Culture

Face the Flag

The surprising history of the Pledge of Allegiance

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To patriotic beverage entrepreneur Don Sessions, the Pledge of Allegiance is more just than the Pavlovian mantra of sleepy six-year-olds. It's a virtual law every American should abide by, a sacred text. So when federal regulators at the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) reportedly told him he'd have to change it if he wanted to slap it on a can of beer so star-spangled it makes the average Fourth of July fireworks display look positively funereal, he stood his ground. "In the Pledge, it says, 'I pledge allegiance to the flag," the 75-year-old gadfly explained to Fox News last month. "They wanted me to change that to 'I pledge allegiance to my country.' And I said, 'No, no, no, I can't change the words to the Pledge. To me it would be like changing the words to the Bible.'"

Others haven't shown as much restraint as the Barnumesque beer salesman. In the recently published The Pledge: A History of the Pledge of Allegiance, authors Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer explain how it took 62 years of editing for the  31-word oath to achieve the form we know today. And even now, though it has remained unchanged since 1954, when by official Congressional decree the phrase "under God" was inserted to help distinguish the United States from its godless Communist foes in the Soviet Union, would-be editors of the American experience dream of tailoring it to their own visions of democracy. Atheists want to strike God's mid-century cameo. Those who oppose abortion would like to append the phrase "born and unborn" to the end of the current Pledge. Some women's rights advocates, Jones and Meyer write, would like it to read "with liberty and justice for all men and women." For 118 years, the Pledge has functioned as a paradox, binding us all in indivisible groupthink and promising individual liberty in a single sentence.

In 1892, when former Bapist minister Francis Bellamy penned the original version, he no doubt never dreamed his work would help sell a militarized beer that evangelizes "peace through strength" and promises to "support our troops." Bellamy was a Christian socialist who, according to The Pledge, championed "the rights of working people and the equal distribution of economic resources, which he believed was inherent in the teachings of Jesus."  

And yet the Pledge's genesis had a strong commercial component of its own. Bellamy worked for a magazine, Youth's Companion, that had boosted its circulation by offering American flags as premiums to schoolchildren peddling subscriptions. One hundred sales equaled one flag, and over the course ?of a few years, the magazine's Flag Over the Schoolhouse Program put the Old Glory in tens of thousands of public schools around the country.

To expand on such efforts, Bellamy's boss in the Premiums Department at Youth's Companion, James B. Upham, concocted the idea of partnering with the World's Columbian Exposition, a.k.a. the Chicago World's Fair, to promote a nationwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus Day (which wasn't yet an official national holiday). The proposed ceremonies would take place in schoolrooms and feature lots of flags. It would honor the spirit of enlightenment and progress Columbus embodied, and acknowledge the public school system as an uplifting, democratizing force in American life. "Our public school system is what makes this Nation superior to all other Nations—not the Army or the Navy system," Congressman Sherman Hoar (D -Mass.) insisted when discussing the coming celebration with Bellamy. "Military display…does not belong here."

To lend gravitas to the occasion, Bellamy felt a more dignified salute to the flag than those that already existed at the time was in order. As The Pledge recounts, Bellamy penned the Pledge "at a time when anxieties over the impact of mass immigration coexisted with expansive optimism about the nation's future." The entire Columbus Day celebration was calculated, as Theodore Roosevelt approvingly observed, to inculcate a "fervent loyalty to the flag," and Bellamy himself viewed his Pledge as an "inoculation" that would protect immigrants and native-born but insufficiently patriotic Americans from the "virus" of radicalism and subversion. A few years after writing the Pledge, The Pledge recounts, Bellamy would eventually write a less inspiring ode to indivisibility: "A democracy like ours cannot afford to throw itself open to the world where every man is a lawmaker, every dull-witted or fanatical immigrant admitted to our citizenship is a bane to the commonwealth; where all classes of society merge insensibly into one another."

In 1919, 27 years after Bellamy's Pledge made its debut in 1892, Washington became the first state to pass a law requiring schools to make a weekly recitation of it a mandatory part of their curriculum, thus adding an explicitly coercive element that intensified its paradoxical nature. The Jehovah's Witnesses, who believed that government was a Satanic tool and the Pledge a salute to the Devil, were amongst the first to publicly recognize the contradiction inherent in a compulsory oath lauding individual liberty. In 1935, the group "embarked on a focused campaign against the Pledge," with hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses schoolchildren choosing expulsion over participation in the Pledge. A lawsuit ensued, and in 1938, a federal judge ruled in their favor, noting that the "totalitarian idea of forcing all citizens into one common mold of thinking" was not necessary to ensure the country's safety and also curtailed the freedom of those who opposed it on the basis of "sincere religious convictions."

