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Shapiro: The Death of California

In “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” Victor Hugo told the tale of Esmerelda, a gypsy dancer falsely accused of attempted murder, set to be hanged by an unjust state. Quasimodo, the titular hunchback, swings down from the cathedral of Notre Dame and saves her, carrying her off while crying “Sanctuary!” In fact, throughout European history, churches provided places of safe haven for accused criminals; the claim of “sanctuary” is made to this day by people seeking refuge from the law.

It is strange, however, to see the language of sanctuary adopted to protect precisely the sort of activity abhorred by anyone of religious bent: abortion. The secular sacrament of abortion has become so sacred, however, that the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, recently announced his intent to make his state the first abortion sanctuary in the nation. “We’ll be a sanctuary,” Newsom announced. “We are looking at ways to support that inevitability and looking at ways to expand our protections.”

The state of California, according to Newsom’s Democratic legislative allies, could provide travel expenses including gas, lodging, transportation and child care for those seeking to kill their unborn children. Already, some 15 percent of America’s abortions occur in California, according to the Guttmacher Institute. That number would skyrocket if the state began subsidizing abortions across the land.

None of this is particularly surprising. It is telling, however, that as California sinks into the mire, it embraces ever more radical social policy. This is a state that currently houses—no pun intended—some 162,000 homeless people, a number that increased approximately 24 percent from 2018 to 2020. About a quarter of all homeless people in the United States currently reside in California.

Meanwhile, crime in California has become endemic, with smash-and-grabs roiling major cities and even wealthy residents murdered in their homes. This week, the head of the Los Angeles police union, Jamie McBride, warned people to stay out of the city, explaining, “We can’t guarantee your safety. It is really, really out of control.” Even former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa laments, “Rome is burning.”

And California’s economy trails the nation’s, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is tied for the worst unemployment rate in the nation, at 7.3%. And while California is currently experiencing a seven-day rolling average of just 67 COVID-19 deaths—compared with 550 at the height of the pandemic—Newsom recently reimposed another monthlong statewide indoor mask mandate.

So why does California keep embracing ever-more-radical policy?

Because the radicalism is itself the moral justification for policy failure.

Sure, Democrats can argue, crime and homelessness are out of control, the economy is stagnating, and businesses are leaving. But that’s morally excusable, because California seeks a higher purpose: the purpose of Leftist utopianism. Thus, Newsom has little to say about California’s stagnation, but much to say about how California will push new laws targeting gun ownership.

For years, Democrats have claimed that California leads the nation.

We can only hope they’re wrong.

Ben Shapiro, 37, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers “How To Destroy America In Three Easy Steps,” “The Right Side Of History,” and “Bullies.” To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS

Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the United States. His columns are printed in major newspapers and websites including The Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Conservative Chronicle, Townhall.com, ABCNews.com, WorldNetDaily.com, Human Events, FrontPageMag.com, FamilySecurityMatters.com. His columns have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor,Chicago Sun-Times, Orlando Sentinel, The Honolulu Advertiser,The Arizona Republic, Claremont Review of Books and RealClearPolitics.com. He has been the subject of articles by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Associated Press, and The Christian Science Monitor; he has been quoted on "The Rush Limbaugh Show," "The Dr. Laura Show," at CBSNews.com, in the New York Press, The Washington Times, and The American Conservative.

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