“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” – Thomas Paine, American revolutionary
The following is some interesting history about the pledge of allegiance to the American flag. It may come as a surprise to some that the pledge was written by a socialist who believed in wealth redistribution, and for the purposes of reinvigorating feelings of nationalistic loyalty to the central government of the U.S. after the Civil War, and to make money via a marketing campaign to sell flags. Given this history, I can see why some people wouldn’t want to pledge allegiance to a symbol of cronyism that was once ominously reminiscent of the state-worshiping displays of other fascist regimes around the world. I choose to pledge my allegiance to freedom and liberty – not to a corrupt corporate government. Where is your allegiance?
Pledge: 1. a : a bailment of a chattel as security for a debt or other obligation without involving transfer of title. b : the chattel so delivered. c : the contract incidental to such a bailment. 2. a : the state of being held as a security or guaranty. b : something given as security for the performance of an act. 3: a token, sign, or earnest of something else. 4: a gage of battle. 5: toast 6. a : a binding promise or agreement to do or forbear. b (1) : a promise to join a fraternity, sorority, or secret society. (2) : a person who has so promised.
Allegiannce: 1. a : the obligation of a feudal vassal to his liege lord. b (1) : the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government (2) : the obligation of an alien to the government under which the alien resides. 2: devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause.
“Give me the child for the first seven years, and I’ll give you the man.” – Jesuit maxim
“The original “Pledge of Allegiance” was published in the September 8 issue of the popular children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. The event was conceived and promoted by James B. Upham, a marketer for the magazine, as a campaign to instill the idea of American nationalism in students and sell flags to public schools.
In Francis Bellamy’s recollection of the creation of the Pledge, he recalled “At the beginning of the nineties patriotism and national feeling was at a low ebb. The patriotic ardor of the Civil War was an old story … The time was ripe for a reawakening of simple Americanism and the leaders in the new movement rightly felt that patriotic education should begin in the public schools.” James Upham “felt that a flag should be on every schoolhouse”, so the publication “fostered a plan of selling flags to schools through the children themselves at cost, which was so successful that 25,000 schools acquired flags in first year.”
As the World’s Columbian Exposition, a.k.a. Chicago World’s Fair, was set to celebrate the 400th anniversary the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, Upham sought to link the publication’s drive to the event, “so that every school in the land … would have a flag raising, under the most impressive conditions.” Bellamy was placed in charge of this operation and was soon lobbying “not only the superintendents of education in all the States, but also worked with governors, Congressmen, and even the President of the United States.” The publication’s efforts paid off when Benjamin Harrison declared Wednesday October 12, 1892, to be Columbus Day for which The Youth’s Companion made “an official program for universal use in all the schools.” Bellamy recalled that the event “had to be more than a list of exercises. The ritual must be prepared with simplicity and dignity.”
Edna Dean Proctor wrote an ode for the event and “There was also an oration suitable for declamation.” Bellamy held “Of course, the nub of the program was to be the raising of the flag, with a salute to the flag recited by the pupils in unison.” He found “There was not a satisfactory enough form for this salute. The Balch salute which ran ‘I give my heart and my hand to my country, one country, one language, one flag.’ seemed too juvenile and lacking in dignity.” After working on the idea with Upham, Bellamy concluded “It was my thought that a vow of loyalty or allegiance to the flag should be the dominant idea. I especially stressed the word ‘allegiance.’ … Beginning with the new word allegiance, I first decided that ‘pledge’ was a better school word than ‘vow’ or ‘swear’;”
“The credit for the bulk of the pledge goes to Francis Julius Bellamy (May 18, 1855 – August 28, 1931), a Baptist minister from New York. Bellamy had some interesting political ideas — he was a Christian Socialist who believed in the equal distribution of economic resources in accordance with the teachings of Jesus, but not the distribution of voting rights to women or immigrants.
By 1891, Bellamy was tired of his ministry and accepted a job from one of his congregants, Daniel S. Ford, owner and editor of Youth’s Companion, a nationally circulated magazine for adolescents. Bellamy was hired to help out the magazine’s premium department, where he worked on a campaign to sell American flags to public schools as a way to solicit subscriptions. By the end of the year, the magazine had sold flags to some 26,000 schools.”
“Instructions for carrying out the salute were printed in the pages of Youth’s Companion. The gesture came to be called the Bellamy Salute, in honor of the Pledge’s author.
The Bellamy Salute consisted of each person — man, woman or child — extending his or her right arm straight forward, angling slightly upward, fingers pointing directly ahead.
With their right arms aiming stiffly toward the flag, they recited: “I pledge allegiance…”
For a while, the salute wasn’t especially controversial.
But, as World War II was forming in Europe, and Italians and Germans began saluting Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler with extended-armed “Heil Hitler!”-style gestures…
Well, perhaps you can see the problem.
