Marian Evans, American Renaissance, February/March 1993
Of all the states in the union, California has probably had a more durable and magical appeal for Americans than any other. Beginning with the gold rush in 1849, and for more than a century thereafter, California has been a beacon of promise and possibility. Blessed with a gentle climate, fertile soil, and breath-taking scenery, California has for generations seemed almost an earthly paradise.
California’s future will not be like its past. The last several decades have witnessed a tragic despoliation of the Californian paradise. Both federal and state governments have set what could have been a shining outpost of European civility on a sure course towards third-world squalor.
The Population Nightmare
The single greatest threat to California’s future is its burgeoning population. Thanks to waves of immigration and to high birth-rates among immigrants after they arrive, the state is growing almost as quickly as such developing countries as India and Brazil. Every year, there are about 700,000 more Californians, the vast majority of whom are non-white. Between 1920 and 1990 the state’s population increased ten fold and now stands at more than 31 million. At current rates of increase, there could be nearly ten million more Californians by the year 2000 and yet another ten million the decade after. The state is no longer the land of wide-open spaces; about 200,000 people who would like to camp in state parks are turned away every year because there is no room for them.
The population has not merely grown; it has changed. In the last 20 years, while the state’s population increased by half, the number of Californians on welfare doubled. During the same period the prison inmate population tripled.
Not coincidentally, the racial mix also changed dramatically. As recently as 1970, California was 77 percent “Anglo,” to use the currently fashionable term that reflects the Hispanic perspective. By 1990, the white percentage was down to 56 and dropping. In the same 20 years, the proportion of Hispanics more than doubled from 12 percent to 26 percent, Asians went from four percent to 10 percent, and blacks held steady at seven percent. By the year 2000 whites will be a minority, at 48 percent, and by 2010, just 17 years from now, their numbers may have dropped below 40 percent.
Of course, in many parts of the state, whites are already a minority. Los Angeles is only 40 percent white. Long Beach and San Jose are both about 35 percent white, and Oakland, which is 44 percent black and 15 percent Asian, is only 18 percent white. In towns like Huntington Park and Monterey Park, fewer than half the residents were even born in the United States, and a white face is a strange sight.
Immigration is just one of the reasons whites are becoming a minority. During the 1980s, California received more than 2,300,000 legal immigrants and unknown numbers of illegals, but once they arrive, non-whites have more babies than native-born whites. Hispanics have the highest life-time fertility figures of anyone, at nearly four children per woman. Blacks are next with 2.5, Asians have 2.4, and white women have only 1.7 children each. A fertility rate of about 2.1 children per woman is necessary in order to maintain a population, so all of California’s non-white populations are growing naturally while the state’s whites are failing to maintain themselves. In 1992, 60 percent of the babies born in California were Hispanic, black, or Asian. One third of all babies were illegitimate.
Interestingly, over the past several years, Hispanic fertility rates in California have risen. According to some studies, Hispanics may have more children when they come to the United States than they would have had if they had stayed home. This reflects their improved circumstances; welfare and Medicaid are more conducive to child-bearing than is the hard-scrabble poverty of Mexico or El Salvador.
Non-white fertility rates are reflected in California’s student population. White children are already a minority of 45 percent in public schools. In southern California, many schools are overwhelmingly non-white. In Los Angeles County, two-thirds of all school children live in homes where English is not spoken. Massive immigration coupled with third-world fertility rates means that school enrollments will increase at more than two million every decade. Just to keep up, California would have to build one new 650-student school every day — for ever.
The huge recent influx of non-whites means that California has the largest overseas population of many nationalities. More Mexicans, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Filipinos live in California than in any place outside their homelands. Fully ten percent of the population of El Salvador now lives in California. At the same time, California has the highest concentration of certain nationalities in the United States. Forty-three percent of America’s Chinese live there as do 52 percent of the Filipinos, 46 percent of the Vietnamese and 52 percent of the Hmong.
California is now such a babel of mutually uncomprehending peoples that some San Jose gas pumps have “Please pay attendant before pumping” written on them in five different languages. The application form for admission to San Francisco City College offers 27 different choices for “Ethnic Identity.” It takes a bit of hunting to track down “White Non-Hispanic.”
What is this mish-mash contributing to California? A Hispanic is 1.84 times more likely to be on welfare than a white, an Asian is 1.89 times more likely, and a black is 5.7 times more likely. Immigrants, no matter where they are from, are 1.85 times more likely to be on welfare than whites. The Hmong have been notably incapable of adapting their primitive tribal ways to 20th century America. Years after they came to California, more than half are still on welfare and few have bothered to learn English. Nearly half of the state’s 500,000 “refugees” are on welfare. Since 1970, state money spent on the indigent just for medical expenses increased 20-fold and is now greater than the gross national products of Nicaragua and Panama combined.
There is ample reason to be on the dole in California. A family of three gets $663 a month, tax-free, in addition to food stamps and subsidized housing. That same family would need to earn $1,300 a month in order to have the same after-tax income it gets for doing nothing. California now spends $14 billion a year on welfare and free medicine.
