Free Speech

They Also Decided to Take the Swastika off the Flag

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In honor of Flag Day, Pledge of Allegiance foe Rex Curry has photos of early pledgers looking like Nazis. Because of the later association with Hitler and his followers, the right-handed, straight-armed salute was replaced by the right-hand-over-heart gesture. While I share Curry's distaste  for the Pledge of Allegiance's socialist origins, flag idolatry, and mindless conformism (never mind the subsequent addition of "under God"), I'm not sure this juxtaposition is fair. It's rather like making Native Americans look creepy by noting that they wove swastikas into their baskets, or suggesting ideological sympathy between Charlie Chaplin and Hitler based on their mustaches.

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  1. suggesting ideological sympathy between Charlie Chaplin and Hitler based on their mustaches.

    “Welcome to the Time Masheen. We are going to take you back, first to the year 1939, when Charlie Chaplin and his evil Nazi regime enslaved Europe and tried to take over the world.”

    “But then an even greater force emerged– the ‘UN’. And the ‘UN’ un-nazied the world forever.”

  2. Oh, I don’t know. Swearing oaths of allegiance to das Vaterland smacks of the same kind of overly nationalistic thinking that fascists enjoy–Nazi salute or no Nazi salute. I think Rex is just illustrating this mindset with a nice historical coincidence. It’s only unfair if he says that these kids were Nazis and should be tried for war crimes or something like that.

    Unless my memory is failing me, he’s involved in the (Tampa) Bay Area LP. I might have met him at one of the few meetings that I attended–can’t remember. I didn’t greet him with a Nazi salute, though. I’m pretty sure about that.

  3. C’mon Henry. The idea is to comment.

  4. One other objectionable phrase in the Pledge-

    One Nation, Indivisible,

    It is a post War to Prevent Southern Independence, Lincolnesque Progressive Rant!

  5. Maybe we should replace the Pledge with the Vulcan salute. “Live long and prosper” sounds like a good thing to say to the United States. Kind of like another possibility, “Pursue happiness”.

    Live long and prosper.

  6. I’m with Pro Libertate. The nationalist mentality that spawns the Pledge of Allegiance is of a kind with the nationalist mentality that leverages fascism into the population.

  7. Thanks for the link. I’ve read about the old salute, but I’d never seen any pics of it.

  8. I’ll define “progress” as the day we no longer have to stand at attention and pretend to be good little patriotic theists as God Bless America is played at sporting events.

  9. I could go with “Live long and prosper.”

    Or “Live Free or Die, Muthafuka.”

  10. Y’know, live long and prosper is pretty fuckin cool. Kinda says it all in just a couple of words. I think it needs to be revived in 30 years once people forget where it came from!! (Not that I’m against Trek, I loved it, but, well y’know…)

  11. There’s a little more to the thesis than simply “OMG Nazi Salute!”

    I thought the point of the page had more to do with the social control implications of making kids repeat a memorized pledge in unision each morning than it did with the nazi connection.

  12. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I don’t like the pledge either, but I clicked two or three links at Mr Curry’s website, and now I can’t stand him either. That’s one of the most annoying websites ever. Fricking text splattered across every grainy photo, annoying layout, bad, bad, bad.

  13. Maybe we should replace the Pledge with the Vulcan salute. “Live long and prosper” sounds like a good thing to say to the United States. Kind of like another possibility, “Pursue happiness”.

    I think we should waggle our half-raised fists in excitement, like Wallace when he says, “Cheese.”

  14. On the lighter side, Kurt Waldheim is dead

    hier is more coverage…

  15. the native american and chaplin analogies don’t work because there is more going on here than just appearances. The pledge of allegience is a form of indoctrination and swearing allegiance to the state. If you can’t see any sort of connection between this and the tactics of the nazi party then you are blind.

    Albeit the Nazi:Pledge analogy is overblown, there is truth within it.

  16. Rex Curry may rightfully oppose the pledge of allegiance.

    I, however, rightfully oppose egregious* use of the blink tag.

    *By which I mean any

  17. People, people, The Nazi Salute was a on-purpose recreation of the same salute from the Roman Empire days. When you are recreating hegemony over Europe, there’s no better salute

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_salute

  18. Hail to thee, fat person! You kept us out of war!

  19. jp,

    We fought and defeated the British oppressors to get free of that sort of thing. And to make our own cheese–AMERICAN cheese. And who can match the lasting power of Velveeta? Not the U.K., I can assure you. And British fictional propaganda aside, only we have reached the moon and all of its cheesy bounty.

    You know, it is too bad that the “Live long and prosper” slogan has the Trek association. It’s a pretty good saying for technology-friendly libertarians.

  20. Geek alert:

    The Vulcan greeting is “peace and long life”
    The polite Vulcan response is “live long and prosper”

    It’s the “howyadoin”
    “goodanyu?” of the Vulcan world.

  21. The pledge of allegience is a form of indoctrination and swearing allegiance to the state. If you can’t see any sort of connection between this and the tactics of the nazi party then you are blind.

    “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.”

    Lighten up, dude. If you think saying this one sentence every school day is even comparable to the brainwashing of the Hitler Youth, you need to put down the crack pipe and get a clue.

    I can see how one could object to the “under God” phrase, but aside from that the pledge states nothing controversial.

  22. Suggested H&R headline for Waldheim death:

    “And, Pontiff, how are you?”

    or

    “Good night, Mr Waldheim.”

    or

    Something about whether Schwarzenegger will be invited to the funeral.

    (Side note to this side note: Firefox’s spellchecker recognizes “Schwarzenegger,” but not “spellchecker.”)

  23. Legate Damar,

    Statements like that are exactly why we can’t adopt that slogan.

    Vulcans–capitalists or socialists? I mean, “prosper”? Sounds marketish to me.

  24. High#:

    how about:

    BURN IN HELL YOU FUCKING NAZI SCUM

    Although that’s not as catchy as you’d think when it’s on a greeting card.

    Somehow the cute, frolicking woodland creatures juxtaposed with that pithy, laconic phrasing doesn’t really soar. Dammit.

    *strikes jaunty pose. ambles off

  25. “On the lighter side, Kurt Waldheim is dead.”

    I remember being on vacation and striking up a conversation with an Austrian college student when the Waldheim Nazi story first broke. Though predictably leftist otherwise, the guy was entirely disinterested in the revelation.

    “You don’t care that he was a Nazi?” I asked with some astonishment.

    He shrugged. “They all were,” he said.

  26. “I pledge allegiance to this flag…”

    Right there, crimethink, that’s where the icky Hitler youth part comes in. Pledging your allegiance to a goddamn flag? F*ck that.