In 1940, however, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the case, and ultimately reversed the lower court's original ruling by an 8 to 1 margin. National unity, it concluded, trumped individual liberty. In the wake of this decision, unified Americans tarred and feathered a Jehovah's Witness in Wyoming, castrated another in Nebraska, and publicly beat others in Texas and Illinois as police and city officials watched.

Three years later, with the U.S. in the midst of war, the Supreme Court  reversed its decision. Since then, recitation of the Pledge has not been mandatory, at least from the perspective of the highest court of the land. On occasion, though, there's an outlier: In October 2010, a judge in Mississippi threw an attorney in jail for five hours after the attorney refused to recite the Pledge as directed.

In the same way that we don't have to say the Pledge if we don't want to, what the Ol' Glory story suggests is that we also have the power to deploy it in ways not every patriot might approve of. In a correction notice the TTB sent Don Sessions on November 3rd, it simply states that he cannot use the Pledge at all on a beer can. "Use of the Pledge of Allegiance on a malt beverage label is prohibited under 27 CFR 7.29 (d)," it informed him. "Delete this text."

In essence, 27 CFR 7.29 (d) exists to maintain the sanctity of the flag and other statements and representations relating to the flag or the armed forces of the United States, including the Pledge. In other words, while Sessions bills himself as a traditionalist, he's more of a maverick than he gives himself credit for. He wants to use the Pledge in ways that both the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Flag Code ostensibly prohibit. But as Sessions' attorney Robert Lehrman argued in an appeal to the TTB, Sessions' First Amendment rights take precedence over these regulations. Just as you can burn a flag or use it to sell bikinis, you can put the Pledge on a beer can—prior court rulings have found that the government cannot prohibit expressive conduct related to the flag.

Earlier this year, atheist Michael Newdow's 10-year quest to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge on the grounds that it constitutes a government endorsement of religion ended in defeat in the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. While that decision may enhance the Pledge's status as a symbol of coercive, one-size-fits-all conformity, Sessions' less radical triumph is nonetheless a reminder that the Pledge's promise of individual liberty remains valid as well. When Ol' Glory hits shelves, buy a six-pack and toast that.

Contributing Editor Greg Beato writes from San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @GregBeato.

NEXT: If Someone Is Going to Come Between Me and My Daughters, I Insist That It Be the Government

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  1. That’s interesting.

    In other news: Doctors may have cured man of AIDS.
    They say it’s not practical for wide use; patient may need to also have cancer to be considered candidate.

  2. Why does the Federal Flag Code apply to anything outside of government and military ceremonies and traditions?

  3. I think I quit saying the Pledge every morning in school around 8th grade. I was such a rebel.

    1. Dude! I didn’t stand up for the National Anthem before a Major League baseball game in 1984. True story. The looks I got! But I stood (or didn’t stand) on principle. I was such a dick. As I recall, I also smoked a cigar at the game, outdoors, in the stands! The looks I got. Dude, I was a rebel. And a dick. But I was right.

      1. Anonypussy has been reincarnated as Dude!

        Let’s celebrate everyone!

        1. Dude! I’m Everyman!

        2. I don’t know why he has an “e” in his name.

      2. This is some of your lamest work yet, anonopussy. Keep it up.

      3. Forgot to mention: I also went to this farm one day. Saw some sheep. You know how this goes! You wouldn’t believe the looks I got, but it sure felt good. Live for what you love, you know? I may be a passive aggressive shithead but I know how to manhandle those fuzzy cottonballs of love!

        1. Ha ha ha! A spoof! I laugh and laugh.

    2. I stopped saying it in the 3rd grade after spending considerable time and effort to make sense of it. I couldn’t find any reason behind it and it wasn’t logical so I ceased repeating it even though I was afraid of the adults telling me to say it. I mouthed the words for a while until I learned no one would notice if I just kept quiet.

      The notion of pledging allegiance to the flag, an inanimate object, still irks me.

