O'Reilly: The dizzying speed of change

The pace of technology is exciting and appreciated

The pace of technology is exciting and appreciated -- truly -- but it's beginning give me angst. I'm no Luddite, but the speed of the change that's making me want to touch the ground. (Credit: Tribune Content Agency / Donna Grethen)

William F. B. O'Reilly

Portrait of Newsday/amNY columnist Bill O'Reilly (March 28, William F. B. O'Reilly

William F. B. O'Reilly works as a corporate and political

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A friend I grew up with had a peculiar habit. Every few steps, he would lean down and touch the ground, as if to be sure it was still there. I don't know the root of his condition, but his need to feel terra firma is beginning to make sense.

A new smartphone was announced last week: The Blackphone is supposed to block National Security Agency spy satellites from tracking your every word and keystroke.

Another personal drone hit the market recently. It's your basic fly-silently-around-the-neighborhood number that takes high-definition video of whatever you want it to. Not to worry: If neighborhood drones proliferate, we can probably shoot them down with personal ack-ack guns squeezed from 3D printers.

Stop the world, I want to get off. The pace of technology is exciting, but it's beginning to give me angst. I'm actually a gadget guy. It's the speed of the change that's making me want to touch the ground.

The faster the world lurches into the future, the more I feel a responsibility to tell my daughters about the past and to harp on traditional values. And maybe it's not the future that's so worrisome, but the speed with which the past is slipping away. Has there ever been a time when the generation that preceded us seemed so disconnected with the one rolling out? My father was born in 1923; his father in 1867. The differences between those years and today are extraordinary.

But it's not just technology. America itself is changing so quickly. There seems to be a blind rush to alter things and to abandon or ignore basic constitutional tenets. The federal government is now in our face everywhere. It wants a piece of everything. Common Core is the latest. The U.S. Department of Education swears it's not a national curriculum, but just consider the program's name.

New York City is pondering noncitizen voting in municipal elections. After teaching kids not to smoke pot, legalization in various forms is now the rage. It's like we learned nothing from the '60s and '70s. Successful Americans, whom we used to be taught to admire, are now villainized by our president. Economic collectivism is being preached by the "me" generation.

Wrap your head around that.