The Pledge of Allegiance

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Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:31 pm UTC

Okay, so we can make parents parent. So why was doing it for them, via the schools, necessary again?
Because, of all the things we expect for a child to learn to become a worthwhile citizen, not all of them can be imparted by the parents. That's why schools exist in the first place; I'm just claiming that the knowledge and values they should impart (and schools *do* impart values. Grades are important, doing your work is important, etc) should include some form of civic pride or duty.

My point was that teaching people what to think is easy, and the lazier option, for both parents and teachers. I definitely think people *should* be taught *how* to think.
And my point is that we're discussing five year olds. Give them philosophy when they can understand it, and axioms backed by ethos appeals when they can't.

[edit]I should clarify; we're discussing the average, or below average, five year old. There's a reason I didn't tack on an age to "when they can understand it".

That is, if the only reason we're supposed to care about America is because, from a logical perspective, it's the "best" (drawn from your argument that mexicans aren't expected to care about mexico because it's not as good), then why should we remain when it ceases to be so, or when we discover that it hasn't been for a while?
You have little reason to do so, other than any debt you feel to the country. If you consider that debt paid, then by all means, leave; unless you decide that, perhaps, you do prefer living here.
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Postby Belial » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:38 pm UTC

Because, of all the things we expect for a child to learn to become a worthwhile citizen, not all of them can be imparted by the parents. That's why schools exist in the first place; I'm just claiming that the knowledge and values they should impart (and schools *do* impart values. Grades are important, doing your work is important, etc) should include some form of civic pride or duty.


The values of grades and work are imparted by the reality of the school, not its teachings.

And why are the students incapable of determining the value of civic pride and duty on their own, as necessary, or having it imparted to them by a source that *isn't* a government funded educational institution?

And my point is that we're discussing five year olds. Give them philosophy when they can understand it, and axioms backed by ethos appeals when they can't.


Actually, I don't know that fiddles was discussing five year olds with the comment this particular line of conversation was a response to. But critical thinking is valuable at all levels, and you should probably start on it early.

You have little reason to do so, other than any debt you feel to the country. If you consider that debt paid, then by all means, leave; unless you decide that, perhaps, you do prefer living here.


Again, I feel debts to *people*, not vague concepts. So very well.
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Postby Andrew » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:49 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:I think this is a hideous oversimplification.

Of course it is. But next time you hear someone describe someone or something as "un-American", ask yourself what that means.

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Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:50 pm UTC

And why are the students incapable of determining the value of civic pride and duty on their own, as necessary, or having it imparted to them by a source that *isn't* a government funded educational institution?
I find myself more confused by the line of logic that the government should not use its resources to engender support for itself than the line of logic that the government should use its resources to engender support for itself.

Actually, I don't know that fiddles was discussing five year olds with the comment this particular line of conversation was a response to.
I was using 'we' to mean you and I. But, any discussion of the Pledge should include all the levels it is implemented at; there will be some where the students will not be able to understand its significance or its import.

But critical thinking is valuable at all levels, and you should probably start on it early.
I would argue that it's rarely a good idea to start on a concept before a student can understand it. But, that's just my education philosophy.

Again, I feel debts to *people*, not vague concepts. So very well.
What if those people were motivated to do what makes you considered indebted to them by vague concepts?
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Postby space_raptor » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:52 pm 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?

That is a very surprising question to me. I hear about the stupid shit Bush and Co. have done all the time. You really think there is no criticism of America in the media?

Belial wrote:No, see, Space Raptor was telling me that, despite america's policies, politics, and government *sucking*, I should *find* something to be proud of. That doesn't strike me as something one would say about a country that is *clearly superior*. If you look, you can *find* something to proud of about Mexico. Or any country.

I'd rather be somewhere where I didn't have to dig myself eyeballs deep in bullshit to find it.

Easy there killer, I just asked a question. I didn't tell you to do anything.

Vaniver wrote:Dissidents here might be snubbed, might be laughed at, but they by few significant means are punished by the government for being a dissident.

I disagree with this. I think that it's more likely that the ones getting snubbed or laughed at would be the people expressing support for the government. Bush has like a 30% approval rating, doesn't he?

As kind of an aside, I think that it's a bit drama queenish to say that Americans don't have the freedom of speech.
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Postby Belial » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:02 pm UTC

I find myself more confused by the line of logic that the government should not use its resources to engender support for itself than the line of logic that the government should use its resources to engender support for itself.
'

Because the government doesn't get to have its own interests. It serves the people, and the will of the people. When it starts brainwashing people and therefore *controlling* the will of the people, you've essentially put the dog's leash in its own mouth.

