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Is The Pledge of Allegiance brain-washing? Hi, I'm new at college this year and last...

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elfgirl | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted February 23, 2009 at 4:54 AM via web

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Is The Pledge of Allegiance brain-washing?

Hi, I'm new at college this year and last week our sociology professor showed us old films of communist children and Nazi children at rallies saluting and marching. She got us to talk about how these children were indoctrinated into their beliefs. We all agreed it was political brainwashing and forced children to conform to strict social beliefs and how wrong it was.

However, she then showed us children taking the Pledge of Allegiance and singing The Star Spangled Banner and she said it was the same as the communist's brainwashing? I have to write my homework on children taking The Pledge of Allegiance as social control. She was going on about something called The Bellamy Salute, saying American kids used to do nazi salutes to the flag.

My parents told me that some people at the university are not trustable. Is she a subversive? How can I write my homework so that it isn't brainwashing for little kids to take the pledge in school?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 23, 2009 at 9:13 AM (Answer #2)

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Holy Cow!  You've got to be kidding me!  There is a HUGE difference in promoting patriotism and pride in your country and brainwashing little communist children.  For one thing, you are not taught in this country to turn in your parents if they don't put their hands over their hearts or stand to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the "Pledge of Allegiance" at events.  For another, in this country, you are not educated away from the influence of your parents which they do in communist countries ie. The Nazi Youth.  You have every right to go home and ask your parents what they think about certain ideas (just like you're doing here) without any fear of rebuke and punishment.  In a Communist nation, you would not have such freedom.  Yes, young people are impressionable, and they will imitate things they think are funny or cute like salutes, but there is NOTHING close to brainwashing when you learn to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" or sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in order to honor your country.

It is possible your teacher is playing the Devil's Advocate in order to get you to think and support your own arguments.  However, if you think this is not the case, then let her wacky statements about brainwashing go in one ear and out the other.

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lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:42 PM (Answer #3)

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Thinking back to my own Intro to Sociology class taken 30 years ago, it was clear that one of the intentions of the teacher was to force the students to question some of the beliefs we had held without question. For example,we believed that because we were going to college, we were entitled to a higher paying job because we were working hard. She turned that back on us, and forced us to realize that the great majority of us were not paying for anything ourselves, but by chance of birth had landed in families that could afford to  send their kids to college, perpetuating the family's upward mobility. I suspect your teacher is doing something similar, and instead of thinking "How dare she compare the practices here to the practices there?", to stop and think of the aspects of governments (good and bad ones) that are similar.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:56 PM (Answer #4)

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If tactics like this continue, and without her mentioning any justification such as playing the devil's advocate, file a formal complaint against her.  You can do this anonymously.  If she is just playing "devil's advocate", then fine, but to make you write an essay on it seems a bit over the top.  She should have just made her point and moved on, and not required formal assignments arguing the devil's side.

So writing this will be tough, IF she is looking for validation of her kooky theories.  I say go with your gut and don't write an essay in support of the thesis that she has given you.  Argue against it, and find as much support for your side as possible.  For example, in my school district-as in most others, I would imagine-kids do not have to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag.  It's just not required at all, because of the "God" issue involved in it, and districts have to be politically correct, not offending atheists and other sects that don't believe in God.  The fact that they aren't forced to say the pledge makes it totally different from the nazi society.  Find research on the kids that saluted the flag with a nazi symbol; try to pass it off as amy-lepore stated it, as just a bunch of kids being stupid (I get kids in my class all of the time who draw swastikas or marijuana leaves just to get a reaction; I give them none, and they stop).  So, with a little research, you should be able to support a counter-argument.  Then, if she fails you or tears it apart, you know where her allegiance lies, and it isn't with supporting our country or being patriotic.  Good luck!!!

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 24, 2009 at 2:05 AM (Answer #5)

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"If tactics like this continue without any justification... file a formal complaint against her... if she fails you or tears it apart, you know where her allegiance lies, and it isn't with supporting our country or being patriotic." Cadena

Wow! :-o There's your answer Elfgirl! Your teacher asked you to consider if The Pledge is indoctrination and now someone is saying you should prepare to report her to the authorities for unpatriotic behaviour! Is that The Land of The Free?

Of course The Pledge is indoctrination! What else could it be? Every society has indoctrination. Your teacher's suggestion makes you uncomfortable because you want to believe you are 'free'. But before most social gatherings, Americans are pressured to sing The National Anthem. Why?

It may be in a good cause (ie The USA), but it is still 100% indoctrination and social control.  

Think about it. Everyday in their formative years, before innocent little children can start their day, they must observe a religio-military ceremony promising to support America. What is that, if it is not indoctrination? Doesn't it look the same as the communist ceremonies you criticised? 

The Bellamy Salute... ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellamy_salute

The Bellamy Salute was devised by Francis Bellamy, who wrote The Pledge. It was a Roman salute. Up to WWII, American kids saluted during The Pledge, but this was dropped when the Nazis adopted a similar salute.

