Monday, April 12, 2010

Everything Old Is New Again

There’s a song title there, but that’s not where I’m going with this.

Let me preface my remarks by reminding my blog followers that I am a conservative patriot.  I believe that America is exceptional and the last, best hope for freedom in the world.  I believe in limited government, free enterprise, and no unnecessary taxation.  I am an American optimist, and I believe that The United States of America is and will continue to be a beacon for the world in all aspects of life.  That the world watches America closely and criticizes freely is a sign that we are doing something right!

Moving on to a theme I am hearing over and over again these days:  America has missed its chance to (fill in the blank here).

I first heard this about NASA and space exploration.  It goes something like, “We put a man on the moon over 40 years ago and where are we now?  We are scuttling the Space Shuttle, we have no new exploration projects on line, and we couldn’t put a man on the moon today even if we wanted to.”

What does this have to do with Passenger Rail?  I’m getting there.  But here are a few others before I do:
1.  We have let our manufacturing base leave us.  We couldn’t forge the steel to build another Sears Tower today, even if we wanted to.
2.  We built a magnificent highway system, and we are now letting it rot under the wheels of indifferent truckers.
3.  We have the best medical care in the world, but we are letting lawyers sue it into the ground until our only alternative is ObamaCare.
4.  We once built the best automobiles, but we have hamstrung the manufacturers with so much safety and environmental bullcrap that there will never be another car like (fill in the blank again).
Well, here’s the one involving Passenger Rail.  “We had fast passenger trains on a high-speed network with frequent service and good amenities back in the 1930s, and let it all go with clueless Amtrak, and now we're going to spend billions just to get a few trains over 100 mph again!"  That one hurts because it is true. 

My point.  I criticize the way we are approaching the task of improving our Passenger Rail, but I believe and trust that, when we do it again, it will be so much better than what we had in the 1930s.  It will be so much better we will think of our old trains with the same fondness as we will be thinking of the first moon landings as our Mars liner hits the runway at Mars City.
 
Now is not the time to stifle innovation.  Our free enterprises need to be free enough of government intervention to research and develop and invent, but they will always need the government as the last, best source of funding for that great leap into the new frontier.  Our government is – after all – the people.  And we, the people, will take us there.  I criticize, but I have no doubt.

©2010 – C. A. Turek – mistertrains@gmail.com
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