In the 1990s, I had business relations with several Silicon Valley firms and often flew into San Francisco, rented a car, and drove south on Route 101. Once, for some reason, I drove down Route 1 instead, which runs along the ocean. I had never driven it before and was amazed at its beauty—the unspoiled dunes, the long beaches, the gorgeous mix of turquoises and earth tones. Then as the scene rolled on, mile after mile, I had a cognitive dissonance. “What’s going on?! Where are the Arby’s, the motels, the condos, the strip malls?” Then it dawned on me. “Oh, there used to be a government here.”
California, in fact, for the first couple decades after WWII, under both Republican and Democratic leadership—Earl Warren, ...