On the day that Britain decides whether its destiny lies within or without the European Union, I will be in California. On the surface, I could not be more far removed from the Brexit dilemma. The cool, clear Californian air seems a world away from the toxic atmosphere currently engulfing Britain. And yet, California offers a unique vantage point on the EU referendum. For the Golden State is the clearest example of a polity rendered, at times, almost ungovernable by a mania for direct democracy.
On Saturday, after what seemed like interminable haggling in Brussels with his European Union counterparts, followed by a specially convened meeting of his cabinet, David Cameron went to the steps of 10 Downing Street and told Britons that a referendum would be put to them in June on whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU.
One of the great advantages of the ever-increasing plethora of rights conferred upon us by government (except that of keeping the product of our own labor) is that it requires lawyers to adjudicate between them when they conflict, as they so often do. It prevents unemployment among the ever-increasing number of lawyers: and you have only to consider the career of Robespierre to know where the disgruntlement of lawyers may lead.