New Year's Eve

Host intro: Wednesday is the first day of 1997. Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis has a few thoughts today for the turn of the calendar.

Soon, 1997 will start to look a lot like 1996. We're too busy to note change; consequently, we often believe things never improve. So let me mark January first by looking at the New Year's of my life.

There have been 63 of them.

On the first one, free citizens in comparatively few countries controlled their own destinies. Stalin ruled Russia, Hitler ruled Germany. People died of diseases only medical historians could name now. Communications were crude.

Before I'd hit 20 new years, the world fought the bloodiest conflict in history, millions fell under the Communist yoke and we were spending billions and stockpiling missiles in the Cold War. By my 40th New Year, Americans were dying in Vietnam.

But on my 63rd January first, economic and political freedom proliferate around the world. Trade is a truly international affair. Communication is cheap and democratic. Medical and technological progress have taken us seemingly to the borders of science fiction. There's only one superpower left, and the American model is the world's paradigm. Americans have begun the slow transition from big government to self-reliance.

The more New Years I see, the better I like them.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next year.

Host outro: Coming up tomorrow, Pete du Pont reports on economic freedom taking hold in the former Soviet Bloc.