The Hollywood scene used to be filled with Joe Rogans — free spirits who spoke their minds. Sure, liberals dominated the world of entertainment, but non-liberals, at least those who had already made it or who possessed a certain level of moral courage, could, and did, speak out.
The era of free speech has come to a close in the stultifying conformity of wokeness. Wrongthink is punishable by cancelation. Bigger celebrities can fight it, for a time, but most eventually bend. It’s simply too exhausting a struggle. A paycheck is more enticing than trying to dialogue with a mob. The mob isn’t interested in reason, or even democracy. They want… something, and they want it now.
What exactly did Joe Rogan say that signaled his big move from Los Angeles to Texas? During a podcast conversation with guest Joe De Sena, Rogan said, “I’m outta here, I’m gonna go to Texas.” Rogan elaborated, “I just want to go somewhere in the center of the country, somewhere it’s easier to travel to both places, and somewhere where you have a little bit more freedom.” While Rogan complained about L.A.’s infamous traffic and population density, he also cited the area’s “economic despair” and a “homelessness problem that’s accelerated radically over the last six, seven, 10 years…”
Rogan isn’t just griping. His comments are fundamentally a political critique of California’s one-party governance by the increasingly far left.
On the surface, a casual observer would think Rogan should be perfectly at home in California. His eclectic views include support of recreational drug use and two progressive staples: universal basic income and universal health care. But Rogan also favors Second Amendment gun rights. He endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2012, Libertarian Gary Johnson in 2016, and said he’d “probably” vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary. But after Sanders dropped out, Rogan committed the apostacy of saying he’d “rather vote for Trump than Biden.”
This sort of statement — really, anything short of total denunciation of Pres. Trump — is likely to get you uninvited from a lot of parties in Hollywood, even if you did just sign a $100 million-plus contract with Spotify for a wildly popular podcast.
And Joe Rogan isn’t alone. According to a poll in late 2019 from U.C. Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, 74 percent of California’s very conservative voters say they’re looking into moving, with 84 percent of those citing California’s increasingly hostile political monoculture as their rationale. Which makes sense. Rogan is wealthy, well-known and powerful, while the average California small business owner or employee is subject to being canceled at a moment’s notice, losing both livelihood and “friends.”
As Rogan and other creatives look to move out, exchanging good weather for “more freedom,” what are the other factors that might turn a trickle into a flood?
The most salient one is taxes. California has the highest individual state income tax rate in the nation, 13.3 percent. Moving to Texas could save Rogan more than $13 million on his recently inked Spotify agreement.
The second reason is artistic license. California is fast becoming what it claims to hate: conformist. And, if everything is subject to the same ideologically approved groupthink, there can be no creativity.
Lastly, the surging metro violence, including the looting and the arson, unsettles many longtime residents of leftist-ruled cities. Unlike past periods of urban upheaval, this one has an unusual pattern — it’s overtly political.
Cities with the largest share of votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 are those seeing the most violence. This, as leftwing mayors sympathetic to the violent demonstrators have hamstrung their police while supporting the “defunding” of law enforcement. It’s a volatile mix that threatens to spiral out of control, leading many unnerved liberals to discover their Second Amendment rights — and that it’s harder to buy a handgun and ammo than they thought.
Fortunately for Rogan and others who make their living with their ideas, words and images, high speed internet facilitates productivity almost anywhere.
And for others who lean towards hands-on work, Elon Musk’s Tesla announced a major expansion into Texas last week that will employ at least 5,000 workers. Tesla CEO Musk had often expressed his frustration with California elected officials’ anti-business attitudes.
All of this will likely continue and deepen the trend of Californians moving out of the Democrat-controlled state, with the U.S. Census reporting that nearly 700,000 Californians left for other states in 2018, with the largest share of those, 86,000, moving to Texas (while 501,000 people moved into California from other states).
Thankfully for continuation of those Texas policies that result in “more freedom,” multiple polls suggest that most of these new Texans by choice lean conservative.