Skip to comments.A Matter Of Allegiance And Why One Might Wisely Withold It
Posted on 06/01/2005 10:10:47 AM PDT by right freds dead
A Matter Of Allegiance
And Why One Might Wisely Withold It
May 29, 2005
I wish to propose a salubrious anarchy, a deliberate renunciation of fealty to country, society, and government, an assertion of independence from folly and moral decay. Permit me to offer a taxing political idea: When a society ceases to be worthy of support, it is reasonable to withdraw support. The time, I submit, has come.
Here I do not mean to urge crime or counsel treason, but to suggest quiet renunciation of the national disaster. Ask yourself how much of American life pleases you. The schools are run by fools to manufacture fools, government grows more intrusive by the day, and culture is determined by the triple cloacae of New York, Hollywood, and Washington. Freedom withers, not only in the ominous encroachment of police powers, but in the loss of control over schools, church, hiring, daily life. We are no longer our own. The United States is not the country we are told it is, and not the country it was.
How to escape? The beginning, and the most difficult, is a moral distancing. Those who care must disentangle themselves from the cobweb loyalties and factitious duties with which we have been unconsciously encumbered. From childhood we learn patriotism, that one must vote, that if our way is not perfect it is at least best, that we must support anything however bad because were were born in a particular place. Why?
Let me suggest that one owes loyalty to one's family and friends, to common decency, and to nothing else. Render under Caesar what you must, keep what you can, and swear allegiance to nothing. Here I do not mean just the government, but the zeitgeist, the miasmic fetor of trashy culture, the desperate consumerism, the entire psychic odor of a society in decomposition.
Begin with things so fundamental as seldom to be reflected upon. For example, do not imagine that you are under an obligation to marry, or to have children, or to raise them as the government requires. Procreate if you choose, but only if you genuinely want to procreate. It is not your job to perpetuate a civilization that is daily less deserving of perpetuation.
But: never let the government have your children. Once they are had, your responsibility is to them. Teach them at home. Better yet, go abroad. Other countries do not force you to pay for an academically retrograde moral cesspool and then to drown your children in it. You might be astonished to know Argentina, for example.
Ask not what you can do for your country, but what it can do for youyou ought to get some of your taxes back.
Do not tie yourself to anything. The price of freedom is poverty: freedom grows as your needs diminish. Less apothegmatically, if you believe that you need a vast house in a prestigious suburb, then you will need a lucrative job to pay for it. Having tied your psychic contentment to such an abode you will also believe that you need impressive cars and will therefore be tied to a retirement system and, bingo, the door of the trap falls. This, we are told, is the American Dream. I fear it has become so.
I lived years ago in a second-hand house trailer in the woods. I do not know what it cost, or would cost today, but perhaps fifteen thousand dollars. It was perfectly comfortable, warm in winter, air-conditioned in summer. Mornings were blessedly quiet unless you regard birdsong as noise. A brick barbecue provided a place to produce ribs and drink bourbon and water. A couple of companionable dogs rounded out the ensemble. They had the run of the trailer, as was right.
Now, living in a trailer is to the consumerist sensibility simply too degrading and so I mean, my god, how could you face the neighbors? (There werent any.) But aside from damage to a servile dependent vanity, what is the drawback? A couple of hundred dollars buys a remarkably good stereo, music is free, libraries are good, and I for one am more comfortable in jeans and tee shirt than in Calvin and Klein trappings.
When your expenses are few, your susceptibility to economic serfdom is small. You do not need to work miserably in a pointless job for a boss you would gleefully strangle. Yes, you need money. The first principle is never to work in a job that you cannot afford to quit. This means avoiding any job with a retirement, of which you will become a prisoner. The second principle is to work at something portable that you can do independently and, preferably, without capital. Retirement? Save.
