On the eve of our nation’s 241st birthday people in the media are beating the drum of doom and gloom. Because of our current President, the Republic is doomed. Sam Houston, father of Texas independence said during one fourth of July celebration, “Independence is declared; it must be maintained”. When you hear people talk about doom and gloom, I think it’s worth recalling how right the doomsayers have been in the past- that is to say, not. We will maintain our Republic, but to underscore how right the “experts” are:
-“To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth—all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances,” Lee De Forest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube.
-“What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?” The Quarterly Review, March, 1825.
-“That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.” Scientific American, January 2, 1909.
-“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Steve Ballmer, USA Today, April 30, 2007.
-“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation.
-“But the real future of the laptop computer will remain in the specialized niche markets. Because no matter how inexpensive the machines become, and no matter how sophisticated their software, I still can’t imagine the average user taking one along when going fishing.” Erik Sandberg-Diment, “The Executive Computer”, The New York Times (December 8, 1985)
-“Television? The word is half Latin and half Greek. No good can come of it.” P. Scott, BBC History of television.
-“Democracy will be dead by 1950.” John Langdon-Davies, A Short History of The Future, 1936.
-“With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.” Businessweek, August 2, 1968.
-“Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires as may be done with dots and dashes of Morse code, and that, were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.” Unidentified Boston newspaper, 1865.
-“No “scientific bad boy” ever will be able to blow up the world by releasing atomic energy.” Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner,
-“The coming of the wireless era will make war impossible, because it will make war ridiculous.” Guglielmo Marconi, pioneer of radio, Technical World Magazine, October, 1912.
-“I do not myself think that any civilized nation will torpedo unarmed and defenceless merchant ships.” Charles Cooper Penrose-Fitzgerald, Admiral Royal Navy, Strand Magazine, July, 1914
-“X-rays are a hoax” Lord Kelvin.
And so on…
To paraphrase Mark Twain, “the imminent death of our Republic is wildly exaggerated”