Kotkin Compares California to Iran

Calling California's attempts at environmental responsibility a "green jihad," Joel Kotkin argues that the state's "ideological extremism" has led to illogical economic and political decisions - similar to those made in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

From article by Joel Kotkin:

"Californians are learning what ideological extremism can do to an economy. In the Islamic Republic [of Iran], crazy theology leads to misallocating resources to support repression at home and terrorism abroad. In California green zealots compel companies to shift their operations to states that are still interested in growing their economy - like Texas."

Kotkin borrows from an argument made by Harvard Professor Ed Glaesser in Triumph of the City when he explains that "some of these green policies often offer dubious benefits for the environment. For one thing, forcing California businesses to move to less energy-efficient states, or to developing countries like China, could have a negative impact overall since shifting production to Texas or China might lead to higher greenhouse gas production given California's generally milder climate."

Kotkin concludes his article by asking, "So who really benefits from the green jihad?" His answer: "crony capitalists" who support solar power and electric cars, companies hoping to build CA's proposed high-speed rail lines, and finally ... lawyers. Kotkin compares the need for lawyers in "a hyper-regulatory state" to the need for "mobs of mullahs and bare knuckled religious enforcers" in a theocracy.

The epicenter of this "green jihad," is San Francisco, according to Kotkin.

Full Story: California's Green Jihad



Find a better sinister motive

California ranks 14th in the country in lawyers per capita with 10.9 per 10K population. Texas, Kotkin's favorite place, is not far behind at 9.5. I'd hardly characterize this difference as "mobs of mullahs" overtaking California. He forgets that his own "religion" of economic-growth-at-all-costs also requires a fair bit of legal representation.

Absolutely ridiculous...

While I can see the folly of making such extensive regulations that it drives away business, or that it simply exports environmental problems to other states, the parallels drawn by Kotkin are absurd.

Comparing the democratically elected government of California to the tryannical government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is ludicrous, and tantamount to the discussion on environmental protection degrading to some updated version of Godwin's Law (seriously... Google "Godwin's Law" if you don't know what I'm talking about).

California is not attempting these environmentally friendly practices in the name of God, as an excuse to subjugate women, as a method of dominating an entire people, or wavig the banner of tyranny, terrorism, or war. California is creating these laws because it is the right thing to do to protect the environment and because the people are requesting these laws, through referendums, elections, and other democratic processes. It is bottom-up, not top-down, as in Iran.

Just because Kotkin likes suburbs, sprawl, overconsumption of limited water resources, the depletion of farmland, and pollution DOES NOT mean that those things are right for California; and the citizens of that state know it. Maybe Kotkin is so focused on Iran because he's like the leaders of Iran: more concerned for those oligarchs who put him in some position of public authority than he is for the wishes and respects of the greater masses.

Kotkin, Jihad, and Glaesser

It is amusing to hear Kotkin compare others to conservative extremists, when we all know that he is a conservative extremist on planning issues. A generation ago, he would have been calling his opponents communists, which makes some small amount of sense because communists do believe in economic planning. Now, he calls them jihadists, which makes no sense at all and is just irrational name calling.

It is interesting to hear Kotkin quote Ed Glaesser. Many consider Glaesser a smart growth advocate because backs higher densities. We can see once again that Glaesser is essentially a market economist, who opposes environmental regulations just as he opposes height limits.

Charles Siegel


This NYT article on India sums up your philosophy:


But it's dynamic!

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