  27. Uninterested, that is. Geez, I hate it when my illiteracy ruins a story.

  28. crime think:

    i don’t think the pledge is a big deal, but drawing paralells between the pledge and nazism is not that ridiculous. They are realizations of the same concept just to different extremes.

  29. Well, I for one always felt like an idiot standing there with my hand over my heart like I’d been shot. I felt sorry for chicks, who had to basically feel themselves up for God and country. The thing I liked best about being in the Army is that you could actually salute the flag.

  30. VM,

    I don’t think that’s quite H&R’s style, but I like it.

    (Side note to this side note to a side note, do you think the rest of the commenters groan when VM, ProGLib, and ^# all show up on a thread?)

  31. Yup.

    But D.A.R appreciates it!

    Pledging allegiance to the flag is creepy. But then again, watching people get all frothy and twizzled when it comes to All Things Flagged, is creepy, too.

    Also when they pray (prey?) to Our Jeebus of the Underpass is also creepy. Something about bowing and scraping to idols is basically creepy.

    Don’t they know that the only bowing and scraping is BEFORE ZOD

  32. I can see how one could object to the “under God” phrase, but aside from that the pledge states nothing controversial.

    Let’s see, like highnumber, I object to pledging allegiance to anything, especially a gd flag, or a republic. Apparently the republic the flag stands for is under God… good call there. And then there’s the insult of paying lip service to liberty and justice, when the past 7 years (and more) have been spent doing exactly the opposite of protecting liberty or justice.

    Yeah, nothing controversial there

  33. Indivisible offends me, both from the what-was-that-Declaration-of-Independence-thing-all-about-anyway perspective and as a Southerner, cause I think that’s a knock against us. Repeated each and every day. Yes, yes, yes, slavery bad, but the concept that I can be forced to stay in the Union regardless of what it does rather irks me.

  34. Lighten up, dude. If you think saying this one sentence every school day is even comparable to the brainwashing of the Hitler Youth, you need to put down the crack pipe and get a clue. I can see how one could object to the “under God” phrase, but aside from that the pledge states nothing controversial.

    Even taking God out of the equation, I feel no allegiance to a piece of fabric (no matter what pattern it sports). Also, the “liberty and justice for all” is either a noble-but-unattainable goal or a flat-out lie, depending on how chartiable you want to be.

  35. Shut the hell up, highnumber, or we’ll do it again. And we’ll win, this time, as well as drain Lake Michigan–[insert maniacal laughter].

    Jennifer,

    Liberty for all, I’m okay with. I’m not sure what “justice” for all means. Everyone but highnumber gets a cookie?

  36. Liberty for all, I’m okay with.

    I’m not, because it’s a lie. The Pledge was written when racial segregation was still mandated by law. “God” entered the pledge during the McCarthy era when a mere accusation of being a Communist, backed by no evidence save the word of an alcoholic senator, was all it took to trash your life. And whatever gains in the name of liberty may have been made since then have been wiped out, to the point where opposition to torture or the removal of habeas corpus is actually considered worthy of pre-election debate, rather than taken for granted.

    Liberty for people who put unapproved substances into their bodies would be nice, too.

  37. Of course, the question now is why do all you folks continue to live in a country to which you feel no allegiance?

  38. Liberty for people who put unapproved substances into their bodies would be nice, too.

    No no. Clearly you missed the part where that falls under “justice,” as in those other people you harm by putting those unapproved substances in your body receive justice.

  39. Dan, Shut Up

  40. Sorry to interrupt the whinefest. Let’s continue to hear about the horrors of living in the priviliged class of modern America.

  41. No work for me here.

  42. “Liberty for all, I’m okay with.”

    I’m not, because it’s a lie.

    Maybe we’re supposed to think of it as a “goal”, not a description of the current state of affairs…

    Did anyone here have to do the pledge in middle or high school? I didn’t. I’ve heard here in NYC that they passed a law in 2001 (oh, around the 2nd week of September) requiring it in *all* schools, and some high school teachers are getting in trouble for not leading the bow-and-scrape every morning.

    Anyway as a kid I was always offended by the “under God” part. The rest was just meaningless gibberish that no one gave any critical thought to.

  43. Dan, Shut Up

    I know he’s trolling, but I feel it worth pointing out that I feel more allegiance to my friends, my family, and my immediate community than I do to my country. How selfish of me!

  44. Goddamn, I may have to add an “Annual Agree With Dan T” to my “Weekly Agree With joe.” My head hurts just thinking about it.

  45. Deeply groaning party firmly to interrupt. They hear, about the frights of the life into priviliged to speak further the class modern Americas.

  46. Sadly, whinefest to interrupt. Let us continue to hear over the Grausigkeiten of the life in the privileged category from modern America to.

  47. I’ve heard here in NYC that they passed a law in 2001 (oh, around the 2nd week of September) requiring it in *all* schools, and some high school teachers are getting in trouble for not leading the bow-and-scrape every morning.

    After 9/11, the high school where I taught installed flags in all rooms and decided to do the pledge over the intercom each morning, on the apparent theory that the Twin Towers fell because of insufficient pledges to the flag. When the guy came by to install the flag in my classroom, I had him put it on the wall opposite my desk, so that when the kids stood and faced the flag their backs were to me.

    The kids who chose not to stand knew damned well what I was doing. Good for them.

  48. “Of course, the question now is why do all you folks continue to live in a country to which you feel no allegiance?”

    And move to another country where we feel no allegiance but are poorer? I’m all for open borders, but this just doesn’t make sense.

  49. Of course is the question now, why all do you, peoples continue, living in a country to which you do not believe allegiance?

  50. Obvious, is the question now, why do everything you, of the people continue to live in a country, in which you do not believe in any allegiance?

  51. No, no, it’s not the country to which you’re supposed to feel allegiance; it’s the goddamned flag. If you take the pledge literally enough, then if Bin Laden shows up wearing an American flag T-shirt you must obey his order to assassinate the president, because Bin Laden has the flag to which you’ve pledged allegiance. The magical mystical flag.

  52. Is today run-everything-Dan-T.-says-through-Babelfish-three-times day? WTF?

  53. We had the pledge said over the intercom every morning throughout high school, and I attempted every variety of rebellions that would have resulted in the smallest possible contempt from the teacher (who ultimately would give me a grade for something). Depending on the year, I didn’t stand, or didn’t put my hand on my heart, or didn’t recite it, or whatever. Some got really offended, but whatever. I don’t object to actually doing it so much as I object what it stands for. It’s the same kind of thing where I only go to church when I’m with my grandparents.

  54. “The kids who chose not to stand knew damned well what I was doing. Good for them.”

