Is Los Angeles America’s most “right-wing” city?

Right-wing isn’t exactly the right word, but neither is conservative nor libertarian.  Let’s put it this way: in which American city is the principle of sexual dimorphism so pronounced and so accepted and so built into the city’s most fundamental sector (Hollywood)?  In which American city is risk-taking and the resultant income inequality so much a part of the founding culture, in this case the business of entertainment?  Entertainment is also relatively free of government interference and subsidy, and has been so from its beginnings in American history.  In which city are the market outcomes — the winners and losers — so accepted as the final verdict of relevance?

Dare I say Los Angeles (and environs) is the answer to all of these questions, or at least in the very top tier of answers?

Note that defense spending also has long been a foundational sector for much of southern California.

Of course I am well aware of the actual politics of L.A., and all the more of Santa Monica.  Sometimes I toy with a “portfolio” theory of politics, namely that if your city or region’s core sector is quite capitalistic, your city’s politics will be fairly left-wing as a kind of expressive recompense against daily life.

Which American city or region is most like Denmark?  How about the Washington, D.C. area?  Very well educated, a thick middle class, job stability through government, and not many billionaires.  It is easy enough to live here and feel like a libertarian!


Tyler is somehow forgetting the parts of DC that are full of crime and that have "surprisingly" lower housing costs than areas just a few hundred meters away.

And I'm pretty sure that the country of Denmark isn't full of cut throat lawyers, lobbyists and politicians.

Well, -something- is rotten there.

In Hollywood, the businessmen producers (e.g., Harvey Weinstein) tend to be on the left and the creative Big Men (Nolan, the Coens, Scott, Eastwood, Gibson, Malick, Payne, etc.) lean increasingly toward the right.

The auteur theory of Hollywood was invented post-WWII by (then) anti-Communist young Frenchmen who wanted to direct themselves but felt they were being blocked by the old fogeys of the French Communist Party's influence over the arts. When De Gaulle came to power, he told Andre Malraux to find some young artists who would make France fashionable again, and so a lot of funding was directed to the French New Wave.

The auteur theory is kind of rightwing hero worship and it long ago filtered back to Hollywood.

Here's what I wrote on this theme in 2015 in Taki's Magazine:

"A more subversive theory is that art is inherently anti-egalitarian, that the entertainment industry thrives by elevating individuals to levels of mass adoration that Belshazzar of Babylon would have found excessive. In turn, the entertainment industry adopts a bogus ideology of promoting equality to cover up its essential tendency toward Caesarism.

"For example, this combination of exhortation and megalomania has been apparent for 99 of the 100 years that Hollywood has been making epic films.

"Early March will mark the 100th anniversary of the original box office smash, D.W. Griffith’s denunciation of the rape culture of the Reconstruction Era, The Birth of a Nation. Stung by criticism from the NAACP, Griffith released in 1916 a more politically correct and even more ambitious blockbuster, Intolerance. It retold four stories of bigotry and oppression, from ancient Babylon down to the present day.

"I’m sure that everybody has taken Griffith’s sermon against intolerance deeply to heart, but, honestly, the only thing anybody remembers from the movie is the Babylonian set that Griffith spent his Birth of a Nation profits constructing.

To give tourists snacking at the food court at the Hollywood & Highland Center shopping mall (which hosts the Academy Awards annually at its Dolby Theatre) a fittingly cinematic experience, the developer rebuilt some of Intolerance’s elephant god monuments. These things are almost as big as that Chinese statue of Martin Luther King, Jr.—which itself looks like the kind of cross between Ozymandias, Chairman Mao, and Mike Tyson that we’re not supposed to notice is an aesthetic blot on the National Mall in Washington.

"But certainly, we rapidly outgrew such excess, right?

"I’m not so sure.

"Consider the most academically acclaimed movie of all time, Citizen Kane. I’ve read countless explanations of how it’s an important warning about the menace posed to democracy by William Randolph Hearst. But, come on, everybody really loves Orson Welles’ big man act. Welles, as he liked to explain, was a “king actor.” He had to be the highest-ranking figure in a scene or audiences would wonder why he wasn’t in charge.