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jillyfish | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted February 27, 2009 at 3:10 AM (Answer #6)

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"When is a terrorist not a terrorist? When you agree with their cause, because then they are a freedom fighter." So, I guess you could say "When is brain-washing not brain-washing? When you approve of the doctrine." The verb to indoctrinate has very negative overtones, but we have all been indoctrinated from the day we were born.

Your parents probably doctrinated  you with respect, politeness, capitalism, success etc. and their other core beliefs.

At least one hundred million American parents take their children to church as soon as they are born to make sure they are fully immersed into a specific religious doctrine. American babies are baptised as christians before they can talk, let alone form an opinion as to whether they wish to be Christian. I know a lot of people get very defensive and upset when you point this fact out, but enlisting babies into a religion, without their permission, and then raising them as 'believers' is indoctrination. How else could you define it?

It is the same with American patriotism. Americans are one of the most patriotic countries in the world and if you fail to conform to that, some Americans can get extremely aggressive. Do you remember The Dixie Chicks? That was a witch-hunt by a mob of illogical "brain-washed" patriots who persecuted The D.C.s for free thought and free speech. (which of course is 100% American, dur!)

We have all been indoctrinated. But not all of us have broken our mould to see it.

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cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 27, 2009 at 7:39 PM (Answer #7)

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Wow!  What an interesting topic!

Noam Chomsky remarks,

For those who stubbornly seek freedom, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the system of 'brainwashing under freedom' to which we are subjected and which all too often we serve as willing or unwitting instruments.

That being said, there is little to distinguish indoctrination and socialization in a free society.  Of course a country trains its citizens in its basic principles and procedures!  A democracy is only as strong as the participation of its citizens -- and the citizens must understand their basic responsibilities and the precepts of the country to which they belong.

The problem is not when we inculcate these basic ideals in children.  Rather it is when we encourage or do not challenge blind adherence and the presumption that what government (or party) does is necessarily right.

To my way of thinking, good teachers encourage their students to think critically about these principles and the extent to which they are, in fact, being upheld.  If the principles are sound -- as I believe those underlying our Constitution are -- the student will renew his or her commitment to those ideals.  Even more importantly, the student will embark on a life-long course of participating in society's imperfect efforts to live up to those ideals -- and pointing out where we have fallen short.

 

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evelball | Elementary School Teacher | eNoter

Posted March 4, 2009 at 8:16 AM (Answer #8)

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I am reminded of a few months ago, when our current President, President Obama, was criticized as unpatriotic for not wearing a flag pin! I am a 5th grade teacher and have never had my students say the Pledge of Allegiance. It actually never occurred to me to do this as a daily routine. It didn't make sense to me. Why should they stand and face an object, the flag, and pledge allegiance to "it" and to the country they are living in at this moment? What does this mean to them?

Many of them are immigrants, legal and illegal, they have families in other countries, and America is disrespectul (and often cruel) to them in many ways. They do not have the same rights, or the same access to things we consider "priviledges", like health care. I believe it isn't up to me to make them pledge allegiance. It is up to them, if they want to do that, when they become adults and understand the meaning of pledging allegiance.

Yes, I think there is some element of brainwashing in this act. Just like wearing a flag pin is not unpatriotic, neither is not follwing the masses that raise their right hand over their hearts to chant together about their allegiance for America. Patriotism has to do with action, like helping others in making sure all have equal access to freedoms, rights, and priviledges. 

All, by the way, includes non-Americans. We should pledge allegiance to humanity, if anything, not to a piece of land with borders.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted March 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM (Answer #9)

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Jehovah's Witnesses would completely agree with posts 5 and 8, but for entirely different reasons. In their system of beliefs, actions such as saluting a flag, saying the pledge, or honoring one's country in a visible show of support is equivalent to idol worship.

The question is then begged, are you bowing down to the golden calf by demonstrating respect for the country that has provided you with the freedom not to? Some would say yes, and respectfully, I would disagree. Just as honoring one's country is not idol worship, however, it equally is not submission to brainwashing. At all times, you have the right NOT to salute the flag, say the pledge, sing the Star-Spangled Banner, or otherwise react to our country's symbols in a patriotic fashion. It's called freedom.

Having said that, it is equally our freedom to demonstrate our national pride and American heritage by reacting to patriotic moments or symbols with an appropriate demonstration, be that a song, a salute, or a saying. Just as flag-burners have the right to desecrate the emblem of our liberty, we also have the right to conversely show our country its due degree of honor. Such behavior is not a "Pavlov's dogs" reaction of the mind, but rather, a gesture of the heart.  