  4. It seems like every non-work meeting I attend starts with the pledge. In some cases, I’ve been called upon to lead it. After struggling with it for years, I now just stand there and say “I pledge allegience to hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm liberty and justice for all.” Haven’t been called on it yet.

  5. I suspect this beer tastes like Dixie or other such swill (bite it, Texans).

    As for the pledge, when my children approach school age, do I have to inform their teachers that I’m not forcing my kids to say the pledge, or can I just send them to school with the information?

    Or will it be replaced by the Obama anthem by 2012?

    1. Shit, I meant to impugn Lone Star, not Dixie.

      1. Yeah.. but..Shiner?

  6. One of the very few things I agree with a “progressive” friend of mine about is an abhorrence of the practice of starting county commission and schoolboard meetings and the like are the opening prayer and the pledge of allegiance.

    I take care of my problem with it by never attending them, thus avoiding the waste of time and not getting my sensibilities assaulted by the bloviations of stupid self-important pricks.

    She thinks it’s terribly important to go to them. Something about universal healthcare and organic gardening or something.

    1. you’re so far up your own asshole with your philosophy that you won’t even recognize the luck of being born into the freest country in the world or the importance of its system and constitutional protections that made it that way, and THEY’RE the self-important pricks?

      1. In Edwin’s bizarro-U.S.A., the Pledge of Allegiance is barcoded on to the back of your neck at birth.

        The words “Live free or Die” are also engraved on your shovel.
        If you refuse to participate in the political system, you are sent to Gitmo to be reeducated in American Exceptionalism.

        1. OK, see what I mean when I call you guys shrill?

          1. Who’s these ‘you guys’ you keep referring to?

          2. Eddie writes: “…you won’t even recognize the luck of being born into the freest country in the world or the importance of its system and constitutional protections that made it that way…”

            And you’re calling other people shrill…

      2. Edwin. May I call you Eddie Baby?

        Ahem. Anyways, what are you saying?

        And, on a personal note, what are you wearing? Could you make a Scary Dragon Face to me, pretty please?

  7. I always leave out the ‘under God’ part when I say the pledge. Risking the wrath of my peers makes me feel… so alive!

    1. You are super funny and really clever. Love the straw man sock puppetry. Please keep doing more.

    2. Hey Rebel! You’re trespassing on my turf. I’m the rebel here!

    1. Nice. Pictures are worth a million anonypussy snarkiments.

      1. You didn’t like it, did you? I tried so hard.. I didn’t keep the receipt either. 🙁

        1. Nah, I think I was agreeing with you. Maybe the whole trolling thing becomes too meta at some point. I never cared for the pledge, and don’t get the snarkiness of the trolls who are screwing with people about not standing for it. Those pictures prety much summed up without words why people here might not like it.

          1. Yeah I’m with you on that. I’m pretty sure the Founding Fathers? never wanted a nation of citizens professing an undying, unquestioning loyalty to the federal government.

            1. really? I’m pretty sure they did want loyalty the American Ideal of freedom. Maybe or maybe not the Federal Government promotes that ideal, but that’s not what the pledge refers to. Indeed, most oaths that military/police take require them to protect the constitution, not the federal government.

              1. I’m pretty sure the constitution is not referred to within the Pledge of Allegiance.. No, I’m pretty sure most of them would be against the idea of State Worship.

                1. again, genius, the pledge doesn’t exactly refer the federal government explicitly. The nouns used are “flag”, “republic” and “nation” – sounds to me more like the American people and their ideals are stressed rather than just the federal government or the Union. Even if one day the Union or the Federal Government breaks, (a possibility that everyone is aware of in the huge time scale of human civilizations), doesn’t mean those ideals are gone.

                  1. “again, genius, the pledge doesn’t exactly refer the federal government explicitly. The nouns used are […] “republic””

                    Hey, look! New libertarian theory! Edwin posits a “republic” absent a government!
                    Edwin, please tell us of this new social arrangement!

                    1. OK, republicanism is a form of government – but again, that doesn’t mean the wording refers only the Federal Government or the union, especially when used in conjunction with more general, idealistic words like “nation” and “flag”. Again the point is republicanism is an ideal.

