A page from Willie Brant’s diary – Joe said his brother Harry would be visiting, and would I come over, some 3-handed crib would interrupt the dialogue between them so it wouldn’t get too overheated. Last time Harry visited was 5 years ago; they got a little too much into the suds and it took this long to get over the argument. Harry lives in Calgary, or is it Edmonton; just as much a thinker as Joe so they can’t just agree to disagree, they have to duke it out.
Anyway I spent the afternoon with them, it was actually quite entertaining, and here is the gist of their conversation.
Harry is quite Evangelical, a big part of their problem is sooner or later he will try to convert Joe, and that doesn’t go over real well. Joe says yes he believes there is much more to life than our puny science can explain, and yes there is probably a Higher Power out there, but that doesn’t mean he needs the Organized Church to live a decent life. Harry persists; evidently he thinks he is saving Joe from the Fires of Hell. Of course they both know that nobody ever wins an argument about religion, but that doesn’t stop them. Come to think about it, nobody ever wins an argument about politics either, but that doesn’t stop me and Joe from arguing, go figure.
They seemed to agree that our modern world is an extension of the Roman Empire, which was followed by the Holy Roman Empire, then by the British Empire which spread our modern civilization and technology around the world. Britain was bankrupted by the two world wars, and the US became the world’s policeman, seat of the New Roman Empire until now.
They agreed that the best symbol or sign of the end of the British Empire was when Britain turned Hong Kong over to China in 1997. Seems Britain signed a rental agreement with China 150 years before, when Hong Kong was a collection of uninhabited islands, but a perfect spot for a navy to control ship traffic in that part of the world. They built it up into one of the biggest financial and shipping centers of the world, inhabited by millions of British citizens many of whose parents and grandparents had also lived there so it was genuinely their home. Communist China pointed out that 150 year old lease was expired and claimed Hong Kong was theirs. Old China (Taiwan) probably had a better claim, but didn’t dare get involved, and Britain wimped out, betrayed the millions of British citizens whose home was Hong Kong, wrote off the billions of dollars invested there, and walked away. End of British Empire.
In the past 5 years or so China has been busy building major military bases in the Philippines ‘Protectorate’ which is part of the US version of the Roman Empire. Now the US has abandoned those people, just walked away, turned the Philippines over to China. The end of the American Empire. The world is up for grabs.
Then came the disagreement. Harry said this is all exactly as forecast in the Bible. He says the next stage will be when Europe and Africa duke it out, and China sweeps in and the world comes to an end – Armageddon. Joe says nonsense; the Bible doesn’t say anything at all about Europe or Africa or China or modern Empires. They got a little heated, so I butted in saying their argument will not change the course of history, maybe they ought to put it all away and get down to three-handed crib. So they did, and we did, and I won. An interesting day.