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jillyfish | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted March 10, 2009 at 3:04 AM (Answer #10)

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Reply to #9: You say when US citizens display patriotic enthusiasm, they conciously voice their emotional and intellectual approval of American values. Well, maybe where you live, but, round here it ain't so fancy, if you get me! :-)

Many here say, "America is good, so patriotism can't be brainwashing." I agree America is basically good, (especially since Obama booted the priests out of the Whitehouse yesterday and now we might avoid becoming a bigoted theocracy) but obviously America is not perfect. America often does wrong and needs self-criticism. A true patriot sees the flaws and is concerned for America's mistakes. But how many times have you heard this awful, awful phrase...

"My country... right or wrong."

I disagree when you say American patriotism is an intellectual pursuit. A significant proportion of American patriots are the brain-washed sheep on Orwell's Animal Farm, drowning out intelligent debate with sentimental platitudes and their reactionary hostility to uncomfortable subjects. Try criticising the American Military; see how long it is before someone calls you a traitor.

You finished your post with...

[patriotism] is not a "Pavlov's dogs" reaction of the mind, but rather, a gesture of the heart.

Precisely! I agree. Perhaps 'brain-washing' should be renamed 'heart-washing'. Brain-washing is a trained emotional response, devoid of conscious will. Most American patriotism is exactly that.

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veglin73 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 10, 2009 at 8:56 AM (Answer #11)

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In my opinion, I don't think it is harmful to teach children patriotism and pride by allowing them to recite the Pledge of Allegance at school or any other public place for that matter.  I grew up with pledging to the flag every morning when school started.  I have a great respect for my country, and want to instill that in my children.  If brain-washing me all those years by having to pledge to the flag every morning gave me that pride, then I say keep it going.  Our children need something to believe in, and our country should be one of them.

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robpor | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2009 at 8:00 AM (Answer #12)

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My family does not participate in this indoctrination.

First, we are atheists. There is no god to be one nation under. We have not actively raised our, now 12 year old daughter as an atheist but to question all without emperical evidence. When she was 7 or so she asked about the pledge of allegiance.

Her questions were both regarding the "under god" part and the reasoning behind allegeince to an object. My response was that if she disagreed with it she did not have to say it, she could sit down during it or do what she liked. She decided to stand with the rest of the class, with her hand over her heart but not recite the pledge.


This allowed her to still be part of the class, and not to obvious about her beliefs.

She questions the practices of the State. When she hears of a new invasion or an attack the asks deep questions about why the US would do what we typically do. I answer truthfully. For economic reasons is the short answer. Most answers go into pages of history, but she gets the truth from me, not blind patriotism.

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anothervoiceinthechorus | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2009 at 12:28 PM (Answer #13)

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Wow! I forgot how much fun these type of classes were. When the prof. introduced an idea and forced the student to compare & contrast their viewpoint(s) and defend their position with facts, conclusions, etc ... Doubly fun when the prof hits an emotional nerve (e.g. patriotism)

Anyways, I don't want to repeat any of the good points already raised. I'll just add to them with my own viewpoint:

As a yound adult entering college (18-22), you're at the time of one of your greatest stages in developing your identity. It's your once-in-a-lifetime chance to study who you are, where you're going, why you do the things you do, etc ..  (w/o your parents dictating all your life choices).

(Actually, it's not my opinion. It's standard facts from people who study human growth and development (e.g. teachers))

And your prof requires you to think outside your box. It's their job to do that. You're supposed to leave college a very different person that entered. And it's hard. It's very, very hard. But the end is worth the time and energy you put into it.

Part of the "fun" in this assignment is to set aside your emotions and critically evaluate the facts. Define the terms used. Define your goal. Compare/contrast known viewpoints. Point out how X fits into Y but not Z. And work the paper to support your conclusion.

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alohaspirit | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted June 9, 2009 at 7:38 PM (Answer #14)

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Well I think it is perfectly normal for a school to promote patriotism if one of our standards is citizenship in Social Studies education, but I think schools should make it an option for students to participate in the Pledge.

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josephcastrellon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:44 PM (Answer #15)

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If tactics like this continue, and without her mentioning any justification such as playing the devil's advocate, file a formal complaint against her.  You can do this anonymously.  If she is just playing "devil's advocate", then fine, but to make you write an essay on it seems a bit over the top.  She should have just made her point and moved on, and not required formal assignments arguing the devil's side.

So writing this will be tough, IF she is looking for validation of her kooky theories.  I say go with your gut and don't write an essay in support of the thesis that she has given you.  Argue against it, and find as much support for your side as possible.  For example, in my school district-as in most others, I would imagine-kids do not have to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag.  It's just not required at all, because of the "God" issue involved in it, and districts have to be politically correct, not offending atheists and other sects that don't believe in God.  The fact that they aren't forced to say the pledge makes it totally different from the nazi society.  Find research on the kids that saluted the flag with a nazi symbol; try to pass it off as amy-lepore stated it, as just a bunch of kids being stupid (I get kids in my class all of the time who draw swastikas or marijuana leaves just to get a reaction; I give them none, and they stop).  So, with a little research, you should be able to support a counter-argument.  Then, if she fails you or tears it apart, you know where her allegiance lies, and it isn't with supporting our country or being patriotic.  Good luck!!!

