OK, riddle fans, here's a toughie: What's the difference between California voters and the passengers on the Titanic?
The passengers on the Titanic didn't vote to hit the iceberg.
Most Americans understand that California is sinking. What is almost incredible is that it has voted to sink.
On Election Day, 2010 Californians voted Democrats into every statewide position (one is still undecided). This is the party that singlehandedly has brought one of the world's greatest economies to near ruin. There may well be historical parallels to what Californians did -- but I cannot think of any.
A listener called my radio show two days after the elections to tell me that his business is booming -- thanks to Californians. His occupation? He's a real estate agent in Phoenix, Ariz.
The middle class has begun to leave California. It is, of course, impossible for most members of such a large group to leave a state; few people leave their family, their friends, their job and their home except under the most dramatic circumstances. But this fact makes all the more noteworthy the exodus from California that has been taking place.
You have to wonder how many businesses and individuals would leave California if their friends and family could also leave, if they could find a comparable job elsewhere and if they could sell their homes without losing money. What you don't have to wonder about is who would stay under those conditions. The state of California would eventually be left largely with those groups who voted Democrat in this election: rich liberals (such as those who live in Nancy Pelosi's Marin County, in the bay area and in West Los Angeles); state and municipal workers (who vote Democrat in as direct a pay-for-vote scheme as a law-based society allows); those who rely on state and city governments for entitlements; and those Latinos who either fall into the last category or who unfortunately identify the Republican Party with anti-Latino sentiments because it opposes illegal immigration.
Those who believe in individual responsibility, the free market and personal liberty are a minority in California. We greet each other as Americans would greet each other meeting in a foreign country.
We watch as one of the greatest places in the world -- with its extraordinary natural beauty, almost uniquely beautiful weather and agricultural abundance -- wastes all of this as a result of having become a left-wing experiment. What is particularly saddening is to see a state whose success was achieved because it was a Mecca for the adventurous in spirit do everything possible to crush that spirit and drive away those who have it.
There is a silver lining here: clarity. Americans living elsewhere need not elect liberal Democrats to know what will happen if they do. They only need to look at California if they want to see what happens to a state governed by the left (and, for that matter, they can look at Texas to see what happens to a state's finances when governed by the right).
The left and its teachers unions have ruined public education in California. The left and its public service unions have saddled the state with $500 billion in unfunded pension liability. California's left-governed cities have set themselves up as "sanctuary cities" for those who have come into America illegally. And the left passes more and more rules governing the behavior of California citizens. Two examples: San Francisco just banned McDonald Happy Meals because they come with a toy and therefore entice children to eat fattening food; and the Democratic legislature has made it illegal for a California employer -- even in a retail operation -- to ask a male employee who comes to work wearing a dress to wear men's clothing while at work.
And to render the Titanic analogy even more accurate, Californians voted to retain a law that was described by George Will as one "that preposterously aims to cool the planet by requiring a 30 percent reduction of carbon emissions by 2020."
That law will ensure that California taxes energy use more than any other state. That, in turn, is guaranteed to increase unemployment and the cost of living in the state -- one more reason businesses and productive individuals are leaving, but rarely moving, into California.
Environmentalist true believers have free reign in California. They have convinced a majority of the state's voters to believe the increasingly absurd notion that human carbon dioxide emission is heating up the planet to temperatures so high that humanity and the earth will suffer cataclysmic consequences.
To return to our Titanic metaphor, the great difference between that ill-fated ship's crew and California's crew (its voters and the California Democratic Party) is that the Titanic's crew did everything possible to avoid hitting the iceberg; California's crew did everything possible to hit it. Perhaps they believe global warming will melt it before they get there.