Monday, April 11, 2011

What Changed in 1800?

What caused the world to change so quickly? Gary North reflects, saying:
The world of 1800 would have been recognizable to Socrates, except for the printed book. In contrast, the world of 1889 would not have been recognizable to the young John Tyler.

By 1889, these post-1800 inventions had arrived: gas lighting, electric lighting (arc light), the steam powered ship, the tin can, the macadamized road, photography, the railroad, portland cement, the reaper, anesthesia, the typewriter, the sewing machine, the Colt revolver, the telegraph, the wrench, the safety pin, mass-produced newspapers, pasteurization, vulcanized rubber, barbed wire, petroleum-based industry, dynamite, the telephone, Carnegie's steel mills, the skyscraper, the internal combustion engine, the automobile, and commercial electricity.

So, as I move toward the day when I am a footnote rather than a participant, I propose a thesis. One unanswered question above all others constitutes the most important historical question in recorded history.
(Via Lew Rockwell) Share


Brantigny said...

Whoa. Sometimes your blog proposes questions, I don't know to ask. Thanks.


elena maria vidal said...

I got it all from Mr. North. Very thought provoking!

The North Coast said...

Not a day passes that I don't think about how much these basic technologies changed our lives radically for the better.

These achievements that elevated lifespans, made it possible for children to make it past the age of five, and made life so much more comfortable and SAFE and made so much possible for people for whom there were no possibility of decent lives before them, were the products of scientific thought, given us by rationalist philosophy.

Call me a techno-triumphalist, but without the philosophical revolution of the 18th century, we would all be much poorer, and we surely wouldn't be talking about it on this site.

elena maria vidal said...

I don't know, I think that science could have progressed without the philosophical revolution of the 18th century. I was just reading how Voltaire, the philosophe par excellence, was convinced that the existence of Africans proved that the Bible and the Church were wrong, since they preached the brotherhood and common ancestry of all men. Voltaire was so racist that he said that there was no way that Africans were as fully human as white people. Very ignorant of him but many other "enlightened" persons felt the same, including Thomas Jefferson. Whereas King Louis XVI was devoutly Christian as well as being scientific minded and a great patron of scientists and explorers. And he believed in the brotherhood of all men, including Africans.