I was using 'we' to mean you and I. But, any discussion of the Pledge should include all the levels it is implemented at; there will be some where the students will not be able to understand its significance or its import.


And if they don't understand its importance, there's no point in making them say it, or even telling them to say it.

I would argue that it's rarely a good idea to start on a concept before a student can understand it. But, that's just my education philosophy.


Anybody can understand basic critical thought. The trick is not to get too complex before the kid can understand it.

What if those people were motivated to do what makes you considered indebted to them by vague concepts?


Irrelevant. If a christian does something nice for me because of their belief in god, does that transfer my debt to god? What if I don't believe in god? Does my atheism void my debt? Or does my debt void my atheism, so now I have to be christian?

Or does it just mean that, regardless of *why* he did it, I now owe this Christian, and no one else, a debt of gratitude?

Edit: I can actually think of an example of this from my own life...a christian family that housed me when I was essentially homeless and foodless for a few months. I can only imagine that christianity played at least some part in that decision on their part. I am grateful to the family (incredibly grateful), not to christianity.

Easy there killer, I just asked a question. I didn't tell you to do anything.


Fair enough. I may have read intent into it somewhere between the asking of the question, and a third party's response to my response. My bad.
Last edited by Belial on Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:24 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby fjafjan » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:18 pm UTC

Dissidents here might be snubbed, might be laughed at, but they by few significant means are punished by the government for being a dissident.


I find it amazing that americans CONSTANTLY use this as a source of pride, when it is entirely irrelevant.
Surprise, no one would shoot you for critizing the goverment in ANY real democracy, and there are loads other than America.

here It says that Sweden is the best functioning Democracy in the world, while america is only 17th place, beaten out by the evil socialist scandinavian countries, and large parts of the industrialised world
But ofcourse, what really matters is monetary wealth

That is a very surprising question to me. I hear about the stupid shit Bush and Co. have done all the time. You really think there is no criticism of America in the media?


Well the Media is critical, but you also have incredibly uncritical media like Fox news, who are entirely uncritical. Largely I would say the Media in the US, as in most states really, is pretty shit. But then it is a very hard job.

I find myself more confused by the line of logic that the government should not use its resources to engender support for itself than the line of logic that the government should use its resources to engender support for itself.

Yes, good point, I mean we don't want the population to be critical and observant, that is harmful for the powers at be!

And my point is that we're discussing five year olds. Give them philosophy when they can understand it, and axioms backed by ethos appeals when they can't.


The fact that they are five year olds is INCREDIBLY relevant
See five year olds can't MAKE choices. Or rather, some can, but we don't expect them to, that is why they can't vote, etc. We can't have them "optionally" recite some sentance they don't understand, indoctrinating them in whatever belief, saying that it's "optional". Instead, you should not recite this Pledge, and if some five year old genius feels a call to his nation or whatever, though personally I think he is stupid if he does, and really nwats to recite that himself before class starts, then let em. But there is no reason why such a custom should be option for children in the way that they have to actively choose to avoid it.


The same reason it is socially unacceptable to say something like "I thought Stalin was a pretty good guy" or "The Jews got what was coming for them" or "Things were so much better before women got the vote"- the majority of the people in the society disagree. They don't *force* you to agree, they just disapprove, and often greatly so.


Well that explains the reason, yet it fails to explain why it SHOULD be so, i mean stalin is pretty obvious, by most meassures he was not (tho he did create loads of wealth at the expense of human life, you approve of this no?). Not reciting a pledge, be it because you don't like to swear to a piece of cloth, or because you don't believe in god, or because you don't like the abstract love of a "nation", because the nation states system is pretty shitty, it should not be looked down upon.
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Re: The Pledge of Allegiance

Postby space_raptor » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:21 pm UTC

thefiddler wrote:For those who are unfamiliar with it:
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.

Is this blatant brainwashing of our nation's youth? Does it instill patriotism?

We have to say it every morning, 2nd hour, over the announcements (which is during my Calc class). Everybody in my class, save one person (who sits with their arms crossed), gets up and recites it dutifully with their right hand somewhere near their heart.

Would the words mean more / have more of an impact were we not forced to mindlessly recite it every morning from kindergarten through twelfth grade? As for me, I think the pledge has lost it's meaning. I don't think about it when I say and and I certainly don't believe it.

Does this make me a bad person?


