Can We Please Get Rid of the Pledge? Reply

By Mike Whitney

Counterpunch

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The Pledge of Allegiance is not an expression of patriotism. It is a loyalty oath that one normally associates with totalitarian regimes. People who love freedom, should be appalled by the idea our children are being coerced to stand and declare their support for the state. This is the worst form of indoctrination and it is completely anathema to the principals articulated in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I cannot imagine outspoken libertarians like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ever proclaiming their loyalty to the state when they correctly saw the state as the greatest threat to individual freedom. Which it is.

Now I know that many people think the Pledge is simply an affirmation of their respect for the flag, their love for the country, and their gratitude to the men and women who fought in America’s wars. But that’s not what it is. The Pledge is an attempt to impose conformity on the masses and compel them to click their heels and proclaim their devotion to the Fatherland. That’s not how it’s supposed to work in a democracy. In a democracy, the representatives of the state are supposed to pledge their loyalty to the people and to the laws that protect them. That’s the correct relationship between the state and the people. The Pledge turns that whole concept on its head.

Now I’d have no problem if our schoolchildren recited the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence before class every day:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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