AN INTERVIEW WITH: BENEDICT ARNOLD – Two faces of the heroic coin.
Eds: Hi Ben, you don’t mind us calling you Ben?
BA: No, it’s better than Edict, which is what most called me after I reversed my hat, so to speak.
Eds: That’s what we wanted to talk to you about.
BA: It’s all anyone wants to talk about. They forget I was good at draughts and mime but what the hell, we all have to be infamous if we can’t make famous.
Eds: But it seems you tried for both when you turned coat and fought for the British against the very men you had stirred with the spirit of 1776.
BA: Well, I don’t look at it like that anymore. You should understand, look at the Liberals in the coalition of your present Parliament for instance. They turned coat quicker than a bloody toreador in a brothel.
Eds: You’re not trying to weasel out of it like that are you?
BA: Why not? They are not ashamed of their keenness to change sides to suit their purpose. You should see me as a forefather of Modern Liberalism as practised by those in the coalition government of your time.
Eds: But what of the moral element in such behaviour?
BA: Moral element, how absurd. How can there be a moral element in any conflict? In my case, it didn’t matter who I was fighting for, merely that I was willing to fight for a cause. Isn’t that moral enough for you? Besides, both flags had the same colour scheme didn’t they?
Eds: That’s a copout though as the stripes and crosses were very different, you must have known that they were different sides.
BA: Silly man, of course I did. I recognised the Americans as the ones I used to drink with and have ‘Hate the poor British’ parties with just before the war. And the British were the ones with a flagpole up their behinds.
Eds: But didn’t you have sleepless nights being a traitor?
BA: Why would I? Both armies fed me well, and as long as I was committed, does it really matter whose side I was on, especially as both had and still have as their underlying national motif, “God protect our nation in war against the enemy.” Now can you see how spurious it is to consider me a traitor?
Eds: You’re a bit of a moral gymnast aren’t you, Edict? Nevertheless, having conviction and principles aren’t the same necessarily.
BA: You’re right but doesn’t that then render any morality purely subjective to whose nation you claim to be fighting for? When both claim to have ‘God on their side’, and in this case both recognised the same ‘Christian’ God, who then is righteous and who is wrongeous?
Eds: Now we know you weren’t a wit then Edict. And what of the financial irregularities that many say led to your change of allegiance to a flag?
BA: Again, you should be used to it by now, what with your leaders with more hands in the till than a kleptomaniac octopus. Mine were, as they say, merely misjudgements and honest mistakes; I never was good at math.
Eds: Really, so how did you get control of the military finances?
BA: Naive boy, don’t you know my social connections? Don’t tell me that you don’t recognise the class system, being British as you are.
Eds: So you were either inept and shouldn’t have gotten a position of power or you were wholly dishonest. You’re not the reason for the name Eggs Benedict?
BA: Silly man, no, no and no. Although you could say I went over very easy! Bye.