California is the iPhone, Android is the Tea Party

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Here’s an interesting analogy: California is the iPhone. I’m not sure where Android would be, but maybe you can help me pick a place after you hear the idea.

Basically, California is the beacon of liberalism, which in this context means promoting a lifestyle that it feels is best for everyone. This means things like:

  • Healthier foods

  • Healthcare for everyone

  • Clean energy

  • Treating the environment well

  • Animal rights

  • Reproductive rights

  • Sex education

  • Anti-war protests

  • Tougher gun laws (less gun “culture”)

  • Gay marriage

They’re not only saying they think it’s better, they’re saying they know it’s better and that you are being forced to do it. The distinction is important.

Importantly, all of this comes at the cost of higher income taxes, sales taxes, etc.

In short, they’re saying that these things are must-haves for a quality experience, and that you should be happy paying more for them.


Android stands for maximum choice, and specifically for fewer decisions being made on your behalf–especially by an overbearing third party who claims to know what’s best for you.

Again, this isn’t a perfect analogy, but take a look at some of the outcomes of this philosophy:

  1. Some people will be more happy due to a perfect custom configuration

  2. Many will be far less happy because they didn’t make good choices

  3. There will be a lot more abuse and chaos (a lack of regulation leads to fraud, abuse, and mobile malware) Note: Approximately 90% of all mobile malware is on the Android platform, with only about 2% on Apple.

Evaluation of the philosophies

I happen to lean toward the left here, and towards Apple, so I have a clear bias. But let’s look at these as objectively as possible:

  • The Apple way produces a better experience for more people, at higher cost. This is the European way as well, and seems to be doing well for places like Scandinavia, Germany, etc.

  • But what about America’s dominance in the last four decades? Did we dominate due to the California mentality? I don’t think so. I think we dominated due to the free spirit of capitalism, which seems more in line with the choice model.

I’ll not claim that there is not clear merit to the “open, free, choice” model. There is. Without question. I’m only asking that those who are for this model also consider the (I believe overwhelming) downsides.

My answer

I think the solution is fairly simple, actually. You’re supposed to have a California framework in place that allows more people to be in the position to become exceptional and thus become able to make better choices.

So, you enable the California system to level-set. To get everyone to the point of being able to contribute equally. It’s better for that, clearly.

But the goal is to ultimately maximize choice, not to reduce it.

The things being limited by them aren’t supposed to be options for the advanced human anyway. We’re not going to evolve beyond gay marriage, or treating animals humanely, or desiring clean energy. It’s not a phase we’re stuck in due to too much liberal control.

But we will be able to create markets and maximize competition to find the best solutions to problems. This is what made America great, and it can continue to thrive in California.

Now that I think of it, isn’t it doing just that in the Bay Area? Aren’t most of the people creating new ideas in the Bay Area fairly liberal? Aren’t the companies they create fairly liberal? It doesn’t seem to be hampering their ability to innovate or compete.


The walled garden presented by Apple is much like the liberal policies pushed by California. They’re designed to create a better experience for people–even if they don’t know yet that they’ll enjoy it more.

That has more than a tinge of paternalism to it, and it’s something I don’t like about it. But at the same time I do think it’s often needed. Most of the people who oppose gay marriage, clean energy, humane treatment of animals, and public education could actually use some help in this regard, and I don’t mind saying so.

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But it’s also important for the Apple/Liberal types to realize that the goal is to level-set and return to free choice, i.e. to enable people to make their own decisions. This would ultimately be the best option.

Ideally there would be options for people to support gay marriage or not, and support clean energy or not, and support reproductive rights, or not. And ideally everyone would simply choose correctly.

That’s where we’re heading.

But in the meantime, places like California think the right thing to do is to create a place where you don’t have the option to make the “wrong” decision there. To create a place where that decision is made for you, which will produce a better life experience for you and everyone else around you.

It’s curious really, because you hear about so many Republican types coming back from vacation in Finland or Germany, and raving about how clean everything was, or how organized things were, and on and on. Then they proceed to blame liberals for not allowing that to happen in the United States.

Perhaps “curious” is too soft a word.

Limited choices, in the context of masses of people who are unable to make good ones, are sometimes better. This does not please me, but it does seem to be true.

People are generally not public planners or politicians or moral philosophers. And they aren’t UX designers either.

So if someone has a set of ideals that get more people to the point of happiness, and they enact these policies with the goal of improving everyone’s experience, then I’m happy to–temporarily–take that trade of fewer choices available.

I probably wasn’t going to pick the “no gay marriage” or “15 system keyboards” option anyway.

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