The Pledge of Allegiance

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Vaniver
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Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:07 am UTC

I believe he means the "God" of patriotism, if patriotism were a religion. Which would *be* the nation.
That reading makes considerably more sense than my original one.

See, I always assumed religions did that because, after being conditioned with ritualistic movements and words for long enough, the child is more willing to *swallow* the increasingly improbable theologies because his brain has been conditioned to be more accepting to it due to early programming.

In other words, brainwashing.

Apply to non-religious situations as necessary.
If it's brainwashing, it's a very poor method of brainwashing (both the prayers and the Pledge).

My point is more that we don't just suddenly spring the issue of patriotism on children once they hit a certain (advanced) age, and I don't think we should. I don't think we should expect much in the way of patriotism from them, but that's because they're not adults.

But it's been agreed that patriotism is irrational
I refuse to believe that all patriotism is irrational, as is implied by that statement.

[edit]
Who said they have to have rigorous discussion of the Pledge? They can still be exposed to the Pledge as an introduction the the education that they will be gaining once they reach the ability to think abstractly.

Since I've been pounced on for my math examples, let's try a history example (which seems relevant): Students in high school and college are expected to be able to draw their own conclusions about the morality Revolutionary War.
Saying that kindergarteners should not be at least exposed to the Pledge is akin to saying that since 5 year olds can by no means have a rigorous discussion about this topic, we had better not teach them anything about the Revolutionary War. Or about war at all. Or soldiers. So when they reach the formal operations stage, they can rationally draw their own conclusions about the morality of the soldiers' tactics. Of course, if we take this tact, we might as well keep them out of school until about 5th or 6th grade, because we can't expose them to ANYTHING until they reach the formal operations stage.
This is very similar to what I've been arguing. Get out of my head!

Also, I am arguing FOR teaching the math. I am positing that students should be exposed to the Pledge, as a piece of literature, in their education. I explicitly disagree with using the Pledge as a daily forced mantra.
How does your view change if we consider the Pledge a piece of culture instead of a piece of literature?

We certainly don't expect everyone who learns about the Salah to participate, but that doesn't mean the Salah is a piece of literature instead of a piece of culture. The niche it fills is about as important, if not more so, than its text.
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Postby kira » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:16 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:How does your view change if we consider the Pledge a piece of culture instead of a piece of literature?

We certainly don't expect everyone who learns about the Salat to participate, but that doesn't mean the Salah is a piece of literature instead of a piece of culture. The niche it fills is about as important, if not more so, than its text.


My view doesn't change if we consider it a part of the culture. I still think that students need to be exposed to the Pledge from a young age but not as a part of a daily ritual. They need to be exposed to it as an emblem. We don't make them pet an eagle every morning, but we do expose them to the fact that the eagle is the national big flying bird. We don't make students recite the Constitution every morning, but we do expose them to the fact that it exists and is important.

Similarly, we should not make children recite a Pledge every morning, but they should be aware that it exists and is important to many people.

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Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:42 am UTC

Similarly, we should not make children recite a Pledge every morning, but they should be aware that it exists and is important to many people.
I don't think I made my point well.

This would make sense if the pledge were a one-time thing (as most pledges worth something are)- if, for example, to obtain citizenship one had to swear allegiance. But, given the way the pledge is now and has existed for the last 50 years, it strikes me as incomplete to teach it as just a line of text. A 'mantra', to put it in someone else's words, is more than that.

Thoughtless patriotism can change into thoughtful patriotism; and if it is more likely to do so than an absence, and its side effects are not too deleterious, then it strikes me as a worthwhile system. Unfortunately, I can only make assumptions about the premises in that statement, and so can only suggest my point, rather than conclude it.
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Postby FiddleMath » Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:40 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:This would make sense if the pledge were a one-time thing (as most pledges worth something are)- if, for example, to obtain citizenship one had to swear allegiance. But, given the way the pledge is now and has existed for the last 50 years, it strikes me as incomplete to teach it as just a line of text. A 'mantra', to put it in someone else's words, is more than that.


Of course you don't teach it as "just a line of text." You also teach its context. That doesn't mean that you procedurally recreate that context, every day, in an environment where questioning procedure is highly discouraged. That's not teaching an idea, that's instilling an emotion.

Vaniver wrote:Thoughtless patriotism can change into thoughtful patriotism ...