I've written significant papers about the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools and I have to say that some would argue that indoctrination, whether good or bad, is merely a justifiable means to an end that is subject to perspective. True, we can all agree what the Nazi's achieved during their reign was disastrous. Then again, there are a great deal of people who will also agree that what America has done in Iraq is no different. I don't necessarily support either side, but I have to agree that any sort of indoctrination has proven to result in persectively disastrous means. I'm sure Jim Jones had every good intention in mind when he lead his congregation to mass suicide in the late 70's, but many of us agree what he did was outright immoral, unjust, and wrong. However, it would surprise many people that Jim Jones was religiously driven in his pursuit for spiritual purity, much like the KKK - also an indoctrinated organization. Then again, the U.S. Marine Corps is also an organization that uses indoctrination tools in their justifiable endeavors to police the world. It wouldn't be fair to objectively reason as Americans that one group is more right than the other due to our bias. Then again, it's all subjective, isn't it? Just ask people from other countries what they think about Americans - I'm sure it would prove to be quite a rude awakening.

-J-

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted July 22, 2009 at 11:07 PM (Answer #16)

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Brainwashing and Patriotism have two very different definitions. Having said that, after reading the previous posts I noticed that the 'history' of The Pledge of Allegiance has not yet been addressed with regard to its creation, mindset, or current reality.

The Pledge of Allegiance 1892 originally written by members of The Knights of Columbus to express their gratitude towards their new country. (An Italian-American organization)

The Pledge of Allegiance 1924 was amended to clarify which nation the allegiance was held.

The Pledge of Allegiance 1954 was amended to clarify their source of rights.

What I find most interesting regarding this topic is the fact that the United States is the only nation on the planet that has had to address this sort of issue. Why is that? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that with the exception of one year in U.S. history more people came to this country from other places than left. Let's face it folks if that is the case what is so wrong with 'The Pledge of Allegiance'? Is it so awful for an individual who comes here, makes a better for themself and their family to affirm their allegiance to the nation that embraced them obviously more than their birth nation? This issue has reached the Supreme Court, primarily due to the 'under God' statement in the pledge, not for brainwashing the citizens. That's the beauty of our system, there are many places in the world that would never tolerate such vocal protest..  If one comes to this country to benefit from our social, political, and economic systems, while at the same time are never forced to relinquish their heritage I think at the very least The Pledge of Allegiance is a 'fair' compromise.

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bobloblawlawblog | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 3, 2009 at 3:55 PM (Answer #17)

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I would like to point out that the word "indocrination" got replaced by "brainwashing".  Brainwashing is a much more emotionally-charged term, and we should stick with the original, more neutral word.

Having children recite something every day is indoctrination.  Just because it's not as bad here as it was in Nazi Germany doesn't mean that it's a good thing.  One early commenter pointed out that children aren't taught to turn their parents in for not reciting the pledge.  The hole in the logic there is that if a parent does something illegal, the government absolutely DOES encourage children to turn them in.  The government has no intention or method of taking care of a child, and they are willing to risk a child losing perfectly good parents just because the parents don't agree with 100% of the laws that the government put in place to control people.

Now, the USA is a good place to live.  But it's still indocrtination.  Nothing you can say can change that fact.  I personally don't see the benefit of making children believe stuff without providing them with sound reasons, because it creates logically-impaired adults.

Many adults overcome the impairment, but not everyone.

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bradanderson | eNoter

Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:42 PM (Answer #18)

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In my opinion, I don't think it is harmful to teach children patriotism and pride by allowing them to recite the Pledge of Allegance at school or any other public place for that matter.  I grew up with pledging to the flag every morning when school started.  I have a great respect for my country, and want to instill that in my children.  If brain-washing me all those years by having to pledge to the flag every morning gave me that pride, then I say keep it going.  Our children need something to believe in, and our country should be one of them.

In my opinion, I don't think it is harmful to teach children patriotism and pride by allowing them to recite the Pledge of Allegance at school or any other public place for that matter. 

"Allowing" means it's voluntary--which it isn't. Students are REQUIRED to do it, facing the flag, first thing every day.

 I grew up with pledging to the flag every morning when school started.  I have a great respect for my country, and want to instill that in my children.  If brain-washing me all those years by having to pledge to the flag every morning gave me that pride, then I say keep it going.

Which shows you're brainwashed, since EVERY totalitarian nation forces the young and ignorant to recite loyalty-oaths-- and they all have the same "pride--" including the Nazis, communist and other dictatorship-countries.

  Our children need something to believe in, and our country should be one of them.

And here I thought freedom was supposed to be about CHOICE-- silly me. How great to learn it's about being TOLD what to think!

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bradanderson | eNoter

Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:55 PM (Answer #19)

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Is The Pledge of Allegiance brain-washing??!!