"Intellectuals have done much to egg on genius worship. For example, Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 1940s tended to be made by large organizations using careful division of labor. But the young French critics at Cahiers du cinéma, rebelling against the dominance of Communist intellectuals in Paris, explained that if you looked at American films just right, you’d know that the director was the true auteur and thus Hollywood studio movies are monuments to individualism.

"Their auteur theory was de Gaullism avant la lettre: enlightened autocracy validated by occasional popular approval. When Charles de Gaulle returned to power in 1958, he had his culture minister, André Malraux, find him some young artists who weren’t Communists to subsidize to make France look good. The French New Wave critics-turned-directors were de Gaulle’s chief beneficiaries.

"A few Hollywood figures have fully embraced the political logic of their craft—most notoriously John Milius, an outspoken right-wing gun enthusiast. ... And yet, much as Milius’s politics outraged movie industry mediocrities, he was a close friend of many of the top talents, including Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Zemeckis, ...

I take your point on the auteur theory, and I can see the case for the directors, but how do you figure Alexander Payne as leaning right? I suppose Election is pretty cynical on democracy and Citizen Ruth isn't exactly #ShoutYourAbortion enough for today's Hollywood. On the other hand, before he made a movie of the same name, he contributed an essay on his native Nebraska to a fifty-state anthology, in which he expressed his enthusiasm for the Federal Writers Project state books on which the anthology was based. Between that, the premise of Downsizing (which I admittedly haven't seen), and his films' generally sympathetic focus on (and frequent casting of) the Common Man, I've taken him as an old-school lefty.

Incidentally, one of my favorite moments in my favorite of his movies, About Schmidt, is the brief, content-free monologue by an AM radio host that Jack Nicholson is listening to in a short driving scene.

*"...I can see the case for the *other* directors..."

Are there any significant U.S. cities that are not run by the left?

The urban-rural dynamic in the U.S. seems to far outweigh differences between cities.

Also, Washington, D.C. doesn't seem like a great data point for the portfolio theory of politics.

The Left or liberal centrists? The latter is much more commonly found in elective office, the former on the protest circuit.

In this comment section, they are all leftists, apparently.

The left, not the Left. The initial capital to indicate the seriousness.

When I lived in LA the mayor was Dick Riordan and he was not left wing. Southern California politics has moved left as the demographics have moved non-white. Even Orange County isn't safe GOP at this point.

Not really true that non-whites are driving Dem votes. If you look at voting stats, whites vote strongly Dem. The style of Dem isn't crazy SF liberal either - Garcetti is a far cry from a Gavin Newsom type.

"If you look at voting stats, whites vote strongly Dem. "

Look again. CA Whites voted for Bush in 04, Romney in 12, and while Hillary won in 16, it was just by 5%. California provided Trump with more voters than any other state except Florida and Texas (all about 7%). And that was in an election with no big issues and two Dems duking it out for Senator. There wasn't much of a reason for GOP voters to get out of the house--and still, Trump got 45%.

Whites are CA's swing voters. Progressive whites run things for the time being, but CA is getting increasingly tribal. Vietnamese win in Vietnamese districts, Chinese win in Chinese districts, blacks in black districts.

Harris won because progressive whites wanted her and not enough conservative voters would vote for Sanchez, who they still regarded as having stolen Dornan's seat.

Here is a variation of portfolio analysis for Tyler et al to consider.

Look at city governments and the composition, income, welfare and crime rates of their constituents.
Compare and contrast D and R administrations across time to see which ones had what types of performance.
Also look at what might be causes and what might be effects.

Do D cities cause more negative outcomes, however defined?
Or are they responses to factors already in effect?
Or some combination thereof?

Some enterprising grad student(s) could help him out.

NYC has had recent GOP mayors.

Yes, I thought of that, too, after posting. Bloomberg was a Democrat who switched to run as a Republican, and he leaned left on almost every issue. However, Giuliani was not a liberal.

I think San Diego is the largest American city (#8) to have a Republican mayor. As you get past #10, a few midwestern cities start to appear that either have or could plausibly have Republican mayors: Dallas, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Fort Worth.