    Why do you and these kids hate America so much? Everyone knows that terrorists are unable to mouth the pledge of allegience. How are we going to root them out if not with daily loyalty oaths?

  55. RHYWUN,

    SORT OF. DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT?

  56. Is today run-everything-Dan-T.-says-through-Babelfish-three-times day? WTF?
    OMG! What a TERRIFIC Idea!

    I submit:
    Sadly which whinefest to stop. Let continue us to hear on Grausigkeiten of the life in priviliged the category of modern America.

  57. I feel an allegiance to the constitution. Without it, there is no country. Still, the idea of an arranged and regular loyalty oath is somewhat nauseating to me.

  58. There are some points in Dr. Curry’s work that are being overlooked. The similarity of the salute made by American National Socialists to that of German National Socialists was NOT a coincidence. Francis Bellamy, author of the Pledge, was a self-proclaimed socialist in the Nationalism movement in the USA. The Pledge WAS the origin of the stiff arm salute. The reference to wiki above is very sad because wiki is an anonymous bulletin board where the truth is deliberately deleted, including any references to the discoveries discussed here. wiki also evades the issue that the stiff-arm salute was NOT an ancient Roman salute, and that the Pledge was the origin of the Roman salute myth, as shown in Dr. Curry’s work.
    http://rexcurry.net/roman-salute-metropolitan-museum-of-art.html

    After a long period of misrepresentation, the Wiki article was improved somewhat to where the wiki article no longer maintains that the stiff arm salute was a Roman salute (and due to the spread of Dr. Curry’s work). Wiki can change at any moment, even by someone seeing this post and going to wiki to deliberately claim, without support, that it was an ancient Roman salute. Yet people still read the Wiki article and somehow imagine that it states the salute was an ancient Roman salute. The wiki article does not state that. Also, the topic is not simply the Pledge (even as bad as it is) it is also about government schools (socialist schools). The Bellamy boys wanted government to take over all schools to impose socialism, and the Pledge was explicitly part of their dogma to do that. Further, many states today still have laws purporting to dictate pledge’s by students every day (though a supreme court case says students don’t have to do that, many teachers do not know that, and the students are not told it, and they still persecute children in various other ways anyhow, such as making them leave the room or forcing them to stand, instead of remaining as they were seated). Worse still, people were persecuted, lynched, imprisoned, and children were taken away from parents, in the past for refusals to do the straight-arm salute and robotically chant in government schools. It happened at the same time in Germany to the Swastika flag as it did in the USA. Edward Bellamy’s dogma (the Nationalism movement) was international in its scope and influence, including Germany. All of the above and more explains why Americans are so ignorant of liberty and of the Pledge (and its poisonous past) and are kept that way by government schools.

  59. Of course, the question now is why do all you folks continue to live in a country to which you feel no allegiance?

    Dan T., you are mistaken. I live where I live. The country happens to claims dominion over where I live, and it would cost me more to argue the finer points with it or to move out of it than to stay and accept it.

    Besides which, pledging allegiance to a flag is so not pledging allegiance to a country.

  60. No, no, it’s not the country to which you’re supposed to feel allegiance; it’s the goddamned flag. If you take the pledge literally enough, then if Bin Laden shows up wearing an American flag T-shirt you must obey his order to assassinate the president, because Bin Laden has the flag to which you’ve pledged allegiance. The magical mystical flag.

    Right. This is why nobody takes the pledge so literally. The flag is a symbol – you know, “the republic for which it stands”?

    And you accuse me of being contrarian! But I’m not sitting here pretending like I’m too daft to understand the meaning behind the pledge.

  61. Quite. Therefore nobody so literally takes promised. The marking sign is a symbol – you know, for that the Republic of it stand? And you accuse me of of its contrarian! But I sit pretend not here, as I also daft am, to the meaning behind promised to be understood.

  62. Holy shit.

    Holy fucking shit.

    I’m totally asking this without sarcasm: why do you guys hate America?

    Yes, it’s a serious question. If it weren’t for the Founding Fathers, and the sacrifices of all the Americans who’ve lived since then, do you seriously, for even a second, think that you would have anywhere near the freedom that you enjoy today? Yes, there are problems with this country, but here in the US we are freer and more comfortable than any people have been at any time in history. So, if you have a problem with the Flag, get the fuck out of the country it represents.

  63. America is my favorite country.

  64. Oh, come off it. So, when I recited the Pledge in elementary school, I was only pledging allegiance to that particular piece of fabric that was hanging in my classroom? So, if that particular flag has been disposed of in the intervening years, I’m free from my pledge?

    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…”

    If a first-grader asked why he was pledging allegiance to a piece of fabric, I would think it funny. Not so much for adults.

  65. If a first-grader asked why he was pledging allegiance to a piece of fabric, I would think it funny.

    A joke you are unlikely to see in Family Circus

  66. Yes, it’s a serious question. If it weren’t for the Founding Fathers, and the sacrifices of all the Americans who’ve lived since then, do you seriously, for even a second, think that you would have anywhere near the freedom that you enjoy today? Yes, there are problems with this country, but here in the US we are freer and more comfortable than any people have been at any time in history. So, if you have a problem with the Flag, get the fuck out of the country it represents.

    Crimethink, do you seriously think that the rote recitation of words about a piece of fabric is what makes this country worthwhile? Or that the mindless repetition of pledges is what this country represents?

    Don’t confuse the symbol for what it symbolizes. American ideals of justice and liberty are important. A piece of fabric with a tacky color scheme, by contrast, is NOT important. Nor is the meaningless recitation of empty words.

  67. And I’ll echo RC Dean in communicating my distress at agreeing with Dan T. It’s kind of sad when recognizing that the Pledge of Allegiance is not an Nazi-esque oath to a piece of fabric is contrary to the consensus here, but oh well.

  68. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…”

    So take out the “flag” clause and simply pledge allegiance to the country. Better yet, forget about mindless pledges altogether, unless you can show me just ONE example of a person who was about to turn traitor and destroy America, but at the last minute remembered “Shit. I can’t do that, because I pledged allegiance already!”

  69. . . .but I think a semi-required oath of allegiance is contrary to its principles. I also object to substituting loyalty to symbols for loyalty to the ideals of our political system as embodied in the Constitution. Honestly, didn’t you ever see that Star Trek episode?

  70. Jennifer,

    There’s a happy medium between thinking the Pledge is the epitome of America’s greatness, and heaping derision upon it, comparing it to Nazi indoctrination techniques, as you and your comrades are doing in this thread.

    Sure, the pledge is corny. Sure, most kids are not even aware of what the words mean when they say them. But that doesn’t justify the scorn and derision displayed here.

