“You can only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.”
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Collaboration in a negative connotation is an active or passive surrender to an overarching regime which removes freedom and liberty and replaces it with an ordered command mechanism to modify or influence your behavior. One can consider the British Loyalists in the American colonies to be collaborators and their fates on occasion were quite ghastly. This can happen as a result of foreign occupation or a replacement of statist forces over time through elections, coups and administrative fiat in an increasingly tyrannical government. The state is a remora that needs a host to survive and convincing the host that the relationship is beneficial to both parties is the key to the remora’s survival. If Obamunism provides one salutary service to the nation, it is a televised demonstration project on how gangster government (is that redundant?) thrives in an environment where the rule of force trumps the rule of law. On your own counsel, is your acceptance and compliance voluntary or a submission to staying one step ahead of the jailer?
When the Germans rolled into France in June 1940, the French Third Republic toppled to be replaced by État Français or the French State. Vichy France was established after France surrendered to Germany on 22 June 1940 and Marshall Phillipe Pétain removed the administrative center of France from Paris to Vichy. Southern France remained relatively autonomous from direct German control until 11 March 1942 when the Allies landed in North Africa in 1942. The Vichy government ruled over France until the Allied repatriation of the Free French under de Gaulle in June 1945. This government was acknowledged and legitimized by the US and Canada, among others, until 23 October 1944.
During this entire time a guerilla war raged between the French Resistance and the maquis and the Vichy/German government in France and some of its colonial holdings. The Vichy government was simply the latest installment to provide a stage for the adversaries to engage in real and rhetorical combat. This civil war had its origins in the 1789 Revolution when the people who did not agree to the destruction of the Ancien Régime continued to sow division resulting in tremendous dissent and disruption throughout French history in the nineteenth century. During WWII, the behavior and resistance of these anti-Vichy forces was used as an opportunity to expand the state and was responsible for the post-WWII socialist government after the war.
“Historians distinguish between a state collaboration followed by the regime of Vichy, and “collaborationists,” which usually refer to the French citizens eager to collaborate with Nazi Germany and who pushed towards a radicalization of the regime.”
The French started taking measures against undesirables such as communists, socialists, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and other unfortunates who became subject to harassment, imprisonment and death. The French then reactivated and reflagged various existing concentration camps for the government’s latest victims. Stanley Hoffman avers that “an ideologically-motivated cooperation with a Nazi Germany [was] seen as the only bulwark against the spread of Bolshevism in Europe”. Of course, one can note that the opposite is happening in America today.
What is fascinating are the dynamics that animated the relatively easy slide of the republican French into a fascist dictatorship channeling the National Socialist agenda into a French variant that had its moments of viciousness that would do the Nazis proud. This brought to the surface centuries-old conflicts that had been brewing and finally spasmed violently in resistance organizations against the Vichy regime’s predations against urban undesirables and rural pockets of refusal, among others.
These sentiments are now starting to manifest themselves in America. There are people for whom desperate economic times are forcing their ideological hand to reexamine support for a state that seems to work against the wealthy and self-employed, among others. We have collectivists versus individualists; rural versus urban; wise users versus green fascists and an entire panoply of opposition forces starting to coalesce and bringing their fights to the surface.
So what does WWII occupied France have to do with modern America? I would suggest we have labored under a Vichy-style occupation since 1865 when a virulent form of government supremacism extinguished states rights in the original Federal system and then the Progressivist virus metastasized under Theodore Roosevelt and the rest is history as the republican vision of a decentralized, localized and minimal government became as anachronistic as the notion of natural rights.
We are all Vichy French in America today. Your decision is to choose Free American or Vichy French. Your choice is collaboration with a regime that seeks to control your every behavior and rob your children of their inheritance or to stand athwart history and say enough is enough. Collaboration is the willful ability to hold your nose and do what you know is the wrong thing. Collaboration is the desire to look the other way as a large coercive system robs your neighbors’ against their will and you take advantage of the spoils. Pushkin said “[w]hy should cattle have the gifts of freedom? Their heritage from generation to generation is the belled yoke and the lash.”