Dentistry pays well but requires pricey equipment, and it is not easy to build a clientele. An automotive mechanic is always in demand and the employer will usually provide the tools. Writing is a serviceable gig and can be done from anywhere. Many varieties of technicians readily find jobs. Remember that white-collar work, aside from tending strongly to entangle you, gets boring. Get a commercial-diving ticket, take a serious course in the repair of marine diesels, and spend your life in the Pacific.
Here again the obstacles are fear, inertia, and vanity. If you come from a family on the suburban-death track, the thought of being a mere mechanic or dive-shop owner or what have you may be disturbing. "Dont I need a college degree to hold my head up?" Look at the universities, at what they have become, and ask the question again. (Anyway, respectable in whose eyes? Your own are the only ones that count.)
Finally, work the system. The government, if you let it, will take roughly half of your income, give much of it to useless bureaucrats, much to various forms of welfare, use much to bomb countries you may have no desire to bomb, and much to force upon you services, such as horrible schools, that you do not want. The central question regarding government is whether you can take more from it than it takes from you. It is much better to receive than to give. Live cheap, work only as much as you like, enjoy life, and keep your taxes down.
You will still read of the rot and running sores of a declining culture, but it will bother you less. These things are your problem only to the extent that you feel yourself to be part of the society that produces them. Dont fight the government, as it will win. Dont try to reform society, because you cant. Laugh at it. Live well. Read much
"Turn on, tune in, drop out."
Uh-huh. Welcome to FR.
Another viewpoint would be:
Why the Pledge of Allegiance Matters
Senator Tom McClintock
There is a great principle at the heart of the movement to strike the words under God from the Pledge of Allegiance and from our national customs, our currency, and our public ceremonies. It has very little to do with atheism. It has a great deal to do with authoritarianism.
The philosophy of the American founding is unique among the nations of the world because of a bedrock principle that was given expression with words in the Declaration of Independence that are old and familiar, and yet not often pondered these days.
In the American view, there is a certain group of rights that are accorded absolutely and equally to every individual and that cannot be alienated. The existence of these rights is beyond debate self-evident in the words of the Founders. And their source is supreme - the Creator. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights
What are these rights? They are rights that exist as a condition of human life itself. If an individual were alone in the world, the rights he has are those rights the Founders traced to the laws of Nature and of Natures God. In their words, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right to the fruit of our own labor, the right to express our own sentiments, the right to defend ourselves, the right to live our lives according to our own best lights in a word, freedom.
But how do we secure these rights in a world where others seek to violate them? We form a government servient to these God-given rights or more precisely, a government under God. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men In the American view, the only legitimate exercise of force by one individual over another, or by a government over its people, is in the defense of these natural rights.
This concept is the foundation of American liberty. And because it defines limits to the powers of government, it is supremely offensive to the radicals of the left. They abhor the words under God because these words stand in the way of an all-powerful state.
The French and American revolutions were waged on precisely the same declared rights of liberty and equality. One was a ghastly failure that ended in the reign of terror; the other, a magnificent success. Why?
In the philosophy of the French Revolution, the rights of man were defined by a governmental committee and extended at the sufferance of that government. In the American view, these rights come from God, their existence is preeminent and their preservation is the principal object of government.
If the source of our fundamental rights is not God, then the source becomes man or more precisely, a government of men. And rights that can be extended by government may also be withdrawn by government.
Words matter. Ideas matter. And symbols matter. The case now before the Supreme Court over the Pledge of Allegiance must not be devalued as a mere defense of harmless deistic references and quaint old customs. The principle at stake is central to the very foundation of the American nation and the very survival of its freedoms.
Senator Tom McClintock
I'd rather read of the Zot.
Good job, Fred.
If the country you're living in is not the country of your choice - MOVE!
My allegiance is to God and country, in that order.
Political parties come a distant fourth.
However, Democrats find themselves relegated to abysmal distances beyond Sedna as they are against this country and against our way of life.
Guess what that means politically and you win a prize.
thought you might find this interesting...
Welcome to FreeRepublic.com. :)
I am glad you saw this. I read it earlier and left it alone for pondering. I did not want to judge too quickly, but...
in before the zot?
