For a moment think about how the pledge of allegiance is typically recited. Think back to when you recited it in school. Was it with any kind of patriotic enthusiasm? In most cases, likely not. It’s typically mindlessly regurgitated in a monotonic, rhythmic, mechanized fashion by drowsy, unquestioning students at the start of a government-mandated school day. And I’ve even witnessed adults reciting the pledge of allegiance in the same kind of Pavlovian, monotonic fashion.
And do the students or even the adults really understand what the pledge of allegiance actually means? Of course not. The only "understanding" given to them is an incomplete and sometimes backwards description contrived by nationalist historians in a way to justify why every student in the United States must be compelled by law under fear of reprisal to recite a codified sentence derived from the words of a Christian socialist.
I mean, do you honestly believe that 5, 6 and 7 year-olds understand the pledge of allegiance? Of course they don’t. They are reciting it only to conform with their teacher’s instructions and, of course, to make their "patriotic" parents pleased that they’ve learned the pledge and can recite it from memory.
They don’t truly understand the words they are saying, and they certainly do not know the history behind those words. In fact so many people are unaware, likely blissfully so, of the history behind the pledge of allegiance. It’s one reason people can and do say asinine statements such as, "Americans who refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance do not deserve their US citizenship."
Worse still is the number of people who believe that the Founding Fathers wrote it! Now Sarah Palin has been the commonly-exploited example of someone publicly implying the Founders wrote the pledge, and included "under God" at the same time. But I think I’ve found a better example.
A Christian woman named Allenah penned a blog article in August 2011 that attempts to describe what the pledge of allegiance actually means. Now she completely fumbles it because she breaks… it… down… word… for… word… with only a couple exceptions and tries to explain the pledge through the denotations for each word in the pledge. That is not only overkill, but a completely incorrect and backwards way to explain the pledge.
But it only gets better when she summarizes her attempt with this:
In breaking things down as we have, it makes perfect sense why there are many who refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. To these people I say- find another country!
Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing! They knew that it would be all too easy to become complacent with the nation we have.
Perfect sense? Perhaps I’m missing something. I mean, not only does she completely bastardize the pledge of allegiance in her attempt to explain it, but she finishes up with a display of ignorance with regard to history (the Founding Fathers did not write the pledge, and there is no reason to believe they’d be in favor of one) and throws in the "love it or leave it" fallacy to polish it off. Nicely done, Allenah!
* * * * *
I’ve explained the pledge in detail (here) including my reasoning on why I refuse to recite the pledge of allegiance (here). Let me make this clear: it is un-American to recite the pledge of allegiance. That’s right, I just said you are being un-American by reciting the pledge. Why? You are pledging allegiance to the state. The pledge of allegiance calls for loyalty to the state.
Numerous people have tried to tell me, in one way or another, that pledging allegiance to the flag is pledging allegiance to the Constitution, or they’ve said the flag represents the Constitution:
Dude, the flag represents the Constitution. It represents America. Saying the pledge of allegiance isn’t blind allegiance, but allegiance to the idea of Freedom, which is what our Constitution stands for. It’s all the same. You are making way to much out of this.
Here’s an obvious question: why pledge allegiance to the flag when you can, by changing just one (1) word, actually pledge your allegiance directly to the Constitution?
As I pointed out to the person who made the above comment in reply to me, the flag was originally created during the American Revolution (originally adopted on June 14, 1777), long before the Constitution, making it impossible for the flag to represent the Constitution. And as the flag can be changed at any time by our current government, through an ordinary act of Congress, how can the flag represent the Constitution? How can the flag represent anything other than the government that defined it (see Title 4 of the United State Code)?
Prior to mandates to recite the pledge, overturned in 1943 by the United States Supreme Court, the only time a declaration of allegiance was required by anyone was when mandated by a standing law. And those mandates typically required you to have been elected or appointed to some office or have entered the employ of the government. For the rest of us civilians, it was never demanded or necessary. The Constitution of the United States does not require a declaration of allegiance when entering office, not even for the office of President of the United States (from Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution):
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Freedom knows no allegiance. Freedom requires no allegiance, nor any declaration of allegiance, and my ability and right to exercise and enjoy the liberties protected by the Constitution is in no way conditional upon declaring or pledging allegiance "to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands", and so on and so on.
As such there is no reason to believe the Founding Fathers would have recited anything close to the pledge. In fact they likely would’ve been abhorrently appalled by it and the Lincolnian nationalism from which it is derived. And if you are confused by the notion of Lincolnian nationalism, reacquaint yourself with the Gettysburg Address. Thomas DiLorenzo elaborated on the idea of Lincolnian nationalism and Lincolnian statism in an article called "Pledging Allegiance to the Omnipotent Lincolnian State" (link at bottom).
* * * * *
Arguably the pledge of allegiance receiving the kind of attention it enjoyed is due only to the place where it made its genesis: a popular, family-oriented magazine called The Youth’s Companion. And the pledge was concocted and published to promote American nationalism. And what a success that has been.
Today as a result of over a hundred years of reciting, or rather regurgitating the pledge in its various forms, we have a country of people who have completely forgotten the Federalist ideas that are present in the Constitution. Instead of recognizing the pledge for its nationalist propaganda roots and ridding our society of it, the citizenry is more concerned, arguably more than ever, with protecting and preserving the pledge of allegiance, especially the words "under God", and demonize as "un-American" anyone against the pledge while regurgitating nationalist propaganda and contrived statements as a means of defending it.
