I didn’t grow up in America. But as a child I was still propagandized by my State. Every morning in the school classroom we had to stand and sing God Save the Queen, and later, O Canada and recite The Lord’s Prayer.
The implication was that, above all, our political ruler(s) must be preserved and that one particular religion was the only one to stand and honor daily. These priorities were decided for us, long before we were born.
Of course, we were also being taught to do what we were told and be obedient to authority without asking questions as to why this mindless obedience was considered a virtue.
But I really didn’t know what propaganda was until I emigrated to America and my kids enrolled in public schools.
I’ll save the examples of military propaganda for another post because the most overt example of behavior conditioning and mind control is contained in the daily Pledge of Allegiance required of all public school children in America. (I know, kids can opt out—then get harassed, bullied and berated by the other kids, under the approving smirk of the teachers who despise non-conformity.)
So here is the current iteration of the Pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
And here’s the gist: I pledge allegiance to the State.
Most Americans think it’s a wonderful idea to inculcate this belief deep into the minds of children.
But would they say the same if a Communist country was doing it? Or the State controlled by Kim Jong-un? Or the Islamic State? I think most Americans would instantly recognize those efforts as the deliberate poisoning of children’s minds to slavishly follow a particular political doctrine and the people who impose it.
I pledge allegiance to our Islamic State.
I pledge allegiance to our Führer’s State.
I pledge allegiance to our Communist State.
Yuck. Am I right?
But as long as we’re going to set aside time every day for a personal pledge, how about coming up with some other pledges?
Here are some ideas:
I pledge allegiance to the pursuit of truth and to the application of truth despite my subjective biases and perspectives. The application of the scientific method, non-coercively, toward the betterment of humankind.
I pledge allegiance to my family and the memory of my ancestors, without whom I would not have my life. I will strive to show gratitude and respect for the life I have and my capacity to help the lives of others.
I pledge allegiance to the virtue of self-improvement and to reaching my full potential as a person. I will strive to support others in their own pursuit of self-improvement.
I pledge allegiance to the inherent right of every human being to live his or her life as they see fit, provided they do not coerce others. Irrespective of race, color, gender, religion, domicile, or personal priorities.
I pledge allegiance to ending violence and injustice toward anyone, irrespective of race, color, gender, religion, domicile, or personal priorities.
I pledge allegiance to personal honesty, integrity, and to keeping my word in all transactions with others. To judge others based only on their character and to strive to take pride in my own good character.
I pledge allegiance to the virtue of not being led into pledges that are written for me by people who wish to control my beliefs and behavior. I will strive to think for myself and consider all evidence based on its objective merits and utility.
It seems like there are thousands of good things a freethinking individual could elect to embrace.
So, can you come up with a Pledge of Allegiance?
Please post it with #otherpledges.