In the United States there was a growing feeling of discomfort that, when people within the nation’s own borders pledged their right-arms-extended allegiance to the flag, they might be construed as inadvertently showing solidarity with the fascist regimes across the ocean. Richard J. Ellis, in his book “To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance,” wrote that “the similarities in the salute had begun to attract comment as early as the mid-1930s.””
“Assigned to the magazine’s promotions department, the 37-year-old Bellamy set to work arranging a patriotic program for schools around the country to coincide with opening ceremonies for the Columbian Exposition in October 1892, the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World. Bellamy successfully lobbied Congress for a resolution endorsing the school ceremony, and he helped convince President Benjamin Harrison to issue a proclamation declaring a Columbus Day holiday.
A key element of the commemorative program was to be a new salute to the flag for schoolchildren to recite in unison. But as the deadline for writing the salute approached, it remained undone. “You write it,” Bellamy recalled his boss saying. “You have a knack at words.” In Bellamy’s later accounts of the sultry August evening he composed the pledge, he said that he believed all along it should invoke allegiance.
In 1942, the pledge’s 50th anniversary, Congress adopted it as part of a national flag code. By then, the salute had already acquired a powerful institutional role, with some state legislatures obligating public school students to recite it each school day. But individuals and groups challenged the laws. Notably, Jehovah’s Witnesses maintained that reciting the pledge violated their prohibition against venerating a graven image. In 1943, the Supreme Court ruled in the Witnesses’ favor, undergirding the free-speech principle that no schoolchild should be compelled to recite the pledge………
Atheists are not the only ones to take issue with that line of thought. Advocates of religious tolerance point out that the reference to a single deity might not sit well with followers of some established religions. After all, Buddhists don’t conceive of God as a single discrete entity, Zoroastrians believe in two deities and Hindus believe in many. Both the Ninth Circuit ruling and a number of Supreme Court decisions acknowledge this. But Jacobsohn predicts that a majority of the justices will hold that government may support religion in general as long as public policy does not pursue an obviously sectarian, specific religious purpose.”
While the principles of human freedom would dictate an individual’s absolute right of conscience to choose any form of religion or other institution to which one may follow or pay observances, that right does not extend to forcing others to observe anyone else’s choices. It should be obvious to anyone familiar with the principles of liberty that this means you are free to choose your own object of worship or none at all, as well as to what philosophy, politics, or government one chooses to be allied, or none at all. For example: you may choose to pray to Jesus, sing to Cthulhu, sacrifice burnt offerings to Odin, or lay prostrate in reverence to Satan, etc.; but nothing gives you the right to force others to share in your delusions or pay respect to those beliefs in any way. You may choose to follow the politics of the ancient Greeks, the Huns, the Marxists, the philosophers of The Enlightenment, utopian idealists, democrats, republicans, anarchists, or any other; but you have no right to compel others to follow suit with coercion and force. As an atheist, I do not have to pay respects to anyone’s delusions about their invisible friend. As a philosophical anarcho-capitalist, I do not have to bow my knee at the insistence of any state authority. As an individualist, I do not have to participate in the group-think herd mentality of sheeple bleating for my conformity. We are either each one of us free and independent sovereign human beings guided by each our own conscience and the liberty to make our own choices or not. I choose to be free.
The video in the following link was purportedly taken at a city commission meeting in Winter Garden, Florida in which the mayor tried to force compliance from attendees to observe both prayer and pledge – even at the barrel of the police chief’s gun. The one identified as the mayor can be heard scolding the uncooperative attendee and lamenting how unfair it is to “the troops” that this individual does not obediently participate in observing the same religious and state rituals as the rest of the crowd. I want to point out for this mayor that I am one of those troops of whom he speaks, and I absolutely observe this unbowed individual’s right to worship any god or anything else he wants – or not; as well as to pledge his allegiance to anyone, anything, or any idea he wants – or not. It seems to me that these shit-for-brains American politicians have forgotten what freedom even means. With that said, I think I may just stand (or sit, as the case may be) in solidarity with this sovereign filmer, and most likely will not be pledging anymore either. My allegiance is to the rights, freedoms, and liberties of individual people – not to a corrupt corporate government which seeks to force compliance at the barrel of a gun. Where is your allegiance?
A.G. “Brick” House is an Afghanistan war veteran and former licensed minister (UPCI), who has become an outspoken skeptic, peace advocate, and involved himself in many other issues which he believes affect the individual freedoms of the people whose constitutional rights he took an oath to defend. He currently resides in the heart of Tennessee with his companion dog ‘Liberty,’ where he is recovering from PTSD, enjoys the therapeutic hobbies of gardening, creative writing https://chaossection.com/, playing drums in the metal band Outlaw Serenade http://www.outlawserenade.com/, and other forms of artistic expression \m/
2 thoughts on “Where Is Your Allegiance?”
Hello A.G. Wonderful, thought provoking article. I was very happy to discover you have freed yourself from the shackles of religion, just like I have. We definitely have a lot of catching up to do. Whenever you get a chance, look me up on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you again. Take care, old friend.