Hi, I'm new at college this year and last week our sociology lecturer showed us old films of communist children and Nazi children at rallies, saluting and marching and stuff like that. She got us to talk about how these children were indoctrinated into their beliefs. We all agreed it was political brainwashing and forcing children to conform to strict social beliefs and how wrong it was.

But she THEN she showed children taking the pledge of allegiance and singing The Star Spangled Banner and she said it was the same as the communist's brainwashing??? I've got to write my homework on children taking The Pledge of Allegiance as social control. She was going on about something called The Bellamy Salute saying American kids used to do nazi salutes to the flag.

My parents told me that some people at university are not trustable. Is she a subversive? How can I write my homework so that it isn't brainwashing for little kids to take the pledge in school?

It IS brainwashing-- just like compulsory attendance in government schools.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1891 by a socialist named Francis Bellamy-- more than a century after the Constitution, and 30 years after the start of Lincoln's crushing of the states-- in order to create a docile and obedient populace.

Compulsory school-attendance was also instituted almost immediately after Lincoln's war, in order to likewise create a docile and obedient workforce to serve the ruling oligarchy that the war elevated to power.

Read the Constitution; there's NOTHING in it about "one indivisible nation;" on the contrary, it clearly states that only government officials are bound by it, NOT any state's People, who are the true rulers of such.  That's why Lincoln declare war on the People of individual states: to gain by force what he could not gain by law; and likewise that's why Lincoln imprisoned, tortured or killed anyone who spoke against him. 

If you want to read further, try "Mein Kampf" by Adolph Hitler; in it you'll find that he cites the United States as precedent for taking over the Germanic States, since the US did the same thing in 1861; likewise, Hitler used the United States's actions against the Native Americans as his example for the extermination of the Jews-- in fact, the term "Final Solution" was coined by none other than William T. Sherman regarding his expressed statements of the supposed "need" to exterminate THAT race.

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bradanderson | eNoter

Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:04 AM (Answer #20)

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I am reminded of a few months ago, when our current President, President Obama, was criticized as unpatriotic for not wearing a flag pin! I am a 5th grade teacher and have never had my students say the Pledge of Allegiance. It actually never occurred to me to do this as a daily routine. It didn't make sense to me. Why should they stand and face an object, the flag, and pledge allegiance to "it" and to the country they are living in at this moment? What does this mean to them?

Many of them are immigrants, legal and illegal, they have families in other countries, and America is disrespectul (and often cruel) to them in many ways. They do not have the same rights, or the same access to things we consider "priviledges", like health care. I believe it isn't up to me to make them pledge allegiance. It is up to them, if they want to do that, when they become adults and understand the meaning of pledging allegiance.

Yes, I think there is some element of brainwashing in this act. Just like wearing a flag pin is not unpatriotic, neither is not follwing the masses that raise their right hand over their hearts to chant together about their allegiance for America. Patriotism has to do with action, like helping others in making sure all have equal access to freedoms, rights, and priviledges. 

All, by the way, includes non-Americans. We should pledge allegiance to humanity, if anything, not to a piece of land with borders.

I never had my students say the Pledge of Allegiance. It actually never occurred to me to do this as a daily routine. It didn't make sense to me. Why should they stand and face an object, the flag, and pledge allegiance to "it" and to the country they are living in at this moment? What does this mean to them?

Power is not about agreement, but obedience. The point is to instill this oath before they can possibly know the meaning-- that's what indoctrination is all about, i.e. forced beliefs without the abilty to question.

Yes, I think there is some element of brainwashing in this act.

Worse: brain PROGRAMMING. "Washing" means there was something there already, but children are blank slates being stolen and robbed of liberty to think for themselves-- the most precious freedom there is!

People should pledge allegiance to whatever they choose-- again, that's what FREEDOM is: i.e. CHOICE. If they pledge allegiance to a country, that should be chosen out of REASON, not a knee-jerk Pavlovian response like a dog drooling at the sound of the dinner-bell.

As such, kids don't have to abilty to pledge allegiance to ANYTHING via informed decision-- and ironically, that's exactly what Bellamy wanted when he wrote the thing.

Nothing is more ironic, than FORCING someone to recite a pledge of allegiance, and ending with the words "with liberty and justice for all--" a contradiction of FORCED schooling and pledging in government education-centers.

 

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bradanderson | eNoter

Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:23 AM (Answer #21)

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Holy Cow!  You've got to be kidding me!  There is a HUGE difference in promoting patriotism and pride in your country and brainwashing little communist children.  For one thing, you are not taught in this country to turn in your parents if they don't put their hands over their hearts or stand to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the "Pledge of Allegiance" at events.  For another, in this country, you are not educated away from the influence of your parents which they do in communist countries ie. The Nazi Youth.  You have every right to go home and ask your parents what they think about certain ideas (just like you're doing here) without any fear of rebuke and punishment.  In a Communist nation, you would not have such freedom.  Yes, young people are impressionable, and they will imitate things they think are funny or cute like salutes, but there is NOTHING close to brainwashing when you learn to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" or sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in order to honor your country.

