One of the hallmarks of modern governments in the developed world is the ability to provide certain basic services to citizens. A basic responsibility of government is that there is a certain level of things that a government does for its people as part of the ‘social contract’, as part of the people allowing the government to run its lives. In California, cracks are starting to appear in that arrangement.
This summer in California, the state and the power companies that service it are scheduling blackouts. Yes, for the second year in a row the state is scheduling when certain areas will be without power. Because of the decaying power grid and the over-regulation that has left power companies unable to effectively update their grids and infrastructure, they know that there will be times that they are not able to have electricity for everyone that is a paying customer. And so they have scheduled when some of those times will be, so at least everyone affected can know.
Related to that, as recently as this afternoon, Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti is using social media to issue pleas to residents to not only raise the temperature on their air conditioners but to ‘turn off appliances’ during the afternoons because of the strain on the city’s power grids and inability to deliver enough electricity during hot summer days.
Now, the Mayor is trying his best to deal with an immediate problem and so probably can’t be blamed directly for the long-term neglect that has left Californians with these choices. But that the state’s largest city is having to deal with shortages is telling.
But that’s not all.
In other news from California, residents of one town have organized themselves to put out flames themselves in a large swath of land burning south of San Francisco.
With firefighters strapped to fight wild fires which are a seasonal occurrence in the state, residents of Boulder Creek are taking action. A group, which includes former volunteer firefighters, have been protecting homes and extinguishing blazes behind fire lines for over a week, at times using nothing but dirt and garden hoses.
“People are frustrated with the lack of resources available. People are always going to try to sneak back in, but it sounds like this is growing to a new level,” said Ken Pimlott, who retired as director of the Cal Fire in 2018. “I haven’t seen people re-engage to this scale, particularly with the level of organization.”
California is not a Third World country. Yet, what modern government can’t provide power to its people and can’t fund the necessary firefighting resources to protect large populated areas? And more so, when these are things that happen every year during the summer and so are very predictable?
Over-regulation and extremist environmental policies are putting the state in the position where it’s now unable to provide basic services to everyone in the state all the time. The government is now starting to just manage the shortages, rather than working to stop the shortages. Isn’t that a leading indicator toward starting down a path where no modern Western government should ever be?