California's Energy War on the Poor

Back in the day I did some electric utility resource planning. It helps me understand the uselessness of wind and solar.

First, coal and nuclear plants are “base load.” They are priced cheap, but they are designed to be on all the time. You can’t throttle them up and down on short notice.

Then there are plants that can be throttled up and down. You can do that somewhat with combined-cycle gas turbine plants, and pretty well with straight gas turbine plants. These are priced higher, because more flexible.

We also had hydro plants on the Columbia. These can be turned on and off at will, but are priced for the amount of energy (i.e. water in the river) in dry years. In wet years, you have “secondary energy” much beloved of aluminum plants, because the energy is much cheaper, even though not available in dry years.

But wind and solar are not reliable, because not necessarily available. So they must be backed up by gas-turbine plants. They work great if you are Google with a server farm that has diesel backup generators. I think that Google has a server farm in Oregon right next to a dam. And right down the highway from a bunch of wind turbines.

If you are a ruling-class administrator and you do not understand what I just wrote, then you are the problem.


Dear ormond.otvos,
We grew up in California– the family farm is in Tehama County. I remember it as a prosperous and happy place. Business takes me to California several times a year. When last I drove that way, I intended to ask for permission to walk the orchards once again. Where the farmhouse once stood, I found a trailer, much the worse for wear. In front were two cars, neither which had run for a long time. Surrounding them was a junkyard, with beer cans and a big dog on a chain. Discretion being the better part of valor, I decided not to stop.

This kind of housing was typical. People lived in houses with broken windows, and part of the roof had collapsed on one. Not every house was like this, though.

Every tenth house was set back 50 yards from the road. They had 8 foot (2.3m) chain link fences, and a couple of Rottweilers. These houses were well maintained, and the gardens were watered.

In Red Bluff, the parks and riverside have been taken over by the homeless.

California has been working on the problems of the poor since I lived in the state 50 years ago. This is the result. I don’t think I will go there again.


Stacker says they were calculating people eligible to vote, not actual voters. The criterion they mentioned was being aged 18+, but I speculated that they may have also restricted the count to legal citizens (while the census figures do not).

Yes. I suspect the California exodus will turn into a stampede in this decade.

@chrischantrill comments nail it, nail it, nail it …

Exactly. I know people who moved there in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was already expensive but not yet insane and unlivable. Almost everyone I know is leaving. The “working on the problems of the poor” is another fact-free, feel-good fantasy. Many of those problems are being created by the very people claiming to “solve” them. On that basis, they’ll never be “solved” – of course. That’s not the point.


Everything about the Californian approach will lead to a much higher cost of living for all of the reasons mentioned in this thread so far. Everybody knows that, even those pushing the agenda. If this is the price we need to pay for protecting the environment, so be it.
We are violently in agreement, so why do we keep fighting about it?

The more interesting question is why do people particularly on the lower end of the wealth scale continue to vote Democrat? There must be something that makes them stick to the party that compensates them for this hardship?

Is it handouts? Access to healthcare? Greater tolerance for drug addition and being left alone when caught shoplifting?
The other possibility is that poor Californians do care more about the environment than their own wellbeing. Is it just ignorance, they know not what they do?

Is it not critical to understand this? If it is a dependance on the state, tolerance, or concern for the environment in spite of a decline in standard of living, then Californian’s will stay and the situation will continue to get worse.

If these aspects are desired, but the decline in standard of living is not tolerated or Californians’ don’t understand the link then they will move to other more prosperous states and take their aspirations with them when they vote.

Don’t we need to take the time to understand this before to overwhelms us?


What makes the poor, particularly minorities, continue to vote for Democrats? Cash, and great marketing by a captive media.

Regarding cash, constant handouts would greatly diminish without Democrats being in charge. (See Great Society, i.e., $ trillions that accomplished nothing.)

As for marketing, see the extremely effective Democrat-led clamor that Republicans are vicious racists who “are gonna put y’all in chains!” (Joe Biden’s own words). This is treated as fact by much of the press and most entertainers. (Try watching The View.)