Our citizenry seems more concerned with protecting, preserving and defending the pledge of allegiance than it is our own Constitution. How is this? Ask a Republican if Republicans abide by the Constitution, then ask them if any act by George W. Bush while he was President violated the Constitution. Then ask them if any act by Barack Obama violated the Constitution. Compare the responses.
Republicans and Christians overwhelmingly want to protect and defend the pledge of allegiance. But they don’t recognize that the Federal government has been operating far outside its constitutional boundaries and limits for a long, long, long time, including under George W. Bush and also under Ronald Reagan, with little if any intention of correcting the problem. But Republicans aren’t alone in this either. The only difference is that Democrats and liberals aren’t nearly as vehement about preserving the pledge.
Indeed a bill called the Pledge Protection Act, which sought to remove the ability for the Federal judiciary to hear cases regarding the pledge of allegiance, has always been introduced into the House of Representatives by a Republican: Todd Akin, R-MO(2). The bill has also garnered typically Republican support, seeing success in the 108th and 109th Congresses due to Republicans and the majority they enjoyed, and was introduced into the Senate during the 109th Congress by Jon Kyl, junior Senator from Arizona serving with John McCain. Despite some success in the House, the bill never went anywhere in the Senate.
As such I must commend Republican nationalists for holding true to the party’s Lincolnian roots. While they speak of limiting the Federal government and pulling the Federal government back to compliance with the Constitution, their actions speak much louder as revealing them to be the hypocrites they really are: nationalists who want to continue the idea of a monopolistic national government operating outside the Constitution. Their motives and propaganda would likely disgust the Founders and Drafters they venerate and revere.
* * * * *
Ridding this nation of the 120 year-old curse known as the pledge of allegiance is long overdue. Despite many attempts by so many people, including Representative Ron Paul (who incorrectly referred to Francis Bellamy as an atheist), I am not convinced the pledge of allegiance can be segregated from its nationalist origins. Nor can it be segregated from its history.
Allegiance, whether declared or not, is not required to enjoy the protections of liberty provided by the Constitution. As I said earlier herein and elsewhere, liberty knows no allegiance. Being free does not require you to pledge your allegiance to any state. And the Founders certainly did not ask nor require that any person declare any allegiance to enjoy the liberty described by the Declaration of Independence as inalienable.
The Constitution of the United States transcends the government of the United States and the States therein. But if the citizenry does not affirm it as such, the government that is to be restricted by the Constitution can more easily escape its restrictions without being noticed. And the citizenry has not affirmed the Constitution as superior for such a long time. This I feel is due in part to the pledge of allegiance, as its recitation has the person improperly placing their allegiance, but that is only part of the issue. The big problem is the sentiment spreading through the citizenry that your rights are conditional upon nationalistic ideals, and they are not.
No person should be declaring their allegiance to the state. Instead, if you have the need or desire to declare any allegiance at all, declare allegiance to the Constitution of the United States (adapted from the oath of citizenship):
I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I shall bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely without reservation or purpose of evasion; [so help me God.]
Along with affirming the Constitution to be the Supreme Law of the Land, we must also study the Constitution and understand what powers it provides the government. Only when the people understand the structure of the fence that is supposed to contain our government can we better enforce the restrictions the Constitution provides and more faithfully demand our government adhere to those restrictions without fail or exception.
* * * * *
I love watching nationalists defend the pledge of allegiance. You never know what they’ll say next, and often what they say is easily refuted. It’s like watching creationists defend the story of Noah’s Ark against the mountains of evidence contradicting it. In response to my assertion that our allegiance should be to the Constitution, one person said this:
We as citizens don’t pledge allegiance to the Constitution because WE DO NOT HAVE DUTIES to carry out in which we must PROTECT the Constitution and everything it represents.
As citizens of the United States, we are the last and ultimate arbiter of the Constitution. We must support and defend it. We are its protection.
Support and defend the Constitution by demanding our representatives in government obey the limits of that Constitution. If they want to exceed those limits, then we must demand they pull back or go through the Amendment process established in Article V of the Constitution to be granted the new power they seek.
Support and defend the Constitution by exercising the rights the Constitution protects. Assert those rights every day in everything you do. Exercise your rights of free speech by being unafraid to speak your mind and voice your opinion. Exercise your right to bear arms by purchasing a firearm. And learn how to assert with confidence your Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights by reading the blog and watching the videos provided by an organization called Flex Your Rights.
Assert your rights and demand our elected and appointed officials hold to their oaths to be faithful to the Constitution. And for God’s sake stop pledging allegiance to the flag.
* * * * *
Links and resources
- "What I expect my child to learn from not saying the pledge of allegiance", James Perry
- "Why I do not pledge allegiance to the flag", Connor’s Conundrums
- "The Rise of American Fascism", R.G. Price
- "The Pledge of Allegiance: A Revised History and Analysis", John W. Baer, PhD
- "Pledging Allegiance to the Omnipotent Lincolnian State", Thomas DiLorenzo
- "The Pledge versus the Oath", James Peron
- "What’s Conservative about the Pledge of Allegiance?", Gene Healy
- "One reason why Christians should not recite the pledge of allegiance", Laurence M. Vance
- 10 Rules for Dealing with Police (4-part playlist), Flex Your Rights
- Busted: The Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters, Flex Your Rights
- Who is the Ultimate Arbiter?, Shane Killian