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Sheer genius: Silicon Valley as a separate state

Venture capitalist Tim Draper creates a proposal to split California into six states with, oddly enough, Silicon Valley being a state all of its own.

3 min read
Radicalism, at last. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I'm going to give you a choice.

You can have all the nerds or all the wine.

Come on, you've only got 30 seconds to decide.

No, I haven't already hit the Christmas cabernet franc. Instead, I've merely been bathing in the frank proposal to split California into six separate states.

As TechCrunch reported Thursday night, this marvel is the brain offspring of venture capitalist Tim Draper. And truly, it's an excellent idea.

Timothy Draper
Tim Draper, nattily attired. (File photo from May 2009.) Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Living in Northern California, it's hard for us to accept that we're lumped together with the likes of, for example, Angelenos. Their insipid self-absorption, their puffy lips, and their overly-financed baseball make them troubling kin.

In this proposal, Los Angeles would now be part of West California. Generously, West California would include the fine wineries of Paso Robles, something which I'm not sure Los Angeles deserves.

Waving the Silicon Valley flag
Still, the most intriguing part of this scheme is that Silicon Valley would be its own state -- comprising the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.

The suspicious will have a sense of the real result here: the digital controllers of Silicon Valley, some of greater mental stability than others, will begin their quest to create a governmental utopia, where the greatest minds will flourish unencumbered by notions such as privacy or, well, old-fashioned paper government.

There's more than a slight odor of the feelings expressed recently by Stanford lecturer Balaji Srinivasan: "We need to build opt-in society, outside the US, run by technology."

You might think we're already run by technology, but this new state would be a state of technological ecstasy.

But the likes of Srinivasan believe, deep inside their circuitry, that you ain't seen nothin' yet: "The best part is this, the people who think this is weird, the people who sneer at the frontier, who hate technology, won't follow you there."

So it might be a farewell to many of the residents of Alameda and Monterey, who might prefer a more human life. They, I am sure, will be welcome in the new North California.

This state will have, at its heart, the louche and the addled, the tasteful and the resigned. And yes, the wineries of Napa and Sonoma will be in this one, now idyllic, state. (We'll be rid of the palatial bed-sits of San Francisco.)

Draper's proposal -- which will reportedly be put before the California state Attorney General's sober eyes within the next 48 hours -- rightly suggests that California deserves stronger representation.

He says that this six-pack of states will promote competition.

If it goes through, though, will some in the new North California be tempted to charge Silicon Valley a minimum of $200 for our worst wine-in-a-box? In turn, will the new state of Silicon Valley attempt to charge the dissolute northerners an extra $1,000 for every new iPad. (We'd pay, of course.)

I sense a certain genius behind the California six-pack.

All this tech talk of disruption has been sadly confined to industries that were idling on street corners, picking pockets. These were serial offenders, rather than hardened criminals.

Now the vast, stifled minds of the Valley will show just how much -- and how quickly -- they can change the world for the better. This will surely be the most social, sharing, altruistic region on Earth.

If the new state of Silicon Valley can show us all a brighter, more beautiful future, then the world will be the better for it. And, of course, bow down to it.

Six Californias Proposal