The Nation: A Slowdown in the Technology of Haste

FROM the early days of the Republic, when Thomas Jefferson backed Inventor Eli Whitney's design for mass-produced muskets with interchangeable parts, public support for technological progress has been an American tradition. Out of this tradition has grown an obsession with speed, a consequence of the nation's great distances and the rush to cover them quickly, producing what Historian Daniel J. Boorstin calls "a technology of haste" that dates back to the pioneering steamboats of nearly two centuries ago. Add to those themes the national desire to win, to be first. A natural consequence...

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