Like virtually all other states, California offers public education and welfare to illegal aliens. It would be interesting to know what goes through the mind of a Mexican who discovers that it is possible to walk across the border and become a permanent guest of the people of California.
Often, it is pregnant women who cross the border, since the children they bear on American soil automatically become U.S. citizens. This accounts for why 66 percent of the 44,000 births in Los Angeles County hospitals in 1991 were to mothers who were illegal aliens. The medical costs of delivery alone were more than $28 million, and since nearly all of these new American citizens were indigent at birth they immediately went on welfare. Of course, it is their mothers who receive the checks, and though they are themselves in the country illegally it is a delicate matter to deport the mother of an infant American. In Los Angeles County alone, over 200,000 citizen-children of illegal aliens are collecting welfare. Of the 2.8 million Californians on welfare — a figure equal to the population of Oregon — approximately one third are thought to be illegal aliens.
A slightly larger proportion of the people getting free medicine in California are probably illegals. Courts have forbidden hospitals to inquire about the legal status of patients, even for expensive, long-term treatments like kidney dialysis. Dialysis is virtually unobtainable in many Central American countries, so patients are especially eager to come to California.
Los Angeles County is slowly waking up to how expensive it is to play host to millions of illegals. The county alone spent $276 million on services for illegals in 1991 and the federal government kicked in another $140 million. Part of the expense is for criminal processing. Four hundred illegal aliens enter the California prison system every month. Illegals commit over half the murders in Orange County and one third of the rapes and murders in San Diego County.
The economic structure that supports this massive system of services and give-aways is breaking down. In 1990, there were 6.21 California taxpayers for every welfare recipient. Ten years later, the ratio was projected to be fewer than three to one. Part of the reason for this change is that in 1992 and 1993, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were granted amnesty under the 1986 immigration law became or were to become eligible for welfare payments. As part of their amnesty applications they were obliged to show that they were not public charges, but now that the processing period is over they are free to go back on the dole.
Welfare is only part of the burden that taxpayers must shoulder. The broader dependent population of California includes prisoners, non-working students, retired people, and consumers of state-funded medical care. Currently, California has only 1.2 taxpayers for every recipient of tax dollars. By the end of the 1990s, there are likely to be only 0.8 taxpayers for every recipient.
All this puts terrible pressure on the state’s finances. While the charity budget climbs, the traditional functions of government wither. Although travel on California’s highways has more than doubled since 1970, the number of miles of highway lanes have gone up only 15 percent. In the 1950s and 1960s, before “social” programs tore such a large hole in state spending, 20 cents out of every state dollar was spent on capital projects like roads and canals. By the 1980s, it was only five cents, and most of that money was borrowed. Now, in a state-by-state ranking of spending per person on highways, California is dead last. The once-fabled California freeways are a clogged morass of frustration and ill-temper.
By 1992, the state had an $11 billion deficit, and in July, Moody’s downgraded its bonds. This added $113 million to the year’s interest expenses. For part of the summer, while the legislature was trying to pass a budget, California ran out of money and started paying its employees in IOUs. The state was ready to consider nearly any proposal to save money, so long as it was not a “racist” measure that would deny benefits to illegals. It very nearly decided to raise the age at which children would be admitted to kindergarten, which would have saved $325 million.
California will soon go broke if it continues its prodigal policies of give-aways to all comers, and Governor Pete Wilson was once actually brave enough to suggest that immigration is part of the problem. This idea was hooted down by Hispanic groups and liberal editorialists, and in any case, immigration is a federal matter over which no single state has control. Even if immigration were to stop tomorrow, the state has become a volatile ethnic mix that could ignite at any time.
As California loses its white majority, it is also losing any sense of ethnic or cultural coherence. This will be the state’s most devastating loss. Last May’s riots were a good indication of what could become more common in the future. The ostensible reason for three days of arson and rapine — the Rodney King beating — was presumably a black grievance, but more Hispanics than blacks were arrested for looting. The reason was that there are more Hispanics in South-Central Los Angeles than blacks. When the police disappeared, underclass Hispanics, who have only resentment and contempt for the nation that feeds them, were happy to join in the pillaging — on whatever pretext.
Recently a white policeman spoke about the black and Hispanic crowd that gathered around a badly-injured officer as paramedics tried frantically to save his life. “When he expired at the scene,” says the policeman, “the entire crowd cheered, clapped, whistled, when they put the blanket over his head . . . You see the parents doing it and the kids watching and it makes you sick.”
The riots were not, however, an alliance of “people of color” against the white oppressor. The hatred they share for whites is hardly enough to unify blacks and Hispanics. Though the press is squeamish about reporting it, the blacks in South-Central deeply resent the influx of Hispanics. AR has already reported on one of the irresolvable questions that face growing numbers of minorities: What happens to affirmative action benefits when there are no more whites left whose interests can be sacrificed?
At a more personal level, blacks in South-Central Los Angeles just don’t like Hispanics. In the Jordan Downs housing project, which used to be all-black but is now 20 percent Hispanic, blacks have taken to burning the newcomers out of their apartments. Hispanics have made an official request for an all-Hispanic building, separate from the others.