It is possible your teacher is playing the Devil's Advocate in order to get you to think and support your own arguments.  However, if you think this is not the case, then let her wacky statements about brainwashing go in one ear and out the other.

 There is a HUGE difference in promoting patriotism and pride in your country and brainwashing little communist children. 

Not if you're promoting it by the GOVERNMENT FORCING them to recite loyalty-oaths; because that's EXACTLY how totalitarian regimes do it.

 in this country, you are not educated away from the influence of your parents which they do in communist countries ie. The Nazi Youth. 

Kids ARE forced to attend government-education centers by law.  The rich are able to buy their way out, with expensive prep-schools, since they wanted the rich to RULE the non-rich when they became adults. 

You have every right to go home and ask your parents what they think about certain ideas (just like you're doing here) without any fear of rebuke and punishment. 

 You can't quit school and learn the way your parents want, which a TRULY "free" people could.

  Yes, young people are impressionable, and they will imitate things they think are funny or cute like salutes, but there is NOTHING close to brainwashing when you learn to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" or sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in order to honor your country.

Except that the USA is NOT one indivisible nation-- the South certainly didn't think so, and neither did the Founders. 

That's proof that you were brainwashed when you spout lies that the victors FORCED you to believe, before you had a clue.

 

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bradanderson | eNoter

Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:35 AM (Answer #22)

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All freedom begins with free THOUGHT, which requires an ability to think freely without forced indoctrination.

Here, children are being taught lies, and forced to recite loyalty to them.

Specifically, the United States is NOT a "one indivisible nation--"  and never was; on the contrary, it began as THIRTEEN separate nations, united strictly on a VOLUNTARY basis; and this was NEVER CHANGED by ANY law.  If anything, it was ONLY changed by a coup in which the ruling elite invaded and occupied those nations under such lies about this "single nation."

Those who defend these lies have usually done the least amount of research into the issue, but simply respond in knee-jerk fashion to defend and assert their indoctrinated beliefs; in fact, the louder they protest, the less research they've typically done-- and thus clearly, they doth protest too much.

And that's how brainwashing works: i.e. it's not about logic, but POWER in defiance of logic-- i.e. emotional conditioning. And so if when one challenges indoctrinated beliefs, you're basically telling them to put down the kool-aid; and so they respond with emotion. Indoctrination isn't about agreement: if you want to train a dog to attack-- or salivate-- you don't REASON with it, you simply train it to do as it's told.

And it's the same with indoctrination-- there's no free and open discussion, just "do as I say."

And so it is with the Pledge: i.e. "pledge as I tell you."

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bradanderson | eNoter

Posted August 17, 2010 at 12:39 AM (Answer #23)

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Jehovah's Witnesses would completely agree with posts 5 and 8, but for entirely different reasons. In their system of beliefs, actions such as saluting a flag, saying the pledge, or honoring one's country in a visible show of support is equivalent to idol worship.

The question is then begged, are you bowing down to the golden calf by demonstrating respect for the country that has provided you with the freedom not to? Some would say yes, and respectfully, I would disagree. Just as honoring one's country is not idol worship, however, it equally is not submission to brainwashing. At all times, you have the right NOT to salute the flag, say the pledge, sing the Star-Spangled Banner, or otherwise react to our country's symbols in a patriotic fashion. It's called freedom.

Having said that, it is equally our freedom to demonstrate our national pride and American heritage by reacting to patriotic moments or symbols with an appropriate demonstration, be that a song, a salute, or a saying. Just as flag-burners have the right to desecrate the emblem of our liberty, we also have the right to conversely show our country its due degree of honor. Such behavior is not a "Pavlov's dogs" reaction of the mind, but rather, a gesture of the heart.  

The question is then begged, are you bowing down to the golden calf by demonstrating respect for the country that has provided you with the freedom not to?

Thus illustrating why "Begging the Question" is a logical fallacy.

Kids are free not to recite the Pledge of Alliegance? In a pig's eye, they are!

And AFTER they're brainwashed, then it's really a moot point, isn't it?

 

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truthseekah | Salutatorian

Posted July 18, 2011 at 3:52 AM (Answer #24)

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All freedom begins with free THOUGHT, which requires an ability to think freely without forced indoctrination.

Here, children are being taught lies, and forced to recite loyalty to them.

Specifically, the United States is NOT a "one indivisible nation--"  and never was; on the contrary, it began as THIRTEEN separate nations, united strictly on a VOLUNTARY basis; and this was NEVER CHANGED by ANY law.  If anything, it was ONLY changed by a coup in which the ruling elite invaded and occupied those nations under such lies about this "single nation."

Those who defend these lies have usually done the least amount of research into the issue, but simply respond in knee-jerk fashion to defend and assert their indoctrinated beliefs; in fact, the louder they protest, the less research they've typically done-- and thus clearly, they doth protest too much.

