The Pledge of Allegiance might offend some

Yes, let’s be sensitive to those students who could care less about their country.

Student Sean Harrington appears to have won his fight to bring the Pledge of Allegiance back into his Massachusetts high school — except the principal’s proposed solution leaves the daily honor to the nation’s flag literally hanging in the hall.

Charles Skidmore, principal of Arlington High School in Arlington, Mass., has offered to allow students to recite the pledge before school begins — but in the school’s foyer and not in the classrooms, as 17-year-old Harrington had hoped.

Kathleen Bodie, Arlington superintendent of schools, told Fox News Radio that “The principal wanted to be very respectful about the pledge and be sensitive to the Supreme Court ruling that students are not forced to say the pledge. He wanted to be sensitive to the diverse group of students we have.”

I’m ashamed that this young man had to go through hoops to do something I did everyday when I was a kid.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands, one nation, UNDER GOD,  indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

What have we become?

22 thoughts on “The Pledge of Allegiance might offend some”

  1. Not too long ago, I read something online (at LRC) that really struck me. The flag is only a symbol, and what it could symbolize could change… or people can have it stand for other things. For example, the Cuban flag can stand for Fidel’s Cuba or a free Cuba. Additionally, our founders would not have necessarily revered the federal flag over the state flag.

    We do have something worth pledging allegiance to – something that is our greatest legacy – the document that protects us from government:

    “I pledge allegiance to the Bill of Rights
    Of the United States’ Constitution,
    And to the Republic which it protects;
    One nation, under God, divisible,
    With liberty and justice for all.”

    This is what I’ll teach my children.

    • How about this one. I recited it almost thirty years ago and meant every word:

      “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

  2. I don’t like that. I thought you claimed to be a small government guy, Pitbull. There’s too much “when required by the law” in this piece. Service of any kind – be it military, philanthropic, religious, what have you – should only be voluntary. If it is not voluntary, then we are not free. And no, that should not be the “price to pay” for living here. Were that true, what would make us so special then?

    If you change “when required by the law” to “because I choose to,” and toss out that whole “national importance under civilian direction” stuff, that oath demands respect. Until then, it’s a serf’s vow.

  3. George – if only people BORN here had to take such an oath. Not to mention pass a citizenship test.

  4. No – and what does the land under where placenta emerged, something I have no control over, matter.

    I understand it’s required as an Oath of Citizenship – and were I not born here I would have taken that oath in a heartbeat considering the alternative – but you have to admit that the “when required by the law” wording is atrocious.

  5. All I can say is that if we are not a nation of laws, and if citizens are not willing to serve their country, then they don’t deserve to be here. I am in favor of mandatory military service.

  6. “Mandatory military service?” That is ridiculous.

    How can you be for ‘a nation of laws’ and in the same breath wish the forfeit of the most fundamental, inalienable right to life? Anyone who believes that, Ziva, can never, EVER say they are for ‘limited government.’ How much more in control of a person can a government have than universal conscription? Mandatory military service means the government OWNS you. It is allowed to put your LIFE at RISK for whatever war it wants. How is this better than Cuba? Hypothetically, would you voluntarily go to war against Israel in order to defend the sovereignty of ‘Palestine’ if a President and Congress you disagree with (see: now) decided they had had enough of Israeli apartheid? The government could literally do away with those whom they disagree with by placing them on the front lines. And do not say that would never happen because history is filled with such atrocities. Even one of God’s favorites, King David, wasn’t above the practice (2 Samuel 11:15).

    What’s ironic is many who believe in mandatory military service also (rightly) believe the government shouldn’t take their money or land or guns or any property. But to the property that is YOUR OWN BODY AND LIFE, everything else is secondary.

    • Machete. I truly admire your zeal. Libertarianism in its full expression, however, never works. It presupposes that individuals will make enlightened choices. Nothing could be further from the truth…

  7. George, and who will decide if these choices are enlightened or not? Take away the right of free individuals to unrestricted and unconstrained choices (no matter the outcome) and you have a road to tyranny, slavery and servitude. Notwithstanding, I see your point and Ziva’s which touches the perilous boundary between Libertarianism (of which I’m lured) and Anarchy (of which I repulse).