I went to Catholic school, and we had to say a prayer every morning. We had to learn them by heart. Thinking about it now, it was pretty much just a rote ritual. I didn't think about it very much at all. It was just something we did every day.

Now that I'm out of school, things like prayers and the national anthem mean a great deal more to me, because you usually choose to say them. If I went to church, I would think about what the priest was saying a lot more. When I go to hockey games, I sing the national anthem with pride. I have thought a lot more about these things.

I think that perhaps the Pledge is an anachronism, a sign of a different time. A time when America was in a legitimate conflict. It makes a reference to the civil war, which is certainly no longer relevant. Liberty and Justice are taken for granted these days. The Pledge may just be an old tradition that no longer really serves it's purpose.

It does sound a little weird, pledging allegiance and all. Would you be happier if you just had to sing the Star Spangled Banner every day?
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Re: The Pledge of Allegiance

Postby fjafjan » Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:25 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:I went to Catholic school, and we had to say a prayer every morning. We had to learn them by heart. Thinking about it now, it was pretty much just a rote ritual. I didn't think about it very much at all. It was just something we did every day.

Now that I'm out of school, things like prayers and the national anthem mean a great deal more to me, because you usually choose to say them. If I went to church, I would think about what the priest was saying a lot more. When I go to hockey games, I sing the national anthem with pride. I have thought a lot more about these things.


So you agree that it is unecessary? I mean if it had no effect on you, which it certainly had, I mean saying it has SOME effect, but what I am unsure, why the hell say it?




It does sound a little weird, pledging allegiance and all. Would you be happier if you just had to sing the Star Spangled Banner every day?


That does not make people more unreasonable patriotic?

Are we all agreeing that ungrounded patriotism or nationalism is bad?
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Re: The Pledge of Allegiance

Postby Peshmerga » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:48 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Are we all agreeing that ungrounded patriotism or nationalism is bad?


Me and Vaniver had a discussion on that last night. I concluded, basically, that the patriot may not necessarily fight for the government's policy but rather the benefits the government offer. Such as housing his family, giving him work and protecting his liberties.

It's unfair to say all patriots are bad, and ludicrous to believe that a patriot believes in every policy his country abides to. I don't agree with a lot of US policy, but I would fight for it if the ones I cared for resided there. There are many reasons to remain patriotic, and I think Dante's Inferno puts opportunists in their own circle of Hell. I'll remain loyal to my cause no matter how unpopular it is; no one can be asked to do more.
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Postby Belial » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:52 pm UTC

And just to be clear, your cause is "I like having a place to live and food" right?

Can still get that lots of places.
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Postby Peshmerga » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:07 pm UTC

Belial wrote:And just to be clear, your cause is "I like having a place to live and food" right?

Can still get that lots of places.


No, it's not- that's a batant simplification of things. There are many things I live for that aren't basic necessities. Stop assuming that living is the only thing people want. To invoke Godwin's Law, are all German Nazi soldiers immoral? Can you say that there's no good in the hearts of men who fight for an unpopular cause?

Telling people they can live just as well with another country is like telling someone they can dump their love and find another. It might be irrational, but it's human. And since there's no higher law to observe and obey, human is all one can be expected to be.

There are no polar situations in which country A is evil and country B is righteous. There are no "good guys", there are just soldiers. If I believe the United States should rethink its policies, I will say it and fight for it. If I believe there is more good in the country than bad, and that a foreign (or domestic) enemy is taking advantage of a popular cause, then I will fight for my cause and remain loyal to my government.

Picking the winning side is not a great testament to character unless your personal goals lie elsewhere.
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Postby Belial » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:19 pm UTC

Peshmerga wrote:I concluded, basically, that the patriot may not necessarily fight for the government's policy but rather the benefits the government offer. Such as housing his family, giving him work and protecting his liberties.


Belial wrote:And just to be clear, your cause is "I like having a place to live and food" right?


Peshmerga wrote:No, it's not- that's a batant simplification of things.


Okay. So explain to me how, from that first quote, the second quote is not the logical conclusion. Your government gives you nice things, so you fight for it. If someone else can give you the same things, how can you blame people for leaving?

Telling people they can live just as well with another country is like telling someone they can dump their love and find another. It might be irrational, but it's human. And since there's no higher law to observe and obey, human is all one can be expected to be.


Okay. So it's an irrational feeling. So you'd agree that there's nothing wrong with people who *don't* feel this compulsion?