And that's how brainwashing works: i.e. it's not about logic, but POWER in defiance of logic-- i.e. emotional conditioning. And so if when one challenges indoctrinated beliefs, you're basically telling them to put down the kool-aid; and so they respond with emotion. Indoctrination isn't about agreement: if you want to train a dog to attack-- or salivate-- you don't REASON with it, you simply train it to do as it's told.

And it's the same with indoctrination-- there's no free and open discussion, just "do as I say."

And so it is with the Pledge: i.e. "pledge as I tell you."

Magnificently put!

It's easy to see another's faults, but to introspect your own beliefs objectively is another case entirely.  If this is in fact a free society then why does one need to pledge to anything.  And besides, isn't a pledge a promise?  Why do kids need to promise more than once to be a good citizen?  It is indoctination at a primal level and detestable.

It's no coincidence that the linquistic origins of "government" is control+mind.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

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nrcbtm1 | eNoter

Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM (Answer #25)

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I'm not sure, but didn't the Pledge of Allegiance begin as a Civil War era thing, perhaps to get people who had disavowed the USA in favor of the CSA to reaffirm their citizenship?  Hence the emphasis on "indivisible."  The confederate states of course claimed that it was divisible, i.e., they could voluntarily withdraw from the Union.

"Under God" was added much later, long after I had graduated from college, and to my mind was somewhat inappropriate.  Not everyone in America has to believe in God as a requirement to be an American.  Nevertheless, anyone who objects to adding those words doesn't have to speak them.  Unlike Nazi Germany, we don't expect that to cause any repercussion. However, I can imagine some situation where a poorly trained teacher might make a big deal about it. In some small way it seems similar to having some student or teacher lead the class in a prayer at the start of the school day. Not participating could lead to ostracizing.  I believe the Supreme Court found that to be unconstitutional because of peer pressure on a child whose parent objected to her participation. But is that the same as brainwashing? I don't believe I was brainwashed from it.

I know that our money says "under God," but that doesn't involve a pledege.

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nrcbtm1 | eNoter

Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:04 PM (Answer #26)

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I meant to have added to my previous post that I feel certain the student misunderstood what her teacher said, or what she perhaps said in a way that it could be misinterperted.  I recall the joke, "I know that you think you understood the meaning of what you believe you heard, but I'm not sure that you realize that what I said is not what I meant."

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dncook313 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2011 at 4:13 AM (Answer #27)

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Holy Cow!  You've got to be kidding me!  There is a HUGE difference in promoting patriotism and pride in your country and brainwashing little communist children.  For one thing, you are not taught in this country to turn in your parents if they don't put their hands over their hearts or stand to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the "Pledge of Allegiance" at events.  For another, in this country, you are not educated away from the influence of your parents which they do in communist countries ie. The Nazi Youth.  You have every right to go home and ask your parents what they think about certain ideas (just like you're doing here) without any fear of rebuke and punishment.  In a Communist nation, you would not have such freedom.  Yes, young people are impressionable, and they will imitate things they think are funny or cute like salutes, but there is NOTHING close to brainwashing when you learn to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" or sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in order to honor your country.

It is possible your teacher is playing the Devil's Advocate in order to get you to think and support your own arguments.  However, if you think this is not the case, then let her wacky statements about brainwashing go in one ear and out the other.

I can remember when I was in high school and I refused to salute the flag because of religious reasons. I was subsequently sent to the office. Wouldn't this action by the teacher reinforce the notion that a citizen should not question their allegiance? When you are told to recite the same thing every day and punished when you don't, then yes, it acts like brain washing.

In addition, it might be illegal to burn a flag but look at the negative social attention this action has. "Patriotic" people are always persecuting individuals who they feel are not showing proper respect to the country (ie they protest the war or a piece of legislature) and even though we won't be put in jail for a lack of patriotism, it does come with it's own set of cultural punishments. I agree it is important to know the song of the country but to make children recite an outdated salute which barely represents the interests of today's American population is asinine.

Finally, I feel like American ethnocentrism prevents them from connecting the dots on this one.

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patelmilia98 | Student, Grade 9 | Valedictorian

Posted October 14, 2011 at 8:21 AM (Answer #28)

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no it's not

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mslaluna | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:41 AM (Answer #30)

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In every society, every walk of life, every family, there is indoctrination. If indoctrication is brain washing then it is.  As educators we walk a fine line between informing, enriching, and opening minds, and doing our own form of propaganda. Increasingly educators are doing their own form of indoctrination, in an attempt to promote their own agendas.

Every time you sing Happy Birthday, promote holidays, and the list goes on and on.  Because there is no law that says one must sing the National Anthem, say the Pledge, or any other pledge, it is not the same as the National Party found in Germany during the period before WWII. 

