I was heartened to read the Other Voices column in today’s (9jun16) print edition of The Union by Jonathan Collier of the California Grower Association of Nevada County. Mr Collier’s lengthy piece showed that he understood the wide range of issues related to growing MJ in our rural community. His call for a mutually arrived at solution that creates a “framework for regulating, permitting and licensing medical cannabis” is a proper next step after Measure W was defeated. Now we wait to see how all the parties come together to walk their talk.
In November two CA Democrats will be running for the open Senate seat. From what I can see, one will be worse than the other, but both will have a hard time causing more harm than did Boxer. Such an election underlines the case made by many of us in CA’s hinterlands that we very little to no representation in the growing governments that control and exact tribute. The establishment of SOJ as the 51st state is the only movement that has a reasonable chance of returning representation and a desirable quality of life to many of us. The arguments against SOJ’s viability are specious, stale and wrong. In the interval we remain the subjects of a leviathan that is broke and funds its vote purchases by increasing taxes on an ever shrinking fraction of its productive citizens.
Freedom House reports “in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, one of the biggest casualties has been democracy, … the retreat of democracy is entering a new phase, driven by voters embracing strongman rule. Parties led by autocratic personalities have won a string of election victories”. While the report by Ruchir Sharma in the 9jun16 WSJ highlights the usual global suspects of strongman rule, we need not go overseas to recognize that in 2008 Americans elected their own strongman to dictate a new economy and pull us out of recession. The result, of course, has been a disaster but overseas voters continue to believe that giving up more freedoms and democracy is a good deal for a promised improvement in their economies. Well, all of those voters (including Americans) have paid the price but have yet to see a payoff.
Singapore, under the guidance of Lee Kuan Yew, is the exception of an economic powerhouse that grew under his carefully selective autocracy. Singapore, a former tropical swampland, grants wide economic freedoms to business enterprises at the cost of some civil liberties. About this widely studied and much accoladed strongman we read –
Lee eschewed populist policies in favor of pragmatic long-term social and economic measures. With meritocracy and multiracialism as governing principles, Lee made English thecommon language to integrate its immigrant society and to facilitate trade with the West, whilst mandating bilingualism in schools to preserve students' mother tongue and ethnic identity. Lee's rule was criticised, for curtailing civil liberties (public protests, media control) and bringing libel suits against political opponents. He argued that such disciplinary measures were necessary for political stability, which together with rule of law, were essential for economic progress.
While strongman leaders like Putin, Erdogan, Khamenei, Maduro, and Obama have screwed up their economies to various degrees, China’s Xi has sat at Lee’s knee and is still trying to emulate a communist version of what Singapore has achieved.
But Singapore does illustrate the art of the possible for SOJ. That swampland had a lot less to start with than will the new state of Northern California. What Singapore showed the world is that the mere creation of a salubrious environment for business and enterprise is enough to attract people from all over the world to build their dreams and provide wealth for fellow countrymen to live the good life. Creating a similar environment north of Sacramento relative to what other states have to offer is SOJ’s strong argument for its future financial viability.