  71. crimethink –
    Perhaps I could see you getting so upset if we were all like “yeah man, Europe is so much better than us. Fuck the US!” But for real, do you not see that we’re talking about trying to preserve as much of that freedom as possible? I really, sincerely, hope that nobody goes and dies for this country with the goal that it will make people more likely to say the pledge. Similar to how I would hope that you don’t sacrifice your life for your children with the expectation that they’ll become doctors like you always wanted them to, even if they don’t want to.

  72. And I’ll echo RC Dean in communicating my distress at agreeing with Dan T. It’s kind of sad when recognizing that the Pledge of Allegiance is not an Nazi-esque oath to a piece of fabric is contrary to the consensus here, but oh well.

    Welcome to my world.

  73. If it weren’t for the Founding Fathers,…

    I’ll give you this point.

    …and the sacrifices of all the Americans who’ve lived since then, do you seriously, for even a second, think that you would have anywhere near the freedom that you enjoy today?

    However, I think you romanticize things here more than they should be. Nine out of ten parts of what makes the US a better place than any other on the planet were built by the ingenuity and effort of private individuals who sought out a free place to live and work. The facts that freedom perpetuates freedom and freedom produces wealth are hard to disagree with.

    But it is also true that the republic or the flag had little to do with this except by staying out of the way. That republic serves best that serves least.

  74. I also object to substituting loyalty to symbols for loyalty to the ideals of our political system as embodied in the Constitution.

    Wow, maybe we should just have kids recite the Constitution every morning. I’m sure they’d understand that much better than the Pledge.

    It’s a short, simple statement of identification with America. I seriously don’t see why you people are getting all worked up and over-analyzing it.

    As for it being required, well, it makes sense that citizens of a country should pledge allegiance to that country. Or do you think people who don’t give a shit about America should be voting in American elections?

  75. Oh, and I believe it was written by a Socialist Baptist… you expect people here to somehow align their ideals with it?

    HEY Everyone! Cut your freedom of expression for just a moment! Some guy wrote something that is widely accepted as respectful of those who died for our country! Yes, I know you think such things are crap, but just for a moment, couldn’t you… well.. couldn’t you… you know… recite it? Or pretend to believe in it while discussing the topic “openly?”

  76. being forced to say the pledge is creepy.

    the pledge is creepy.

    bowing to idols is creepy.

    What ProGLib said.

    (he can’t translate the words because they were pronounced too badly)

  77. But it is also true that the republic or the flag had little to do with this except by staying out of the way. That republic serves best that serves least.

    That republic didn’t just stay out of the way. It kept, and still keeps, other governments from taking this land and taking away the freedom of its inhabitants.

    There’s no reason this land had to be the land of the free. If it weren’t for the strength of our governments and the willingness to sacrifice of generations of Americans, this land could have wound up very much like Europe was at the time, a collection of divine right monarchies.

  78. Welcome to my world.

    Let’s not get carried away now… 😉

  79. The nationalist mentality that spawns the Pledge of Allegiance is of a kind with the nationalist mentality that leverages fascism into the population.

    In about two weeks, we’re going to have our first child. I’ve been thinking a bit about how he is going to fair when daddy fills him with crazy libertarian ideas at home, then sends him out into a public that may have very different views.

    Is some elementary school teacher going to be told, “I’m not going to do the flag salute because my daddy says it’s fat-sist.” Is he going to be sent to the principal’s office a lot?

    Have any of you libertarain parents had to deal with such situations?

  80. There’s no reason this land had to be the land of the free. If it weren’t for the strength of our governments and the willingness to sacrifice of generations of Americans, this land could have wound up very much like Europe was at the time, a collection of divine right monarchies.

    All true. Yet the rote recitation of meaningless words had absolutely fuck-all to do with this. And I see a huge logical gap in the sentiment “we must force people to recite pledges or else they’ll lose their freedom.”

  81. crimethink,

    Fuck you. My grandfather did not die for a fucking flag or a fucking symbol. My father did not have one leg shortened by a bullet so a prick like you could tell me to get out of the country. You don’t like us enjoying the freedoms my family sacrificed for? Then you get the fuck out of here.

  82. “Or do you think people who don’t give a shit about America should be voting in American elections?”

    I would totally support a “Do you give a shit about America?” pop quiz to be administered to every voter before he/she steps into the voting booth.

  83. “we must force people to recite pledges or else they’ll lose their freedom.”

    Should that be measurable? Maybe they could keep track of it.

    Want to enjoy full first-amendment rights? Recite the pledge four times a day.

    Want to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure? That’s another six recitations, please.

    Etc.

  84. The nationalist mentality that spawns the Pledge of Allegiance is of a kind with the nationalist mentality that leverages fascism into the population.

    Heh, usually it’s the nationalists who fail to see the difference between patriotism and nationalism, but I guess some libertarians do the same thing.

  85. If it weren’t for the strength of our governments and the willingness to sacrifice of generations of Americans, this land could have wound up very much like Europe was at the time, a collection of divine right monarchies.

    Here is the complete list of wars that the US fought that were necessary to achieve the goal mentioned here:

    World War II
    The Revolutionary War/War of 1812

    And, while the republic might of necessity have led these armies to victory, the armies were free men fighting for their country. Their country, not their republic or their flag, but the society of free peoples freely interacting that constituted America for them.

    The republic takes far too much credit far too much of the time… including in hundreds of thousands of schoolrooms every weekday morning.

  86. Wow, looks like there’s a crimethink in a bunch of heads.

    I’m not saying that America would be destroyed if people don’t recite the Pledge. TBH it probably wouldn’t make much practical difference.

    Take a good look at the first few posts in this thread, and the utter contempt heaped upon our flag and our nation. THAT’s what I’m pissed about.

  87. That thread at Grylliade correctly described that miserable dickhead.

    And compulsory worship of symbols is really creepy.

    People who are for it are doubly creepy.

    “Well double dumbass on you”

  88. crimethink,
    We dump contempt on the flag as a proxy for pieces of shit like you. It’s just a symbol.

  89. How about this pledge?

    I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and to the republic which abides by it, one nation of many sovereign states, with liberty and justice for all.

    I also pledge to do all I can to limit Congress to its proper Section 8 powers and to make the Ninth and Tenth Amendments mean something again.

  90. Reinmoose: Senator, I have sinned
    Senator: What did you do my son?
    Reinmoose: I had impure thoughts about the nationalistic indoctrination of our children.
    Senator: Do you repent your sin?
    Reinmoose: I do Senator
    Senator: That’ll be 8 pledges of allegiance for you and attending a flag raising ceremony every day this week. Now go forth and sin no more.

