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The Abandonment of Cynicism

“I used to want to save the world. To end war and bring peace to mankind; but then I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves—something no hero will ever defeat. Now I know, that only love can truly save the world. So I stay, I fight, and I give, for the world I know can be.” – Wonder Woman (the movie), played by Gal Gadot, 2017

During these final days of what has been, at the very least, the worst year so far in the 21st century, it is easy to feel cynical about the future of America and the future of humanity. Indeed it may seem that cynicism is the only rational choice. But cynicism, even in times much worse than what we are living through today, is a poor choice.

Underlying the polarization in America today is an epidemic of cynicism. Across the fragmented cultural landscape, every faction perceives the other as motivated by self-interest, or stupidity, or hatred. But as actress Gal Gadot vowed in the underrated conclusion to her 2017 movie Wonder Woman, “I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learned that inside every one of them there will always be both.”

Referencing a comic book superhero for wisdom that might counteract cynicism may seem unforgivably shallow, but that’s the point. It is impossible to argue against cynicism with reason […] Read More

The Coalition That Will Realign California

Poor governance, beginning long before the bungled response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a recall campaign that may very well put California Governor Newsom into a fight for his political life in the Spring of 2021. If a suitable challenger emerges to replace Newsom, he could end up in well deserved political exile. But what’s happening in California today is bigger than Newsom’s failures as a governor, and it’s bigger than any single politician who may replace him.

Across several areas of policy, the Democratic party, led by Gavin Newsom, has not merely alienated, but enraged millions of Californians. The key to political realignment in California is not only to offer these groups a political agenda that incorporates solutions to all their grievances, but does so in a manner so coherent, so practical, and so promising, that a common solidarity is generated which transcends all the ways California’s ruling class has thus far divided them.

The groups that can come together to transform California and change its political landscape fall into four obvious groups, with potential allies in other groups. The four core groups are parents of children going to public schools in low income communities, small business owners throughout California, residents of farming and logging communities, and religious conservatives who are mostly Christian but include Sikhs, Moslems, and others.

Grassroots opposition to Newsom’s Democratic party in California is only consistently found among farming communities, small business owners, and religious conservatives. It’s not enough to […] Read More

Creating Water Abundance in California

AUDIO/VIDEO: Is water scarcity and water rationing inevitable in California? Is it the only moral and practical choice? Or can a balance be struck between practical conservation measures and new investments in infrastructure that will increase the annual supply of water and guarantee there will never be a shortages – 24 minute Epoch Times interview – Edward Ring with host Siyamak Khorrami on California Insider.

Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.

edwardring.com

A Winning Political Agenda for California

When it comes to California’s political dysfunction, over and over, the story’s already been told. Failing schools, crumbling infrastructure. Highest taxes, highest unemployment, and highest cost-of-living. Hostile business climate. Crippling, punitive regulations and fees. Widest gap between rich and poor. Burning forests, lawless streets. Record numbers of homeless. Unaffordable housing. Water rationing, electricity blackouts. And on and on. We get it.

When it comes to California’s political hierarchy, again it’s a familiar story. Progressive liberals run almost everything. The political spending by government unions and leftist billionaires, overwhelmingly favoring housebroken incumbents, leave reform minded challengers decisively outgunned. The political bias of literally all the online and legacy media leave principled conservatives without a voice.

This is the context through which it is indeed surprising and impressive that California’s conservatives logged some significant wins in the November election. Critics downplay these victories – including flipping four U.S. Congressional seats and beating back a partial repeal of Prop. 13 – and instead remind everyone how California remains a one-party state, with progressive liberals still in absolute control of the state legislature, all higher state offices, and almost every city and county. But California’s conservative challengers had far less money, and they faced relentless media hostility. It’s a wonder they ever win anything, anywhere.

