October 22, 2015
Mark Steyn: Back to what future?
Mark Steyn writes:
I don’t fault the makers of Back to the Future II for predicting all that high-tech stuff that never came to pass. Well, actually, come to think of it, I do. It was already obvious in 1985 that the western world was slowing down. In a certain profound sense, our civilization has given up on the future – which is why, if you were really to propel someone forward from thirty years ago, they’d mainly be amazed that Central Europe is now a Muslim refugee camp and Communist China is a dominant economic power.
But putting all that to one side, what happened to innovation? As is often said, the chief invention of the 19th century was invention: Our Victorian forebears transformed the rhythms of life that had prevailed for most of human history. The internal combustion engine conquered distance, the electric light bulb conquered night. The first half of the 20th century unleashed that transformative potential.
And in the second half…?