  91. Right MikeP, I’m sure if there had been no federal or state military organizations, except during the War of 1812 and WW2, this country would still exist. ‘Cause all those European powers didn’t want any extra territory or anything.

  92. crimethink, you must remember that it wasn’t the government of the United States that won those wars, it was the people who comprise the government that won them.

    Similar to the way the Colts didn’t win the Super Bowl, the players who make up the team called the Colts won it.

    This is a very important distinction. I suppose.

  93. crimethink, I am neither claiming that there does not need to be a defensive military nor that such would not have been useful at other times in the past.

    I am simply saying that the state takes far more credit for the freedom of the country than is warranted, as though any other organization of this land would not have preserved the freedom of the millions upon millions of people who, you know, like being free.

  94. I’m also glad Sinead ripped the picture of your grand salamander.

    Since symbols have such a powerful effect, just remember that one. I betcha it burns. Oh yeah. rip rip rip. how ’bout dem apples.

    oh yeah!

  95. What contempt? I think this country is great, and all of my family lines have been here for centuries and have been productive members of the Colonies and of this nation. And some of them fought for the country, too.

    Frankly, I’m amazed that anyone with the slightest libertarian viewpoint would not have a problem with the Pledge. We’re a nation of free people, and as such, we don’t need no stinkin’ pledges. I’d prefer a paean to freedom each morning to some statement with statist and unlibertarian implications. This isn’t some huge deal, but while we’re on the topic, why not criticize the practice?

    I’m offended when people burn the flag, but I’m more offended when people talk about banning that activity just ’cause it pisses them off. Rather missing the point of the symbol, I’d say.

  96. Holy crap, I never realized I was such a hot topic of conversation at Grylliade. No publicity is bad publicity, I guess.

    Of course, the people in the “Crimethink is a dick” thread do have a point, and I really shouldn’t have written what I did. It would have been nice if somebody called me on it in the H&R thread in question, but oh well.

  97. crimethink, you must remind of the fact that it was not the government of the United States, which won those wars it the people was, which contain the government, that won her. Similarly way won Colte not superdish, which players, who educate the crew, which is called the Colte, won it. This is a very important distinction. I assume.

  98. I am simply saying that the state takes far more credit for the freedom of the country than is warranted, as though any other organization of this land would not have preserved the freedom of the millions upon millions of people who, you know, like being free.

    But who exactly do you think makes up the state, if not the people?

    That’s one problem I have with the libertarian POV – you guys seem to think that “the state” is some independent entity from “the people” when at least in America that’s not the case at all. We’re all part of the state.

  99. VM, I’ll have to get back to you on that. I’m reading the threads about me on grylliade. A masturbatory activity, to be sure, but I’m only human.

  100. The State, that is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly, also, it lies, and the lie that creeps from its mouth is this: “I, the State, am the People.”

    — Friedrich Nietzsche

  101. As an elementary school teacher, I have begun each school day for the last thirty years with The Pledge of Allegiance, and have never had a problem with it. I have always tried to avoid making it a meaningless exercise by regularly discussing the meaning behind the words. Fourth graders are beginning to form an understanding of symbols (and that is what the flag is, along with our state bird, and the golden arches of McDonalds). They are just learning the connections between states and countries. They are forming understandings of liberty and justice and the role of our Constitution in defending and promoting these concepts. Lot’s of wonderful lessons there.

    We also take time to remember all of the men and women who have served, and sacrificed under that symbol.

    I’ve never had a problem with those who, for religious or other reasons, don’t wish to participate. All I ask is that they respectfully allow the rest of us to recite the pledge.

  102. Wow, maybe we should just have kids recite the Constitution every morning.

    I like the idea! No need to overdo it. Just having them memorize the Bill of Rights would be awesome.

  103. That’s The Holy Constitution, by the way. The only infallable object worthy of worship.

  104. Y’know, the word “allegiance” actually has a meaning. The OED defines it as, “The relation or duties of a liege-man to his liege-lord; the tie or obligation of a subject to his sovereign, or government.”

    I object to the pledge of allegiance because a citizen of a free republic does not automatically owe allegiance to their government. We are not subjects of the government, nor the republic. In fact, we as the electorate (whether we vote or not) are the sovereign power in the United States, as delegated to the federal and state governments by the Constitution. We owe allegiance only to ourselves.

    This is a good thing. Many of the founders of the Republic were not, in fact, committing treason, because they had never sworn allegiance to the crown of England. George Washington, having been an officer in the Royal Army, had, and so was committing treason. Citizens of a republic only owe duty and respect to their government when it is governing well, and within the law. When it operates extralegally, it is no longer due that duty and respect. In fact, it is the obligation of the citizens of the republic to replace the government with one that will uphold the law.

    So I no longer pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, nor to the government. I still love this country, but to me the pledge of allegiance isn’t just stating “I love this country.” It’s mixed up with a bunch of other stuff, none of which I believe in. I love this country enough to die for it, if need be (though I’d expect my life to be in the interest of the US, not in some daft foreign adventure). I get choked up sometimes at the national anthem, or God Bless America, and things like that. I love this country. But more than that I love the things it stands for, and I believe the pledge is contrary to those things.

    I know this make me a crank. I’m okay with it, since I don’t expect anyone else to follow along with what I think. To most people, this seems like semantics at best. To me, it’s a vital line in the sand. We’ve become used to thinking of the government as our sovereign, rather than a means to execute the laws that will make our lives the best, and I think the pledge of allegiance is another step in the wrong direction.

    (To be fair, there is a figurative use of allegiance used in the OED: “The recognition of the claims which anything has to our respect and duty.” Which is what I suspect most people mean when they pledge allegiance, and that’s fine by me, although I still think that neither the flag nor the republic has any automatic claim to either or respect or duty. I don’t object to people saying the pledge, so long as they don’t mind me not saying it.)

  105. I think there would be a lot less “derision” if the pledge actually spoke to the point of love for and loyalty toward the country in general. Which it’s worth teaching children to say, if only it may remind them to treat their fellows, even those whom they dislike and disagree with, as people who also love and are essentially loyal to America.

    Instead it’s full of tangents. Why mention the flag and not the Bill of Rights? Why conflate a ‘republic’ with a ‘nation’? Why, having conflated a nation and its form of government, should one call ‘indivisible’ a political system based on federalism and separation of powers, let alone one which allows freedom of assembly (which is nothing if not the right of people to divide themselves up any way they please)? Why, if the pledge is a matter of martial honor, does it not mention the sacrifice of soldiers? Since “republic” has also lost over the years its connotation of the willingness of able-bodied men to serve in its defense, why not spell this out?