                  2. ” doesn’t exactly refer the federal government explicitly. ”

                    From the original version:

                    ” I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands…”

                    The United States of America would be the federal government established by the many states under the U.S. Constitution.

                    one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

                    No mention of The Society of the United States of America, or The People of the United States of America, or any acknowledgement of whatever ideals you’re inferring.

                    Is the Pledge of Allegience now a living, breathing document also?

                    1. a nation isn’t the same as the state, as a matter of fact the terminology “nation” does usually refer more specifically to a group of people than their corresponding state, which they might not even have, and the reference to “republic” more closely describes the union as a whole than the federal government. But, again, used in conjuction altogether, all three terms together are clearly referring to more than just the current body politic of the U.S.

            2. This is in response to Sy’s “I’m with you on that…”

              I stopped saying the Pledge at around fifteen. I agree with you and the author of the post that coerced public loyalty oaths, recited aloud and in unison, might be not be the manifestation of the loyalty the Founders were asking from us. I now more fully understand that they were asking for a rational, thoughtful patriotism, that allowed us to (ahem) reason our way into our loyalty towards our country. Something about a tempered, rational love of country.

              I also am aware of what people believe to be the problems and tensions arising from this, but it’s been vehemently stated here, so…

              1. If you managed to stop saying it, you weren’t really coerced, were you? Of course, it’s better to tell yourself you were and how much smarter you are than the rest of the “sheep” to get your pathetic, socially isolated nerdy ya-yas off

              2. If you managed to stop saying it, you weren’t really coerced, were you? Of course, it’s better to tell yourself you were and how much smarter you are than the rest of the “sheep” to get your pathetic, socially isolated nerdy ya-yas off

                1. Yeah, dude. You just go ahead and isolate your way into kicking ass and taking names as a troll on a blog, and then call other people pathetic.

                  It was coerced by certain states until 1943. And we were thrown out of class, threatened suspension, etc., until they figured out we could do exactly what we were doing. So, ya know. Threatened with coercion because others before us had been. And I’m hardly passionate about the subject, but that’s the way I felt about the Pledge, and I still think it’s ludicrous to compel teenagers and adults to stand every morning and take a loyalty oath while raising a hand, putting a hand over one’s heart, etc.

                  The aesthetics of it (non-musical, unified recitation of prose) are wanting, the mechanisms of it (public, standing, compulsion, overweening peer pressure) are awkward and coercive, and the philosophy behind it is questionable.

  8. Your passive-aggressive tendencies are fucking disturbing, fucktard.

  9. “though it has remained unchanged since 1954, when by official Congressional decree the phrase “under God” was inserted to help distinguish the United States from its godless Communist foes in the Soviet Union”

    This little fact sure enrages the kind of people who like to tell you that “Our founding fathers said we’re one nation UNDER GOD and don’t you forget it.”

    umm nope.

    1. There’s something sorta humorous about conservatives clamoring that a progressive socialist’s writing requires mandatory recital in the classroom.

      1. Is it really, though? Because as much as they disagree, they at least agree that loyalty to a nation and its ideals and to a certain extent its laws matters. See, they have that in common, whereas sociopath libertarians think its all about them and are self-righteously appaled that they can’t live as though they’re the only person on Earth, that we aren’t bowing to some stupid ill-defined magical system that could supposedly exist but really only exists in their imagination.

        In other words, a lot of very different political philosophies have that in common, “that” being basic decency and not being a fucking sociopath.

        1. Yes, they’re both advocating the State over the Individual. In that sense, you’re right. Pray tell what those ‘ideals’ are that are both championed by the conservative right and progressive left.
          That level of ‘loyalty’ or whatever we call it, seems more sociopathic than those evil libertarians and their self-reliance and ‘live and let live’ attitude.

          1. Bullshit. It’s a whiny “I should be able to do ANYTHING WHATSOEVER I want attitude.” with a nice smattering of “You WILL recognize my ABSOLUTE property rights.” Which really is basically the same as a toddler’s screaming “MINE!! MINE!!!”
            How else do you explain libertarians who say they have a right to murder people just for walking across their lawns or keying their car, or libertarians who say child prostitution doesn’t violate anyone’s rights, or free staters who go to a pumpkin festival (I guess they’re too impatient to wait for 4/20 – they need their attention now) and scream with bullhorns to get attention and protest for marijuana, a refusal to recognize that Jim Crow was driven by what would otherwise be legitimate property rights not just government fiat, and a related more general rwefusal to recognize that maybe property rights can cause systemic imbalances in power, etc. etc.