So what’s next for California’s conservatives? Or more to the point, what’s next for all Californians who agree regardless of their party affiliation that life in California could be better, much better, and that current government policies are […] Read More

Joe Biden Appointees Underrepresent Whites, But It’s Still Not Good Enough

It would be hard to find anyone in politics who has tried harder than Joe Biden to surround themselves with appointees who are either not white, not male, or not heterosexual. Biden’s journey down diversity lane began in earnest when he announced he would select a “black woman” to be his vice presidential running mate. True to his word, Biden selected Kamala Harris, the Democratic senator from California who is not only a black woman, but also part Asian. Score!

The real reason Biden chose Harris was to tap into her connections to the trillions in wealth to be found in California. Whether it’s the aristocracy of old San Francisco (Getty, Pelosi, Brown, and so many others), or the newly minted billionaires of Silicon Valley (Zuckerberg comes immediately to mind), or the liberal moguls nestled in the Hollywood hills, Harris has every one of them on speed dial.

Good choice, Joe. Harris checks three diversity boxes, and she taps all the money on the Left Coast.

As we will see, when it comes to cabinet picks and White House staff, Biden has done a great job making choices that “look like America,” and as of December 23, he’s almost done. In the cabinet, only three vacancies remain, the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Commerce and Labor. In the White House, only two high profile jobs remain vacant, the CIA Director and the Small Business Administrator. So how has he done so far?

To get an idea of […] Read More

How to Beat Gavin Newsom in a Recall Election

With nearly 900,000 signed recall petitions already collected, four active recall committees now operating, and belated but significant press coverage shining a spotlight on the effort, the chances that Gavin Newsom will be in a fight for his political life in the Spring of 2021 has gone from a longshot to a distinct possibility.

In an article published by NBC News entitled “Recall effort against California governor an attempt to destabilize the political system,” Newsom spokesperson Dan Newman called the recall effort “a distraction and a circus.” Newman also characterized the recall proponents as “a ragtag crew of pro-Trump, anti-vaccine extremists, along with some ambitious Republican politicians who would like to be governor,” and warned that a recall election could cost taxpayers “upward of $100 million.”

Any candidate willing to stand against Newsom in a special recall election could start right there. They could explain that the money Newsom and his party’s policies have wasted, the wealth they have vaporized, and the hard won prosperity they have expropriated, makes $100 million a trivial price to pay for a course correction. A victorious challenger begins by quantifying the economic cost of policies imposed on Californians by Newsom. They then offer bright and bold alternatives that remove these oppressive burdens and restore opportunities to normal Californians.

The first step would be to point out the tragic cost of the extreme reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of quarantining the elderly and medically vulnerable, Newsom quarantined the entire population. This prevented […] Read More

Abundance, Not Scarcity, Can be the Immediate Future for Humanity

Assume for a moment that regardless of what really happened, or what should happen, Joe Biden occupies the White House on January 20th. What are some of the biggest issues and initiatives that we can expect from his administration? What are the underlying themes and premises that will inform his agenda?

When considering these questions, equally relevant is how much of Biden’s agenda will be Biden’s agenda? Say what you will about Biden’s many flaws, at least he is an amiable glad-hander whose career has been defined mostly by hewing to the political center. But Biden is way past his prime, and when he’s having another “lid” day, his energetic sidekick Kamala Harris – along with her entire Silicon Valley entourage – will be wide awake.

What this California democrat brings to Washington DC is a culture of almost unbelievable arrogance. Some of it is earned. For at least forty years, and now more than ever, Silicon Valley has been the global epicenter of high-tech innovation and the principle repository of the trillions in wealth that its innovation has generated.

Wealth. Power. Arrogance. Hubris. This is a dangerous combination when wielded on such a scale, and especially if some of its fundamental premises are wrong. And the biggest, almost horrifyingly wrong premise that informs the culture of Silicon Valley is that we are in what Jerry Brown, in his first stint as governor back in 1976, called “the era of limits.”