    Why not mention voting and serving in juries as well? Too many young people grow up not understanding the importance of these civic obligations. Hey, it couldn’t hurt.

    And for most of us, isn’t the closest thing the pledge gets to substance its closing (but too brief) reminder to respect our neighbor’s human and constitutional rights? Why not expand this a little more? The mere words “liberty and justice for all” are as easily forgotten, it would seem, as the words “Thou shalt not.”

    If we bore such words in mind, then cajoling our neighbor’s children to verbally acknowledge a deity would be so repugnant to us as to sit somewhere just shy of child molestation on the index of egregious behavior. Yet we have a pledge that does just that, in spite of all the worthy things it could spell out in plain English and Spanish.

  106. But whom think you form the condition exactly, if not the people? That is a problem, which I have with the liberalistic POV – you chaps seem to think that “the condition is “any independent nature if at least “from the people “in America, which is not the case at all. We are all part of the condition.

  107. Those is the holy condition, by the way. The only infallible article appropriately of the Anbetung.

  108. I have always tried to avoid making it a meaningless exercise by regularly discussing the meaning behind the words.

    What did you say about the “pledge allegiance”, “under God”, and “indivisible” parts?

  109. Dan T.,

    You keep getting it wrong. It’s the Holey Constitution.

  110. Well said, Grylliade!

  111. That’s The Holy Constitution, by the way. The only infallable object worthy of worship.

    I assume you’re being sarcastic, but it’s hard to tell because its not clear whom your sarcasm is targeting.

  112. MikeP:

    I’m not quite sure how you can consistently put World War II and the War of 1812 on the same list. By fighting Britain in the War of 1812, we were effectively fighting on the side of Napoleon, the tyrant who was trying to subjugate all of Europe. If you’re OK with that, then I can’t see why it was so essential to fight Hitler in World War II, given that Hitler (like Napoleon) couldn’t even conquer Britain, and was thus pretty unlikely to destroy our freedom on this continent.

  113. I object to the pledge of allegiance because a citizen of a free republic does not automatically owe allegiance to their government. We are not subjects of the government, nor the republic. In fact, we as the electorate (whether we vote or not) are the sovereign power in the United States, as delegated to the federal and state governments by the Constitution. We owe allegiance only to ourselves.

    So if I decided to steal your car, and didn’t want to go along with the police when they came to arrest me, you’d be cool with that?

    After all, I owe allegiance only to myself.

  114. Thus, if I decided, your car to steal and wanted not together with the police, as it, came me to hold, you would coolly go its with that? Finally I owe only me to allegiance.

  115. All I can say is that mediageek was a very brave man to point out my transgression on another site that I never read. Searching for “crimethink” or “young” on the H&R thread in question turned up no matches outside of my own rash post, so no one mentioned my name or quoted me in the thread that pissed you guys off so much.

  116. “Fight the Real Enemy!”

    I’m listening to Sin?ad’s cover of “War” right now. Great stuff.

  117. By fighting Britain in the War of 1812, we were effectively fighting on the side of Napoleon, the tyrant who was trying to subjugate all of Europe.

    I think this was less interesting to those in the US than preserving their new country from their would-be-again European masters.

    As for World War II, by that time war’s potential reach had become global. Seeing such a military machine arise from nothing to conquer a continent gave the reasoning to stop it there. As for Britain, it evaded conquest only by accident of German inattention, and would not have survived absent implicit and explicit American aid.

  118. highnumber,

    OK, my “fuck you” comment was out of line, and I apologize for it. The point I was trying to make is that it’s a bit hypocritical for people to enjoy the benefits of living in a free country, and simultaneously go out of their way to treat contemptuously the symbol(s) of that country.

  119. “The pledge of allegience is a form of indoctrination and swearing allegiance to the state. If you can’t see any sort of connection between this and the tactics of the nazi party then you are blind.

    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.”

    Cause the Nazis were sooo into indoctrinating people about the need for liberty and justice. Yeah, it’s kinda creepy making kids swear to notions that they not only don’t understand, but that are completely opposite to the actual statist notions that the public schools mandating the oath are trying to indoctrinate our kids into believing. I’d be all for pledging allegiance to our country if it was run by people who passed legislation promoting liberty and justice.

  120. So if I decided to steal your car, and didn’t want to go along with the police when they came to arrest me, you’d be cool with that?

    Would it matter whether he’d be cool with that? Would it matter to the police whether you wanted to go or not?

    What is your point?

  121. So if I decided to steal your car, and didn’t want to go along with the police when they came to arrest me, you’d be cool with that?

    After all, I owe allegiance only to myself.

    Shockingly, I have an actual knowledge of the English language. If that had been what I meant, I would have said it. See if you can tell the difference:

    “We owe allegiance only to ourselves.”
    vs.
    “We each owe allegiance only to ourselves.”

    English is an amazingly expressive language. Most of the time, it allows you to say exactly what you mean. Those times that it doesn’t, others with a similar grasp of English can often figure out what you mean by context.

    In other words: If you don’t want to be seen as a troll, Dan T., don’t troll.

  122. “The point I was trying to make is that it’s a bit hypocritical for people to enjoy the benefits of living in a free country, and simultaneously go out of their way to treat contemptuously the symbol(s) of that country.”

    i have a hard time loving abstractions.

    families, friends, neighbors, less so.

  123. Freedom? That is a worship word. Yang worship. You will not speak it.

  124. MikeP,

    So, are you still of the opinion that the citizen militia (without the state to help organize it) could have kept all the enemies of the US during the past two centuries at bay?

    In the War of 1812, they almost got their butts whooped. That’s with the UK distracted by Napoleon in Europe, and with a national US government to coordinate their activities. How do you think the Cold War would have gone if there was no national government of the US?

  125. i have a hard time loving abstractions.

    Interestingly, that was one of the points Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven made in their essay on A Mote in God’s Eye, where they discussed (amongst many other things) why they chose an empire as the form of government. People find it easier to be loyal to a person than an idea; hence, you focus the loyalty on a person (the sovereign) rather than an idea (the flag, the republic, freedom, etc.). Possibly, that’s a reason why republics generally don’t last long.

    And incidentally, in that book the characters pledge allegiance to the Emperor. 🙂

  126. crimethink,

    You seem to have misunderstood me. I am not arguing against the United States or the United States government. I am not arguing for citizen militias as the whole of the defense of the land.

    I am arguing that the fact that the republic coordinated the defense of the country is not at all the whole story of why the country is free and to pretend it is as an unspoken part of a pledge of allegiance to it is contrary to the far more important actual reasons the country is free and prosperous.

  127. “We owe allegiance only to ourselves.”
    vs.
    “We each owe allegiance only to ourselves.”

