The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article today by Nicholas Goldberg about the Pledge of Allegiance. Goldberg praises those independent-minded students and parents who have challenged its enforcement in public (i.e., government) schools.
The Pledge of Allegiance has been used as a symbol of patriotism for more than 100 years. Today, it is recited by children in public schools and and also by adults at various events.
Conservatives are among the most ardent proponents of the Pledge. That’s ironic because it was written by a self-avowed socialist, a man named Edward Bellamy. Conservatives profess to oppose socialism and support “free enterprise.”
One of the funniest parts of the history of the Pledge was the manner in which public-school students were expected to recite it. American students were long expected to extend their right arms outward while reciting the Pledge. You know, like the Nazi salute. Officials decided, for appearance’s sake, to change it to the right hand over the heart.
Another interesting aspect to the Pledge is that our American ancestors lived without it for the first 100 years of American history. I guess proponents of the Pledge would say that they weren’t very patriotic.
It is also interesting to note that the Pledge came into existence during the time that American socialists were moving the country in the direction of a welfare state. In 1913, for example, the Sixteenth Amendment (progressive income taxation) to the Constitution was enacted and the Federal Reserve System was called into existence. That was followed by the economic revolution that took place in the 1930s that converted America into a welfare state, which is a variation of socialism.
Another interesting part of all this was public (i.e., government) schooling itself. Goldberg fails to note that public schooling is itself a socialist system. In fact, it would be difficult to find a better example of a socialist system than public schooling.
Public schools rely on coercion to get their customers. That’s what compulsory-attendance laws are all about. If parents don’t agree to subject their children to the state’s educational system, the state targets them with incarceration and fine.
With public schooling, the state plans the education of students in a command-and-control fashion that is characteristic of socialist central planning.
The state decides what children are to be taught in its schools. It selects the textbooks. It sets the curriculum. It hires the teachers. Its strict system of regimentation is what can be called “army-lite,” given its similarity to how the military “educates” recruits and draftees.
In fact, public schools in every country, including Cuba, North Korea, and the United States, are centers of indoctrination. The goal of the state in every country is to produce good, little, compliant, submissive, passive, and obedient citizens who do not challenge things at a fundamental level and who are inculcated with mindsets of deference to authority.
Thus, given this goal, it is not difficult to see how the Pledge of Allegiance fits into this overall system of state indoctrination. It is also not difficult to see how effective the state’s indoctrination has been, given the fierce devotion to the Pledge displayed by so many American adults as well as their extreme deference to the authority of the welfare-warfare state, especially the military-intelligence establishment.
Goldberg is right to praise those independent-minded students who have challenged the forced recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, however, he is unable to take the matter to a higher level and challenge the socialist concept of public (i.e., government) schooling itself.
Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.