            1. Edwin|12.16.10 @ 9:19PM|#
              “Bullshit. It’s a whiny “I should be able to do ANYTHING WHATSOEVER I want attitude.””
              Careful with that strawman, asshole; you could suffer burns.

              1. It’s not really a strawman when I got the facts to back it up. Even on this site people have repeatedly told me that drunk driving should be legal. Like I said, that goes way beyond “live and let live” and into a shrill, childish, irresponsible “leave me alone!” It completely ignores the concept of how you affect others – the freedom to fuck with other people doesn’t really equate to a Free Country.

                1. Look, I get it. You hate the idea of libertarianism. You deride the idea of a life outside absent a controlling government as a childish fantasy. I get that.
                  That’s fine, you can generalize ‘us’ all you like, but my position is that both the conservative-right and progressive-left have a pretty horrible track record with individualism. They both screech that ‘something must be done!’ because they want the world and people around them to conform to their ideals. So, naturally, they take the path of least resistance and use the color of law to justify their view of societal norms. They see no wrong in it because “how could I know it would turn out like this?” So now, we get to live in your Utopia of laws abound to criminalize every fucking type of behavior from taking a wrong dose of prescription medication to hiring the wrong number of the politically correct ethnicity.

                  How you can defend from the position of ‘more government is better than less’ is fucking absurd.

                  Now, give me one example of a nation that has peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.

                  Oh. That’s right. There aren’t any.

                  1. So keep it up. Go ahead, Nostradamus. Tell me what a horrible failure ‘libertopia’ would be because “you just know it would be like”. That’s fine.
                    Just remember that unquestioning loyalty when the feds (take your pic) decide you broke some obscure portion of the federal code that warrants felony prosecution and destroy you and your family’s life financially, emotionally, and physically.

                    1. And then there’s the lengthy desperate attaempt to distract away from what I was saying.

                      I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about in the above two posts. Alls I know is A) I said that you idiots frequently believe in liberty and property rights well beyond the point of reasonability, to the point where you actually advocate the violation of other people’s rights, ad B) I BACKED up my claim with numerous examples of things I’ve heard libertarians say repeatedly, like the drunk driving thing

                      so, basically, you lose

                    2. I deride the idea that there can be no government whatsoever as a childish fantasy. I’m actually a pretty minimalist government small-l libertarian.

                      But libertarians go way beyond that, into all the sick shit I mentioned. See my other posts.

                      I never said more government is better than less. Clearly, it’s all a matter of context. Something that libertarians can’t grasp, because they really think that their philosophy is written into the fabric of existence and the rest of us just can’t see it, and if we could we’d know there’s one simple set of laws that every nation could follow forever regardless of how much times change. And yes, you guys really do thnink like that. One libertarian once compared his ideas to the laws of physics, in terms of their absoluteness and certainty.

                      oh, and notice how all of a sudden you switched your dialogue to focus on the few laws that most people would agree go to far. You couldn’t win with the big picture approach, so you switched to things that appeal to more people, the overeaching laws that pop up here and there. Sure, most affirmative action, and the finding that tests of merit can be equivalent to racial discrimination is annoying. Sure laws regulating the sale of simple cough medicines are annoying. But that doesn’t mean that you guys are any less monstrous for saying that you wouldn’t have voted for the Civil Rights Act, or saying that even the hardest drugs should be able to be sold tax free anywhere to anyone and advertised at will. Also nice double tactic with the trying to conflate those things with the larger policies – sorry, but those smaller annoyances can be fixed while still maintaining hard-drug prohibition and racial discrimination prohibition.

                      It’s ammazing how seemlessly you guys can switch between purist and pragmatic arguments and try to manipulate readers when one your tactics doesn’t fly.

                    3. Edwin,
                      So you are or you aren’t a libertarian?
                      I’m confused.
                      I get the impression you’re arguing with yourself.
                      Which makes you Big-L loony-tunes.

                  2. This is easily the most moronic comment ever uttered on Reason:

                    “Now, give me one example of a nation that has peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.

                    Oh. That’s right. There aren’t any.”

                    This fucking IDIOT Sy, thinks a libertarian system is one created by government. He’s just SO FUCKING STUPID, that he thinks if he calls it a ‘nation,’ then it’s not a government. What he’s saying is he wants the government to rule in in his way, and be intrusive in the way HE likes.