    So we owe allegiance to ourselves, but not our country. But what is our country other than ourselves?

    You’re trying to have it both ways – claiming allegiance to the collective while denying allegiance to the collective. Like many here, you just use “government” when you mean the collective that you don’t like.

  128. To put it another way, crimethink…

    My even shorter list of justifiable wars does not include the two Revolutionary Wars. By 1850 the UK was arguably a freer country than the US. It is entirely likely that, had the US not gained its independence in 1776 that the country we know of as the US today would still be as free and still as prosperous…

    …and schoolchildren would be pledging allegiance to the Union Jack and the Queen.

  129. We would at least have a civilized health care system in that case…

  130. Dan T., you just justified your existence there. Your timing was impeccable.

  131. Dan T.,

    You wish we’d lost the Revolution?

    crimethink, I think you have a clearer target than we who aren’t fond of the Pledge. ?

  132. Mike Laursen
    Re: What I say about…

    “pledge allegiance”: We talk about loyalty and how one might promise that to a friend, family, team, or even a country.

    “under God”: While we discuss proper nouns and capitalization, I figure the religeous end of it belongs to home and family. I’d be surprised if it becomes a big problem before I retire.

    “indivisible”: What a great word to begin talking about prefixes, suffixes and their effect on the meaning of base words. We talk about collective power and security, sticking together despite differences and even touch on the Civil War causes and effects.

    I also use the pledge as a model for handwriting practice, proper punctuation and discussing customs.

  133. MikeP,

    Well, that’s debateable due to the tapestry-like nature of history; pulling a single thread out might make the whole thing fall to pieces. But, if that were the case, it would make sense for them to pledge allegiance to the UK, which protected their freedom.

    And, of course, that’s not the whole story; the UK became far less free than the US by the mid-1900s. It is nice to have a written constitution that people feel shouldn’t be contradicted; it may not keep freedom perfectly intact, but it does at least slow down the erosion.

  134. religeous=religious
    Darn these fingers.

  135. Now that I think about it, in one sense, fascism and democracy have more in common with each other than with monarchism. In both fascism and democracy, the state and the people are (in theory) identified with each other, whereas in a monarchy, the monarch is the state, and everyone else isn’t.

    The difference between fascism and democracy, it would seem, is that in the former the people belong to the state, while in the latter, the state belongs to the people.

  136. I have no problem with the flag. Although only a symbol–and thus a meaningless piece of cloth in itself–it can have salutary effects. The best example I can think of is/are the flag(s) that flew over Mount Suribachi. During that awful battle, one can only imagine the hope that symbol provided to thousands of Americans locked in a life and death struggle. So, to the extent the flag can inspire those desperately in need of such things, it is good thing.

    Unfortunately, the routine use of the flag, and “the pledge” to it, is not nearly so high-minded. It is basically used as a hammer to shut up people who dissent from the moronic policies of government. Most commonly today it is used by so-called “conservatives” to such ends (along with utterly fraudulent entreaties to “support the troops”, etc.), but if you go back to the New Deal, the shoe was on the other foot–lots of flag waving by Franklin Delano Socialist’s followers. And just like today, everybody wanted to appropriate that son-of-a-bitch Lincoln, too.

    So, I say overuse of the flag, especially by scumbags with an authoritarian agenda, is the greatest disservice paid to it. And that would include the brainless, rote recitation of the goddamn “pledge”. Familiarity breeds contempt, they say, and it must be even more so when that familiarity is at the insistence of the most authoritarian-minded elements of our polity.

  137. You’re trying to have it both ways – claiming allegiance to the collective while denying allegiance to the collective. Like many here, you just use “government” when you mean the collective that you don’t like.

    Let me try it again. I should use simpler words, but I’m afraid I couldn’t get the concepts across in the single-syllable you’d understand.

    The preamble of the Constitution reads, “We the people of the United States [. . .] do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” In other words, the sovereign power in the United States is the people, whereas in the UK the sovereign power is the Queen (in her various guises as Queen-in-Parliament or Queen-in-Council). People in the UK are subjects of her Majesty the Queen. They owe her allegiance as her subjects.

    In the UK, the Queen delegates her legislative and judicial power to Parliament, and her executive power to the Privy Council (which then delegates its power to its executive committee, which is the Cabinet). It would be silly for the Queen to pledge allegiance to Parliament or her Council, because they are her subjects.

    Similarly, in the US, the people of the United States have delegated their legislative power to the Congress, their executive power to the President, and their judicial power to the courts. The people organized the republic; they preceded it, and delegated their powers to the republic, without which the republic would have no powers. In theory at least, if the people of the United States decided to hold a new constitutional convention and replace the Constitution, the government could do nothing about it, because the people would merely be revoking the delegation they originally made. It would be silly for us to pledge allegiance to the republic, because it is our subject. At most, we owe allegiance to the people of the United States as a body, not to the government to which it has delegated its powers.

    Of course, pledging allegiance to the people of the United States would have its own problems, considering the way that Communist governments have abused the term in the last century. Better to forget the whole pledging of allegiance altogether, and worry about maintaining freedom and justice in this great nation without tests of loyalty. I owe more allegiance (“The recognition of the claims which anything has to our respect and duty”) to justice and liberty than I ever possibly could to any organization that exists only to maintain justice and liberty.

    Enough of feeding the troll.

  138. grylliade – I do understand your perspective here, but the Pledge of Allegiance is not a collective pledge but an individual’s. It is the citizen affirming his loyality towards the collective whole of the country, of which the government is just a part.

    I guess you might say that I agree with you that the government answers to the people but if that’s true then an individual answers to the government, as per the desire of the people.

    Then again, the Pledge says nothing really about the government as I really think “the republic” refers simply to the country. We are a republic – we don’t have a republic.

  139. grylliade – I include/understand your prospect here, but promised fidelity by group is not the promises nevertheless an individual. He is the citizen, who confirms his loyality towards the join-complete country, whose government a subject is right. I consider that you could say that I agree with you that the government answers people, but the applicable one is then answers of an individual for the government, according to the desire of the people. On the one hand promised the known as one that nothing refers really the republic on the government, while I simply think really the “”of the country. We are a republic – we do not have a republic

  140. the Pledge of Allegiance is not a collective pledge but an individual’s

    If it’s an individual’s pledge, why are we compelled to recite it in groups?

  141. Mexicans still salute by raising their right hands out in front of them. Are they white supremacists too? The gesture (like the swastika) goes back to Roman times. I think it’s derived from showing someone at a distance that you’re not armed.

  142. crimethink:

    re: your statement at 2:55

    you confuse the nation with the national government. they are not the same.