I'm not a big fan of the Pledge...written by the Socialist Francis Bellamy. I am uncomfortable with any pledge of fealty to the state (generally meaning the government) because such a pledge is incompatible with loyalty to the US Constitution and the ideals it enshrines
The Pledge versus the Oath
Published in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - May 2001
by Jim Peron
When George W. Bush became president last January, he struck a familiar pose. Raising his right hand before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. The oath serves to remind us that the United States is a constitutional republic with a federal system. The oath also reminds us that the Constitution is the cornerstone of the American system. The government is supposed to be bound by the Constitution. As such, government is not omnipotent but strictly limited to the functions and purposes enumerated in the Constitution. Legislation, regardless of how popular, is supposed to be consistent with it, and any laws that conflict with it are invalid.
Behind the Constitution are specific principles that Americas Founders consciously held and promoted. Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence is, for all practical purposes, the birth certificate of the United States. In it Jefferson outlined the principles of the Founders. These principles have a long and honorable history. (See my article The Declaration of Independence: Its Greek to Me, Ideas on Liberty, August 2000.) But the Founders realized that it was impractical, and unnecessary, to expect the American people to understand that history and philosophy. The Declaration and the Constitution were all that Americans needed to understand. If the people were loyal to the Constitution, then the Republic was safe.
Of course there have been individuals who were opposed to the Founders philosophy and opposed to a constitutional republic with limited powers. Almost from the beginning there were individuals who promoted a government of unlimited powers. They wanted the people to express their loyalty, not to the Constitution, but to the state.
The differences between the two ideologies is striking. If one swears an oath to the Constitution it implies limited government by definition. It also implies that individual rights are paramount in the American system of governance. But when one swears to support the government instead of the Constitution, those principles disappear.
Imagine if our elected officials, instead of swearing to uphold the Constitution, simply swore to support the government! At this point nothing the government does could be consistently challenged. There would be no limitations on the state or on its functions. Individual rights would be nonexistent. The entire philosophy of the Founders would be turned inside out. If one supports the Constitution, then individual rights are the foundation on which the enumerated powers of the government are based. If one, instead, swears allegiance to the government, then it is the foundation on which specific enumerated rights are granted. The first system supports a concept of natural rights that reside in the individual. The second is one of legal positivism, which says that rights are whatever the state grants.
The Founders wanted a government where the rights of the people come first. The function of government is simply to protect those pre-existing rights. Statism argues just the opposite. For the statist the government comes first and rights are privileges granted at the whim of the state. These two philosophies could not be further apart.
If we were to place in order the structure of the American system it would be:
The people and their natural rights. Individuals are endowed with certain rights that are theirs by nature. These include the rights to life, liberty, and justly acquired property.
The Declaration of Independence. This manifesto set out the basic beliefs of Americas Founders regarding rights and the nature of government.
The Constitution of the United States. This document, based on the principles clearly enunciated in the Declaration, established the method of proper government. It was not intended to explain the philosophy of government but only outline how it should operate. Powers were strictly enumerated while rights were not.
The Republic. The end result of all of this would be the American Republic itself.
The president-elect and our elected officials do not swear an oath to the Republic but to the Constitution. The Constitution is the cause, the Republic the effect. If the Constitution is ignored, then the Republic is lost. Support for the Republic that does not include fidelity to the Constitution leads to a loss of both the process and the outcome.
Pledge of Allegiance
Why is it, then, that so many American schoolchildren are required to swear allegiance to the flag and the Republic for which it stands rather than the Constitution? Millions of children start each school day with the Pledge of Allegiance: 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. Wouldnt we be much safer as a Republic if the children learned to respect the Constitution? If we were to place the flag in the hierarchy above, it would follow the Republic. The flag is a symbol of the Republic. It seems odd to pledge allegiance to the flag and to the Republic while ignoring both the Declaration and the Constitution.
