I love Los Angeles… and for some reason that seems to baffle a lot of libertarians.
Southern California (and LA in general) has come to represent all the evils of statism run a muck. The economic policies continue to be a drain on the economy and new regulations are driving jobs and businesses away. They hate guns like many progressives but can’t seem to embrace marijuana as fully as other western states. California is all that can go wrong, yet I still love it, even if my fellow libertarians bash it.
I love it because my happiness is derived from more than an economic rating. The beaches, the culture, the opportunities, and the people all outweigh the mandates by state and local agents. I certainly pay higher taxes than I’d like, but I live in a city where I can openly discuss sex and drugs without being cast out. Even among libertarian circles in DC the idea of openly advocating for drug use is frowned upon at best. I am happier among individuals with shared values, regardless of the elected officials in the region. To allow ones happiness and actions to be determined by the government is to cede control of our lives to the very institutions that libertarians claim have no authority over us.
There is a certain irony in being called foolish for living in such a statist place by people who live in Washington DC and have often never spent time in LA. Even those who have visited LA make the same stereotypical complaints (it’s too big, traffic sucks, etc) that reflect a tourist mentality who spent too much time in Hollywood. LA is the only city I’ve been to where you can find any social group you wish… burners, Buddhists, hipsters, surfers, professionals, artists, musicians, students, conservatives, liberals, anarchists… LA has it all. It also has a thriving underground economy that seems to flourish despite ridiculous laws that shows the entrepreneurial spirit that is strong and difficult to measure.
LA certainly isn’t perfect, I’d love to have lower taxes, better firearm laws, and a less militant police force, but I love it. Not everybody will like it here, but I think more people should visit and come to understand it before just blasting it due to some measure of government intrusion. There is so much more to life than evading the state.