Saturday, July 15, 2006

What if

Some scientists have postulated that the essence of "quantum physics" is that there are an infinite mumber of "universes" linked to the infinite number of decisions and/or incidents that happen in the world. There was (or may still be on the Sci-Fi channel) a TV show that had the protagonists "sliding" between such worlds.

This is probably a bunch of hype -- an extention of a sub-atomic phenomenum to the "macro" world. However, "What If" is a great tool to creating fiction. I remember reading a little book that postulated "What if the South had won the Civil War?" The writer/historian did a good job, though I think he used hypothetical persons born of those that would have died.

Anyway, I was discussing "illegal immigration" in an email exchange the other day. And I started to wonder about natural national boundaries. The discussion was on Mexico's "claim" to much of the Southwestern US. I thought: "what if...?"

If, for example, Napolean had NOT sold his claim to the Louisiana territory to to the US, much of the continent would be non-Anglo. The Mississippi River would be the western border of the US. The French might have negotiated with the "Indians" to turn over that land to the united tribes. Meanwhile the Mexican holdings could have reached into "Indian" territory and up the Pacific coast. The Pacific Northwest, though, might very well have ended up as Russian America. Without California gold, the Union may have been unable to finance their war with the South. The split may have even been peaceful, and perhaps even without giving Lincoln his shot at the presidency! Canada, if it did not choose to join the US, might not have advanced to the Pacific. The land west of the Great Lakes might have been left to the Indians as well.

A smaller US would not have become a superpower in the wars between the 1880's and the 1940's. Without the US entering the war, there may not have been a SECOND World War. German emperialism may have prevailed, leaving no opening for Hitler to rise to power. In the Pacific, the Russian Rim, from Korea to Oregon, would have been a deterent to Japanese emperialism. China may have also been stronger (no US interference in 1898?) as well.

German technology -- unhampered by dictators -- would have remained there. Rocketry may never have become a way of humans entering into space, though I am sure that the Germans would have pioneered satelite communications. The automobile and the airplane, though, would have remained American contributions to progress.

Personally, I would not have been born in California (my dad was stationed there for the US Airforce). Perhaps my parents would not have even met (she being a yankee and he a reb). My mom, though, is the daughter of a minister. That means he could have been a missionary, or even been working as stated supply in the South. My wife, also a minister's daughter, could easily have been studying here in Greenville -- with a student visa.

But our forefathers followed the urge to acquire more land. And Napolean wanted to unload a bunch of land. So here we are, fighting over an activity as natural as migrating birds in winter. Just who's land is it, any way?

If any reader of this page cares to visualize this totally diffeent America, I would welcome a US map showing the regions as I have dealt with so far.

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