In a video, Bill Whittle explained the difference between a ‘traitor’ and a ‘turncoat’. The former describes an individual who actively fights against his nation because he/she opposes it based on ideology, principles, or some agenda. The latter describes an individual who changes sides because the enemy is winning. In the case of America’s most notorious traitor – Benedict Arnold – one could argue that he was both. At one point, he fought courageously for the colonists but several things happened.
Arnold married the daughter of a British sympathizer, which seemed to open the door for his providing secrets to the enemy. It was the discovery of his subsequent dealings with a British Major named John Andre’ that revealed Arnold’s treasonous behavior. Those dealings included the weakening of West Point’s defenses. There are some indications that he had a problem with aligning with the French as well as with those who opposed the Protestant religion, though this may have involved a bit of rationalization after it became clear who he was.
Check this out from Biography.com:
Arnold gained access to even more sensitive information when he assumed command of West Point, in August of 1780. He began systematically weakening the fort’s defenses, refusing to order necessary repairs and draining its supplies. At the same time, Arnold began transferring his assets from Connecticut to England.
Arnold and André met in person on September 21, to discuss the operation. Several days later, André was captured. Papers exposing the West Point siege plot were found and sent to George Washington, revealing Arnold’s role.
A short time later, after Arnold’s mask had been removed and he was free to convey his bitterness, he wrote a letter to the colonists in 1780, which said in part:
In the firm persuasion, therefore, that the private judgement of an individual citizen of this country is as free from all conventional restraints, since as before the insidious offers of France, I preferred those from Great Britain; thinking it infinitely wiser and safer to cast my confidence upon her justice and generosity, than to trust a monarchy too feeble to establish your independency, so perilous to her distant dominions; the enemy of the Protestant faith, and fraudulently avowing an affection for the liberties of mankind, while she holds her native sons in vassalage and chains.
There it is right there. Arnold himself admitted he thought it was SAFER to align with the British. Did self-preservation trump righteousness? Perhaps that’s where the truth lies. That excerpt indicates that he thought Great Britain was destined to win and the colonists couldn’t achieve their desire to be free.
There is a distinct difference between what happened when Arnold’s activities became known by the colonists and activities of politicians in the 21st century became known to Americans. That difference is that similar behavior seems to be met with apathy on the part of modern day colonists – the American citizens.
In this comparative metaphor, Arnold has multiple manifestations in the present day but because of the colonists’ apathy – as well as the unwillingness of leading politicians who hold powerful positions – these ‘Arnolds’ have either been caught red-handed or have relationships with individuals on par with Andre’. Yet, unlike Arnold, individuals like Chris Christie, who has taken a man with distinct ties to Hamas as his friend; Hillary Clinton, whose close adviser has irrefutable ties to the Muslim Brotherhood; Dick Durbin, who has ingratiated himself to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR); John Brennan, who seemed quite comfortable while speaking to representatives from several Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups at New York University.
These are just a few of several examples but when Benedict Arnold learned that he had been exposed, he fled. Conversely, Christie is being considered as a presidential candidate in 2016, ditto Hillary Clinton. Durbin is still a senior U.S. Senator and Brennan is the president’s nominee for CIA Director.
That is an indictment of Senators and Congressmen who know better and who think it’s “SAFER” to avoid the battle.
Republican leadership today is more interested in ignoring these red flags. In fact, when one U.S. Congressmen – Michele Bachmann – made public her concerns about Abedin, the Speaker of the House – the most powerful Republican in office – suggested that Bachmann’s questions were ‘pretty dangerous’.
Consider French General Henri-Philippe Petain, who reached hero status after WWI. While in his 80’s, France turned to him again when his nation ran out of options to fight the Nazis. What happened is a case study in the origins of why the term ‘turncoat’ was invented. Petain essentially did the Nazis bidding as a figurehead in WWII.
Via First World War:
In 1940, at the age of 83, he headed the Vichy government of France during the Second World War, from 11 July 1940 until 20 August 1944. Petain established a Fascist-oriented government that became notorious for its collaboration with the Third Reich. Ruling with German approval, Petain’s government passed anti-Semitic laws, rounding up French, Spanish and Eastern European Jews for deportation to German concentration camps.
For his collaboration he was sentenced to death for treason following the war, on 15 August 1944, a sentence that was commuted to life imprisonment by Charles de Gaulle, who had served as a junior officer in Petain’s regiment at Charleron in August 1914.
Petain didn’t act as an arm of the Nazis because he agreed with them ideologically. He did so in the interest of self-preservation. To quote Benedict Arnold, Petain likely thought it was “SAFER” to aid Hitler’s forces than it was to fight against them.
Is that where far too many leaders of the United States are today?
If so, God help us if they believe not confronting the likes of Clinton, Christie, Durbin, and Brennan is “SAFER” than the alternative because it isn’t.
In fact, it’s the most dangerous course and while there may be a distinction between a ‘traitor’ and a ‘turncoat’ based on motive, there is little to no difference when it comes to where the actions of each leads.