Anatomy of Decline

When I moved back to California from Washington D.C. four years ago, I remember being surprised by the fact that this state — which had effectively weaponized liberalism and turned it on itself — didn’t garner more serious, thorough analysis from national conservatives. Thankfully, in the years since, City Journal has turned its eyes west and devoted a lot of time and ink to exactly what’s gone wrong in the Golden State and what can be done to remedy it. This has played out both in the pages of the magazine itself and through the online City Journal California project.

This week, City Journal is releasing a new book, The Beholden State: California’s Lost Promise and How to Recapture It, which compiles around 30 of the best pieces that this project has produced. Ricochet’s own Victor Davis Hanson and Andrew Klavan are among the contributors, as are other luminaries such as Joel Kotkin, Heather Mac Donald, Steven Malanga, and Art Laffer. Yours truly also appears a couple of times.

If you’re a Californian looking for some signs of hope, this is for you. If you live elsewhere in the country and want to understand how liberalism can erode even the most majestic of places, you’ll appreciate it too. And if you’re a corporate recruiter in Texas — well, you didn’t need our help, but you got it anyway.

  1. N.M. Wiedemer

    I don”t know about anyone else, but my anatomy began to decline as soon as I hit thirty. 

    I recently had to see a young family I know move out to California. To open a business no less. It took everything within me not to violently shake them by the shoulders and tell them to stop.

    Look forward to reading the collection, Troy!

  2. Richard Fulmer

    Turning the state around is no big deal – in theory at least.  Deregulate, privatize, and reduce taxes.  The big deal is getting both the electorate and the legislators to agree.  For that to happen, I’m afraid that California is going to have to hit rock bottom.  Only a crisis will focus attention and change minds.  And even that might not be enough – witness Detroit which has been in permanent crisis for years.

  3. flownover

    Can’t say enough good about the quality of City Journal. You are a lucky guy to be smart enough to be cruising in that highflying aerie of eagles . 

    California is going to have it’s reckoning day and will revel in it’s pain. 

    Detroit with a beach. The people they graduate out of the state and Calpers like Angelides are the leaders of a very dangerous clerisy. Podesta, Burkett, and the rest are great examples of the new corruption that endangers us all. And I didn’t even go to Silicon Valley ( cause I don’t want my pc to break unexpectedly).

  4. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    I need to get this.  I love a good cautionary tale.

  5. wmartin

    Was it just liberalism itself that eroded California, or was it also demographic change as a much less capable immigrant population flooded in in ridiculous numbers?

    I know Heather MacDonald and Victor Davis Hanson would understand and agree with me, but the others don’t understand it. Art Laffer, a big amnesty shill, sure as hell doesn’t get it.

  6. S

    Troy, you mentioned possibly moving to Nashville during a recent podcast. Any updates? I went to Vandy for grad school where I met my wife. We love it there and would love to move back one day. We currently live in Virginia, sadly a purple state.

  7. RushBabe49

    Rush says the people of California deserve the government they elect.  They continue to elect Democrats.

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