    It would be difficult for me, given the choice, to decide which is more important, “A Nation of Free Man”, a “Nation of Laws” or a “Nation Under God”. The American Experience –still a unique, revolutionary and wondrous work in progress– tries to resolve this apparent trichotomy (which this Republic is proving that is not): A Nation of Free Man and Laws under God…

    Think about it for a minute. A Nation of Free Man and Laws under God. Beautiful. God Bless America.

  8. Libertarianism does not presuppose that individuals will make “enlightened” choices at all.

    It establishes that the choice belongs to the individual (as long as that choice does not violate someone else’s life, liberty, or property). Simple as that. What follows is shown that when individuals make their own choices, they choose what gives them greatest value, and praxeologically, an efficient order emerges.

    • Libertarianism, as I see it — and I was a card-carrying member of the LP for years, and disagreed with a lot of their planks — is as utopian as socialism/marxism/communism. In the opposite, direction of course, but no less unworkable in the real world.

  9. I don’t understand why people have this misconception. I loathe it because nothing could be further from the truth. Libertarians allow for humans to behave exactly as humans. This is the fundamental basis of austro-libertarian thought.

    ANARCHY could theoretically be considered utopian in the opposite direction of statism, not libertarianism. I’d be happy to argue specifics if you give examples of what elements of libertarianism require humanity to be too “utopian” or “enlightened.”

    To shun libertarianism as unworkable is to scoff at the great American experiment. Libertarianism takes the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights as its essentially sacred documents. Most of our primary Founders would be considered Libertarian today since American Libertarianism is based on their works.

    Take whom most will agree are our eleven primary founders and you’ll find that ten would be fully libertarian or at least libertarian-republicans:

    Very Likely libertarians: Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, James Madison, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, George Mason

    Possible libertarians: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay

    Not libertarian at all: Alexander Hamilton

  10. George – To equate socialism/marxism/communism with libertarianism by labeling them all as utopias is a bit on the heavy side. No complaints on my side on labeling the formers as deranged utopias (if they were only that… throw in godless, barbaric, and every foul language word I can think of).

    The basic tenets and fabric of our Republic –Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights– are inspired and based on Libertarian principles. The genesis of our economic system, The Wealth of Nations, and its offspring, Capitalism, is also inspired and based on Libertarian principles.

    Are ALL Libertarian principles workable/doable/adoptable in today’s society (and as far as I can see in any future society)? In my honest opinion, problematic if not doubtful. Nevertheless, the core of libertarianism (choice and freewill) will continue to inspire all Free Man –as it did to our forefathers . No utopia there.

    • If you want to know what 21st century libertarianism is all about, look no further than Ron Paul. A brazen hypocrite who professes one thing about earmarks then does quite another, and who wants to be friends with the worst of the worst of the world. I’ll stick to Reagan conservatism, thank you. My dalliance with the LP was due more to a visceral negative reaction to early nineties Republican and Democrat idiocy and hypocrisy than to anything else.

  11. Machete – John Adams is not a “possible” libertarian, quite the contrary. His quarrel-for-the-ages with Jefferson, precisely was predicated on opposing and antagonistic views on what the American Experiment was all about. Jefferson’s libertarianism (i.e. States’ Rights) vs. Adams centralism (i.e. Federalism). Although in the later years of their lives they seemed to “converge” if you will as shown in their profuse correspondence.

  12. “Francis Bellamy (1855 – 1931), a Baptist minister, wrote the original Pledge in August 1892. He was a Christian Socialist. In his Pledge, he is expressing the ideas of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, author of the American socialist utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897).”

    “Francis Bellamy in his sermons and lectures and Edward Bellamy in his novels and articles described in detail how the middle class could create a planned economy with political, social and economic equality for all. The government would run a peace time economy similar to our present military industrial complex.”

    Huh. Who knew? The Pledge was written by a Socialist. Ironic, if nothing else.

  13. Machete, Jefferson would not be a “libertarian” at all, if anything he had a sort of agrarian socialist side to him and believed that all citizens should own the land. (keep in mind I’m also not even touching the slave issue, which I doubt is part of the “libertarian” platform). One problem that I don’t think Libertarians can bridge with Conservatives is libertarians hostility towards religion – which is almost as bad as Marxism’s loathing of religion. Libertarians are also usually pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-drug legalization, for legalizing prostitution, for open borders, etc. Not exactly Reagan 🙂

  14. @Maceo’s Revenge: I put John Adams as ‘possible’ because although the young John Adams would not have been at all and was nearly Hamiltonian in his statism, the elder Adams might have been as you point out. Those ‘possibles’ are complex characters and are grouped there for expediency’s sake. You can’t really argue with the rest of the groupings, can you? And not all Federalists were ‘centralists,’ using your word. Madison and Washington were prime examples: they valued the strength that came from the union but understood and tried to protect against the dangers.