How many folks do you know (especially collectivists) who would voluntarily pay the taxes they do right here and right now if not compelled by the threat of violence? How many folks do full stops instead of rolling stops at stop signs? How many corporations would willingly staff the accountancy and regulatory requirements imposed on them? From the local to the federal level, how many Americans would enforce or comply with the millions of idiotic regulations forced on them?
What if tens of millions of American workers simply followed Gandhi’s teaching and crossed their arms and said no more taxes, jail me instead? Imagine if state governors stood up and said all the Federal Law enforcement elements within their borders had 24 hours to resign or leave the state?
There was no foreign vector that caused this to happen as it did in WWII France yet the amount of discontent, disenfranchisement and disgust on the part of Americans matches much of what inspired the resistance organizations. Depressingly, one of the reasons the French Resistance was such a tough nut to crack throughout the war was that before the Nazi occupation, they had been hunted as Communists by the pre-1940 French regime and had a very robust cellular organization structure. Many Americans today increasingly look at the machinations in DC and view it as occupation behavior. Yet why did so many Frenchmen collaborate with the Nazi and Vichy regimes? They did it because any other behavior demanded a moral stand or courage they did not possess. We all have to take a measure of the degree of moral cowardice we are willing to live with.
Of course, this is the story of humanity. How did the Bolsheviks maintain their stranglehold over tens of millions? How do we maintain the fascinating fiction just celebrated on Memorial Day that American foreign wars since 1898 have secured our freedom? Was Spain that strong a threat? Did WWI stop the Bolshevik victory in Russia? Did WWII guarantee a free and democratic Russia? All of these can be argued into the wee hours but one observation remains unassailable: war abroad robs and strangles freedom and liberty at home. Case in point: the United Kingdom now is the most visible and truest testament to Orwell’s vision in 1984.
I think the desire to collaborate takes on many guises to include state education systems, mass media and war. For example, I just had the misfortune of visiting the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO. It is truly a memorial to liberty to note its passing and death but the authors of the title probably did not see the irony. I have a tremendous interest in military history but age and further research has proved to me that most wars not fought on your own soil tend to rob the invading nations of their own freedoms and liberties at home over time. Woodrow Wilson’s campaign slogan in 1916 was “He Kept Us Out of War.” That appears to have been less than true. Look at the fate of empires in WWI. Millions of deaths to include one out of three French lads under thirty slaughtered during a four year stalemate and tens of millions of maimed and killed for…more war in WWII. It was sickening to wander through the facility to witness a gallery glorifying the savaging of young lives and the enslavement of the world afterwards as the communist experiment found its footing and raced to see how many citizens could be robbed, jailed, maimed and killed while America raced to make the world safe for big government and soft socialism. Wilson managed to strangle whatever remnant of American independence and freedom remained which Lincoln may have accidentally overlooked. We see the ravages of Wilson’s brownshirts in the American Protective League and the germination of the slow but accelerating crawl to define Americans by national identity instead of the localist roots of village, state and region. This, of course, paved the way for the patriotic gore we see today of American flags emblazoned on every conceivable surface to celebrate war on the world and our own enslavement.
The next ten years in America will be pivotal and I believe the country will dissolve into independent nation states in what is now these united States. Take the scales from your eyes and read the real history of America. This is not a country that progresses through government but in spite of it. The change starts at the bottom with the individual. The three percent who will resist and work for liberty and freedom changed the prospects of liberty in America during the last half of the 18th century. Ask yourself: what is the price of my refusal to obey? More importantly, how dear will the price be for your children if you simply stand by and watch?
This is Bill Buppert. If you are reading this, you are the Resistance.
“The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance”
~ Thomas Paine
William Buppert [send him mail] and his homeschooled family live in the high desert in the American Southwest.
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.