MOST conservatives, and just about all independents, have a huge misperception of the left. They think that the gulf between conservatism and leftism is primarily about means, not goals.
This perception is wrong. It is the goals that are irreconcilable. And until conservatives, independents and the Republican Party understand this, it will not be possible to defeat the left.
Take economic indicators. Most conservatives talk and act as if bad economic news disturbs the left as much as it disturbs them. It doesn’t.
Almost everywhere the left is in control — in California, for example — the economic news is awful. But this has no effect on the ruling Democrats, the Los Angeles Times editorial page, New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman or others on the left.
There is one overriding philosophical reason and one political reason for this. Before I identify them, permit me to note some of the economic facts of life in California.
Unless otherwise noted, the following data have been culled by Chapman University Prof. Joel Kotkin, and published in the Wall Street Journal, the Orange County Register and elsewhere.
• In the last 20 years, about 4 million more people have left California than came in from other states. Most of those leaving are young families.
• In the last 15 years, one-third of California’s industrial employment base has disappeared. That’s 600,000 jobs — disappeared.
• California has the 48th-worst business tax climate. (The Tax Foundation)
• California’s electricity prices are 50% higher than the national average.
• Middle-class workers, those who earn more than $48,000, pay a top income tax rate of 9.3%. That’s higher than what millionaires pay in 47 other states.
• California’s unemployment rate is fourth highest in the nation.
• From 2010-13, California produced fewer than 8,000 jobs, while the country added 510,000.
• An estimated 25 billion barrels of oil are sitting untapped in the Monterey and Bakersfield shale deposits. California is sending billions of dollars to Texas, Canada and elsewhere to buy natural gas and oil that it could produce itself.
• Twitter, Adobe, eBay and Oracle, among other major California tech companies, have moved many operations to Salt Lake City.
• Hollywood is doing more and more of its filming in Louisiana, Canada and elsewhere to avoid California taxes.
• Toyota just announced that it is moving its US headquarters from Los Angeles to Dallas — another 3,000 generally high-wage jobs gone.
NOW, back to our riddle. Why do these state-crushing economic statistics — nearly every one of which is the result of left-wing policies — have no effect on the left?
They just don’t care because the left is not interested in prosperity; the left is interested in inequality and in the environment. Further, the worse the economic situation, the more voters are likely to vote Democrat and the greater the number of people likely to receive government assistance. And the greater the number receiving government assistance, the greater the number who will vote Democrat.
Therefore, both philosophically and politically, the left has no reason to be troubled by bad economic news. And it isn’t. It is troubled by inequality and carbon emissions.