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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

I recently saw a list from the History Channel about seven inventions during the Gilded Age that changed the world. It reminded me of a commentary I did a dozen years ago based upon Mark Steyn’s book, After America.

He had us imagine what it would be like to bring your great-grandfather living in the late 19th century to an ordinary American home in 1950. The poor gentleman would be astonished. This home is full of mechanical contraptions. There is a huge machine in the corner of the kitchen, full of food and keeping the milk fresh and cold. And he would hear an orchestra playing somewhere and then discover it came from a tiny box on the kitchen countertop.

He would look out the window and see a metal conveyance coming down the street at an incredible speed. It’s enclosed with doors and windows. It’s like a house on wheels. There are lots of these things called cars, but not a horse or horse-drawn carriage in sight.

But now imagine you could send someone from 1950 to our world today. I think they would be disappointed. Not much has changed at all. Sure, there are computers and smartphones, but I would imagine that he would have expected more changes than he found. Most of the remarkable changes took place a hundred years ago.

Why did much of our technology reach a plateau? Physics and politics are two reasons. We can dream of flying cars, time machines, and teleporting devices, but there are physical limits that prevent them from being created.

The other reason is politics and especially bureaucratic regulations. Government makes it much more difficult to be an inventor and an entrepreneur. It is time to roll back the size of government that stifles innovation and imagination.viewpoints new web version

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