Donald Trump’s election as president opened a flood gate of flimsy analysis and hot-take solutions. As people grasped for ways protest his rapidly approaching presidency, the idea of California secession bubbled to the top again. While there have been occasional attempts of at least partial secession since California first became a state, recent secession campaigns are the creations of Silicon Valley elite; powerful, petulant children vying for a kingdom of their own.
Silicon Valley wasted no time leveraging Trump’s victory as an excuse to rekindle their tech-utopia hopes. Prominent tech investor Shervin Pishevar began tweeting his secession plans before Trump’s victory was reality. Pishevar was quickly joined by powerful tech investors such as Jason Calacanis and tech cronies in government such as former Campbell mayor and current California Assemblymember Evan Low. Pishevar wraps this in righteous patriotism, claiming it’s California’s responsibility as a global economic power to lead by example.
Where exactly are we being led, though? Six Californias, tech’s 2014 attempt at secession via breaking up California into six new states, paints a clear portrait. Venture capitalist Tim Draper was its architect and generated some buzz, though it ultimately failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Note how North California (yellow), Silicon Valley (green) and West California (dark blue) are finely carved, while the remaining portions of the state are left to the sides like scrap. This would create states for San Francisco Bay Area-Sacramento, Silicon Valley itself, and Los Angeles. The centers of California’s tax-revenue generation would be reborn as wealthy states able to keep their riches for themselves, while the other new states would be consigned to poverty from birth.
California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a 2013 report about Six Californias that said the same:
The gaps are underscored in California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s analysis of the proposal. According to the report, the new state of Silicon Valley, which would encompass most of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County and parts of the Central Coast, would have the highest per capita income in the nation, out-ranking Connecticut (funny coincidence that Draper happens to reside here). Meanwhile, the neighboring state of Central California, encompassing mostly poor agricultural counties in the Central Valley, would be at the very bottom in per capita income, behind Mississippi.
Silicon Valley would get a white-supremacist utopia, and its allies to the north and south would be rewarded with their own states, as well. The other new states, though? All those “undeserving” people “leeching” off tech’s hard work? They would be left to rot with a minimal tax base and no way of funding public services, new targets for bigotry and scorn.
How is this different from the nightmare scenarios of Trump’s America? It isn’t. Despite all their performances of altruism and charity to the contrary, Silicon Valley remains the spoiled child of Wall Street both in ideology and practice. They generate obscene wealth by purchasing local governments and then absorbing all surrounding wealth into themselves, leaving nothing but the husks of neighborhoods and communities behind. A nano-swarm of locusts devouring everything in sight for their sake and theirs alone. #CalExit is the re-purposing of these ideas into an alleged strategy of resistance against Trump, when in reality it’s simply another way of reaching the same terminus, but with Silicon Valley’s best and brightest feasting upon us instead of Trump’s. More proof that Peter Thiel is far from a Silicon Valley outlier; he’s their truest representative.