‘A Hidden Life’ is the story of a farmer who resisted Hitler - NOT a metaphor for anti-Trump #Resistance
Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo
The new film is the true story of Franz Jagerstatter, a Catholic farmer in Austria who is conscripted into the German Army during WWII and must choose between his conscience, and pledging allegiance to Hitler and the Third Reich.
Jagerstatter’s conscientious objections to Nazism come with dire legal consequences that put his life in peril and leave his mother, wife, and three young daughters pariahs in their small village community.
The movie, which stars a who’s who of European actors, including August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Michael Nyqvist, Franz Rogowski, and Mathias Shoenaerts, may be difficult for non-cinephiles to absorb as Malick, who has made such classics as Badlands, The Thin Red Line, and The Tree of Life, has a storytelling style that is more meditative and impressionistic than general audiences may be conditioned to accept. That said, the film is as dramatically profound and insightful as anything I have seen all year.
Although A Hidden Life was in development before Trump became president, some out here in Hollywood have interpreted the film as a metaphor for the moral imperative to resist Trump. I think that interpretation is myopic at best, and believe that the movie is unintentionally a scathing indictment of the moral vacuity and hypocrisy at the heart of the anti-Trump resistance.
The main point I took away from the film is that moral authority is essential if opposition to evil is to endure. Franz Jagerstatter had an abundance of moral authority because his loyalty was not to country, village, leader, party, policy or even church, but to the truth.
The opposition to Trump, which calls itself the #Resistance, loathes the US president because he is a boor and a bully. Their stance is based solely on his personality and political party rather than on the moral principle to which Jagerstatter adhered. This lack of commitment to truth and principle is what exposes the #Resistance as being completely vapid and devoid of moral standing.
For instance, they are rightfully furious over Trump’s immigration policies, and like to wail about “babies in cages” to prove their point, but that outrage rings entirely hollow since they never spoke up in opposition when Obama put “babies in cages” and deported so many immigrants that he became known as the “Deporter-in-Chief”.
Equally disingenuous is their outrage over Trump’s supposed war on the free press. Obama prosecuted more whistleblowers during his two terms than every other president combined and yet none of these resistors said a word in opposition at the time.Also on rt.com #Resistance has ‘come to Christ’ moment after influential evangelical magazine pens scathing article supporting impeachment
Even more damning is their deification of morally and ethically dubious intelligence agency apparatchiks. John Brennan, Michael Hayden, and James Clapper are all criminals and moral abominations for being integral parts of America’s heinous torture, rendition, surveillance, and drone war programs, and yet they are hailed as patriots and heroes.
The FBI has long infiltrated civil rights, anti-war, and environmental groups in order to destroy them, but that hasn’t stopped the #Resistance from celebrating the bureau’s “professionalism” and genuflecting before loathsome establishment creatures like FBI alums Robert Mueller and James Comey, out of pure anti-Trump animus.
Political darlings of Trump haters, such as Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, call Trump a traitor but then pass expansive military and intelligence bills that further empower the executive branch and the Washington war machine.
The #Resistance has further proven their hypocrisy by embracing the establishment talking points to a shocking degree. These allegedly liberal anti-Trumpers are shameless anti-progressive shills for empire who cheer the prosecution and persecution of truth-tellers such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning and decry the failure of Trump to go to war in Syria and Iran, and to be more belligerent towards Russia.
Franz Jagerstatter lived a quiet, seemingly inconsequential “hidden life,” until he was forced by his conscience to oppose the Nazis and carry the cross of truth from his Eden in the Austrian Alps to his Golgotha in Berlin. Pope Benedict XVI beatified Jagerstatter in 2007 for his unwavering commitment to Christian moral principles in the face of a formidable evil. In contrast, the fraudulent #Resistance in America only play at opposing evil, as is proven by their craven sycophancy toward the depraved neo-liberal, imperial establishment and its military-intelligence industrial complex.
The establishment in America is a malignant, brutish and bloodthirsty beast that has killed and exploited millions of innocent people from Asia to the Middle East to Latin America and everywhere in between over the last 70 years, and the self-righteous and self-aggrandizing anti-Trump #Resistance poseurs will never have the moral authority of a great man like Jagerstatter until they recognize that simple fact. For them to squabble over which mask to wear, be it the folksy mask of George W. Bush, or the good ol’ boy mask of Bill Clinton, or the hope and change mask of Barack Obama, or the brash and brazen mask of Donald Trump, is a fool’s errand and the devil’s handiwork.
A Hidden Life is a deeply moving and worthwhile cinematic venture because it shows the poignant struggles of a man who, unlike the current crop of “resistors,” was willing to sacrifice everything in the service to the truth. The #Resistance must learn the crucial lesson of Jagerstatter, that loyalty to the truth must be the priority, if it ever hopes to attain any moral authority. The first, most basic, and most important truth that they need to understand is this… Donald Trump is not the cause of the evil of neo-liberalism and American empire… he is a consequence of it.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.