David Briceno: Would a State of Jefferson really increase freedoms?
Man cannot give freedom; he can only take it away. Unconvinced? Ask any inmate serving a life sentence if it’s true. Odds are they’ll concur. Nowadays, Americans have to increasingly convince themselves that they’re free and happy when they compare/share their lot with others. The state of being “free” has become the No. 1 obsession for possessing happiness.
Unfortunately, in the real world the natural condition of man consists of meager freedoms or, seemingly, none at all. And increasingly, the end justifies the means. This well-worn logic harkens back centuries. “A” is in the way of “B,” so we must eliminate “A” to get “B.” Hundreds of wars have begun because of this ancient rationale. And its underlying motive of self-interest still remains the chief contributing factor in international/national conflicts.
If you can convince people that some other group is preventing people from their rightful freedoms, you can manipulate people to do anything as their leader. You simply convince them that they should take back their country, for example, when they‘re not getting their way. The important stipulation is that they must follow all your dictates. (And you maintain power by threatening them with castigation for any disobedience.)
Ironically, people will fight against other peoples for liberty, yet they have sacrificed their freedoms by following those in the upper echelons of their own power hierarchy. In simpler terms, you may hate the idea of being controlled by outsiders, but your own side already controls you. And substituting one government for another doesn’t make one free. Control is inescapable; no matter what society you live in.
When one offers a surefire method for gaining freedom from something or someone terribly odious, one should ask: “To what then?” If their “destination” sounds too good to be true, their ends-justifies-the-means logic should raise red flags.
New-state proponents argue that breaking away from California to form a new 51st state, the State of Jefferson, would give local yokels more representation, respect, political clout, and revenue — all lacking today. Nevada County would no longer be just an insignificant, overlooked and powerless lackey of the governmental behemoth in Sacramento. (Cursory examinations of the feasibility of creating Jefferson deserve their time in democratic sunshine.)
Political cynosures have focused predominantly on urban areas. The monopolistic overrepresentation of urban areas at the state capitol has left rural and semi-rural interests largely neglected. A smaller, more manageable state would remedy the inequitable distribution of resources and promote a much needed balance in favor of regional issues unique to Jefferson’s special economic, political and environmental concerns.
Banal generalities usually hold steadfast politically. When you make assessments based on faulty information, you unintentionally fail. The promise of a new ideal state of Jefferson sounds inviting, but statehood might be damaging to California in the long run. And growing pains may force Jefferson’s new citizens to suffer needlessly.
As is often the case, the devil’s in the details: Read the fine print before wholeheartedly committing to any formation of an unproven “utopia-state.” As flawed as California’s established state government may be, it’s still superior to any radically proposed alternative.
Interestingly enough, during the early Gold Rush era, profiteers quickly seized any opportunity to make a profit. Gold seekers came to get rich quick — a prevalent attitude that still characterizes California. They arrived here to aggressively discover, exploit, and develop resources for profit maximization.
The area’s population boomed as the result of the discovery of gold by John Marshall at Sutter’s Mill on Jan. 24, 1848, qualifying California for statehood. Back then there was no mass tilting at political windmills. So, statehood was a breeze. Economic activity had led to increased political activity, which culminated in the land of gold seekers becoming the nation’s 31st state on Sept. 9, 1850.
Jefferson has already suffered setbacks. Californians don’t take their political mavericks very kindly. They‘re ostracized/dismissed. Unconventional proposals? A proposed ballot measure to carve California into six autonomous states failed to qualify for the 2016 November ballot due to not having collected enough valid signatures last year.
Before sewing another star on the American flag just yet, today’s Jefferson movement needs to sell the electorate on how they will benefit from a supposedly, freer “independent” new state.
Man can’t guarantee his fellow man total immunity from every form of control, but at least he can help mitigate un-freedom’s negative consequences through pre-concerted actions. Jefferson may hold state legislators more accountable, attentive and agreeable, but California’s activists who ignore well-established facts and human experience seldom succeed.
David Briceno lives in Grass Valley.
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