Dallas' mayor is a Democrat. His name is Mike Rawlings.

Not just the city, but Dallas County as a whole voted for Democrats in presidential and state elections.

I do not think "right wing" means what you think it means...

Right wing defends the conservative ethos. The regulatory capture of the left wing is too much. Hate crimes are since the Shepard and Byrd act, now based not just on race discrimination but also on biases of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or gender. Yet, hate itself is not considered a satisfactory definition for the pretext of a hate crime. Apparently, a child pornographer has not committed a hate crime. Age is not listed as a sexual discrimination. But preference for biology is considered a sexual preference. Yet some people can't have sex. Sex is not a right. It is a privledge and its politicization, for instance as the trans movement being equivalent to the gay rights issue is lacking nuance.

The civil rights movement started before 1900. It is a massive failure. The scientific method was adopted in less time than it took for blacks to stop being lynched.

Calif my not be, on average, the most right wing, obviously, but movements that are either furthest to the right or to the left originate from there. Perhaps a large numbers, long-tail thing, or maybe the Mediterranean climate--allows for nice walks that yield too much time for reflection, and no need to spend time scraping ice off windshield.

They're peripatetics.

Or in the acronyms of Tom Peters, MBWA's.

Minneapolis might be one of the regions closer to Denmark.

My thoughts exactly. I lived there a good while and that's what I thought.

Salt Lake City?

Are the Muslims in Denmark Somalis?

I would completely agree, was born and raised there. They even have the American evolved version of jante law, Minnesota Nice.

The 1920 Duluth lynchings occurred on June 15, 1920, when three African American circus workers were attacked and lynched by a mob in Duluth, Minnesota. Rumors had circulated that six African Americans had raped and robbed a teenage girl. A physician's examination subsequently found no evidence of rape or assault.

There's a man who's unemployed, a man who works three jobs, a man who's homeless. Where does the efficient market come into play? Lower prices for the man who works three jobs. Lower wages can help the man get a job. Charity is the only thing that can help a homeless man.

The portfolio idea works quite well in the opposite angle: There is very little actual capitalism in middle america, and republicans there sure love their subsidies and their government programs.

Partisan Democrats can't be bothered to actually read national income statistics published online, but they do love their lying talking points.

Partisan seems to be one of those words that says more about the speaker than the person being described.

I also find the portfolio idea really interesting. I'm not sure I buy the causality, though. I would guess that there's much less overt opportunity to be an entrepreneur in middle America than LA, SF, or NYC. Population is often flat or declining. Tastes may change less quickly. There is less social support for doing your own thing. And so on.

Four out of the five fastest growing states, and seven of the top ten, are not on the coasts. (And two more of the top ten are South Carolina and Florida, which culturally don't fit in the "liberal coastal elite" box). Yes, there are plenty of rural communities in decline, but this is true in coastal America as well. Small towns in upstate New York or rural Maine are hardly booming.

"Tastes may change less quickly" and "There is less social support for doing your own thing" seem tone-deaf to the reality of middle America. Do you think they don't have trendy restaurants in places like Des Moines or Dallas? Or that rural communities will shun you if you start a computer store, because computers are not in the Bible? I'm not even sure what these points are supposed to mean. But even if some places do change more slowly, it doesn't necessarily effect the amount of entrepeneurship, just the type of businesses that are being opened.

"Which American city or region is most like Denmark? How about the Washington, D.C. area? Very well educated, a thick middle class, job stability through government, and not many billionaires. It is easy enough to live here and feel like a libertarian!"

Does Denmark have crappy infrastructure, like power outages all the time, or a public transit agency where safety inspections personnel got retaliated against if they tried to do their jobs? Does Denmark have constant visible reminders of widespread poverty, like beggars in all the metro stations, or little tent cities that spring up in parks and open spaces every few weeks until they are cleared away by the authorities only to grow up again? It's not quite as bad as Los Angeles (and in many ways it is better than New York), but it's honestly pretty grimy here. Maybe you just drive everywhere, so you don't see all the stuff I walk past every day?

Maybe the DC suburbs instead?

