Las Vegas: America’s Playground

Forecasts & Strategies
Personal Snapshots

by Mark Skousen

“Americans are, above all, a problem-solving people.”
–Paul Johnson, A History of the American People

The transformation of Las Vegas is a perfect example of why the United States of America is still the greatest country in the world. After World War II, developers created in the middle of the Nevada desert a sleazy, tacky town devoted to gambling, shows and sex. But in the past few years, entrepreneurs have created a brand-new Vegas.

Last month, I spent two fun-filled days at the Mirage Resort without gambling. The new Las Vegas offers a wide variety of services for the non-gambler: sports and swimming facilities, great restaurants and buffets, giant IMAX theatres, excellent golf courses, Wet’n Wild water theme park, several spectacular roller-coaster rides, shopping malls (including the sumptuous Forum Shops next to Caesar’s Palace), and a myriad of other forms of entertainment. As a result, Las Vegas is becoming America’s playground.

Another example of urban renewal is New York’s Times Square and 42nd Street. corporations such as Walt Disney have joined with the city to tear down the seedy side of Times Square and re-create a safe environment for local New Yorkers and tourists.

I’m reminded of one other example: Chicago’s Rush Street used to be a crime-infested section of town. Over the past few years, the city fathers have cleaned up the district, and now it’s a hot spot for night life for young people and college students.


The eminent British historian Paul Johnson says, “Americans are, above all, a problem-solving people.” The transformation of Las Vegas, New York’s Times Sauare and Chicago’s Rush Street proves it. It’s our nature to solve problems. Under Reagan, U.S. fought to reduce interest rates, inflation and marginal tax rates.

Under Clinton, the deficit has come down, welfare has been reformed, and crime fallen. And much more can be done. As Johnson states, Americans “will attack again and again the ills in their society, until they are overcome or at least substantial redressed.”

If you want to read an upbeat, one-volume history of the U.S., there is no better source than Paul Johnson’s new book, A History of the American People ($35 or less, available at all major bookstores, on the Internet at or through Laissez Faire Books, 800/326-0996). It is a sheer delight to read. Johnson does not hide his admiration, his “labor of love,” of this “most remarkable people,” “this greatest of human adventures,” and this “human achievement without parallel”–the United States of America.

This one-volume history is fresh and exciting to read, not the stale history you may have read when you were a student. Johnson covers material not normally found in the history books, such as the impact of religion and art on American life. Johnson makes you proud of being an American again.

Johnson says, regarding the history of America, “We need to retell it.” Equally, we Americans need to reread it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *