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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another Pledge of Allegiance Alternative

Humble Libertarian reader Doug Smith offers an alternative pledge of allegiance, one that federal employees should make to us, rather than one that private citizens should say:

After reading the history of the "Pledge" several years ago, I penned an alternate. It's not for citizens, though. We shouldn't be pledging allegiance to government anyway. Here's what all agents of federal government should be pledging to us at work everyday:

"I pledge allegiance to the People
of the United States of America
And to the Republic sustained by their Consent,
A Federation of Sovereign States,
Constitutional, under God,
With Liberty and Justice for all."

Doug elaborates on his blog:

You may have seen my July 4th Patriotism Quiz that was published here a few weeks ago. If not, check it out. The little quiz uses major historical facts to open the reader’s eyes, hopefully, to see that there is a big difference between America and its government, between patriotism and nationalism. At least it’s a start.

One of my questions is about the Pledge of Allegiance. It says, “The original Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, who was _____.” Choices are (a) a godly man and patriot who wanted to reinforce America’s love for country through a memorable tribute to be repeated on special occasions, or (b) a defrocked preacher and socialist who wanted to focus America’s allegiance on strong central government through a political oath recited frequently by children. My good friends on the Religious Right hate it when they realize (b) is correct.

Those same friends came undone when a federal court ruled that under God was unconstitutional. Not me. I hoped they would be so furious that they would never say the Pledge again because its wording problems are not religious but constitutional, e.g. one nation and indivisible. This is the language of centralizing conquerors, not the federalism of the Founding Fathers who formed a union of states rather than a mass nationalism. Adding under God in the 1950s was a well-intended, but terrible mistake giving the oath a pseudo spiritual authority that protects its serious errors from criticism.

The main problem with Bellamy’s pledge is that American citizens should not be pledging allegiance to the government for any reason. This is completely backwards. Our public servants should be assuring us of their faithfulness by adhering to the law and limits specified by the Constitution. It may seem natural to swear loyalty to God and country but not to a metastasizing central government that we often fear and constantly complain about. Nevertheless, we mouth the oath like robots and teach it as a mantra for our children. This should cease.

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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