Against the Pledge: I crowed over the Pledge decision, earlier. Why?
I always disliked the pledge. Not just because of the God reference, though that was offensive. But because it didn't make any sense and felt creepy to boot. Of course at the age where I was reciting it I was not as critical as I am now. But now I think I can analyze it adequately enough to explain my earlier feelings.
It did not make any sense for me to be standing there showing respect for a piece of cloth. It's a piece of cloth. What does it mean to pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth?
Plainly seen, the use of the flag in the pledge of allegiance is idolatry: the worship of a physical object. (One wonders why so few conservative Christians and Jews abjure it for this reason; they are commanded against idolatry many times.) Forget about "under God". The entire ritual is religious, and should not be performed in government schools.
Well, what if we removed the flag and god references and the use of the flag too? I pledge allegiance to the United States of America, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Nope, still wrong. What is allegiance? It is "the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government". I'm an American, not a serf. The government exists to serve me; not vice-versa. I owe it no fidelity; if it ceases to serve me I should (and do) call for its abolition. To pledge allegiance even in this attenuated form, is to declare oneself a vassal, to declare oneself owned. I am, or at least should be, a free man. And I want all other Americans to be free, too. I don't want them declaring servility.
And I especially don't want children being brainwashed with servility memes that they are not sophisticated enough to really understand.
OK, that's my blast of negativity. It's easy to be a critic. So what would make me happy? Well, I am happy to declare allegiance to principles. The pledge should state principles that are common to all Americans. Here's a pledge I would recite happily enough: I pledge allegiance to the principles of the United States of America: limited government, private property, life, liberty and justice for all.
Do I want that performed in the government schools? No, it's still too much like brainwashing for my taste. Of course, I don't think there should be any government schools for exactly that reason.