Power outages hit the DC suburbs pretty regularly any time there is a big storm. I think it's worse on the Maryland side than the Virginia side, though. I get power outages in VA pretty regularly, but that's because there's a transformer or something on a nearby pole that has a tendency to explode; it usually gets fixed promptly or resets itself, so it's not much of an issue. My coworkers who live in MD seem to get hit much harder when there's high winds or snow.

That said, you're right that there's no shantytowns or beggars way out in the suburbs. And there's no public transit, so WMATA's corrupt internal culture (which, to be fair, new leadership seems to be making progress in destroying) is not an issue.

It's one of the big differences between Europe and America: Europe buries its power lines, America doesn't. It's cheaper to string the wires up high on posts, but then they and the also-up-high transformers are fully exposed to all the extremes of weather and are prone to failing when people need their power the most. Europe's power network is prettier and more stable, but it is much more expensive to maintain.

In a lot of newly built areas the power lines are buried in the US. Older areas however are seldom retrofitted in this fashion since the cost is prohibitive.

New York City is another interesting example for exploring the portfolio theory: I'm not sure if it supports or undermines the theory.

On the "conservative" side we observe: massive wealth inequality (like LA), a history of police repression of poor and minority communities (like LA), and a lot of the same entertainment/media features as LA.

But on the "liberal" side we observe (in contrast to LA): generous funding for public goods (mass transit above all, but also public parks, public art, etc); and highly integrated communities along lines of income, race, national origin, and sexual orientation (related to the mass transit issue insofar as the city's geography and favoured modes of transport are largely responsible for this integration).

NYC political attitudes strike me as overall farther left than those of LA, but it might be a toss-up. This analysis supports the conclusion that LA's material conditions are more "right-wing" than those of NYC, but this conclusions doesn't seem to align with the anticipated political attitudes we'd expect from the portfolio theory. Maybe the two cities are so far left that the effect is diminished?

New York City: "generous funding for public goods (mass transit above all"

Given that MTA is about $34 billion in the hole with a huge maintenance backlog, obviously those transit-loving progressives aren't generous enough! What other explanation can there be for government failure?

I have always been shocked by how capitalistic the 'left' is in NYC. They talk about redistribution and then sink 100k to renovate a brownstone. I don't think you can be truly left wing and survive in the city. Detroit with it's cheap rents and largely non-existent upper middle class is a much better option.

In the better parts of NYC, $100K doesn't even get you the permits. How about $500K.

I just heard comedian Bill Burr say he gets a lot more groans over his comedy in NYC than LA nowadays.

I always thought of LA is extremely individualistic, even a touch narcissistic. Perhaps an upside of this is more of a live and let live attitude than elsewhere.

The East Coast is definitely far more collectivist than the West Coast, that's for certain.

>Entertainment is also relatively free of government interference and subsidy

IDK. The movie industry is (in)famous for enjoying a number of targeted tax breaks.

And ~100 years of copyright protection (legal monopoly).

At least it's not as bad as the one in, say, France: (The other European countries are just as bad.)

Yes, I couldn't tell if this post was Tyler purely trolling, or being really drunk at lunch

Tyler: "Excuse me, Steve. This blog is getting boring. Can you come say something interesting about a topic that isn't race or immigration?"

Also, capitalism isn't conservative.

Tyler: "LA is a very left-wing city. And it is a cesspool of misogyny and poverty. So I guess we should really call it a right-wing city, amirite guys??"

Entertainment gets no government subsidy? Tyler, you are mentally ill.

Neoliberal might be the word to use here.

Did someone say "neoliberal???" DRINK!

Also most rich angelenos own real estate in the city. We all know what being a land owner does to your political views

Bush is the last gasp of the 20th century WASP aristocracy after the collapse of all of the institutions that allowed it to function as an aristocracy. He is like a talisman for an American cargo cult.

Trump is Biff from Back to the Future.

Think bigger.

That was supposed to go in another thread.

I'd the call our ridiculously long copyright terms, well beyond the length of time need to ensure innovation, and the DMCA, to be pretty massive subsidies. Also, I note that when I watch a movie at home, before I can even get to the film, I have an unskippable warning message from the FBI noting how serious a crime piracy is and that it will be investigated and punished by the federal government. Not all subsidies are checks written out of the Treasury.

