We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If 9/11 had really changed us, there’d be a 150-story building on the site of the World Trade Center today. It would have a classical memorial in the plaza with allegorical figures representing Sorrow and Resolve, and a fountain watched over by stern stone eagles. Instead there’s a pit, and arguments over the usual muted dolorous abstraction approved by the National Association of Grief Counselors. The Empire State Building took 18 months to build. During the Depression. We could do that again, but we don’t. And we don’t seem interested in asking why.
I heard the statistic about the Empire State Building this morning on Beck's radio show. It's amazing to me that so many of the things (including govt. projects) that were done in the '30s were done under budget and completed early. That would never happen today. The last example of that sort of productivity was the U-2. I can't find the time it took to build from a blank sheet of paper, but it was something ridiculous (especially by today's standards).
I think all of this is a result of over politicization (including environmental regs) of everything. It's enough to make you cry for us. Of course, that the stock in trade of the left - politics. I think the greatest thing in the design of our government is that politics is minimized by the larger personal sphere of freedom. Sadly, that has been whittled away so that everything is political.
Part of the efficiency and speed with which building projects were finished in the 1930s is that those who were lucky enough to get work on the project were so grateful that they did their best and most accurate work. They knew that other skilled workers were lined up in unemployment lines just waiting for the chance to take the job if they screwed up.
Part of the WPA Art Project, one of the many government make-work projects, was a program to record in pictures America as it was in those parlous times. My first husband was a student of the artist Ben Shahn, who had helped to compile and select the best, and we spent many hours examining those wonderful photographs which, IIRC, are now in the Smithsonian. They are amazing in their evocative detail, and the delineation of a population which was vastly different from us in features, expressions and quiet desperation.
There were very few fat people back then. And virtually no fat children.We walked everywhere or took the street car or the bus. We were lucky if we had a radio, and of course there was almost no TV.
People joke now about the CCC and the WPA, but they did something valuable for our country. If you are ever in Washington D.C. for a pleasure trip, it is a treasure trove of the American past, both in the Smithsonian and the smaller museums, like the National Portrait Gallery, the Decatur Museum and the Phillips Collection. When I lived there for two years, I explored all of these as much as I could, and marveled over and over and what a great country we have.
That's a good point. Of course with the construction industry on its back again, you might expect similar efficiencies, but I don't think we'd get them. I wonder if people are more willing to rip off the government than they were in the '30s.