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California and the Californians by David Starr Jordan
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California and the Californians

David Starr Jordan
President Stanford University

The Californian loves his state because his state loves him. He returns
her love with a fierce affection that to men who do not know California
is always a surprise. Hence he is impatient of outside criticism. Those
who do not love California cannot understand her, and, to his mind,
their shafts, however aimed, fly wide of the mark. Thus, to say that
California is commercially asleep, that her industries are gambling
ventures, that her local politics is in the hands of professional
pickpockets, that her small towns are the shabbiest in Christendom, that
her saloons control more constituents than her churches, that she is the
slave of corporations, that she knows no such thing as public opinion,
that she has not yet learned to distinguish enterprise from highway
robbery, nor reform from blackmail, - all these statements, and others
even more unpleasant, the Californian may admit in discussion, or may
say for himself, but he does not find them acceptable from others. They
may be more or less true, in certain times and places, but the
conditions which have permitted them will likewise mend them. It is said
in the Alps that "not all the vulgar people who come to Chamouny can
ever make Chamouny vulgar." For similar reasons, not all the sordid
people who drift overland can ever vulgarize California. Her fascination
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