Yes, but instilling thoughtless emotions is what I usually mean by "brainwashing." It might be valid or necessary brainwashing, but brainwashing I call it, nonetheless. Of course, I may be a bit extreme on the matter... *actually finds some definitions*

Princeton Wordnet wrote:brainwashing: forcible indoctrination into a new set of attitudes and beliefs.


I concede that "force" isn't really happening here, merely heavy social and organizational pressure -- which does make the recital of the pledge a (weak) brainwashing technique, by some definitions.

Probably, then, "brainwashing" is too loaded a term to be useful in this discussion.

My position, which I'm not entirely sure that I can defend, is that one's opinions and beliefs are too important a part of one's liberty to permit any overt, non-logos-centric assault. (iirc, there are systems of rhetorical ethics largely built around this notion.) To this end, I personally won't watch television or frequent ad-heavy websites. For the same reason, I dislike the recital of the pledge.

(Gee, FM, how then should children too young to understand these concepts gather their opinions? I mean, what you're saying would apply to a child's parents every bit as much as the government.) Yes, yes. I can only hope that when a parent instills opinions, it's with some thought to the best interests of the child. I don't trust school, government, or any other organizations to do so. People are, I think usually either indifferent or kind to children. Organizations aren't people.

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Postby Andrew » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:15 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
There is everything wrong with asking other people to feel a certain way.
I really don't see how you justify this. Why is it wrong for me to ask you to feel that my opinion is important? Why is it wrong for me to ask you to feel sympathetic? (this is generalizing it a bit more; imagine the bum on the street asking you to care, instead of this situation)
You can't control how you feel.
I can. Is your problem a lack of self-control, or what?

If I am not proud of my country it is not because I have some kind of failing; it is because I don't feel my country deserves it. I can't change how I feel about that because it is a function of who I am, what I believe, and what I know about my country. I have self control, yes, but no amount of self control can change those things.

Frankly I feel like you're just trying to insult me now.

Vaniver wrote:
Asking someone to do so is patronising and insulting and detrimental to their development and that of society.
I don't see how this follows. If I ask you to feel that improvement is beneficial, how is that detrimental? I can see how it could be insulting, but if I care about your development more than your ego, that's a fine thing for me to do.

What? Improvement is by definition beneficial. That is not something you feel; it's something you understand by virtue of your knowledge of the meanings of words.

Asking someone to feel pride (which is an emotion, not a matter of opinion or fact) in a country just because does nothing for their development. If anything, it hinders their development. Schools should educate. They should teach children all the great things about their country, and all the really bad things too, then the children should decide whether they're proud to be Americans or not. Telling them they should be proud is scandalous.

If a child is crying do you say to him "What? Have you no self control? Stop being sad and be happy instead! I can. Are you stupid or something?"

I've never tried that approach but honestly I can't see it being very successful.

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Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:39 pm UTC

My position, which I'm not entirely sure that I can defend, is that one's opinions and beliefs are too important a part of one's liberty to permit any overt, non-logos-centric assault.
What is your opinion on how people who put little stock in logos arguments should be dealt with?

People are, I think usually either indifferent or kind to children.
They are often horribly abusive, and I don't see how indifference is something we should not be attempting to guard against.

If I am not proud of my country it is not because I have some kind of failing; it is because I don't feel my country deserves it. I can't change how I feel about that because it is a function of who I am, what I believe, and what I know about my country.
But, who you are, what you believe, and what you know about your country are all malleable. It may be that I think your sense of history must be corrected, and am inviting you to learn more about a specific topic, or that your belief system is incompatible with my designs, and thus am inviting you to consider another. My point, though, was that it's perfectly fine for me to propose to you that you change your feelings; I don't see why you disagreed (with your language, at least).

Again, I'm not sure why you feel defensive over your lack of patriotism. I may be mistaken, and we have have come off as more hostile than we meant to, but it seems to me that the vocally patriotic tend to be the minority (at least, here).

Frankly I feel like you're just trying to insult me now.
Perhaps a little. I just thought your statement that you cannot control what you feel preposterous; it's certainly possible.

What? Improvement is by definition beneficial. That is not something you feel; it's something you understand by virtue of your knowledge of the meanings of words.
But what of those who feel that change is not worth it- i.e., beneficial?

Asking someone to feel pride (which is an emotion, not a matter of opinion or fact) in a country just because does nothing for their development.
On what side is the 'just because'?

Are we teaching it, just because?
Or are we expecting them to learn it, just because?