I'd mention Hollywood's gun culture, which I've been writing about for five years:

For example, Steven Spielberg is a gun enthusiast. He celebrates each completed movie by having an Italian firm handcraft a custom shotgun with scenes from his new movie engraved on it.

Spielberg's father taught him to shoot, but he became a huge enthusiast when John Milius introduced him, Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale, to trap shooting in the 1970s. (Milius, a definite man of the right, has been hugely influential behind the scenes on Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Eastwood, Oliver Stone, Kathleen Kennedy, and perhaps the Coens.)

Eastwood's "American Sniper" started out as a Spielberg project, but Spielberg gave it up because he couldn't get financing for the huge budget he wanted to do it justice. Eastwood took it over from Spielberg because he doesn't mind mid-sized budgets.

As Glenn Reynolds would say, "End the Hollywood subsidies!" LA and California are in a subsidy bidding war with Canada and parts of the US. Similar to the "build us a new stadium racket" in sports.

'Entertainment is also relatively free of government interference'

Because self-censorship is much more effective. Here is the Hays Code, which basically determined the framing of American movie entertainment for a generation -

Here is a sample - 'Hence, though regarding motion pictures primarily as entertainment without any explicit purpose of teaching or propaganda, they know that the motion picture within its own field of entertainment may be directly responsible for spiritual or moral progress, for higher types of social life, and for much correct thinking.'

And here are the general principles -

'1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.

2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.

3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.'

Bring back the Hayes code!

Most of the defense spending has left the LA-area and closer to Crystal City and DC.

After the Weinstein thing, it's increasingly obvious how out of step with the culture Hollywood is with regard to sexual mores. This is also the same community that gave a child molestor an Academy Award just a few years ago.

In the movie 'I Love you, Daddy' (which can only be seen by bootlegging) this is displayed using a 1950s black and white aesthetic. It's 2017, but really, in Hollywood, when it comes to sex, it's still 1950.

Yeah, masturbating into potted plants in front of your employees was totes OK in 1950.

Clever sophistry is status enhancing among economists.

Curmudgeonly hypocrisy among anonymous internet commenters, not so much.

The fact that the output of Hollywood is subject to market constraint doesn't mean that the rest of the industry is. There are oligopoly aspects of distribution end -- some driven by natural, some by artificial constraints -- that make the whole thing very network dependent so that certain voices or performers can be shut out for their views or preferences. Or else look at the early evidence that G rated movies were underproduced for a long time despite the fact that even mediocre ones tended to be quite profitable. And the fact that family ties show up so often among actors, directors, etc. probably has less to do with genetic persistence than an oversupply of talent and a limited outlet for them that makes gatekeepers' roles very important. I would say that in contrast Facebook is less of a monopoly than Big Hollywood.

"In which American city is risk-taking and the resultant income inequality so much a part of the founding culture,"

My initial thought is Silicon Valley/San Jose. Sure, people talk a pretty liberal game here but taking risks and reaping the rewards is core to the culture (though this is change as I see as many people leaving for Google as I do for their own company now).

There are "studio regions" within LA that have a fierce capitalism and what is surely the highest botox use per square mile. But as a longtime resident of the LA and OC sprawl, I don't really see it as defining for the area.

It might speak more to the many contradictions underfoot. The female news anchor achieves parity, but there is the buxom weather girl, right across the set.

Minneapolis and surrounding areas are by far the most like Denmark. Little Scandinavia is what I call it.

There was a time when the leaders in LA were conservatives. Walt Disney, Bob Hope, John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, etc.

This might help

and today

The government was an important part of early Hollywood in the Hays Code and the threat of censorship. Not to mention the power of unions.

There also seems to be a lot of guilt in Hollywood. The difference between success and failure can often depend on personal relationships. One person gets a break and shoots to the top while an equally talented person may never make it big. That gives the people who allocate access great power, that they will abuse.