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countrygirlinthesouth | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 7, 2011 at 3:35 AM (Answer #31)

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No, it is not brainwashing!! It is what our country was founded on, BUT our country was also founded on freedom. So if someone doesn't agree with that, then it is their choice. In my opinion, that is hogwash-- I am glad to read that your disagree with your instructor. Please don't let anyone compromise your beliefs.

 

The Pledge of Allegiance is something ALL Americans should show respect to. Countless men and women have given their lives for this country, whether they have been killed, wounded, MIA, POW. There is a saying that goes something like this, "If you can't stand behind our troops; then stand in front of them."

If anyone on here reading this has served in the military, or lost someone in the military, I thank you from the bottom of my heart-- for making it possible to say the Pledge of Allegiance!

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caddiepiece | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM (Answer #32)

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Brainwashing and Patriotism have two very different definitions. Having said that, after reading the previous posts I noticed that the 'history' of The Pledge of Allegiance has not yet been addressed with regard to its creation, mindset, or current reality.

The Pledge of Allegiance 1892 originally written by members of The Knights of Columbus to express their gratitude towards their new country. (An Italian-American organization)

The Pledge of Allegiance 1924 was amended to clarify which nation the allegiance was held.

The Pledge of Allegiance 1954 was amended to clarify their source of rights.

What I find most interesting regarding this topic is the fact that the United States is the only nation on the planet that has had to address this sort of issue. Why is that? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that with the exception of one year in U.S. history more people came to this country from other places than left. Let's face it folks if that is the case what is so wrong with 'The Pledge of Allegiance'? Is it so awful for an individual who comes here, makes a better for themself and their family to affirm their allegiance to the nation that embraced them obviously more than their birth nation? This issue has reached the Supreme Court, primarily due to the 'under God' statement in the pledge, not for brainwashing the citizens. That's the beauty of our system, there are many places in the world that would never tolerate such vocal protest..  If one comes to this country to benefit from our social, political, and economic systems, while at the same time are never forced to relinquish their heritage I think at the very least The Pledge of Allegiance is a 'fair' compromise.

I have to ask you where you obtained your facts they are wrong.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist.

It was reworked in 1924 changing the words "my flag" to "flag of the united states of america" This you had correcy

The knights of Columbus did not come around until 1954 when they started to add the words "under god". Honestly which comes as no suprise being the largest Catholic faternal order. 

Francis Bellamy also took pride that the pledge helped his brother in his dream of achieving a socialist america.

If you look at the root origins of the pledge combined with the adding of religous doctirine, it is no suprise at all that people see the pledge as a form of indoctrination. Children from their very start of school are meant to stand and recite the pledge or be seen as unpatriotic. It is not patriotic in the least to claim your loyalty blindly to a flag. It has been done for generations, and now our government is wrought with corruption and American's image is tarnished world wide. However if you do not stand and pledge your allegiance to the flag you are not truly American, or some drivel like that. 

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xina314 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:19 PM (Answer #34)

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I sounds like everyone (minus a few) believes the idea that

patriotism=indoctrination. So that any form of patriotism is  brainwashing and wrong.

Is this really what is being said here?

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xina314 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM (Answer #35)

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Holy Cow!  You've got to be kidding me!  There is a HUGE difference in promoting patriotism and pride in your country and brainwashing little communist children.  For one thing, you are not taught in this country to turn in your parents if they don't put their hands over their hearts or stand to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" and the "Pledge of Allegiance" at events.  For another, in this country, you are not educated away from the influence of your parents which they do in communist countries ie. The Nazi Youth.  You have every right to go home and ask your parents what they think about certain ideas (just like you're doing here) without any fear of rebuke and punishment.  In a Communist nation, you would not have such freedom.  Yes, young people are impressionable, and they will imitate things they think are funny or cute like salutes, but there is NOTHING close to brainwashing when you learn to recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" or sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in order to honor your country.

It is possible your teacher is playing the Devil's Advocate in order to get you to think and support your own arguments.  However, if you think this is not the case, then let her wacky statements about brainwashing go in one ear and out the other.

I can remember when I was in high school and I refused to salute the flag because of religious reasons. I was subsequently sent to the office. Wouldn't this action by the teacher reinforce the notion that a citizen should not question their allegiance? When you are told to recite the same thing every day and punished when you don't, then yes, it acts like brain washing.

In addition, it might be illegal to burn a flag but look at the negative social attention this action has. "Patriotic" people are always persecuting individuals who they feel are not showing proper respect to the country (ie they protest the war or a piece of legislature) and even though we won't be put in jail for a lack of patriotism, it does come with it's own set of cultural punishments. I agree it is important to know the song of the country but to make children recite an outdated salute which barely represents the interests of today's American population is asinine.

Finally, I feel like American ethnocentrism prevents them from connecting the dots on this one.

And "Patriotic" people are also not persecuting individuals who they feel are not showing respect to the country. Please don't lump the millions of patriotic peaceful people with the bigoted few.

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