Playing the Right Like a Piano

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Why does the right seem so much stupider than the left? Maybe it’s just because I pay closer attention to the right, and know this movement so much better, but it’s forever falling for political gimmicks. By comparison, the left seems generally more serious about politics and not as easily sidetracked by battles over symbols of nothing.

The latest baloney distracting the right from serious engagement in public affairs is the prospect that the Supreme Court may rule negatively on the phrase “under God” in the pledge. For my part, I wouldn’t care if the entire pledge were scrapped. It has nothing whatever to do with the history of America, and expresses no ideas that are distinctly American.

Why anyone is willing to put his hand on his heart and liturgically speak these words is beyond me. Maybe in the Soviet Union. Maybe in Mao’s China, or Hitler’s Germany, when everyone is looking down the barrel of a gun, but in the land of the free? Forget it.

The author of the pledge was socialist Francis Bellamy, who wrote it for a boys’ magazine to promote loyalty to the federal government, which he and his friends hoped would socialize the American economy after crushing the South’s attempt to secede. Thus we were to swear allegiance to “one nation, indivisible.” Don’t you dare think otherwise!

The first major supporter of the pledge was the National Education Association, which favored its adoption in all public schools as a way of punishing Southern rebels and cementing the loyalty of Northern immigrants.

As for the “under God” line, it was inserted under Eisenhower as a sop to working-class nationalists who believed that the major problem with communism was its atheism (unlike the US state?). Thus did the US represent God on earth and the Soviet Union the Devil. In short, the phrase had nothing to do with affirming the Almighty but with shoring up and deifying the state. Does it violate the separation of church and state? Inasmuch as it identifies the state with the church, probably so.

Though the history of the pledge is well known, and it has no real roots worth preserving, we can count on the American right to go nuts with frenzy to preserve this oath, which no respectable, educated American should be saying in the first place. Pledge allegiance to your principles, your family, your faith, but don’t be foolish enough to pledge allegiance to a gang of thieves.

If the Supreme Court does rule against the “under God,” there will be an attempt to remove “In God We Trust” from the currency too, and we can similarly count on the right to throw themselves into preserving the fiat paper dollar as is, a currency that the founding generation would have recognized as despotic trash. The right will entirely miss the point, that the government is distracting us with the name if not the reality of God, so we won’t notice that its federal government has debased and debauched the money.

Onward to another major issue currently distracting the dumb bunnies on the right: the proposed amendment to the Constitution affirming that marriage is defined as one man married to one woman. Maybe the entire Webster’s Dictionary should be made an amendment to the Constitution too. It’s not going to improve the vocabulary of anyone. It will either be ignored or wrongly used. It will also give the gay lobby a huge boost by reinforcing their sense of being a victimized minority fighting for their supposed rights.

Congress, the President, and the Court ignore huge swaths of the Constitution everyday. Look at the 10th amendment. It says that what powers the federal government is not given, belong to the states or the people. That didn’t stop the federal government from usurping more and more powers of the people and the states, to the point where now the right entertains the possibility of putting marriage itself under federal jurisdiction.

In a free society, marriage would be managed by the Church or other private institutions, on a voluntary basis. Disputes would be handled by private courts. Government would have no more to say about marriage than it would any other contract or sacrament. What is really going on here is that some political elites cooked up this cockamamie idea to permit the American right to burn off energy so these people won’t notice that the Bush administration is bankrupting the country with its crazed welfare schemes and murderous foreign wars.

There are so many issues that the right focuses on that have nothing whatever to do with genuine reform: the pledge, the flag, flag burning, constitutional amendments, federal judgeships, White House staffing questions, silly school reforms, tax shifting capers, the treachery of other nations for not supporting Bush’s wars, and on and on.

These people are so busy with nonsense issues that they take no notice of the fact that American liberty is slipping further away by the day. Do they care? Or are they happy to live under tyranny so long as it claims to rule in God’s name and cracks anyone’s skull who employs the 4th versus the 1st definition of marriage?

At the White House, they must laugh and laugh at the American right. There’s a name for these people — suckers — and Barnum government is greatly appreciative of their role.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail] is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and editor of LewRockwell.com.

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