Dateline Northampton, Feb. 13, 1931

In his column of Feb. 13, 1931 -exactly 80 years ago tomorrow- , Calvin Coolidge marveled at the spread of radio technology and the very beginnings of television, but also cautioned that moral development should not fall behind technological development. In this he surely was right, and still is.

A new social force is being developed by radio waves. The address of the Pope was given wider broadcasting than any other ever delivered, reaching almost all over the world. The morning papers carry radio photographs of Marconi in Rome preparing for its transmission. Report comes simultaneously of  a successful experiment in television by which people in Leipzig were able to recognize the image of a man in Schenectady. The time may not be far away when it will be possible to have a receiving set in the home that will produce a sound motion picture. Central stations may be able to receive and broadcast to the eye and ear events taking place all over the world.

It is difficult to comprehend what an enormous power this would be. New forces are constantly being created for good or for evil. When primitive people come in contact with civilization usually they use its powers for their own destruction. Unless the moral power of the world increases in proportion to its scientific power there is a real danger that the new inventions will prove instruments of our own destruction. If moral development keeps step, peace and good will have gained new allies.

1 thought on “Dateline Northampton, Feb. 13, 1931

  1. Kai

    I smiled and ruefully grinned when I read the line in your opening paragraph “cautioned that moral development should not fall behind technological development. In this he surely was right, and still”

    Coolidge would turn in his grave if he knew about the state of morals in the World of today. Or I should rather say the complete absence of such a sorry notion.

    The World is an immoral mess and it is getting worse; what we need is a long lasting recession followed up by a good solid long lasting depression, a few famines and a few great nuke wars before we will return to morals. Are you out of your mind about morals? Heck man, who needs morals in his life?

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