Democrats own the high ground based on this. But it’s interesting to see these policies get less and less effective, particularly with Hispanics (or “Lantinx”, as rich white liberal ladies refer to them).


You mean like the wife staying with her alcoholic abusive husband? Takes the abuse because she is too dependent on him and fearful of trying to make a go of it on her own?

If you are right, red states have nothing to fear from migration from blue states. Abused wives prepared to stand up and make a go of it should be welcomed.

The challenging ones are those who don’t see the connection and want the increased standard of living, take their husbands with them, and expect them to be given well paying jobs. AOC and Elizabeth Warren to name just two.

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That’s changing. All the political movement in America is white men and women shifting Democrats, and people of colour shifting Republican. The main dynamic is education. College=Democrat. High School Degree=Republican.

For the first time, Latinos are 50/50 split- a figure likely to skew Republican in real terms, due to preference falsification and the fact that most polls tend to be inaccurate by about a +7 Republican shift.

No. It’s indoctrination. Most young people have never read an actual IPCC report and instead believe the completely misrepresentative shit they see in media or read in print. When they believe that climate change is an existential threat, it’s not difficult to justify huge economic harms in the name of ‘progress’.

What’s the betting that once it becomes clear that Latinos are voting Republican 60/40, the Democrats change their view on immigration? The really interesting thing is the African American vote. Younger African American women are still likely to vote Dem overwhelmingly- largely because a high percentage go to college (more than white men for example). But for younger African American men its a completely different story. In 2020, African American men voted Biden at an 80% rate- and the shift was most notable amongst the young.


You lost me here Geary. Young AA women are Dems overwhelmingly then you use ‘but’ young AA men are 80% for Biden – seems to me these figures do not indicate ‘a completely different story’, they indicate exactly the same story. What am I missing?


Until a few minutes ago, my mantra was “Educated people are stupid”, essentially due to brainwashing by academia as you suggest. That was until you fed it back to me, which for some reason automatically makes me challenge the assumption. I guess I am wired like that, born to challenge orthodoxy.

What if this is much deeper than that. Young smart people are naive, and desperately looking for simple interpretations and solutions to complex problems. Less intelligent people give up and take the world at face value. Universities and consultants desperately try to simplify complex problems into simple models.
A match made in heaven.

The Democratic Party has adopted this approach in recent years - simple solutions to complex problems.
Conservative response - NO, it does not work like that, ask your grandfather (who does not know how to use a cell phone) or from the more progressive amongst us - not sure, its complicated.

The latter approach is unlikely to appeal to the smart youth, but aligned with the more practical and the older and wise amongst us (of course it is complicated and if in doubt, listen to grandpa).

“Never Attribute to Malice That Which Is Adequately Explained by Stupidity”



Sorry, the 80% figure was for all African American men, as opposed to younger men who voted Trump or didn’t vote in higher numbers (some sources claimed close to 30% for the former). I also failed to supply historical context- this from 95% for Obama, and 90% more generally in recent history. It shows the demographic is shifting in voting preferences, and I would imagine that preference falsification is even higher than the +7 found in more general polling.

My point would be that taken together the shifts are likely a indication of what might soon become a landslide. People like JP, Tom MacDonald and Kanye are making a difference.


Hanlon is one of my favourite quotes. Paired with the Stand Alone complex it accounts for so many conspiracy theories. It is not that there is an evil global conspiracy (apart from the WEF and ESG in very specific and cynical ways)- it’s that people really are that stupid, especially in groups, and there seems to be a viral quality to stupidity.

I like the concession. I’m actually quite fond of the older economic progressives and class-oriented types. Admittedly there is a huge degree of variability in quality of thinking, but some of the more thoughtful types notice things that others miss. I just wish they would start looking at the overproduction of capital and its effects on scarcity costs. It’s the key to understanding why contemporary times can feel like the Gilded Age 2.0 for the young. If they actually took a serious look at it they would recognise the government culpability, both through QE and regulatory scarcity of building land.

