Monday, July 06, 2009

History of California

Arts and Letters Daily (link now corrected!) highlights The Atlantic's review of the eighth volume of Kevin Starr’s Americans and the California Dream, which must be one of the most extraordinary single-author historical projects currently in progress.

The news these days has California collapsing under the follies of plebiscitary democracy, where a simple majority can amend the constitution to abrogate minority rights but the legislature needs a 2/3rd majority to pass a budget and endless plebiscites bind the state ever more firmly in tax cuts and bankruptcy. Starr's new volume on the years 1950-63, ironically, is all about the glory days of California, when it had the best schools and universities (all publicly funded), the best infrastructure (ditto), the best parks and recreational facilities (ditto), and limitless job possibilities (much of it from federal investment).

Poor California -- suicide by referendum.
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