Schools have been using the pledge and other forms of propaganda for decades. The question is, are such techniques harming and poisoning young minds.
Patriotism is defined as “One who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests” much similar to Nationalism, which was the leading cause of WW1 and many other wars. When people have a high sense of nationalism, there will be a push of citizens enlisting to the arm forces. If there are patriotism and an enemy of their nation, there will be a push for a war.
While many people support such beliefs and try to make it out to be a virtue and believe it shows respect to their nation, it has also brought much violence and hatred to the world. “Patriotism is not a virtue, rather a mental disorder”, as political activist Adam Kokesh explained. Looking through the history of patriotism, a history of hatred and violence can be seen.
The surges carried out by the red army of the former USSR, all done by Russian Patriots. The holocaust which cost the lives of over 6 million people, are carried out by loyal patriots. Saddam Hussein dropped nerve gas on his own people, carried out by humble Iraqi patriots. If a patriot supports its nation’s authority and interests, and truly loves one country, they may go to sick lengths for their nation.
Nationalism was a major cause of WW1, WW2, and can even be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars. “There are only two things we should fight for, one is the defense of our homes, the other is for the bill of rights, war for any other reason is simply a racket”, as highly decorated Major General Smedley Butler once said. Propaganda was used in WW1 and WW2 to gain more enlistments and more soldiers, which created more patriots.
Many people believe public schools also do such thing, when the make children recite the pledge or even just the presence of the federal government in public education. “If it was really education, the government wouldn’t be involved” Kokesh explained.
The real question is if the government actually using such techniques to force patriotism on their students. Local student Conner Noe is one of the students who don’t recite the pledge, “I shouldn’t forced into patriotism to a flag in the school’s institute” Noe Explains. He believes our school is using the pledge and the push of propaganda to force patriotism on the students.
The Pledge of Allegiance carries some controversial ideals along with it. A socialist Francis Bellamy was the creator of the pledge in the late 19th century, and the fact he was a socialist creates wonders in many activists’ minds, including Adam’s. “Pledge of alliance was instituted to reinforce the tribalistic, un-American mentality of collectivism”, said Kokesh.
He believes it is a propagandization process to make young people better prepared to blindly follow and obey authority, which destroys the ideal that us humans were designed to be free and independent.
Another concern for the pledge is the reason why many students and teachers decide to do the pledge. English teacher Mr. Poe explains, “No one thinks about the words, they just say it”. A reason for this that many people believe it’s the social pressure which is present in the classroom. Much like the peer pressure involved in the increase the use of drugs and alcohol, the pressure can also have an effect on students when they have the natural instinct to do what is most popular, and go against what they know and believe is right.
Activists against the pledge also bring in the argument of how doing the pledge; can be just as controversial as doing a “prayer “in school. More independent thinkers such as Poe believe the pledge should be a more voluntary activity. “The love should come from the people, voluntary, rather than making them say the pledge” said Poe.
The more the pledge and other Patriotic ideals and traditions are created and continued, society will still hear loud noise from their political activists and other independent thinkers. The only thing people and society can do to figure out such a dilemma is to figure it out for themselves.