The lessons we learn from history require a look at the “big picture” to see what we got wrong and what we got right.
We have a tendency to allow “the experts” to prevent our advancement to solving serious problems. We are also slow to adapt to changes that have already happened. I’ve been posting what we got right as we slogged our way through the industrial revolution.
Albert Einstein was interested in the nature of things and wanted his physics professors, the “experts” to address the big questions, like what is matter, what is light, what is electromagnetics, what is time, what is space and how does it all work. They didn’t know and didn’t care, but we did have some tools that could be used to find out. They were the “experts” who were holding us back. They were well-funded and useless.
The “experts” who didn’t care about what caused plagues were most of the “physicians” in the 1600s through the 1800s. Water chlorination, water treatment, sewer systems and antibiotics were slow coming. The development of the microscope was distracted by our fascination with telescopes. The growth of big cities in the 1800s required to accomplish the Industrial Revolution neglected the preparation of these cities to be safe. The Medical profession was slow to catch on to understanding anything useful to treat inflammation or prevent and treat communicable diseases.
We had centuries of plagues, but little interest in preventing them. We simply survived them. The bubonic plague that resulted in the death of 200 million people in the 1300s gave us no incentive to discover what caused it or how to prevent it. We were clueless about viruses and germs
In the 1400s, we continued to pursue trade between continents and with the discovery of America in 1492, we quickly established colonies to expand resource acquisition and trade. The governments and merchants of France, England and Spain became wealthy. In the 1600s European colonists gained the opportunity to own land and establish their own communities. The American colonies exported raw materials to Europe including timber, tobacco and cotton.
We were on a roll to get raw materials to turn into sellable commodities like lumber for building, cotton for clothing and new consumer goods like corn, wheat, sugar, fruit, vegetables and tobacco.
We were distracted by the task of expansion in the US and Europe was distracted by its ownership of the colonies and the commerce it brought.
Nobody was even interested enough in health to try to develop a microscope to discover viruses and cures and prevent the next plague until the 1700s. Nobody was interested enough to cure the plagues until the 1940s. Even then our “expert” local politicians were pissing money away on other things and didn’t want to spend the money on clean water, water treatment and sanitary sewers, so the federal government had to pay for that.
We were distracted with bright, shiny new things and we still are. We apparently like unnecessary tabloid news and social media gadgets.
The “experts” that were slow to adjust our international relations were the politicians, academics and bureaucrats who got us embedded in the Vietnam War. Our entire defense posture was based on preventing another Hitler from doing more damage with wars of expansion, so when the Soviets started land-grabbing, we declared the Cold War against Communism. But Communism is just a seriously flawed economic system that is easily forced on impoverished countries by thugs. President Kennedy was the only one who was right when he said: ‘unless the people of Vietnam are united against Communism, we will lose’.
We still haven’t learned. George W Bush tried “nation-building” in Afghanistan and Iraq and failed to recognize that these cultures are “tribal”.
We must conclude that we cannot save the citizens of other countries from themselves. The voters in Venezuela had to learn their lesson about incompetent politicians, socialism and the promise of free stuff.
Trump arrived on the scene in 2016 asking the right questions and the “experts” hated it.
Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader