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Split California Into 6 States? A Multi-Millionaire’s New Plan


Brantly Millegan - published on 02/21/14 - updated on 06/07/17

This should remind you of a key principle from Catholic Social Teaching...

Multi-millionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper is behind a new proposal to split California into six smaller states.

The six new states in his plan would be: South California (San Diego and Orange County), West California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara), North California (the Sacramento area), Central California (Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton), Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose), and finally Jefferson (Redding and Eureka). (Here’s the plan’s website where you can sign up for email updates.)

Some experts are saying the plan is already dead on arrival since it would add ten new Senators to Congress and upset the balance of power.

"[I]ts prospects are nil," Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, told USA Today. "I don’t think anyone is going to give California 12 Senate seats."

So why is Draper pushing the plan? "Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government," Draper’s plan says, according to USA Today. "[California residents] would be better served by six smaller state governments."

In other words, California is too big and diverse for the state government to adequately serve all of its residents. That should remind you of an important principle of Catholic Social Teaching.

Subsidiarity, "that most weighty principle, which cannot be set aside or changed, [and] remains fixed and unshaken in social philosophy" is defined by Pope Pius XI as follows:

"Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them." (
Quadragesimo Anno, 79)

Humans are not just statistics, we are persons who recquire personal attention – something that gets harder and harder to do the bigger an organization is.

How can California properly serve farmers in the north and Hollywood in the south? It shouldn’t try, Draper thinks. Breaking the state up into smaller parts would allow those new state government to be more tailored to the needs of their residents.

Given all of that, it’s ironic that one of the possible roadblocks to the plan is the national political consequences of adding more Senators to Congress.

Whether or not this is a smart or feasible plan remains to be seen. But what appears to be spirit behind it is an important lesson, in accord with Catholic Social Teaching, that all levels of government should keep in mind.

Brantly Milleganis an Assistant Editor for Aleteia. He is also Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Second Nature, Co-Director of the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity, and is working on a M.A. in Theology at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. He lives with his wife and children in South St. Paul, MN. His personal website is

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