The first one would be a significant problem. I don't think we're arguing for the first one, but there are certainly teachers who don't know the full implications of their curricula. The second one appears to be more accurate, and appears remarkably similar to the majority of the education that the children receive. How many people respond to "why is there only one line that can be parallel to another line that passes through a point?" with "Because that's how things work" instead of "These are Euclid's axioms: etc."? I'm not saying the first is superior to the second; I generally would prefer the second. The point, though, is that the flaw here is with the educational system more than it is with their curricula.

If a child is crying do you say to him "What? Have you no self control? Stop being sad and be happy instead! I can. Are you stupid or something?"
Have you ever seen someone say to a person "Life is permeated with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases"?
Anyone saying "Cheer up" is similar, if not in tone.

To consider your analogy, I didn't see a child crying; I saw a child crying who claimed "I'm never going to be happy again, so don't ask me to cheer up". The claim was what I found laughable, not the crying.
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Postby Andrew » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:26 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:But, who you are, what you believe, and what you know about your country are all malleable. It may be that I think your sense of history must be corrected, and am inviting you to learn more about a specific topic, or that your belief system is incompatible with my designs, and thus am inviting you to consider another. My point, though, was that it's perfectly fine for me to propose to you that you change your feelings; I don't see why you disagreed (with your language, at least).

Aha, here's the problem.

As I mentioned, my national pride (or lack of) is "a function of who I am, what I believe, and what I know about my country". You can and, sometimes, should try to alter who I am if you think I'm a bad person, or what I believe if you think I'm irrational, or what I know about my country if you think I'm ignorant. But directly changing my feelings without going through these intermediaries is impossible.

If you tell me great things about my country then that might change my feelings. If you convince me to adopt a new belief system then that might change my feelings. If you change who I am somehow that that might change my feelings. If you make me recite some stupid sentence every day for ten years while I'm growing up and discovering who I am, then that might change my feelings. But I won't have those feelings because they're the result of who I am applying the things I believe to what I know about the country; I'll hold them because they were drummed into me. In no real sense will they be my feelings, but try telling me that.

You can't do that, especially in a school. Is America a nation or a cult?

Vaniver wrote:
Asking someone to feel pride (which is an emotion, not a matter of opinion or fact) in a country just because does nothing for their development.
On what side is the 'just because'?

The 'just because' is applied to the feelings, not the asking. Clearly the asking is done because the askers feel that national pride is important -- which I think it is to an extent. But they offer no reason to feel this way. That's not on.

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Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:29 am UTC

But they offer no reason to feel this way. That's not on.
So, if you continue reading my earlier post, how does that differ from the way that schools teach other things?

Why do we expect students to believe that matter consists of atoms, or that atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons?
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Postby Owijad » Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:54 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
But they offer no reason to feel this way. That's not on.
So, if you continue reading my earlier post, how does that differ from the way that schools teach other things?


They don't say "The symbols '1 + 2' mean the same thing as the symbol '3', and the symbols '2 + 1 + 1' mean the same thing as the symbol '4'." Even if a student has memorized that, she won't be able to say what symbol is the same as the symbols '2 + 2'.

Instead, the teachers say -why- '1 + 2' is the same as '3'.

if * and ** equal ***, and
1 = *, 2 = **, and 3 = ***, then '1 + 2' is clearly the same as '3'.

The pledge isn't information, it's religion.
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Postby Belial » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:18 am UTC

So, if you continue reading my earlier post, how does that differ from the way that schools teach other things?


You're focusing on the wrong aspect. Teaching things by saying they're so isn't necessarily a problem if you're teaching a fact.

Teaching an opinion using the methods one would use to teach a fact, however, is unacceptable.
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Postby Beor » Tue May 01, 2007 9:24 am UTC

Andrew wrote:
space_raptor wrote:Well, perhaps they should be. The reality is that America is a hell of a lot better than a lot of other countries in the world, and that Americans have a lot to be proud of.


They also have a lot to be ashamed of. Why do we never hear about it?


I would have to say that this is because, if Americans and non-Americans ever post on the same message board, then the Americans receive nothing but unfiltered bullshit about how X country is better than America nonstop, so we have no need to discuss it amongst ourselves. I seriously wonder sometimes whether people outside of America discuss anything other than how much America sucks, usually over things the bulk of us have no control over (ie. I will admit to voting for Bush the first time around; did I vote for the invasion of Iraq? No...).

