Monday, August 11, 2008

The Rise and Fall of American Ingenuity

At one period in time, the United States of America was home to the world's largest man-made structures. Standing as symbols of America's ingenuity, these structures served to inspire the generations that followed to continue that tradition.

Unfortunately, political correctness, environmentalism run amok, and fear of litigation has virtually halted American ingenuity today. The fire of ingenuity that once sent a man to the moon, that built the world's largest dam, tallest skyscrapers, and even the largest man-made islands has apparently been extinguished.

The image at the top of this post shows where America's tallest building currently rank versus the rest of the world. Even New York's Freedom Tower, the first large scale building constructed in the US in over 30 years, pales in comparison to Dubai's Burj Dubai which will stand at more than 2,000 ft. high when completed later this year.

Hoover Dam, once considered the most impressive feet of engineering ever, appears simplistic next to China's Three Gorges Dam, which when completed will be the world's largest dam and create the world's largest lake.

The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic symbol of America's limitless possibilities. Yet, it has been dwarfed by Japan's Akashi-Kaiky┼Ź Bridge which was completed in 1998.

Even the Statue of Liberty has seen her majesty surpassed. The Ushiku Amida Buddha, which was completed in 1995 and climbs to a height of 120 meters, stands as the world's tallest statue.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was a beacon of America's drive for exploration, but it to has become obsolete. The Dubai Arch Bridge, slated to be completed in 2012, will feature an arch that stands 670 feet tall and over a mile long.

Harbor Island in Washington once served as a gleaming example of man's ability to over come nature. When completed in 1909 it was the world's largest man-made island. It was later surpassed by another man-made island in San Fransisco, CA. Harbor Island was then expanded in 1967 and returned to its former glory. However, Palm Islands in Dubai, quite possibly the most impressive structure ever created by man, now lays claim to that title.

Even the opening games of the 29th Olympiad shows just how far the rest of the world has surpassed American ingenuity.
More and more companies move manufacturing overseas and more and more companies ship their software engineers and developers overseas and we're being told to not worry. We are told American ingenuity has never let us down and it will carry us forward. But will it really?

It sure seems to us like America has been neutered. We fear taking the actions necessary to secure our energy independence for fear of being seen as environmentally indifferent, we fear doing what actually needs to be done to win the war against terrorism for fear of being labeled cruel, we fear securing our own borders for being labeled racist. It seems today that America is afraid of everything, even its own history.

1 comment:

george said...

Excellent post blogger. I am sure you will have some comments that question the necessity to build the biggest and most impressive structures on Earth, especially while so many suffer from aids, malnutrition, warfare, etc. They will ask what purpose does it serve. Some witty commenter will even suggest trying to build the biggest building might indicate some sort of sexual hangup.

Yet building the biggest dams, skyscrapers and yearning for the moon show the true vigor of the national spirit. China is over 4000 years old and was basically asleep for 150 years. Yet they now have the vigor of a younger nation. Their people believe they are going places and it is reflected in the recent pew polling data showing the Chinese have the highest satisfaction rate on Earth.

To many, being the most prosperous, innovative and dynamic nation might not be important. But in the long run citizens living in such a nation usually enjoy a higher quality of life and the youth have the most opportunities and career choices. I just hope America comes to her senses and recaptures the spirit that made us great.