The Way We Were
Robert L. Wichterman
Robert L. Wichterman writes from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
When I was in grammar school, 60 plus years ago, there was a young person's newspaper sent to the schools, known as The Weekly Reader. In addition to the world and national news that would have been of interest to us, there was often an article about a scientific development, which would improve our lives, when it was completed.
For instance, superconductors would transform railroad travel. In the future, trains would hover above the rails, moving at several hundred miles per hour. Plus, there would be ocean kelp farms, which would eliminate hunger and famine everywhere in the world. Underwater cities would then be built to house and service the farm workers and their families. The UN was to operate and administer the latter two predictions.
Obviously, these forecasts never came to be. Most of the advances we have are just improvements to existing technology. (i.e., cell phones, personal computers, televisions, etc.) After Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, recommendations were made that we build a Luna City there. For, given the Moon's minimal gravity, it would be easier for space ships to take off from it, than from Earth. Results? None.
In 1938, a train ride from Chicago to New York City took 16 hours; today, it takes Amtrak 21 hours. During the Depression of the 1930s, the 1,472 feet high Empire State Building was built in 410 days; in Philadelphia, PA, the 975 feet high Comcast Center was started in early 2005, and will not be finished until late 2007, barring any other problems.
Considering the computers, calculators, and much-improved machinery, I'm not sure why the advances have slowed. Can we blame it on the laws restricting where we may build, and what materials we may use? Those regulations have helped clean up the environment, made the workplace safer, increased our leisure time, and lengthened our lives.
Perhaps, confirming all of the above, we have become too satisfied with our recreations, and content with our life-style. There is no longer enough of a challenge to be encountered, and all of our needs, and most of our "wants" have been met. A more relevant question is, are there enough young people who are willing to fight, and if necessary die, for our freedoms?
If the answer to my query is "No," and the prior analysis is correct, then I believe the best days of our republic are behind us -- they are past. We have become like Imperial Rome, with nothing to work for other than more pleasure. May God help us and bring another Great Awakening.
Otherwise, with nothing worth working and dying for, we, as a free nation, will die. *
"In stirring up tumult and strife, the worst men can do the most, but peace and quiet cannot be established without virtue." --Cornelius Tacitus