17 December 2003

Aircraft Built on Sand

One hundred years ago, man could not use a powered vehicle to leave the surface of this planet. Since then, man has successfully used powered vehicles to take instruments to other planets (Mars Surveyor) and people to the Moon. In historical terms, this is the equivalent between the first seagoing dhows and Magellan's voyage; in one hundred years we accomplished the equivalent of two thousand years' development. Change continues to accelerate; and, in every era of rapid technological change in human history, reactionary elements have attempted to seize social and governmental control and slow things the heck down. (Exhibit A: the Renaissance and Reformation.) This has nothing—or at least very little—to do with "liberal" and "conservative," both of which are abstract, values-based descriptors. There are reactionary liberals just as there are radical conservatives.

So, perhaps, the sands at Kitty Hawk bear some of the weight of recent politics. Just as well as sand ever does.