Recently, I stumbled upon a list from the History Channel highlighting seven inventions from the Gilded Age that revolutionized the world. As I read through the list, it brought back memories of a commentary I wrote years ago based on Mark Steyn’s book, After America. In that commentary, Steyn had us envision 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 amazed by the mechanical contraptions in this home. There would be a huge machine in the kitchen, keeping food fresh and cold, and he would hear an orchestra playing somewhere before discovering 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, enclosed with doors and windows. It’s like a house on wheels – cars were everywhere but there were no horses or horse-drawn carriages in sight. But now imagine someone from 1950 could send you to our world today. I believe they would be disappointed as not much has changed since then. Sure, there are computers and smartphones, but they may have expected more changes than they found. Most of these remarkable technological advancements took place over a century ago.
Physics and politics are two reasons why much of our technology reached a plateau. We can dream of flying cars, time machines, and teleporting devices, but there are physical limits that prevent them from being created. On top of that, bureaucratic regulations make it much harder for inventors and entrepreneurs to innovate and bring their ideas to life due to government interference. It is time for us to roll back the size of government that stifles innovation and imagination