By John Vinson, August 14, 2020
With politics becoming so crazy in this country, I like to unwind in the evening by watching TV. Unfortunately, unwinding can be hard with the politically correct (PC) saturation of so much current programming. This propaganda content gives new meaning to the word “programming.” One example was a mini-series about Jamestown. It was quite different from what I learned in my history classes, with its cast of white-male Christian villains.
To escape PC I’ve started watching old movies and TV series. One is the 1960s series The Beverly Hillbillies. It’s not high-brow entertainment, I’ll admit, but it provides some good laughs spun from the culture clashes between a family of Ozark hillbillies and the affluent status-obsessed snobs of Beverly Hills. The head of the family is Jed Clampett, a “poor mountaineer” who becomes a multi-millionaire when oil starts gushing from a swamp on his land.
At that point his kinfolks said, “Jed move away from there” because “Californie (California) is the place you ought to be.” In the 1950s and 60s, California for a whole lot of Americans was the place you wanted to be with its wide-open spaces and seemingly endless possibilities.
In one of the early episodes of the Hillbillies, Jed and his family go driving around the Los Angeles metro area in their old truck. Most interesting to me was how little traffic they had to deal with on the roads and highways. Was this an accurate portrayal of driving conditions at that time (the early sixties)? I wondered because I have vivid memories of the snail-pace gridlock I saw when I traveled there.
One clue was the statement by a character on the show that the population of California back then was 18 million. Now its more than twice that, somewhere around 40 million. That by itself goes a long way toward explaining the difference on the roads.
The series, as I said, based many of its plots on cultural misunderstanding. They humorously reveal how people from different backgrounds can totally fail to comprehend each other. This was despite the fact that the Clampetts were at least Americans who spoke English (though certainly not the standard variety). A serious takeaway from this comedy is to have some reservations about the happy-face mantra that diversity is our strength.
When diversity becomes too diverse the resulting friction isn’t pleasant, and this is particularly true when the differing groups of people are too numerous to make blending easy. This is what has happened in California because of mass immigration, legal and illegal, since the Sixties. Now we often hear from various learned scholars that an unending deluge of immigration — whatever its drawbacks — is absolutely essential for economic enrichment and prosperity.
But the reality of California today is quite different from the theory of the scholars. Increasingly California’s economy resembles those of the Third World homelands of its immigrants, a relatively small number of rich people at the top, lots of poor people on the bottom, and few folks in between.
As immigration has skyrocketed the state’s population, the past few decades have seen a massive outflux of native-born Americans from the state. This reminds me of a conversation I had many years ago with a Communist. “If Communism is so wonderful,” I asked him, “then why do people run away from it every time they get a chance.” The same may be said of the alleged multicultural paradise of California.
If the Clampetts were still living in the Golden State, Jed’s kinfolks would probably tell him and the rest that “Californie ain’t the place you want to be,” and invite them back to the Ozarks.
John Vinson is President of the American Immigration Control Foundation.