And while I may get grief for this, the rise of the Gay Mafia has played a role in the shift in Hollywood. It increasingly seems that a TV show or movie has a hard time getting green-lighted if it lacks at least a gay subplot. You seem to get extra votes towards industry awards if you have positive depictions of a gay character.

If Hollywood was still making WW II movies they would have a guy from New York, Texas, a small midwest town, a black guy, a gay guy, an Asian guy for overseas distribution and if the budget allows a Hispanic guy. More progressive movies might include a transgender actor in the mix somehow.

That is not anti-gay, it is just that many in the gay community have an agenda, a liberal agenda, that they seek to promote. The same as many other interest groups.

I really would like to understand why the gay community in Hollywood so hates Trump. Aside from the fact that he defeated their patron saint, Hillary Clinton. (And wish that Oprah will replace him.)

Don't have to be gay to hate Trump. You really don't see what's objectionable about him?

Yes, why does the gay community in Hollywood and the gay community in media hate Trump? It seems out of all proportion. I disagree with Trump on issues but that doesn't mean visceral hatred.

CNN reporting has gone over the top. Hollywood never seems to miss an opportunity to attack? Why?

With Trump it's kind of tit for tat. He likes to attack too. Frankly I think Trump enjoys the battle, and trolling. If he weren't president he'd be a pretty amusing guy.

Really why does the gay community hate Trump. Because he won’t let them eat cake, or won’t compel others to make the cakes for hey want

This is the shattering civil rights the gay community is fighting for. They want pretty cakes

Please tell me this is a joke

Oh there's a joke in here somewhere. Again, lots of straights hate Trump too. You don't see any reason why people of any sexual persuasion might not be big fans of the guy?

Trump has issues? Well obviously, but in the sense you mean? You love +1.5 trillion dollar deficits, if he also reduces nonwhite immigration?

Where does that claim come from

Lord the quality of posters is declining rapidly


Ok, I had a mountain bike ride and a beer, and I misread "I disagree with Trump on issues" as "I agree with Trump on issues"

And I was interested in what issue Trump had in 2016 that people could still believe in, in 2018.

My apologies.

What ten seconds of googling provides:

You conservatives are so fucking retarded.

Nice job thoughtful debate
Reminds when the civil rights legislation was passed with the promise that it would never be used to push quotas
Now gay rights means they can overrule freedom of religion, and compel labor from anyone you choose
But ask for a thoughtful answer and this is what you get

Did you have some sort of traumatic experience when they covered punctuation in English class?

I typed too fast and my pinky must have been tired....,,,,???? I will practice more.

I would say that Miami could give LA a run for a money. The immigrant population (particularly one founded on a heavy dose of immigrants who were economically successful prior to emigrating) makes it a strong believer in market outcomes. It's geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of the US (Miamians by and large ignore Florida--or US--politics, despite the fact that it should control Florida politics based on population and economic importance), which makes it essentially a strong believer in federalism. Plus, unlike LA, its Catholic population makes it actually conservative on most social issues (which is strange, because you don't really hear about Mexican Americans in LA feeling similarly) with a strong sense of family, so much so that unlike almost any major city, it has urban districts that are actually toss-ups between Democrats and Republicans. And it sees immigration through a conservative but not libertarian lens -- for Miami, allowing immigration isn't about a commitment to open borders, it's about a strong foreign policy and American exceptionalism.

The Miami metro has a quarter of Florida's population. It's couldn't dominate its state like chicago, Atlanta, or Phoenix

Miami definitely leads Los Angeles in the all-important metric of Retired Central American Rightwing Death Squad Leaders per capita.

In no sense is Miami, or South Florida, socially conservative in any coherent way. The area is in fact one of the great gay meccas of the United States.

Unlike in some US Federal agencies' recruitment presentations to undergraduates that I have seen, I don't think anyone in the Danish government apologizes to potential recruits for saying you'll have to live in Denmark.

"Entertainment is also relatively free of government interference and subsidy..."