In better-off neighborhoods, blacks are tired of hearing Ranchera music at all hours of the night, of stumbling over chickens and goats on the sidewalks, and of being forced out of the parks by raucous soccer players. As the president of a black home-owners’ association explains:
It’s a different culture, a different breed of people. They don’t have the same values. You can’t get together with them. It’s like mixing oil and water.
Perhaps the long-forgotten whites who moved out of South-Central Los Angeles when blacks moved in used the same metaphor. Oil and water, indeed.
So where does this leave the poor bloody white man? It has begun to dawn on him that if public schools spend their time teaching Hmong and Guatemalans how to speak English there may never be time for algebra or Shakespeare. It has begun to dawn on him that as the number of tax money receivers overtakes the number of tax payers, he can look forward to having his very own, probably brown-skinned dependent to take care of. It has begun to dawn on him that the newcomers show few signs of becoming American and that they resent him because he is American. It has begun to dawn on him that as more than 600 black, Hispanic, Vietnamese, and Chinese gang members gun each other down every year, he might be caught in the cross-fire. Although there are times when parts of California still feel just like the paradise they used to be, more and more whites can see the future well enough to know that it holds no place for them. The white exodus has begun.
One tell-tale sign is the number of businesses that are moving out of California. A state that spends money on handouts to illegal immigrants but does not pay for roads is not attractive to employers. Utah, New Mexico, and Washington state all do a brisk business in helping companies relocate from California. In an early 1992 survey of 1,400 California companies, 23 percent reported that they were planning on moving some or all of their operations out of the state.
Transfers of drivers’ licenses from one state to another are the best indication of movement between states. People from age 18 to 29 are still coming to California, but people older than that — the ones who pay taxes and who have children to rear — are moving out. In 1992, for the first time in 20 years, more Americans left California than moved there. Their favorite destinations are Nevada, Washington state, and Oregon, which are still mostly white.
In the summer of 1992, the California exodus was more like a scramble. During the peak moving season, companies like Mayflower, Atlas, and Bekins could not balance their outbound trucks with incoming traffic. Bekins was moving three families out of the state for every family it moved in. Ryder and U-Haul were offering rock-bottom rates on trucks headed for California and charging a stiff premium for anyone going the other way. They were even driving empty trucks into the state to meet demand. The riots may have encouraged the outflow, but trucking companies reported that it was only part of a trend.
There is considerable movement of Californians within the state — from the brown south to the white north. Nevada County, in the gold country away from the big cities, is still 94 percent white. People leave their doors unlocked, know who their neighbors are, and send their children to first-rate public schools. In the last 20 years, its population has tripled, as have several other out-of-the-way, largely-white counties. Many refugees to Nevada County know exactly why they have come.
“I’d look at my daughter’s classroom and see two blondes,” says a real estate dealer who moved from San Jose; “It seemed like there was more of everything else but whites.” Whites who would doubtless find “ethnic cleansing” a loathsome horror in the Balkans do not hesitate to practice a form of it themselves.
As one 10-year resident of Nevada County explains, “People come here . . . to go someplace where racial problems don’t exist. They’re looking for safety, shared cultural assumptions, a more communal society.” The black home owners in South-Central Los Angeles are no doubt looking for exactly the same things.
For many years, California has pointed the way for America. What appeared first in California was sure to be adopted by the rest of the country. On a smaller scale, though, the demographic changes of California have already been mirrored all across the nation. When neighborhoods lose their white majorities schools decay, crime increases, taxes rise, welfare proliferates, and what was once an outpost of civilization subsides into barbarism. There are virtually no exceptions to this iron law of racial erosion, yet America remains officially blind to what all can see, treating every dying city and every decomposing neighborhood as an incomprehensible exception to the dogma of racial equality. As the tide of color rises, ordinary whites quietly retreat before it, becoming refugees in their own land.
Clearly, a nation that has permitted aliens to displace natives, and that grants citizenship and public benefits as carelessly as the United States does, has lost a vital part of the will to survive. The transformation of California — or at least important parts of it — from a land that beckoned to a land that repels was a tragic betrayal of a people’s trust. Those few public officials who may see clearly what lies ahead are paralyzed by the knowledge that any attempt to protect the racial or cultural integrity of California will be denounced as “racist.” And thus are the race and the culture supplanted.
Perhaps the most interesting question is whether those who are leaving southern California have really learned anything. What will happen when the tide of color rises toward Nevada County, Washington state, and Oregon as it inevitably will? Will the white refugee again move on? Where will he go? How many times must the white man watch his community melt away beneath his feet before he stands and fights? Only for so long can whites let themselves be paralyzed by charges of “racism” before they find themselves dispossessed completely.
As Hegel wrote, “What history teaches is this — that people and governments have never learnt anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.” A people that has failed to learn the lessons of Miami, of Detroit, of Newark, and of Los Angeles, may yet fail to learn the lesson of California.