                    Besides I can give you several examples of nations that have “peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.”

                    Countries like Gabon, The Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, have all removed socialist governments, and then went about removing government intrusion in people’s lives. They may have not taken power peacefully, but neither did our founding fathers.

                    Even closer to home, abolishing slavery, certainly decreased the size and scope of government to be as minimally intrusive for “all people” as possible. Although you would no doubt argue that this was intrusive by preventing slaveowners from treating their ‘property’ in the fashion they wanted to.

                  3. This is easily the most moronic comment ever uttered on Reason:

                    “Now, give me one example of a nation that has peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.

                    Oh. That’s right. There aren’t any.”

                    This fucking IDIOT Sy, thinks a libertarian system is one created by government. He’s just SO FUCKING STUPID, that he thinks if he calls it a ‘nation,’ then it’s not a government. What he’s saying is he wants the government to rule in in his way, and be intrusive in the way HE likes.

                    Besides I can give you several examples of nations that have “peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.”

                    Countries like Gabon, The Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, have all removed socialist governments, and then went about removing government intrusion in people’s lives. They may have not taken power peacefully, but neither did our founding fathers.

                    Even closer to home, abolishing slavery, certainly decreased the size and scope of government to be as minimally intrusive for “all people” as possible. Although you would no doubt argue that this was intrusive by preventing slaveowners from treating their ‘property’ in the fashion they wanted to.

                  4. This is easily the most moronic comment ever uttered on Reason:

                    “Now, give me one example of a nation that has peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.

                    Oh. That’s right. There aren’t any.”

                    This fucking IDIOT Sy, thinks a libertarian system is one created by government. He’s just SO FUCKING STUPID, that he thinks if he calls it a ‘nation,’ then it’s not a government. What he’s saying is he wants the government to rule in in his way, and be intrusive in the way HE likes.

                    Besides I can give you several examples of nations that have “peacefuly, willingly, decreased the scope and size of government to be as minimally intrusive (for all people) as possible over a given time period.”

                    Countries like Gabon, The Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, have all removed socialist governments, and then went about removing government intrusion in people’s lives. They may have not taken power peacefully, but neither did our founding fathers.

                    Even closer to home, abolishing slavery, certainly decreased the size and scope of government to be as minimally intrusive for “all people” as possible. Although you would no doubt argue that this was intrusive by preventing slaveowners from treating their ‘property’ in the fashion they wanted to.

                2. there appears to be a dangerous vein within Libertarian circles that bothers me and Edwin you might have your finger on its pulse…

                  that vein is the wild west ideal of total chaos and self-reliance that is really a perversion of the free society ideals and respect that is generated by a Constitutional Republic in which we are allowed to exercise our rights UNTIL they begin to infringe upon other people’s.

                  it may sound ludicrous or overly dogmatic, but if you dig into the teachings of The Church of Satan/Set, you’ll find that this is lock-step with Satanic doctrines. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” as their godhead Crowley said.

                  However Ed you appear to be losing your grip with the property rights argument.

                  more of my propaganda at manifestliberty.com (sorry, I’m a shameless promoter)

                  1. Really? “Do un to others as you would have them do un to you” is a Satanic philosphy now?

                    Tell me about the Wild West, please. About the lawless chaos that must have consumed everything left of the Mississippi.

                3. “” Like I said, that goes way beyond “live and let live” and into a shrill, childish, irresponsible “leave me alone!”””

                  Or perhaps that government should leave me alone unless I have picked someone’s pocket or broken their leg.

            2. Individual liberty is selfish by its nature. It says ‘mine mine mine’ and nullifies any other member of the group’s demand on that person. We do this all the time as in nullifying other people’s demand to make us participate in their religion. I would call that selfish but no one seem to mind. Why not carry that out to the full max and allow everyone’s self-interest to play out and maximize liberty by nullifying every demand that the collective makes on us?

              1. poppycock

                that’s the entire supposed point of libertarianism. That they’re consistent because they believe that liberty stops when you infringe upon other people. The right to swing your fist ends at my face. Things like speech and practicing of religion don’t make any “demands” on anyone. Nor does the freedom to practice them in aggregate hurt anyone in any systemic way.