I think you’re generally correct, but there is a better way of looking at it- through Big 5 Personality and the Openness to New Experience trait. Basically, the Left tends to be high in openness but low in conscientiousness, whilst the reverse is true of conservatives. It’s my theory that Left-leaning liberals are great at producing new ideas, but terrible at vetting them. In the past, this didn’t matter as much, because within the academy and politics there were always more sceptically inclined conservatives to push back on patently absurd ideas, which sounded good at a surface level.

With conservatives and Leftists at war with one another, we’ve lost this dynamic which served us so well for centuries. It was a natural filtering system- the Left would produce the ideas and the Right would vet them, weeding out the bulk. It produced a huge amount of value for the West, creating entire industries- and it’s not exactly clear that the civilisation states set to replace us can mimic this system effectively- it only works if one has enough people showing a complete lack of deference to accepted thinking or the status of their superiors.


Oh no. An educated person throwing a simplified model at me. Quick where is the garlic.

Are you sure about that? Sorry Jordan Peterson, I don’t think your model holds anymore.

If you are going to use a personality type model, I prefer “Romantic” vs “Logical” as in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for a split between Left and Right.

Having said that, neither cover my point adequately. You can be open to all sorts of things, or not on either side of the isle. You can be Romantic (like Mozart) or Logical, and be super smart or less so.

Smart people get distressed if they cannot master something. They desperately need a path forward, the Romantic want an Ideology, the Logical a formula.

Less smart get comfortable with it is what it is, and get on with it . This does not make them necessarily less open to new ideas than smart people. Ideologists and formula keepers I would suggest are more likely to cling to their “understanding” of the world on both sides of the isle.

No way the left is more open to anything outside their mind map right now.


Ok, there’s a rightward trend building demographically. That wasn’t supposed to happen.

Except that the woke are puritanical in their closedness. Ask Ella to have a cheerful openness to researchers who dare to suggest that trans is mostly an unhealthy fad that teenagers pick up from one another.


Probably true. Not only does the conservative camp tend to comprise more liberals mugged by reality these days, but the fact that college education has been commodified and is more a feature of class than inclination would tend to suggest that there is less filtering for openness to new experience.

This might be be the reason that the cultural appropriation argument is increasingly being deployed in campus food facilities- it might be easier to get sushi banned from the menu on the basis that it is cultural appropriation, than it is to explain to your friends that you are singularly unadventurous when it comes to food. If I was the chef I would pivot to anything with garlic, olives and chilli- that would piss the annoying little fuckers off.


Except like Muslims they’ll try to remake the new land in their own image. You’re giving them far too much credit in presuming they will learn from their mistakes.

Read this and tell me you think this guy will do any different after leaving. How to determine who should be welcomed and who will be a challenge?


That doesn’t sound smart to me.

These “less intelligent” people sound smarter than these “smart” people you speak of despite your contextualizing their greater pragmatism and stoicism as “giving up”.

:finger-quote: Less smart:


The framing of any regulation as increasing an increasing poverty gap, really gets back to one thing, a taxation problem. To often governments of all persuasions find it politically beneficial to ‘fix’ problems. Well problems can be ‘fixed’ however the fallout from that fixing will depend on whether or not (and mostly it’s not) there is appropriate ‘rent’ being taxed on any and every use of the resources - human and natural. Appropriate levels of taxes ensures, for example, that fossil fuel companies have already paid their due and those dues have been responsible for the elevation of the education, productivity and transformations of new technologies over time. Of course it didn’t happen and I’m guessing that corporations are not paying their due for the land that hosts solar and wind or even the use of the seas. So while we think of the sun and wind energy as free, it is not ‘free’, it belongs to everyone in an economic sense and the ‘rent’ on its use can be economically calculate. Tax departments can actually do this. So why don’t they. Because always vested interests will make a political funding case why not. We won’t solve the energy issues of the world, not climate change overall while we don’t get tax law sorted. There are $2 trillion of unpaid tax in tax havens around the world. That money can restore the greenhouse to pre-industrial levels - job done. On the way, a lot of people in the low socio-economic groups will find they have more access to the pie. It’s a straw man to bring fault to other technological advancements.