To understand why this reversal took place we need to look at the history of the Pledge of Allegiance itself. Most of us grew up with the Pledge, and we probably assumed that it was always part of the American culture. But that is not true. Even the current version is relatively new. The phrase under God was not in the original version; it was added only in 1954. The Pledge itself doesnt go back farther than the 1890s. Its a child of the socialist Progressive movement.
It was during the late 1800s that, for the first time, widespread advocacy of socialism and statism became popular in the United States. Numerous authors wrote novels promoting these doctrines. Among those novels were Ignatius Donnellys Caesars Column and Edward Bellamys Looking Backward. Bellamy wrote of a futuristic America where socialism reigned. In its first year of publication, 1888, the book sold 100,000 copies and eventually topped a million in print; it was translated into 20 languages. As a work of American fiction it was surpassed in the nineteenth century only by Uncle Toms Cabin and Ben Hur.
John Dewey, the great advocate of government schooling and a socialist, called Bellamy his Great American Prophet and said: What Uncle Toms Cabin was to the anti-slavery movement Bellamys book may well be to the shaping of popular opinion for a new social order. In fact Dewey took many of his socialist ideas for education and indoctrination from Bellamy. Historian John Baer said that Dewey was ready to advocate Edward Bellamys type of education and to reform American society through progressive education. Dewey was keenly interested in the Soviet Union and wrote articles praising the educational system imposed by the communists. (The material from Baer comes from his book The Pledge of Allegiance: A Centennial History, 1892-1992. See www.vineyard.net/vineyard/history/pdgech0.htm.)
In Looking Backward the main character, Julian West, falls asleep in 1887 only to awaken in the year 2000. He finds an America where the means of production are owned by the state and everyone earns equal income. Jobs are assigned by the government to citizen-conscripts, who must work for the state from the age of 21 until retirement at 45.
Edward Bellamy, along with his cousin Francis Bellamy, were the two major spokesmen for what they called Nationalism, by which they meant the nationalization of all industry under state control. Across America some 167 Nationalist Clubs were formed. In 1889 one of the Boston Nationalist Clubs formed an auxiliary called the Society for Christian Socialists. According to Baer, The principles [of the Society] stated that economic rights and powers were gifts of God, not for the receivers use only, but for the benefit of all. All social, political and industrial relations should be based on the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, in the spirit of the teachings of Jesus Christ. Capitalism was not based on Christian love but on selfish individualism.
Francis Bellamy became the vice president in charge of education for the Society. Other prominent members included Francis Willard, the leader of the Womens Christian Temperance Union, and W.D.P. Bliss, a well-known minister.
The Bellamy cousins came from a long line of Baptist clergymen. Their grandfather had been a top aide to The Great Awakening evangelist Jonathan Edwards. Francis Bellamy was a seminary graduate and an ordained Baptist minister who openly preached socialism from the pulpit. But this led to conflicts with his congregation. One member, however, was enthusiastic about Bellamys socialist principles: Daniel Ford, editor of the religious publication The Youths Companion. Ford also was founder of Bostons famed Ford Hall Forum.
Loyalty to the State
After Bellamy was relieved of his ministry, Ford offered him a position with his magazine. Together they continued to work with various advocates of socialism and decided that a program was needed to teach American youth loyalty to the state. They realized that the individualist tradition in America did not lend itself easily to the patriotism needed for the socialist state of Looking Backward.
Ford and Bellamy contacted the National Education Association (NEA), which was then headed by William Torrey Harris. Harris, according to Baer, believed in a state controlled public education system. As the leading Hegelian philosopher in the United States he believed that the State had a central role in society. He believed youth should be trained in loyalty to the State and the public school was the institution to plant fervent loyalty and patriotism. Like many other American educators of his time, he admired and copied the Prussian educational system.
