Statism, Symbols, Patriotic Mantra, and Irony

In a post published today, Salon has hit on what, I think, is a deep irony: isn’t it odd that “tea partiers,” the same protesters who construe President Obama’s call to community service as nascent fascism, gleefully recite a pledge that, by its own words, submits the citizen to the power of the state?

Granted, they don’t always get it right, but still.

I have no problem with the pledge of allegiance: a great nation requires great symbols, and rituals of unity, and despite the pledge’s comparative novelty (it dates to 1892 or 1954, depending on the version), it’s a relatively elegant way of stating our common purpose as participants in what Tocqueville called the “American experiment.” But if you’re offended by the notion of the President asking citizens to serve their country, to the extent that the President does represent the will of the country, gleefully embracing the pledge might be a tad inconsistent.


  1. From Wiki:

    “The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855-1931), a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850-1898).”

    The irony in this is simply mind-blowing.

  2. Great post. It is even worse than you can imagine. The Pledge was the origin of the “Nazi” salute. The stiff-armed salute is more accurately called the “American salute” as it originated in the Pledge of Allegiance to the USA’s flag. The pledge was written (1892) by Francis Bellamy. Francis Bellamy was cousin and cohort of Edward Bellamy and they were both socialists in the nationalism movement long before Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers Party and before Mussolini became a well-known socialist. The Bellamys and socialist schools (government schools) in the USA influenced the National Socialist German Workers Party, its dogma, symbols and rituals (e.g. robotic chanting to flags in unison with stylized arm gestures). Of course, that still happens in the USA’s government schools, though the gesture has changed. See the work of Dr. Rex Curry (author of “Pledge of Allegiance Secrets”).

    1. Utter nonsense. The raised hand salute has been associated with the Roman Republic since the late 18th century, and was adopted by both American republicanism and by the fascist movement in order to invoke that connection, each in their own way.

      1. Lanfrancs comment is utter nonsense, but for the fact that he does not actually dispute the earlier post. Notice that he said: The raised hand salute has been “associated” with the Roman Republic since the late 18th century…” He capitulated with the word “associated.” Even though he admits he has nothing, the gesture was NOT adopted by American republicanism in order to invoke that connection. The term “roman salute” did not even exist until decades after the Pledge of Allegiance had been performed with the gesture (from 1892). The only thing he has left is his claim that the National Socialists were confused. He is correct that there was a lot of confusion created about it. There continues to be. And he remains confused but more cautious about what he says (and what he does not say).

      2. The one thing that never ceases to amaze me about the Internet is just how many types of crazy kooks with their own little homebrew theories there are out there.

        Never heard of this one before, for instance. The Bellamy cousins being responsible for the Nazi movement. Well, sure, why not? ^_^

        1. The one thing that never ceases to amaze me about the Internet is just how many types of crazy kooks keep regurgitating their own little debunked homebrew myths even when it is painfully obvious that they have nothing left to back it up.

          For example, they engage in lies and pretend to be stupid when they claim the topic is whether the Bellamy cousins were responsible for the Nazi movement. ^_^ They say anything to cover up their own evasions. Well, at least he is not actually disputing the points made in the earlier post about the stiff-arm salute coming from the pledge.

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