It’s paradoxical that such a value might come […] Read More

How Scope Insensitivity Enables the “Reset”

Al Gore, High Priest of the Climate Fundamentalists, once said Americans are addicted to “short term thinking.” He is correct. Even in America’s business world, which is presumably rational, timelines often stretch no further than the next quarter’s earnings reports. To think ahead by spans of generations or more is not very common.

Sadly, however, Al Gore fails to emphasize – for reasons either cynical or simply because he suffers from the same affliction as most everyone else – that Americans are also victims of “scope insensitivity.” That is a big phrase – “scope insensitivity” – but understanding the meaning of this phrase is key to understanding many of the policy failures of America, especially in recent decades.

Scope insensitivity is the inability of a person, or voting bloc, or nation, to understand simple quantitative proportions, which if understood, would cast a policy issue in an entirely different light. Simply put, because of scope insensitivity, the logical conclusions one might rationally find obvious are eclipsed by emotional arguments.

If you suffer from scope insensitivity, the relative importance of variables affecting a policy choice become incomprehensible. When a population suffers from scope insensitivity, policies are decided based on whoever has the most money and the most compelling emotional appeal. Here are three interrelated examples:

How Scope Insensitivity Enables Flawed Policies:

Global Warming:

Let’s assume all of these catastrophic projections are actually true; that we have to immediately stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and this is something under our control. In pursuit of […] Read More

Liberal “Anti-Racism” Does More Harm Than Good

Last month, Sacramento County Supervisors passed a resolution declaring racism to be a “public health crisis.” Only one supervisor, Sue Frost, voted against it. Reaction was swift.

Columnist Marcos Breton writing for the Sacramento Bee, was outraged, describing Frost’s attempts to explain her reasoning as “reading from a script,” despite the “impassioned” comments from community members supporting the resolution. Breton went on to accuse Frost of being “insincere” and “playing wedge politics.” It’s worthwhile to read Breton’s column in its entirety, because it is representative of the cut-and-paste rhetoric that defines liberal outrage whenever anyone questions the conventional narrative on issues of race and “equity,” or the conventional solutions.

It’s also important to make something very clear before even starting to counter Breton’s arguments, however, which is the plain, ugly fact that Breton’s hit piece on Supervisor Frost required no creativity, much less courage. He regurgitated some facts, devoid of context, designed merely to provide a veneer of authority to his arguments, then he engaged in character assassination. And the sad reality is when writers do this, they’re just following the crowd. If Breton were to actually care to examine all the facts, and strive for a fair minded and constructive analysis of whether designating “racism as a health crisis” does any good, he’d have to work a lot harder. And he’d risk angering the mob. He might even lose his job.

That said, how can someone question any of these supposed truisms, such as the assertion that […] Read More

George Gascon, Prop of the Techno Tyrants

As “president elect” Biden stocks his cabinet with Wall Street warmongers and big tech supremacists, all the far left slogans he simultaneously stammers his way through cannot stave off grassroots disillusionment. Belatedly, progressives are realizing that they’ve been conned, used, and abandoned; that they have more in common with the disenfranchised MAGA voters than they’d ever imagined. Corporations are taking over the world, and elected officials have become mere stage props.

As usual, it is in California where the naked power grab by woke corporatism finds its most advanced expression. How else to explain the election of George Gascon, an avatar of woke extremism, to become the next district attorney of Los Angeles County? In a bitter, hard fought campaign where Gascon’s strategy relied on demonizing the incumbent Jackie Lacy – a black female – Gascon was the recipient of millions in donations. The most notable of these donors was the notorious George Soros. But even more money came from a collection of high tech billionaires and Hollywood moguls.

The most generous among Gascon’s big tech benefactors were Netflix founder Reed Hastings and his wife Patricia Quillan. Together they contributed $2,153,000, nearly edging out Soros’s $2,250,000 to be Gascon’s biggest donors.

Whatever else one may say about high tech billionaires, they’re not stupid. Many of them have experienced extraordinary luck, since not every nerd with a college website dedicated to rating the physical attractiveness of coeds ends up parlaying that prurient diversion into a company worth nearly […] Read More