That's ridiculous. I've got to go along with some of the other comments about the absolute absurdity of modern copyright law. In the earliest days after the Constitution, copyright ran for 14 years after publication, non-renewable, and with reasonable provision for "fair use". In today's far faster-paced world, it ought to - if anything - carry a shorter term (duration) and much broader "fair use". But reality is that "fair use" has almost vanished, and the term has been lengthened to essentially forever as a practical matter (contrary in spirit to "for a limited term only" in the authorizing language.) So entertainment is almost wholly built upon subsidy.

Then there are the patents, which essentially became obsolete as the age of great, easy inventions juddered to a close in and around the 1970s, with the old Horatio Alger model of invention passing into uttermost oblivion. Nowadays patents are just obstacles to getting things done, obstacles to better products and better living (contrary to "promote the arts and sciences" in the authorizing language.) But they linger on since they are a rich source of income for corrupt politicians, parasitical lawyers, and of course rich rentiers who claim (A) the blindingly obvious that would have been invented within 20 minutes anyhow, irrespective of even the very existence of patents, or else (B) what was researched or developed on the Federal dime with negligible added contribution from the official patentee.

The bottom line is that the politics of LA (and really, the entire coastal California urban belt) is entirely consistent a basis, economically, almost entirely in rentiership (via those absurd copyrights and patents), and hardly at all on any sort of real-world economic utility whatever. After all, what does LA (and the coastal belt) actually produce any longer? Fifty bazillion overproduced, utterly trivial, numbing variations of "Batman"? An infinitude of "social media" (read: "anti-social media") cesspits? No, we're dealing with government wards living off of subsidy and largesse from hapless taxpayers and citizens elsewhere. And that's far more of a leftist style of living than a "right-wing" style, at least as "left" and "right" are used in most normal discourse.

Very true, the West coast is very dependant on government protecting monopoly power and profits.


Your comment seems to imply that Hollywood's production is almost all dependent on the long copyright term and that it would be much poorer and have less output without it. That's strange, because that's usually an argument made by those who defend the long copyright term.

I think that Hollywood would still be nearly as successful with a more reasonable, shorter term, which demonstrates that it does actually produce things of value and that the nature of the subsidy shifts around *what* is made (and sometimes by whom), but not the basic production value and skill of the industry.

If American policymakers believe you, then they will absolutely defend and enhance the long copyright term in order to "protect" our valuable export industry of Hollywood. I prefer to think that Hollywood would be very successful without it.

The argument is that many west coast industries generate significant revenues from government rules that, as you explain, are not needed to encourage investment in the industry. Market arguments for the rules are weak but they have strong political support. Many west coast industries have an incentive to support government action to defend their revenue stream.

Too much emphasis on Hollywood - I think entertainment is only the 3rd or 4th largest industry in LA. Aerospace, manufacturing, tech, and tourism all employ many more people.

Unlike NYC or SF, LA business is dominated by small/medium sized firms. Which major companies are headquartered there? Mattel? A few entertainment companies?

Instead, the vast majority of companies employ small numbers of people, and there are a lot of them. So I would add the small business mindset and aversion to public transportation as more reasons why LA is indeed "right-wing," even if social views are very liberal.

How are the taxes in LA? Cost of a pack of cigarettes? Any other paternalistic nanny state type policies like you find w the soda tax in NYC? I honestly don't know.

It is a sprawl, with many cities, and arguably a few counties, within it. But to throw some numbers out:

"California's sales tax varies depending on the city or county — ranging from as little as 7.5% in Ventura County, the statewide minimum, to 8% in Orange County, to as much as 10% in the Los Angeles County suburbs of La Mirada and Pico Rivera"

Doesn't appear that bad. I know many people in Florida who fled LA because of the high cost of living but I think that's more to do w real estate and a housing shortage than with taxes.

Wonder how it compares w New Jersey in terms of property taxes?

We could probably just use topline "cost of living" estimates for that kind of thing.

That's nice because it uses the large "Los Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale" metro area. Much bigger than "Burbank - Hollywood - Studio City" !!

Property taxes in CA are very low due to Proposition 13. It ranks #34 national, whereas NJ ranks #1

"Which American city or region is most like Denmark? "

I would guess Utah or the Fargo, Grand Forks part of North Dakota. Above average upward mobility, lower that average levels of inequality low crime rates.

