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Kirkpatrick Sale is fighting an unwinnable war [“At the Altar of Progress,” July 1996]. The problem is not that we have grown too fast industrially, but that our wisdom has not kept pace with our arsenal of toys. His solution is admirable, but unachievable. The child has discovered the cookie jar, and it shall remain forever within reach. The question isn’t “How do we get rid of all these toys?” but “How do we discipline ourselves in their use?”
I’m certain that when fire was first discovered a few folks got burned before they learned to respect their discovery. Unfortunately, today’s burns are not accidents; they are caused by profit-hungry industries that cover them up and comfortably distance consumers while denying the problems even exist. If we can’t hide the cookie jar, we must discipline the child.