Posted On: Saturday - July 20th 2019 10:14PM MST
In Topics:   History  Americans  Science
That's a pretty well-defined peak, July 20th of AD 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first human beings to set foot on another world. That there were only 10 more to follow, and we don't have cities in space, the Moon, or Mars right now are the sad thing. That shows that America has been on the decline for a long time.
It's true that the radical cultural changes of the 1960's had already been going on for 4-5 years, the immigration disaster from the 1965 act was in progress, and the welfare state had already been set up. However, as Peak Stupidity discussed* regarding Adam Smith's words in terms of economics, "there is a lot of ruin in a nation." 1969 could still be the peak, as the momentum of the can-do WWII generation and US economic might took a while to slow, and the rot that was started in the political realm hadn't taken near full effect yet.
I'd have to say that even through the 1970's, and then the optimistic Reagan era of the '80's, and through the dot-com times, I had not yet noticed that the country was in a decline**, and it's really only been until 15 years ago. Of course, some of that is just due to growing up during this slow decline and therefore seeing it as normal, but even as a noticer, well, I hadn't noticed. The acceleration of the decline of America is pretty hard NOT to notice, at this point.
A half century ago, more time than had passed on that day since the Wright Brothers first flew in powered controlled flight, all the engineering needed to design and build that 360 ft. high rocket, with just the command module and lunar lander left, had worked as planned to get these 2 men onto the surface of another world. That America was a can-do country was proven to the world in a feat that was applauded around the world. It was indeed a giant step for all mankind.
I've been giving most of the credit to the 100's of thousands of engineers and technicians that built this amazing technology to allow a voyage like that to be possible, lately, in my mind, at least. Those brave pilot/engineer/astronauts deserve a lot too though. Unlike with the also-brave explorers of this world, on land and sea, who needed determination and toughness, these explorers of the since-aborted space age also required real smarts. That engineering knowledge needed to understand the systems of these spacecraft enough to have any chance of "walking away" from a real problem during a mission required smart, educated men, and this was borne out during the Apollo 13 mission.
We really need to keep this awesome American technical feat in our minds. Don't let what's left of this day pass without thinking about what America was on July 20th, 1969.
Look up at that moon sometime that man throughout history, up until a measly 1/2 century ago, could just stare at as something impossible to reach, even after we knew what it was. Imagine those American men walking on that other world, talking to us on the radio from that Sea of Tranquillity. It was just 12 of them over that brief 3 year spell. Is that going to end up being the peak of not just America, but humankind?
* See Part 2 and Part 3.
** A review of Strauss & Howe's Generations and Fourth Turning books is really in order soon. That's been on the back burning since this blog started.