Changes that take place in the 1960s matched the traditional Californian strife for freedom since California was traditionally the land, where people were free to do whatever they wanted within the legal framework. However, such freedom often raises the problem of conflict of interests and observation of legal norms and rules. In such a way, the rise of the Civil Rights movement in California mirrored the true Californian spirit, when the Civil Rights movement and the rise of diverse political forces and new trends in culture mirrored to the freedom of Californians in their lifestyle.
However, what Didion perceived as freedom of choice, Thompson defined as lawlessness. Thompson stands on the ground that lawlessness engenders fear. At this point, he refers to the experience of biker gang Hell’s Angels, which terrorized the population of California. Thompson reveals the lack of power of an individual and ability to self control under the impact of the group (Thompson, 193).
California historically respected freedom and individual liberty to act freely. Therefore, arguments of Thompson are inconsistent. In fact, he takes the example of the biker gang and extrapolates their experience and model of behavior on all other people. In such a way, the scope of the study conducted by Thompson is narrow.
Instead, Didion conducts the extensive study which involves the development of political movements, civil movements, deep cultural changes and other trends which affected the life of the society (Didion, 144). At the same time, she reveals the fact that all the changes that occurred in the society matched the traditional Californian ideals and values which appreciate the freedom of choice and lifestyle. The major principle of the life of Californians is the freedom of an individual of any boundaries and the choice of the lifestyle that matches individual interests but as long as this lifestyle does not contradicts to the legal norms and rules.
Therefore, power of the society over an individual in California was low as well as control from the part of the society over the individual. At the same time, an individual choice was a very important power and it is people, who lead their own lives and choose their lifestyle that have the power. They are diverse but they make the strong power that control policy makers and define the development of California as a state.
The control is performed by the people of California through legislative, executive and judiciary branches of power. In such a way, lawlessness defined by Thompson in his study refers to the specific case of the Biker gang and cannot be extrapolated on the entire society or local community. The biker gang would not and did not gain the support of the local population. Therefore, the biker gang had the power based on the terror of the local community. Instead, Didion relied on the study of the movements and trends that gained the support of the large part of the population of California (Didion, 138). Hence, Didion revealed the power of movements and trends through the support of people. Therefore, Didion revealed the full extent to which the power of people was significant because under the pressure of people lawmakers had to introduce changes to meet demands of minorities and introduce other changes. In such a way, Didon shows the full extent of the impact of individuals and the people of California on the political, socioeconomic and cultural life of the state.
In such a context, the position of Thompson that lawlessness engenders fears and paralizes the society is irrelevant. Sometimes the society needs changes, such as the changes described by Didion, and the society needs to pass through the stage of lawlessness, when laws change and new legal norms and rules are introduced. In such a way, the society needs changes, which do not mean lawlessness proper but the change of legal norms and social rules.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that California is the state where individuals rights and liberties are respected. However, Thompson believed that the power and control may be grounded on fear, but such a view is irrelevant to the actual life of the society of California. Instead, Didion is more consistent in her views in regard to the power of the people because, if some trends in the political, social, economic or cultural life are supported by a large part of the population, these trends should be introduced, while people have the power to introduced these changes and control their implementation.