I just checked Amazon to read the new reviews of Crazifornia – there were two more since the last time I checked, both 5-star – but I noticed that one review was found to be helpful by 15 of the 15 people who checked a “Was this review helpful? Yes/No” box.
It’s titled, “Witty writing and compelling facts make for a fascinating and enjoyable read,” and it gave Crazifornia five stars. It was written by “Bookworm,” an anonymous Bay Area blogger who’s been a blogging buddy of mine for many years. She was one of the first people in the country to read Crazifornia, and here’s what she wrote about it on Amazon:
Laer is a wonderful writer with straightforward, prose, a witty sense of humor that doesn’t overwhelm the narrative, and a commanding mastery of facts about California’s politics, business, education, and public policy. In theory, I should have galloped through Crazifornia in three hours. In fact, it took me three days to read.
Why did I have a problem with this fascinating book? Because, when I started I did not know how deep the Crazifornia rot ran in the state, nor was I aware quite how infectious the insanity is when it comes to the rest of America. To keep up with the deluge of evidence proving that California is indeed crazy, I repeatedly stopped reading so that I could scratch out little notes to myself: “California’s all-powerful bureaucrats are an army of Leftist Rube Goldberg’s with guns.” “This is a perfect example of voter credulity and bureaucratic overreach.” “California takes a legislatively created energy crisis and makes it worse with more legislation.” The scariest note I wrote was also the shortest: “As California goes, so goes the nation.”
Because California had long been blessed with enormous natural resources and a vital, growing population, it had the wealth to keep the impractical Progressive dream going for decades. It could abs0rb the enormous financial and human losses from almost heroic bureaucratic ineptitude (Chapter 5); laws and regulations that suck the life out of both new and established businesses (Chapter 6); ridiculous educational experiments and an all-powerful teachers union that has little interest in student well-being and education (Chapter 7); environmentalism run amok (Chapter 8); and public sector unions and pensions that have managed to go wherever one ends up when “amok” is a distant memory (Chapter 9).
In lively, humorous prose, Laer tells spins out facts and anecdotes showing a state in thrall to unrealistic visions of an untainted pastoral past, guided by wild-eyed politicians; rigid,power-hungry bureaucrats; and scheming unions. Crazifornia essentially describes a dysfunctional state, one that can best be summed up as a banana republic governed, not by oligarchs, but by a toxic mix of environmental fascists, greedy unions, corrupt or ideology-driven legislators, and all-powerful bureaucrats. But before you get too angry at these jackals, perhaps you should reserve your wrath for the ones who truly deserve it: the California voters.
It’s probably too late to save California. Laer tries to inject some optimism at the end of each chapter and in the conclusion to his book he notes that voter patterns might finally be changing (although recent polling data makes me less optimistic). As cities go bankrupt, gas and food prices rise, businesses bail, and the California middle class becomes poor, some of the voters might finally be growing up. Whether they can reverse California’s downward trend remains questionable. Laer has some excellent suggestions for getting the political pendulum unstuck from its far Left position, but it will be ugly, and it will have to be carried out by people who have been subjected to one hundred years of California’s Progressive propaganda.
When you read Laer’s book (and I hope this review has convinced you to do so), you will see that it is a profound morality tale about what happens when America’s green, anti-capitalist Progressivism gains the upper hand in government. So remember, only you can prevent the Crazifornication of America.
Full disclosure: Bookworm was my source for the “From high to Lowell” section of Crazifornia’s chapter on education.