This is the opposite of reality on some many levels. First, there are a lot of subsidies the most obvious of which is the City of LA letting film companies screw with their infrastructure for free which is probably why the studios are there. Broadcasting has been heavily regulated, for example they used FCC rules to ban certain types of advertisements.

I don't think the people there are risk taking, so much as many of the inhabitants don't have useful talents and decided to go there.

If you are libertarian near DC you will be continually attacked - for example you will fail a school assignment if you give a libertarian answer and the worst candidate/outcome will be the result of each election.

I live in Utah and I feel like there are elements of Denmark here.
There is a less established sense of the haves and have nots, private schools are few and far between, and there is almost no rural population in the state. There are also less industries with wildly high salaries like finance or energy like you would have in New York or Texas.
Additionally there is almost 50 miles of light rail for an MSA with slightly over a million people.

Besides the obvious (and yet somehow still unmentioned in the comments section) defense of Peter Theil's move to L.A. this is an interesting post. I don't know enough about Southern California to speak wisely on the issue, but the happy libertarian in D.C. theme resonates with me.

When I moved from D.C. to New York, I felt a weight lifted off my psyche that I didn't understand for at least a year. What I've discovered is that I am a contrarian optimist, which is an odd thing to be in many places.

In D.C. I was constantly playing the cynic to people's utopian visions. People come to D.C. to enact their ideals, on both sides of the isle. I considered San Francisco, but if I moved there I would be surrounded by technological utopianism, no better than Democratic or Republican utopianism.

New York may be the only city with a demeanor that I can fight against and be happy. Boston might be acceptable, but the stifling intellectualism doesn't leave much room for additional abstruse arguments. I would either have to go middle brow or be just another contrarian there. L.A. strikes me as a place so corrupted and cynical that maybe you can be a contrarian there and envision a happy future?

Random question, but is there any evidence that Joseph McCarthy's top donors retreated to LA after it became clear that George Marshall was widely respected?

Joe McCarthy's chief of staff Roy Cohn had a huge crush on a handsome rich kid named G. David Schine, so when Schine was drafted, Cohn (and therefore McCarthy) accused the U.S. Army of being full of Communists. This led to the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954 when the Army lawyer Joe Welch managed to get McCarthy to say the word "fairy" and McCarthy was ruined.

Schine moved to L.A., married the Swedish Miss Universe, had six kids, and won a Best Picture Oscar as a producer of "The French Connection."

Another thing to keep in mind is that Los Angeles is slowly filling up with ex-Soviets, Israelis, Christian Arabs, Armenians, and so forth, none of whom tend to be bleeding heart liberals. My dad's only landlady was a Ukrainian blonde with a BMW who had renamed herself Happy Reagan after her favorite American President. The average immigrant to North Hollywood in recent years fits in ideologically somewhere between Ivan the Terrible and Suleiman the Magnificent.

I wonder if any of the commenters has ever been to Denmark or Scandinavia...

There is no LA. And generalizing about "LA" is impossible and a waste of time. The county of LA is damn near the size of Connecticut and probably has people from every country on the planet and every state in the union.

Just off the top of my head, LA has the biggest population of Mexicans outside of Mexico City, the biggest population of Iranians outside Tehran, the biggest population of Koreans outside of Seoul and on and on. Some of that might be off, but not by much.

You got a huge population of Orthodox Jews on the west side and huge population of gay men in North Hollywood. You've got tech, defense, machine shops, entertainment, finance, money management, garage body shops, taquerias, and a million other businesses.

You've got left-wing, right-wing, centrists, Nazis, skin-heads, communist, socialists, Christian fundamentalists, atheists and every thing in between.

There's a saying about LA that has some truth to it - the country tilted up and to the left and all the nuts rolled to Los Angeles.

Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, "there is no there there." She really meant Los Angeles, or more correctly, El Pueblo de nuestra senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.

I'm not a native Angeleno buy have lived here for going on 40 years. The only thing I REALLY know about LA is that the traffic sucks and it gets worse every day.

Apart from Spago and all of that, it's a Cowen food paradise, though.

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