A sad reality which has only gotten worse since the election is the increasing amount of depression I see in myself and my friends. Oh, I try, heck, I'm writing a book on how to ENJOY the decline, but I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't say the death of the United States doesn't bother me at least once a day. BUt still, I try to fight it and find reasons to live anyway.
However, while writing "Enjoy the Decline" I was put in such a depressed mood one day that it forced me to try to think through this problem. It forced me to really analyze what was bothering me so much. And out of everything wrong that is happening to the US, and out of all the bad things that are likely to happen as we switch to a socialist nation, the single, biggest thing I mourn is what the US could have been had we just kept going like we did in the 40's-60's.
I'm not talking about the amount of money we'd make, which I've addressed before, but what we could have achieved as a society in terms of culture, music, technology, space exploration, etc. The coolest thing to happen recently was Felix Baumgartner setting the parachuting record. And before that? Anything?
To make my point take a look at this plane, the XB 70
That thing was DEVELOPED IN THE 1950's.
In basically 20 years we went from propeller airplanes to a BOMBER that could do Mach 3. 10 years later, moon landing (and no comments about how NASA was a waste)
What have we done in the past 50 years? Yes yes, I know, a bunch of computer stuff, hurray . Great, we can text. But that's just the point, we will never know what we could have achieved had we kept up with the historical level of economic growth and technological innovation. Or another way to put it (though I can't prove this is true, I just remember hearing it somewhere) had the Roman Empire not collapsed, technology would have advanced much faster resulting in us landing on the moon before Christopher Columbus discovered America.
Sadly, the only way to speculate on what we could have achieved is to look back at the past. Not just to estimate would-be trajectories of various advances in the US, but even worse - some aspects of life were better back then.
Can anybody argue the women's rights movements of the 1970's did anything but harm the country?
Can anybody argue the Great Society did anything but harm and create more poor people?
And for the Patron Saint's Name of Frick, can we at least get some quality cartoons like Bugs BUnny again??? (yes, yes, I know too expensive, excuses, excuses, excuses).
The worst part of the US not achieving its best is that by default it makes it impossible for the individual to achieve his/her best. Being brought up in the 70's and 80's we were told/brainwashed that the US was the greatest country in the world and if you worked hard you could achieve anything. Certianly the historical evidence proved that. So why would a little kid think any different? It only served to inflate young kids dreams and expectations, making the crash even harsher. Sure enough, slowly, over the course of 20 years, entering adulthood, the economic realities of this nation and the idiots that voted those realities in whisk away your dreams, and worse, make you fear the future.
So now instead of worrying if there will be hover cars,
we worry if we can have cars period, let alone afford the gas.
Instead of worrying about whether you'll own your own personal plane,
we worry about whether we can afford a flight somewhere for winter.
Instead of worrying about finding the "right one"
you'll settle for somebody that doesn't have illegimate kids, hasn't filed for bankruptcy, and have a part-time job.
Instead of worrying about whether you'll be the best pilot, or best welder, or best accountant,
you're worrying if you'll just be able to find a job, period.
I know I say "enjoy the decline," but it takes a mighty strong person to embed that into their psychologies.