Tony began to laugh with me. Jacky, too.
"You seem to have no idea what a commitment to an advanced humanist intellectual tradition can accomplish," I said to Jacky. "Just look at what happened in USA. In 1929 the financial system collapsed and the great depression began. The depression got worse and worse. People were starving. Hoover promised the people a brighter future, but he nothing to offer. He promised "a chicken in every pot." Then Roosevelt came in and everything changed. He offered a brand new world, and made good on his promise. Within a few short years the USA redeveloped itself out of its greatest depression into becoming the richest nation and the greatest economic power on the planet. And all this was accomplished while the nation had eighteen million people fighting a war overseas, which itself was a huge waste of resources. All of that was the result of Franklin Roosevelt's reverse paradigm shift back to the American intellectual tradition, the most advanced tradition in thinking that came out of Europe, that had build the USA in the first place. Can you imagine what China can do with six times the population, if this giant awakens into a Renaissance force. It will transform the world"
"No, you must be mistaken," Jacky interrupted. "It was the war buildup in the USA gave America its prosperity. Its prosperity was the result of the war, the production for the war."
"That's hogwash," Ross interjected. "That's what the oligarchy wants you believe to justify more wars. If war create economic prosperity, why isn't America booming? We have been at war with the world for decades now. We have been spending three billion dollars a month fighting wars. Why is the economy not booming? Why is it collapsing? Everything is collapsing. Even the military is collapsing logistically. We, in America, are the best example in the world to prove that wars don't create an economy, but an advanced humanist intellectual tradition does."
"I always thought World War Two build America," Jack answered quietly.
"That's a delusion," said Ross. "At the time when Franklin Roosevelt was running for election, and later became President, there was no war on the horizon. There was a war on poverty on the horizon. Poverty was deep in America in those year, but there was no world war. But Roosevelt represented the American intellectual tradition, industrialization, infrastructure building, education, a commitment to building the people up."
Ross turned to Steve, "Do you remember Roosevelt's famous four freedoms?"
He turned to Jacky again. "Those four freedoms were pretty basic really, but they gave the people a dignity that bound them together as a nation. Franklin Roosevelt's humanist principles were framed and were hung on the wall in barber shops and everywhere else, and they were fulfilled." Steve nodded. "Hitler was a nobody when Roosevelt came in, but the oligarchy was so afraid of Roosevelt," said Steve, "because of what Roosevelt represented, that they killed his counterpart in Germany and hastily financed Hitler into power. By the time the war started, years later, the USA had already recovered itself."
"We had vast infrastructure projects in progress and some completed, by the time the USA was dragged into war, reluctantly," said Ross. "By this time, the USA was already the biggest industrial power on the planet. And it was that, which saved the world from Hitler's madness. Without Roosevelt and the American intellectual tradition that he represented, Hitler would not have been defeated. But he was defeated. And he was defeated by America's logistical capability. He was defeated by the industrial machine build in America's intellectual tradition."
"The same happened during the civil war," said Steve. "The confederate South thought it would be a cake walk to take over the country, but it was to a large extend the industrial machine launched by Lincoln in the same tradition that Roosevelt used, that enabled the North to gain enough strength to defeat the oligarchic slavocray of the South. And it was much the same during the War of Independence. And in spite of all that huge waste in men and materials that went for fighting these wars, the USA prospered. That's the legacy of the American intellectual tradition, and we will see a paradigm shift back to that tradition. We will even see Roosevelt's world-constitutional principle accepted throughout the world one day soon, that the imperial oligarchy, which stood in the way of humanity and its humanist development for six hundred years, ceases to play a role."
"We will see this in our lifetime," I said to Jacky, "or we too, will cease to exist, and that's not likely to happen. History has shown that in times of every great existential crisis, a reverse paradigm shift happened that took humanity back to its highest humanist intellectual tradition. That is what we want to do now, that we want to help China to prepare itself for, in order to prevent such a crisis from happening in our time. But you must help us Jacky. You must meet us half way so that we can do this for you."
By the time our discussion came to an end it was eleven o'clock. Dagmar was putting the kettle on for tea, for a bed time snack, while Alison announced that one more ceremony needed to be performed that night, before Jacky's return to Beijing in the morning, with some of us coming along, as he had requested. She said that this was her last opportunity to give Jacky the present that she had completed only today.
Alison announced that her gift is a gift of "great value," as she had put it. She promised that its value would unfold when it is seen in the right manner, otherwise, she promised it would be of no value at all.
When everyone was assembled she brought the gift from her room, wrapped in silk paper, tied with a red ribbon. She bowed before Jacky as she presented the gift.
The gift was a portrait of Nicolai and Antonovna, reproduced from a snapshot that a guard had taken of the three of us together in the great hall of the Kremlin, on the last day that we saw each other in Moscow. Alison announced proudly that she had done the image processing herself with the equipment we had on board. The framing had been done in town.
Of course, no great speech was required to explain the significance of the portrait, since Jacky was familiar with the whole tragic story and everything connected with it.
"Obviously, the real gift is not the portrait itself," Alison added as she noticed a tear forming in Jacky's eyes. She told Jacky that she realized that our friends Nicolai and Antonovna were cruelly assassinated in a tragic escapade in which eight million other people died also, which Jacky confirmed, that he was aware of.
"I cannot mourn for the eight million," Alison said quietly, "because the scope of that is beyond my capability, but I can mourn for Nicolai. Nicolai was a man that I have come to know, and respect, and to honor, and to love. I grief for the loss of that man for the world that he had dedicated his life to, to uplift. I grief for that loss, not for my own loss, because he still lives in my heart. But mostly, I grief for his loss of life that he cherished so much. I also grief for Antonovna for the same reason, who I have never met, but have learned to love nevertheless. My heart is heavy for both of them. Greater grief than this I am not capable of. Perhaps no one is. Perhaps this is our protection, or else we die of grief. Nor is it mathematically possible for one to grief more."
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