  143. crimethink:

    comment at 2:25, my bad

  144. Gahan,

    You need to read the earlier posts. Do a find for “Bellamy” on this page.

  145. If it were illegal for me to shit on the flag, the flag wouldn’t be worth shitting on.

  146. The point I was trying to make is that it’s a bit hypocritical for people to enjoy the benefits of living in a free country, and simultaneously go out of their way to treat contemptuously the symbol(s) of that country.

    I think it’s absolutely consistent for people who enjoy the benefits of living in a (relatively) free country to treat contemptuously the symbol of that country, depending on the circumstances. (Exercising one’s freedom in a free country makes sense, after all.) Our government, the republic for which the flag stands, has had its share of totalitarianism and atrocities committed in its name. Those are good times to show contempt for the flag (and the republic for blah blah blah).

    But I haven’t seen people here showing contempt for the flag, itself. I’ve seen people who, like myself, have nothing but contempt for a loyalty oath. The very notion of a loyalty oath is a gob of spit in the face of individual freedom.

    I find thoroughly repugnant the idea of making children, who have almost no real grasp of the history nor the origins of our republic, recite a loyalty oath to that which they can’t understand. It’s an exercise in reflexive thinking and the worship of loyalty above all else.

    But I love my country and that’s perfectly compatible with hating the idea of a loyalty oath.

  147. As kewl mentioned above, Curry presents as the only source of the origins of the Pledge. There may be others, but I have not seen them linked, nor have I seen any refutation of Curry’s assertions. His conclusions are that the Nazi salute derived directly from Bellamy’s American raised hand salute, and that it was not an accidental parallel development at all.

    Curry clearly has an agenda and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to find that he’s overblown Bellamy’s influence, but so far I have seen no research to suggest as much.

  148. kewl is also right in that a majority opinion of those actively watching an article may determine whether or not a source meets fact-checking standards. Curry’s site is precisely the kind of thing that would readily be judged as an unsuitable source on the Wikipedia, so all of his research would be disqualified unless it got reprinted in the Palatka Morning Tattler.

  149. You know, I don’t see any of you pledging allegiance to me. Why do you hate me?

    Wait. Don’t answer that.

  150. crimethink-In the War of 1812, they almost got their butts whooped. That’s with the UK distracted by Napoleon in Europe, and with a national US government to coordinate their activities. How do you think the Cold War would have gone if there was no national government of the US?

    Yes, in fact the alternative to the militia concept is the West Point Professional military concept, which has made the US a de facto empire, when it was supposed to be a Switzerland style republic.

    We “almost” got our butts kicked in 1812 because Washington DC was sacked? Horror of horrors, but the absolute worse thing that could happen to a Nation State is not that its people are slaughtered, but that its capitol is sacked!

    In fact, the militias and pirates that helped Andy Jackson lick British butt in New Orleans speaks to how effective irregulars can be in war.

    The Professional army, West Point, nation state syndrome gave us the Mexican War, the slaughterhouse of the War to End Southern Independence, the immoral Spanish American War and War to end Phillipine Insurrection, the incredible stupid intervention in WWI, and yes, the unnecessary entry into WWII.

    Britian was capable of defending herself, and she defeated Germany in North Africa, and defeated Mussolini with some American help. But Russia crushed Germany, with material support from US to be sure, but with troops from Siberia and the help of the Russian winter.

    The Cold War? If it wasn’t for our entry into the war, Russia and Germany would likely have exhausted themeselves, and there would have been no Yalta, and no European satellites. WWI and the Treaty of Versailles redux.

  151. “I live where I live. The country happens to claims dominion over where I live, and it would cost me more to argue the finer points with it or to move out of it than to stay and accept it.”

    That’s a find sentiment!

    I pledge allegience to the people of Lowell, Massachusetts, and to the Plan E form of government for which it stands, one city, north-west of Boston, with Thai food and canals for all.

  152. D’oh! Stupid joke name from another thread!

  153. correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the US actually lose the War of 1812? yes, Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans, but the treaty had already been signed, and the battle was only fought because of the time lag of communications

  154. Please have a look at this book: To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance by Richard J. Ellis. It’s just a historical study by a professor of politics at Willamette University. Nothing crankish or polemical here. But man, is it entertaining stuff.

    Here’s what the flag goes with, as a matter of history:

    * Civil War nostalgia among Union veterans upset about fading patriotism
    * Racist hatred and fear of new immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe (you know, hot-blooded Mediterranean types or peasants with “serf’s blood”)
    * A desire to ‘Americanize’ all children into good citizens whose hearts and minds belong to America, with the flag as a quasi-religious icon of the State
    * A socialist ideal where the state is conceived of as a good military leader (and we’re supposed to be loyal) or as a father (and we’re supposed to be loyal brothers and sisters)
    * Trampling on civil liberties in order to root out all ‘subversive’ elements in society (read: unions, the political left, those opposed to WWI)
    * Beating the shit out of Jehovah’s Witnesses and forcing them to drink oil until they piss blood (read about the 1940 Gobitis case, where the Court forced JW’s to salute the flag — “There’s a war on”)

    So, seriously, folks, fuck the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s all the worst shit about America combined.

  155. biologist,

    If I was taught history correctly, it’s generally considered to have been a draw. The treaty just restored the boundaries of the US and Canada from before the war and had a few other minor provisions that didn’t amount to much of an advantage for either side.

  156. In fact, the militias and pirates that helped Andy Jackson lick British butt in New Orleans speaks to how effective irregulars can be in war.

    I hope you meant “kick.”

    ‘Cause, you know, eww.

  157. biologist,

    Well, I guess it depends on what you consider the standard of winning and losing a war. I would consider the terms of the final treaty as the arbiter of who won/lost/drew. Once you stray from that it’s hard to find objective criteria. True, the war cost the US a lot for nothing in return, but that was true of all sides (especially considering that it was a distraction for Britain when they were fighting a war in Europe).

    The article is definitely correct, however, in saying that the War of 1812 was a boon for Canada. The Canadians I know have told me that they take great pride in their country’s defense of its territory during the war, and that it was at that time that Canadians began to come together as Canadians.

  158. I think this was less interesting to those in the US than preserving their new country from their would-be-again European masters.

    In 1812, there were a lot more Americans interested in conquering Canada than there were Brits interested in reconquering the United States. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if, once the war broke out (and it was the U.S. that declared war, remember, *after* Britain had revoked the Orders in Council that were the nominal casus belli), Britain gave some consideration to the possibility that, because the U.S. was insisting on helping Napoleon, maybe conquering the U.S. would be necessary in order to beat him. You know, “you’re either with us or you’re against us” when it comes to an enemy of the civilized world.

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