Thursday, May 05, 2005

Should we?

[Via Sideshow]

Oliver WillisAhistoricality
America discovered atomic energy.used atomic weapons on civilian populations, and articulated the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction; also haven't built a new nuclear power plant for decades because we're too scared
America went to the moon.and haven't been back for thirty years
America built the microchip.And it has served us well
America built the personal computer.No. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates invented the first economically viable personal computers. America just bought them
America built the maintain military communications integrity in the event of massive nuclear attacks
There is no reason that a nation with that kind of track record and continued record of innovation can't break our addiction to oil.We can't even break our addiction to tobacco, and that stuff doesn't have any useful purpose.
Don't get me wrong: I'd love to see our government take energy alternatives and energy conservation seriously again (remember Carter? He tried). But a little less triumphalism might be in order.


Anonymous said...

This is kinda the problem with us liberals. You get so obsessed with the niggling details you fail to see the importance of the larger, overarching message. Gates and Jobs are Americans, who out of benefit of being in America had the kind of education and surrounding to build the microchip/operating system. The internet was a cold war weapon that has turned out to be the greatest communications medium ever. American politics is all about triumphalism, the sooner you learn that - the better. -- Oliver

Ahistoricality said...

How about this for a "niggling little detail": none of the advances you cite involved changing existing habits of consumption or entrenched economic/political interests. It's going to take more than a little triumphal rhetoric to push this through.

paper dragon said...

How about triumphalism makes the rest of the world gag?

Ahistoricality said...

Yeah, that too. But of course, with the right kind of triumphal vision, who needs the rest of the world, right?

Anonymous said...

Nope, Steve Wozniak built the first practical personal computer: his buddy Steve Jobs just figured out how to sell a few of them, and his later acquaintance Bill Gates figured out how to sell software written by other people to run on 'em.