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Postby Puellus Peregrinus » Tue May 01, 2007 11:52 am UTC

Beor wrote:-- if Americans and non-Americans ever post on the same message board, then the Americans receive nothing but unfiltered bullshit about how X country is better than America nonstop, --

That might be because when we turn on the TV, we receive nothing but unfiltered bullshit about how America is better than X country non-stop. :D
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Postby Andrew » Tue May 01, 2007 12:10 pm UTC

Beor wrote:I would have to say that this is because, if Americans and non-Americans ever post on the same message board, then the Americans receive nothing but unfiltered bullshit about how X country is better than America nonstop, so we have no need to discuss it amongst ourselves. I seriously wonder sometimes whether people outside of America discuss anything other than how much America sucks, usually over things the bulk of us have no control over (ie. I will admit to voting for Bush the first time around; did I vote for the invasion of Iraq? No...).


For reference, I live with an American and we mostly talk about how rubbish our housemate Adam is at Wii Sports.

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Postby Beor » Tue May 01, 2007 6:09 pm UTC

Puellus Peregrinus wrote:
Beor wrote:-- if Americans and non-Americans ever post on the same message board, then the Americans receive nothing but unfiltered bullshit about how X country is better than America nonstop, --

That might be because when we turn on the TV, we receive nothing but unfiltered bullshit about how America is better than X country non-stop. :D


What kind of TV do you watch? I quit watching the news here because it's nothing but bad news and thinly veiled anti-American sentiment. I just watch cartoons now.

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Postby jt103 » Wed May 02, 2007 12:01 am UTC

I say it withour the under God part.

At this point it is mostly out of spite for people who don't say the pledge for political reasons.

I go to school in Dallas and my family is somewhere right of center, but I often lean a bit to the left (I consider myself more of a libertarian, but yanno. Labels.), and my parental units and those associated with them tend to view me as pretty "Liberal" but man, being around some of the folks in my school makes me look like a straight up neo-con.

Like the girl in our student political group who put together a mock vote to ban the pledge of allegience from a time management standpoint, despite my noting that it may be outside of our body's theorhetical legal jurisdiction, etc. The vote passed, and that really ground my gears, because these people went out of their way, even ignoring jurisprudence, to get rid of this little 1 minute affair.

So yeah, things like that are why I even bother saying it now. I used to forget to do it pretty often because I would be checking my homework or be in a class where I was working alone on a server or computer bank (webmastering responsibilities aaaaaahg).

/ramble.

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Postby Belial » Wed May 02, 2007 12:29 am UTC

Like the girl in our student political group who put together a mock vote to ban the pledge of allegience from a time management standpoint, despite my noting that it may be outside of our body's theorhetical legal jurisdiction, etc. The vote passed, and that really ground my gears, because these people went out of their way, even ignoring jurisprudence, to get rid of this little 1 minute affair.


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Postby jt103 » Wed May 02, 2007 1:05 am UTC

Belial wrote:
Like the girl in our student political group who put together a mock vote to ban the pledge of allegience from a time management standpoint, despite my noting that it may be outside of our body's theorhetical legal jurisdiction, etc. The vote passed, and that really ground my gears, because these people went out of their way, even ignoring jurisprudence, to get rid of this little 1 minute affair.


Can I be her friend?


By all means.

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Postby Messiah » Wed May 02, 2007 8:59 am UTC

I think some people are seriously underestimating the power of repetition in forcing an ideal into someone's head.

As an example, during my childhood I had "wear a seatbelt or die" style ads forced upon me, using the puppet (well, he was pretty much a muppet, I guess) Agro. That alone, combined with the constant pattern of getting into a car and putting my seatbelt on, means that I'm struck with a feeling of guilt, and incompletion, whenever I attempt to drive even 50 metres without a seatbelt.
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Postby bbctol » Wed May 02, 2007 11:32 am UTC

Messiah wrote:I think some people are seriously underestimating the power of repetition in forcing an ideal into someone's head.

As an example, during my childhood I had "wear a seatbelt or die" style ads forced upon me, using the puppet (well, he was pretty much a muppet, I guess) Agro. That alone, combined with the constant pattern of getting into a car and putting my seatbelt on, means that I'm struck with a feeling of guilt, and incompletion, whenever I attempt to drive even 50 metres without a seatbelt.


I once rode a bike for a while without a helmet, then suddenly realized what I was doing, and screamed "DAMMIT I DON'T HAVE A HELMET!"
Everybody looked at me for overreacting. Stupid environmental control over my mind.


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