Inspired by something I read this morning, I took a 20 minute study of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Who wrote it?  What inspired them?

It turns out that a socialist, Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge.  And he was inspired by his cousin Edward who in 1888, wrote a novel called “Looking Backward” which described a future utopian society based on the brotherhood of man, but where government and business were one and the same.

A utopian future is a popular idea, and as such, this novel was the second highest selling book of the 19th century.

Francis Bellamy was a Christian Socialist who was pushed out of his post as a Baptist minister for delivering sermons on topics like “Jesus the Socialist.”

For all of the positive tenets of his beliefs, such as brotherhood of man and equal rights for women and African Americans, which truly were ahead of his time, he was really, very wrong about one thing.  In 1892 when the Pledge was written, few aside from Mazzini, Pike and their employers could foresee Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s.  Few of them could see the United States, who years later would be the megapower that sticks their 1984 jackboots into the face of freedom for humanity all over the globe, repeatedly, over and over again.

The marriage of business and government creates fascism.  Out of that came the military industrial complex.  The concept of equitable “public” ownership of industry through government is an illusion that has led societies to their enslavement and/or death repeatedly throughout history:

  • 61 Million died under under Communist USSR from 1917-1987
  • 35 Million died under Communist PRC (China) from 1949-1987
  • 21 Million died under Nazi Socialism/Fascism in the few short years between 1939-1945

Clearly, marrying government and business and calling it public ownership is not a good thing.

Over the years the Pledge of Allegiance was modified a number of times.  But oneself must ask the question, what are we pledging allegiance to?  And why?  If we are pledging allegiance to a State, a government, then how do we reconcile that allegiance against the injustices perpetuated by said government?

If anything, our allegiance should be to ourselves.  To be honest.  To seek objective truth.  To seek fairness in opportunity, not distribution.  To have voluntary compassion for our fellow man.  To seek freedom in society, not oppression or captivity.  To seek liberty in our own actions and personal responsibility for our errors.

And finally: To seek justice for all who do NOT.


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5 Responses

  1. Mikester

    Loyalty-oathing is so medieval … Aristocrats of old-Europe who gnashed their teeth at the Revolution have been chipping away at American liberty for over two centuries. I guess they didn’t get the same memo from John Locke that the rest of us got, and are doing their best to help people forget that pledging loyalty to the King isn’t really in one’s own self-interest. Invariably, one will be asked to pay tribute, defend the realm to the death, or tossed in the dungeon for questioning why. Happily, there are many of us who know the truth, and are not afraid to ask the difficult questions, and take direct action to stand up for our rights. The danger of tyranny requires eternal vigilance from the free, but the outcome is certain: freedom always wins.

  2. ZSJ

    I actually think the original pledge is quite deep. It’s a commitment to the spirit of liberty and justice. That commitment is still there in letter, we just need to re-train kids and adults on the *refrain*. The refrain makes it out as brainwashing.

    I pledge allegiance

    To the flag of the United States of America (i.e. a symbol for justice and freedom, etc)

    And the republic for which it stands (secondarily; the people who also stand true to the symbol, not those that don’t stand for it)

    One nation indivisible

    With liberty and justice for all.

    …Pretty rad

  3. exzombie

    I pledge allegiance to myself, to an eternal search for truth, to friendship to all who also thus search, to neutrality to all others, except to whatever opposition is necessary to anyone who seeks to hinder, prevent or divert me or my friends from that search. I owe no allegiance to anyone or to anything else.

  4. TLT

    Promising fealty to a symbol is useless and demonstrates a lack of clarity and precision in expressing one’s values. If you want to proclaim your commitment to justice and freedom, do so by your actions. If you feel the need to do so in words, then do so explicitly by using those same words and not an arbitrary, subjectively interpreted symbol. There is nothing “rad” about pledging allegiance to the colored cloth chosen by some dudes a couple hundred years ago. Every public school-kid is socially pressured into doing so. Refusing to repeat words that you don’t fully agree with or understand, in the face of peer and authoritarian influence; now THAT would be radical.


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