    @George: That’s a cop out answer, man. I asked you what specifically you felt was so unrealistically ‘utopian’ about libertarianism and you cite a guy you don’t like because he’s a so-called hypocrite. He’s no more a hypocrite than anyone who wants to privatize social security but accepts the checks anyway, or who wants to end the Department of Education but still sends their kids to government schools. We pay into social security and education whether we want to or not, so why should we turn down our own money? Likewise, he may not like the rules of the game but to not play by those same rules would hurt his constituency who would not see their own federal taxes properly spent in their district. Plus, he’s never traded votes for earmarks or voted for a bill, earmark or not, that would have gone against his rock-solid libertarian, limited government ideology. For a better background, read these:

  15. @Mr. Mojito: Jefferson, Mason, Paine, and Henry would probably be the most libertarian of all the founders, so, with respect, you’re wrong there.

    A hero to Libertarians, Jefferson’s writings and political philosophy heavily shape American Libertarian thought today. He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, inspired by Samuel Adams, which established that men had rights at birth and not rights granted to him by government. He believed in self-ownership and free association and that the bigger the government, the less free the individual would be. Additionally, French economist Destutt de Tracy was profoundly influential in Jefferson’s economic way of thinking (he even had his work translated to English). de Tracy would be the precursor to Frederic Bastiat, who is considered the grandfather of Austrian Economics (the laissez-faire school of economic thought libertarians subscribe to).

    Notable quotes:
    “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
    “A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
    “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
    “I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
    “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”

    Also, it’s not particularly fair to judge stances on social issues since some of these things would have been quite foreign to even consider 200+ years ago.

    Regarding abortion, that’s one issue that libertarians are split nearly down the middle because they can both see the argument for life and for personal liberty. Here’s a discussion about this on Stossel: (skip to 6:42).

    And as far as religion, that’s quite an unfair statement. I will concede that there are probably more atheist libertarians than atheist republicans. But to say libertarians are generally hostile toward religion is a bit irresponsible. Ron and Rand Paul, arguably the most popular “libertarians,” are quite devout. Plus, that’s no different than when people say that republicans are hostile toward hispanics since most hispanics are democrats (yet here we are: Cubans aren’t typically democrats). Nebulous arguments like that serve no purpose outside of stoking flames of preconceived animosity.

  16. Machete sorry I was gone all day and offline. I don’t see a conflict between my belief in small government and mandatory military service. All of us should serve our country, and be prepared to defend it against all enemies. It is the responsiblity of every citizen to defend and protect our freedom, otherwise you wind up with a nation of irresponsible free-loaders, at the mercy of utopian selling snake oil salesmen. There should be no free rides. As for your hypothetical, no I would not go to war against Israel to defend “Palestine” which BTW is an insulting name the Romans on the Jewish homeland. Military personnel are required to take an oath to uphold the Constitution. A president siding with terrorist enemies against allies should be impeached, not served.

  17. Ziva, if you can’t recognize the conflict, then I don’t know what else is left to say. You may consider mandatory military service as fundamentally important, but you must at least recognize that with this comes at a monumental loss of individual freedom and a transfer of power from the individual to the federal government.

    I will give you a secondary argument since I feel the freedom trade-off is obvious: mandatory military service creates resentful cynics instead of more patriots. People would no longer “sacrifice,” they would simply serve. Military service would no longer be considered honorable or special, it would simply be the serfs doing as they’re told under the threat of imprisonment. If you have ever forced a child to apologize, you’ll understand the parallels with that meaningless gesture. If military service is chosen by only a small percentage today, it would stand to reason that forcing the remaining majority to risk their life would lead to a fair number of them losing any sense of respect or admiration for this country. Add to that number any individuals who would lose a parent, sibling, or child to mandatory service and you would create a population bitterly indignant of its masters, the government.

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