In all seriousness, this obscure and no doubt suppressed book from 1940 may be the most quoteworthy book I have ever encountered. I cannot now remember where I had initially come across the name “Lawrence Dennis”–no doubt it was some intriguing and of course cryptic reference in one of my other readings–and even after I FINALLY got around to tracking down a copy, I let that old, used copy I had procured sit up on the shelf a long while before finally giving it a go. This man Dennis, his life and work, have been all but covered up and forgotten now, but apparently in his younger years, before the powers-that-be drained his resources and quelled his voice, this man Dennis had attained a respectable level of notoriety–certainly enough for the U.S. government to assail him in a witchhunt show which is now labeled “The Great Sedition Trial” by those extremely few who are not completely ignorant of this man and this history.
Lawrence Dennnis apparently lived a life very much rife with fantastic ironies: he was born a poor mulatto but somehow, inexplicably, managed to get himself superbly and prestigiously educated; in his early youth he had been a traveling child evangelist, of all things; as an adult he somehow managed to be placed into an official diplomatic post representing the U.S. government which, had anything at all of his political beliefs ever been revealed, he should never have received such a position; despite being a staunch isolationist and an acute critic of the folly of warfare and the stupidity of the masses for being so easily and so chronically gulled into war time and time again by unscrupulous leaders, nevertheless when the U.S. entered World War I Dennis enlisted and served, and later, when the U.S. entered World War II he tried to enlist again, only to be turned away for health reasons. Was this inconsistent? His writing is no less maddeningly so. Welcome to Lawrence Dennis. Inconsistent, obviously brilliant, and even more blazingly iconoclastic.
The message in the The Dynamics of War and Revolution, is this: In order for what we call “capitalism” to work it has to be able to expand; by 1940 capitalism in the U.S. and the U.K. had no way of expanding anymore: the U.K. was backtracking and losing its colonies, and the U.S. had no more frontiers to pioneer, and so capitalism by 1940 was not only doomed, said Dennis, it was indeed already dead. He relentlessly points to the epidemic of mass unemployment in Western Civilization nations, and rails against the fact that, from then on, the only method for continuing on with “capitalism” would be to continually engage in world wars every generation or so. However, Dennis being Dennis, he then goes on to predict that that won’t happen because, after the inevitable World War II that he uncannily anticipates about a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. itself will have become an American version of a national socialist nation. Ironically (there’s that word again), Dennis saw U.S. involvement in WWII to stop fascism in Europe as a great facilitator for a coming fascism in the U.S. This iconoclastic view, more than most of his other iconoclastic views, probably was what got him into hot water with the U.S. government in this great and noble land of “freedom of speech” that we have here. Or something.
But really, when one considers the following fatal infections that the U.S. contracted from its exposure to the Nazis, one has to wonder: Was Dennis really wrong?
1) Nazi doctors being smuggled into the U.S. after WWII, with the subsequent increasing medical experimentation on live, unwitting Americans as disclosed in Eileen Welsome’s The Plutonium Files, etc.
2) MKUltra mind control programs, again carried out on unwitting, hapless, non-volunteer Americans.
3) The American rocketry program and the sudden, propagandistic rehabilitation of the status of genocidal Nazi collaborator Werner von Braun, and the NASA Apollo Moon Landing Hoax.
4) black ops UFO technology, etc., etc.
No, Lawrence Dennis wasn’t wrong, at least not in his central thesis here. Which is why you have never before heard of him.
Dennis was clearly no Nazi, nor is there any trace of racism anywhere in this book. But Dennis did believe that the only solution to the failures of “capitalism,” to mass unemployment especially, was some form of more benevolent national socialism. He was right that it was inevitable; he was a bit too optimistic in thinking it could ever be benevolent, at least for long. Indeed, typical for Dennis, he even hints at this toward the end of the book. Dennis apparently hated being predictable or settling on any one side of any fence for too long. Or something. This is a hard man to know, and a hard book to review. Is that obvious enough yet?
When he could be nailed to a position in his analysis and predictions history shows that he usually, though not always, got it right. Something he didn’t get right, however, was his estimation of who sits atop the power structure, who is ultimately to blame for all this predatory, plutocratic, and now failed “capitalism” that he is decrying. Dennis blames Mother Britain, ultimately; he points to some kind of abstract or collective national author for the foisting of mercantilism upon humanity, which in turn later became “capitalism”; again, maddeningly, Dennis acknowledges that there are powerful international financiers behind the scenes, and in at least one paragraph he surely seems to be saying that these powerful international financiers like to hide behind the scenes and that it is they who actually control the governments of the world–but then Dennis, typically for him, inconsistently writes elsewhere that it is impossible to identify any particular individuals among these international financiers, that the whole thing is a fault of an abstract system or some such vague thing, and so he vacillates: he then goes back to blaming abstract and collective “Britain” instead of identifying these ruling plutocrats as other researchers later did, researchers such as Antony C. Sutton, Gary Allen, and Ferdinand Lundberg, et al.
Likewise, Dennis misses the boat when he writes that a despot with a powerful army will always trump a despot with a powerful money supply behind him. Dennis didn’t understand what David Astle in The Babylonian Woe understood: that a despot with power over money always defeats a despot with power over a mere army, because if the latter ever gets out of line, the former can always finance, arm, and hire a bigger, stronger, more militaristic strongman to take out the latter. Historically speaking, it works every time.
Contrastly, Dennis is brilliant and at his most quoteworthy as he is poking holes in the mythology we were all told about the “Founding Fathers” and the vaunted principles of “democracy.” Dennis notes how, just as the U.S. “Founding Fathers” were in fact hypocritical slavers, so were the leading Hellenic lights of ancient, “democratic” Athens also hypocritical slavers, and yet, today we are sold a bill of goods about how much the “principles of liberty,” etc., had played such an important role in those societies.
Finally, there are times in this work when Dennis appears to be so prescient that he seems to be subconsciously writing at another level of understanding, the importance and accuracy of which even he doesn’t fully grasp: Knowing what we now know, that the U.S. is still a British Colony and the Treaty of Paris which followed the American Revolution was a rigged deal dictated by the “losing” King George III (see the works of James Montgomery or “The Informer”), it is most fascinating to read quips by Dennis in which he tongue-in-cheekly refers to George Washington as the “founder of the modern British Empire,” and also laments how pitifully easy it is for Mother Britain to sway duped Americans into fighting Britain’s battles for her. It’s almost as if the Americans didn’t really win that revolution, he seems to marvel. (He’s getting warmer, getting warmer!)
Lawrence Dennis didn’t focus on history, per se; his bailiwick throughout is economics. He always focuses on, and writes like, an economist. But this isn’t like any economist you’ve ever been exposed to before.
And there’s a reason for that.
Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