, they routinely support the Democratic Party and its ideology of enforced nondiscriminating “tolerance.” And high symbolism doesn’t always carry the day. In Canada, for example, there’s substantially more support for “gay marriage” among the protected French Catholic minority than among Protestants.

  3. This issue and Jeff
    This issue and Jeff Culbreath’s comments bring to mind a question I have not been able to answer. Why is the white race the most liberal in the world today? Anyone have an answer?

  4. >

    Well, you said that the

    Well, you said that the promised boost to family values never comes from Asian and Hispanic immigrants. I merely pointed out such a boost does—and did concretely—come from Asian and Hispanic immigrants. Without them, there would be little to prevent liberal Marin County whites from having their way with the rest of the state.


    All things being equal, I agree.


    I agree with this point, but thought you were making another.


    Sure you do. It isn’t the only way, or even the preferred way, but it is one way and it works. That’s how the New World was born.


    OK, but in California, the “system of common understandings” would be more liberal and less moral without our immigrants.


    This is true to some extent, but largely depends upon the magnitude and nature of demographic changes. The main problem with our immigrants is that they are assimilating too fast and their traditional morality dissipates within two or three generations. On that point, I do agree that it is time to slow things down and get our own house in order.

    Nevertheless I’m not going to sit here and deny that California is, in certain important respects, better off because of her immigrants.


    That is a good point, but this problem should be addressed by reforming the system.


    Although the immigrants of my acquaintance are predominantly Republican, I do realize that my social circles may be exceptional. In any case, life is more than politics and I don’t think the merits of immigration rest exclusively on how they vote. First and foremost, I want good neighbors who share my basic values: more often than not such neighbors are immigrants.

  5. Mr. Culbreath, my
    Mr. Culbreath, my compliments.

    However, the pundits/ideologues which I believe Mr. Kalb is referring to have, as far as I have see it, glossed the issue as, “more Hispanics/Asian immigrants means more voters who will help us return to family values…” i.e. immigrants will help us reverse some trends. Your example seems more like a mere contrary or holding action than a contradiction or counter-attack of Kalb’s initial observation.

  6. I said that the boost from
    I said that the boost from the *influx* of immigrants never comes. I was referring to the overall effect of continuous large-scale culturally diverse immigration on government and social organization generally. I claimed that effect is more important that the particular qualities of immigrant groups.

    For one thing, it means there’s never any footing for resistance to the modern PC bureaucratic state. “Divide et impera” was good enough for the Romans and it’s good enough today After the “civil unions” measure was enacted in Vermont it was possible to organize a “take back Vermont” campaign because you could talk about Vermonters as a particular people with a particular heritage and way of life. In California any such thing would be thought hopelessly divisive and racist. In a multicultural state it’s the multiculturalist bureaucracy that is the principle of unity. To attack it is to attack something fundamental to social peace and order.

    To the extent there were moral societies in the New World they weren’t moral because random virtuous people came to them from all the continents and piled up English virtue, Italian virtue, Chinese virtue etc. and found that it made a big pile of virtue. They were virtuous because particular groups with particular standards to which they were devoted came and established them and ran them in accordance with their understandings of how things should be.

  7. Mr. Kalb: You raise some
    Mr. Kalb: You raise some important issues. But I’m not convinced that culturally diverse immigration requires an amoral “multiculturalist state”. If the various immigrant groups are willing to learn our language, obey our laws, and respect our religion (in California, that means Catholicism) then the state could just as easily be an instrument of unity rather than division. The fact that the state presently chooses a different path is not *necessarily* the fault of immigration. Rather, I think it is the fault of natives looking to justify their own apostasy. In Marin County, California, the population is well over 90% white. What has this done for them? Having worked with several Marin school districts over the years, and I can tell you that they are far more militantly “multicultural” than most districts with ethnically diverse populations. So I don’t think a culturally homogeneous population solves anything when the common “culture” is uniformly liberal and anti-Christian.

  8. Re. the point about “taking
    Re. the point about “taking back Vermont”: interestingly, State Senator Tom McClintock has said that his is a campaign to “take back California”, and so far I haven’t heard anyone denouncing this as racist or divisive. But I agree with your point that it is best when there exists a main population that has something to take back in the first place. It is also best that this main population be strong and confident enough for immigrants to identify with it—to love and respect its heritage enough to defend it. I think these circumstances are possible even with a fairly large foreign-born population.

    California, however, has always been somewhat idiosycratic. It is a new land as far as civilization is concerned and is in some respects still building an identity for itself. Those talking about “taking back” California could mean very different things, depending upon whether he is a bona fide Californio, a Chumash Indian, a Japanese pear grower, or a WASPish banker. California was cosmopolitan and multi-racial from the very beginning: see, for instance, Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of old San Francisco, or Mark Twain’s account of early Sacramento. California’s native civilization can best be described as Anglo-Hispanic, though it is not a cohesive identity by any means. The point is that there is no possibility of an East Coast style WASP hegemony in California, and there never has been, and that’s partly what I love about this state. Saving California from the barbarians and the desecrators requires another vision.

  9. I think Mr. Culbreath is
    I think Mr. Culbreath is right that California is the test case for racial and cultural incoherence. Since California has always had this hodgepodge, obviously the Marin anglos made the typically white liberal choice of living in a white enclave near the cosmopolitan multicult. I don’t know why we should be surprised that a self-selected group of white liberals acts like a self-selected group of white liberals.

    Mr. Culbreath’s optimism is poignant, but of course the results of the cosmopolitan-from-scratch California approach haven’t been encouraging in its first few centuries. We’ll have to wait and see though.

  10. Well, I’ve lived in both New
    Well, I’ve lived in both New York and California for extensive periods. It is true that they are not morally all that different any more, and both are very racially cosmopolitan places. Still, if San Franciso isn’t swallowed by the ocean soon then God will owe Sodom an apology; and much as I dislike what NYC has become I also contend that it would have been better off without San Francisco’s moral exports.

  11. Indeed, the depravity that
    Indeed, the depravity that haunts modern San Francisco cries out to Heaven for vengeance. But SF, like other now-decadent cities in Europe, remains one of the most cultured and beautiful cities in the world. And unlike NYC, SF has Catholicism in her bones and therefore contains the seeds of a magnificent recovery should God grant it.

    Matt said that California was a “test case for racial and cultural incoherence”. The way some people talk, cities like San Francisco and Sacramento should not exist. They should be blood-soaked racial and ethnic war zones. But the fact is that most people in these cities get along most of the time. Whatever tensions may exist are generally overcome by the demands of religion, the necessity of economics, and the common interests of neighbors. If anything, California is a test case in cultural coherence that transcends race.

  12. I’ll have to leave the
    I’ll have to leave the aesthetic evaluation of SF vs. NYC in respectful disagreement. I’d take dinner at Le Cirque over dinner at the Carnelian Room any day despite the better view from the latter and the modernist accents in the former. But I’ll point out as a parting shot that it was possible for a sodomite to take open refuge in SF a half a century before that became the case in NYC. Enough of arguing the moral merits of Gomorrah over Sodom, though!


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