Mark Steyn quotes Tom Friedman’s short-sighted account of the invasion of Afghanistan: “For all the talk about the vaunted Afghan fighters, this was a war between the Jetsons and the Flintstones — and the Jetsons won and the Flintstones know it.” In fact, thanks to that old sci-fi standard — a time machine on the fritz — the Jetsons actually did meet the Flintstones in a classic Reagan-era collaboration, logically enough titled The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones. And on the Jetsons’ end, things followed a familiar pattern — easy initial success followed by complications:
As a “flying man from out of this world” (thanks to his anti-gravity belt), George becomes famous, and this makes the family so rich that they buy ownership of several local Bedrock-area businesses, including George buying a whole car lot and half of downtown Bedrock, Jane possessing a clothing store and several beauty salons, and Judy becoming the manager for Iggy’s band. Pretty soon, though, the Jetsons begin to experience great stress with their businesses. George cannot deal with the stress of owning so many businesses, Jane is not prepared for the pressure of owning so many clothing stores, and beauty salons, and to make matters worse, Judy goes through déjà vu when Iggy also leaves her for some groupies.
And of course the time machine is broken, so they end up staying a lot longer than they had planned.
All of which goes to show that technological superiority only gets you so far: You still have to know the territory, you still have to administer what you’ve gained, and you still have to learn to avoid wasting effort on people who will only abandon you. Perhaps today’s political thinkers should spend less time watching Sunday-morning interviews and more time watching Saturday-morning cartoons.