21A012 Report of a Dream by Jim Davies, 3/30/2021  


Most of my dreams are forgotten within seconds of waking up, but this one was unusually clear; I can recall most of it.

The scene was a prep school, perhaps like St Paul's or Phillips Exeter, and for some reason I was an elderly guest for an event in which a visiting English schoolboy, aged 17, addressed an audience of its Seniors. Since he and I shared British roots, later I was able to sit beside him at dinner and chat.

He was very bright (hence his invitation to speak) and presentable, dressed in a suit and tie and with neatly parted hair, polite and sociable. Back home he was attending the prestigious (but non-existent) Chichester School, many of whose alumni had gone on to take senior positions in the BritGov during the previous 300 years, and that was his own ambition too.

I began by agreeing with the key theme of his presentation, namely that all big events and changes in history had resulted from high political action. That was easy. Then I asked "That would be true of bad events as well as beneficial ones, yes?" and after a pause, he did concede it.

I returned to that a bit later, but continued by asking "What about other great changes, like the invention of the steam engine and locomotive, mechanization of weaving, the discovery of electric power; did those result from high political action?" That led to a longer pause but, being intellectually honest, he had to agree that they did not. At first he suggested that the way was made smooth for Stevenson's railroad system by government grant of land etc, but when pressed he could not back that up; land for rails was generally bought on the open market so he agreed that those vastly beneficial developments, the very mainspring of the huge increase in prosperity for all during the British Industrial Revolution, happened without political cause or influence.

Back then to the "bad events" of history that did result from high political action. I told him I was born just before WW2 (he concealed his astonishment very politely) and could remember being a small boy enjoying the nightly firework display as London was being bombed in 1943 and early 1944. I then asked him about the high political action that led up to the outbreak of that War.

"We know that wars are terrible, so do you agree that Chamberlain's unsolicited guarantee of Polish integrity in March 1939 was the height of folly?" I pressed; and he conceded it was so; that was the trigger for WW2. "Also that six months later his declaration of war was futile?" - there he did not agree, reasoning that if Hitler had not been faced-down then, eventually he'd have invaded Britain. We discussed that a while and agreed to disagree for the moment.

Then I switched course and asked him to stretch the brain and imagine that some time around 1930, the BritGov had ceased to exist. Traders continued to trade, the London financial center continued to operate vigorously, imports and exports took place normally as demand and supply fluctuated, but there was no supervisory Authority to interfere at all with contracts agreed, nor to engage in any diplomacy at all with other governments. That the Houses of Parliament had been turned into a museum. "Would there then have been a Depression? What would have been the UK's part in any Second World War?"

My young acquaintance had a harder time with that, for it was a question none of his teachers at Chichester had ever posed.

We agreed that the folly of the US and other governments in the 1930s would have reduced transatlantic trade and so tended to depress English living standards somewhat, but that the needed imports of food could readily have continued from Canadian, Australian and other vendors. Then we hit pay dirt; he could only agree that in 1939 there could not possibly have been a declaration of war on Germany because there would have been no Prime or other Minister to make one. And hence, that whatever took place across the English Channel would not have involved the UK (and therefore, the US) in any war at all.

I wanted to continue by asking why Hitler would have bothered Brits if, by say 1943, his Third Reich dominated from the Rhine to the Lena. Trade with the UK would have been brisk, no threat from it would have been possible, so why not just enjoy the fruits of victory? - but at that point I woke up, so could not. But I think my intelligent new friend took back with him enough fresh thinking to shake up the über-archist Chichester School to its venerable (albeit imaginary) foundation stones.



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How Government Silenced Irwin Schiff

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