I was born during World War II. Since then, I have seen great industrial advances inspired by American business ingenuity. In the 1940s, consumers could buy a car in any color they wanted — as long as it was black. Air-conditioning was supplied by winding down the windows. Most cars had a stick shift rather than an automatic transmission. Motorist music sources were limited to an AM radio with few stations
Today, however, cars park themselves. They sense it when the driver is about to collide with another object and the brakes automatically are operated. Hundreds of radio stations are beamed down from satellites. A GPS navigation narrator tells drivers how to get from one destination to another.
The first computers took up entire rooms and information was loaded onto magnetic tapes by punch cards. Today, you can buy a computer that fits in the palm of your hand with 3-D graphics and immense computing power.
We flew on the Douglas DC-3, which took 15 hours and three refueling stops to cross the country. Today, we cross the Atlantic in eight hours in jumbo 747s. In the near future, Virgin Galactic will fly us into space. Reservations now are being taken.
By 1950, we no longer had to place telephone calls through operators. We had direct dial, and by 1955, we were making transatlantic calls. There was only one phone company — AT&T. Today, we have smartphones that allow us to listen to music, watch movies, get directions to destinations, take still pictures and video, type messages, check emails and even turn the lights off in our houses from across the country. These phones even allow us to talk to people. More than 50 million of us have smartphones, and 250 million have simple wireless phones. Where would we be without the Internet?
Growing up, if you wanted to cool off the house, you opened a window and hoped for a breeze. Today, air-conditioning provides an indoor environment that remains relatively constant despite external weather conditions. Even the power in our homes is supplied by solar, nuclear and wind power, which we did not have back in the 1940s.
Many diseases that were common in the 1940s — such as tuberculosis, smallpox and polio — now have been reduced or eliminated. Medical breakthroughs likely will lead to a vaccine for HIV. We probably can expect advancements in the cure of atrial fibrillation, genomic research to create custom drugs and the use of gene sequencing to cure cancer.
Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, cognitive science, robotics and artificial intelligence are the future of the world.
All of these advancements have been made through the entrepreneurial spirit of American business people and inventors. Our capitalistic way of doing business has inspired businesses to reach for the stars and actually grasp them as we explore the far reaches of the universe. The advancements that have made America great were accomplished without the help of our government.
This progress was made contrary to the interference of the government in business with rules, regulations and high taxes. It is time for the government to back away from its socialist direction and allow companies to experiment, invent, grow and add jobs. Capitalism is our future, not socialism, and it is the only way to go if we want to keep America free and a world leader.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and for 30 years has written articles for trade publications in various fields.