A staunch opponent of private education, Harris wanted public education centralized in every way possible and used his influence to work toward that goal. He was unhappy that local education made it difficult to exploit the schools to indoctrinate children into accepting their proper role in society. His goal was shared by the Nationalist Clubs. The Lynn, Massachusetts, club persuaded the state legislature to require attendance at school until 15 years of age and to increase the school year from 20 to 35 weeks. John Taylor Gatto, an outspoken critic of government education, notes that Harris was one of the main proponents of using government schooling to indoctrinate and not educate. Gatto, in a speech on education, Confederacy of Dunces: The Tyranny of Compulsory Education, quotes Harris: Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. Gatto continues: This is not an accident, Harris explains, but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.
It is obvious why Harris was happy to join Bellamys crusade. In 1892 Harris got the NEA to support a National Public School Celebration, which would promote loyalty to both the state and its schools. It was decided that they would promote an agenda written by The Youths Companion. The NEA asked Bellamy to be the chairman of the celebration. At the main event he gave a speech that showed the importance of public education in the task of political indoctrination. He told the audience, the training of citizens in the common knowledge and the common duties of citizenship belongs irrevocably to the State. Bellamy, like his cousin, wanted to use government schools to help promote a socialist agenda. He felt that one way of encouraging this agenda would be the teaching of state loyalty. To this end he wrote a pledge, which students across the country were asked to take. With a few minor changes this pledge is what is now called the Pledge of Allegiance. (According to Blacks Law Dictionary, allegiance is an Obligation of fidelity and obedience to government in consideration for protection that government gives.)
Bellamy attempted to accomplish several goals with his Pledge of Allegiance. He saw it as a means of inculcating support for a centralized national government over the federalist system of the Founding Fathers. He was particularly troubled by the idea that the individual states formed the federal government, fearing that secession from the union might be seen as legitimate after all. He kept in mind the Oath of Allegiance, which was forced on the South after the Civil War. Baer quotes Bellamy as saying: The true reason for allegiance to the Flag is the republic for which it stands. . . . And what does that vast thing, the Republic, mean? It is the concise political word for the Nationthe One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove. To make that One Nation idea clear, we must specify that it is indivisible, as Webster and Lincoln used to repeat in their great speeches.
Fords Youths Companion first published Bellamys Pledge on September 8, 1892, in its original format: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Bellamys widow said he lamented that he couldnt use the motto of the French Revolution, liberty, fraternity, and equality, instead. He was tempted to use the phrase, but thought that it was too fanciful and that its use was thousands of years off in realization.
The Youths Companion actively promoted the Pledge and loyalty to the government. At the time it was uncommon for a school to fly a flag outside its premises; that practice was almost exclusively associated with military bases. But during its campaign The Youths Companion sold thousands of flags for use at public schools.
Baer says Francis Bellamy acknowledged that his Pledge put forth the ideas of cousin Edward. Francis originally toyed with the idea of making the Pledge more openly socialistic, but decided that if he did so it would never be accepted.
The reason that elected officials swear an oath to the Constitution is clear. And the reason that Francis Bellamy wrote his pledge is also clear. Bellamys goal was not to inculcate the values of Jefferson and Adams. Instead, his desire was to promote the socialist utopianism of his cousin Edward.
The U.S. Constitution is anathema to socialists of all types. It is a roadblock to be circumvented. That Edward Bellamy understood this can be seen in his comparison of the written U.S. Constitution and the unwritten English one: Englands Constitution readily admits of constant though gradual modification. Our American Constitution does not readily admit of such change. England can thus move into Socialism almost imperceptibly. Our Constitution being largely individualistic must be changed to admit of Socialism, and each change necessitates a political crisis (quoted in Rose L. Martin, Fabian Freeway, p. 136).
The British Fabian socialist Ramsay MacDonald came to the same conclusion after a visit to the United States. In a speech printed in the February 1898 Fabian News he said: The great bar to progress [in the United States] is the written constitutions, Federal and State.
When an oath for schoolchildren was being contemplated the socialists knew exactly what they were doing.
In before the Zot! YESSSSSSSSS -- !!! :)
I always love these "live cheap" types who have computers and internet access.