Jeremy Beck's picture

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  by  Jeremy Beck

Joe Rogan, the podcaster who recently signed a $100 million deal with Spotify, is moving to Texas. During an episode that ran over the weekend, he explained why (warning: this excerpt includes strong language):

"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. Also I think that where we live right here in Los Angeles is overcrowded. And I think, most of the time that's not a problem. But I think it's exposing the fact that it's a real issue, when you look at the number of people that uh, are catching COVID because of this overpopulation issue. When you look at the traffic, when you look at the economic despair, when you look at the homelessness problem that's accelerated radically over the last six, seven, ten years, I think there are too many people here. I think it's not tenable, I don't think that it's manageable. And every mayor does a [terrible] job of doing it because I don't think anybody could do a great job of it. I think there's certain things you're gonna have to deal with when you have a population of whatever [Los Angeles is]. It's too many people."

Now, like California, Texas is a big state. It is often said that you could fit the entire population of the world in Texas (true, although we'd all be dead within a week so what's the point?). But Rogan may be surprised to learn that Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, adding about 8,700 people every week. As of 2017, four of the five fastest-growing cities in the U.S. were in Texas, and six of the top fifteen.

Someone in Rogan's position can afford to insulate himself from the worst downstream effects of overcrowding, but presumably he will be spending significant time within the "Texas Triangle" where the vast majority of population growth is taking place.

Rogan may be leaving overpopulated Los Angeles, but in doing so, he will be part of the "Californication" of Texas and the American West.

What's driving the growth? Well, Texas' state and local policies encourage growth through subsidies for developers and tax incentives for corporations and individuals (as several people have noted, Rogan stands to save a lot of money in taxes by moving to the Lone Star State). But the majority of Texas' population growth and loss of open space is driven by federal immigration policies, about 57 percent and 67 percent, respectively.
We need to be able to talk about this.

We need to be able to have a real conversation about limits without personal attacks. There's no point in blaming Joe Rogan, or immigrants, or anyone for wanting to live in Texas (I lived there once and I loved it!). And there is no point in pretending that raising questions about limits is an attack on anyone who wants to live in Texas, or the United States for that matter. The fact is that federal immigration policy is a factor in the overcrowding, traffic, economic inequality, and loss of open space and personal freedom that Rogan is leaving behind...and moving into. The same story is unfolding in megalopolises across the country and nobody is asking "where does this end?"

The Joe Rogan Experience has become wildly popular by digging into sensitive but essential issues that the establishment media and political elites will only touch with bromides and carefully calibrated talking points. Why not add immigration-driven population growth to the list?

The Census Bureau projects the U.S. population to grow by another 79 million between 2017-2060. That's the equivalent of adding another California and Texas to the population, with New Jersey thrown in to boot. That's 79 million more people needing water, sewage treatment plants, schools, homes, roads, cars, electricity, etc. America never voted for this future. Future generations will have no say in the matter. Congress has set the course with no debate. Will 79 million more Americans be a good thing, a bad thing, or a bit of both? We ought to talk about it.

"There's pros and cons to everything," Rogan says. "But I think you have a better opportunity at more pros when there's less folks."

Updated: Tue, Aug 11th 2020 @ 4:50pm EDT

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