                What I keep pointing out is that in reality, they frequently violate even this principle. If you’re drunk driving, you’re clearly endangering other people. And by no stretch of the imagination do you have the right to murder people for non-life-threatening property trespass. And children do not have the ability to consent to sex, even if you pay them and they “agree” to it.

                1. I advocate the violation of others’ rights? where, exactly?

                2. “What I keep pointing out is that in reality, they frequently violate even this principle. If you’re drunk driving, you’re clearly endangering other people. And by no stretch of the imagination do you have the right to murder people for non-life-threatening property trespass. And children do not have the ability to consent to sex, even if you pay them and they “agree” to it.”

                  And you keep claiming people are advocating drunk driving, murdering people for non-threatening property trespass, and allowing children to consent to sex?
                  Where..when? Is this a mainstream ‘libertarian’ view?

                  1. and ‘I lose’.. what.. exactly? credibility points in Edwin’s ‘how-to-be-a-blog-troll playbook’?

    2. Its an historical fact that religion shaped the individual personalities of the writers of the constitution. The mentioned God in almost every document they wrote. They even coined the term ‘God-given rights’. Its just not factual to say that the founders were advocating for a society of no religion whatsoever.

      1. Funny that they forgot to put that ‘Under God’ part in there..

      2. “God” and “religion” are two different things.
        You’re smart enough to know that, right?

      3. “”” Its just not factual to say that the founders were advocating for a society of no religion whatsoever.””

        No not society, but a government that did not advocate any one particular religion including christianity.

  10. Some women’s rights advocates, Jones and Meyer write, would like it to read “with liberty and justice for all men and women.”

    Fuck hermaphrodites and children!?

    1. And transies!

    2. Steve Smith??

    3. Yeah, seriously. That’s so gender-normative.

  11. how I hear the pledge:
    “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation except for atheists, divisible, with liberty and justice for everyone but atheists.”

  12. The origins of the salute had that same origins as other socialist such as fascist and communist. At least this is the theory and it seems to make sense since it was created by a SOCIALIST.

    1. Francis Bellamy was very ‘progressive’. He advocated a centrally-planned economy and was so vehement in these beliefs that his church asked him to stop advocating them or to leave. So, they kicked him out.

  13. It is surprising that even a libertarian publication is unable to recognize or discuss the topic of the Pledge of Allegiance as the origin of the Nazi salute under the National Socialist German Workers Party (see the work of the historian Dr. Rex Curry and the amazing photos). It is more proof that government schools (socialist schools) must end. Francis Bellamy and Edward Bellamy were American national socialists and they influenced the National Socialist German Workers Party, its rituals, symbols and dogma. Will you ever be able to talk about that?

    1. Tinny Ray, don’t see why an Anti-Semite like you would have anything but admiration for National Socialists.

  14. endofline.

  15. I think that you really dropped the ball by not talking about Rex Curry. He really is the story-about-the-story of the pledge. He’s a crackpot who appears to have many of the facts straight and anyone who tries to read more about the pledge is going to run into his stuff.

    Curry’s been blocked repeatedly from editing the Wikipedia article on the Pledge, not as a whitewash, but because he was being a jerk. I’d really like to know what he’s got right and what he’s got wrong.

    1. I came across Curry several years ago and got the same impression as you. His language is rather crazed for someone who claims to be a lawyer. What seems to legitimatize the photos is the written protocol in the magazines that came with the flags for the public schools.

      “At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.”

      ? From The Youth’s Companion, 65 (1892): 446?447

  16. This article, as nearly all such articles, fails to cover all significant details of the Jehovah’s Witness Objections to the Pledge. The following webpage contains DOZENS of 1930-40s state and federal court cases which are generally kept hidden from today’s general public:

    http://jwemployees.bravehost.com/NewsReports/2031.html

  17. This article, as nearly all such articles, fails to cover all significant details of the Jehovah’s Witness Objections to the Pledge. The following webpage contains DOZENS of 1930-40s state and federal court cases which are generally kept hidden from today’s general public:

    http://jwemployees.bravehost.com/NewsReports/2031.html

  18. How about mbt kisumu sandals this one: there are X driving deaths a year- what % of driving deaths (or serious injuries) involve alcohol, or other intoxicating substances? kisumu 2 People are pretty darn good drivers when they are not impaired.

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