Because that's all I'm going for here.
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Re: The Pledge of Allegiance

Postby space_raptor » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:26 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:So you agree that it is unecessary? I mean if it had no effect on you, which it certainly had, I mean saying it has SOME effect, but what I am unsure, why the hell say it?

It does sound a little weird, pledging allegiance and all. Would you be happier if you just had to sing the Star Spangled Banner every day?


That does not make people more unreasonable patriotic?

Are we all agreeing that ungrounded patriotism or nationalism is bad?

It doesn't seem particularly necessary to me, no.
The Star Spangled Banner is just a song. Singing the national anthem is not the same as pledging allegiance to your country, which I suppose could be construed as pledging allegiance to your political leaders. Although I sure don't give elected political leaders that much credit. I think the country is represented by all of it's citizens, and that pledging allegiance to the country is more about supporting your countrymen and the ideals you prize, like liberty and justice.

Regular patriotism and nationalism is not so bad, I think. Ignorance is bad. Blind, unreasonable patriots are certainly foolish. Patriots are not necessarily all fools, though, and the flag-waving nitwits you see on the news sometimes are not really examples of patriotism at it's best.
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Postby Belial » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:27 pm UTC

Although I sure don't give elected political leaders that much credit. I think the country is represented by all of it's citizens, and that pledging allegiance to the country is more about supporting your countrymen and the ideals you prize, like liberty and justice.


Just as a semantic point, aren't the politicians and leaders meant to represent those countrymen?
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Re: The Pledge of Allegiance

Postby fjafjan » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:43 pm UTC

Are we all agreeing that ungrounded patriotism or nationalism is bad?

It doesn't seem particularly necessary to me, no.
The Star Spangled Banner is just a song. Singing the national anthem is not the same as pledging allegiance to your country, which I suppose could be construed as pledging allegiance to your political leaders. Although I sure don't give elected political leaders that much credit. I think the country is represented by all of it's citizens, and that pledging allegiance to the country is more about supporting your countrymen and the ideals you prize, like liberty and justice.

Well first of all I said unfounded nationalism, or patriotism, ie loving your country without know or being able to motivate why. I think all essentially is, but especially the ones who do it "just to do it", which appears incredibly popular in america.
But as I said I think all is bad, for the simple reason that nation states are incredibly arbitary, Why not instead of loving your nation, or country, which can be tied with so many other things, simply love these ideas, sing a song about freedom and liberty, I am sure there are tons of them. Loving a piece of land and what has occured there seems pretty strange to me, now praising some ideas, that is worthy.
Regular patriotism and nationalism is not so bad, I think.

Well nationalism often leads people thinking that one nation is "better" than another, which ofcourse is foolish, and often reject things from other nations. If all great things are Italian, how can it be that Portugal have a great policy against crime?
Essentially my dislike of both is the sence of "us and them" in terms of "citizens of this nation" and "citizens of this other nations", I am certainly a swedish citizen, but I desire much rather to be a citizen of the world, and be proud of human civilization, than what is accomplish by people born within certain parametres. This might be an entirely different discussion though, and will happily snip this out.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Now Those two lines are, atleast to me, pretty 'bad'.
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Postby Belial » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:46 pm UTC

Now Those two lines are, atleast to me, pretty 'bad'.


Another random nitpicking point: that verse rarely gets sung. Most people only know the first verse.

Which still has the second line you highlighted, but I just thought I'd point that out.
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Postby space_raptor » Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:48 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Just as a semantic point, aren't the politicians and leaders meant to represent those countrymen?

Yes. As equals. I am just as much a citizen of my country as they are. They are public servants, and they serve at the pleasure of the public. I'm not in the military, so I don't have to do a damn thing they say. They are not a royal family, and I'll be damned if I ever swear allegiance to them.

They can affect my life by making laws, which I do have to obey. They make laws based on what they think will serve the public best, and I am allowed to use the legal system to challenge those laws. In theory, anyways.

Where things get sticky is when it comes to the way your country deals with foreign powers. The responsibility for that is on the federal government, and I think that is the most important responsibility of the federal government. Here it is tough, because even if you disagree with your leaders, other countries will see them as the face of your entire country. Here, pledging allegiance to your country may be conflated with supporting the actions of your country on the world stage.

Fortunately, Canada's government is not as controversial as the US when it comes to foreign entanglements, so I don't have to worry about it as much.
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Postby Peshmerga » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:07 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Okay. So it's an irrational feeling. So you'd agree that there's nothing wrong with people who *don't* feel this compulsion?

Because that's all I'm going for here.


No doubt, I wouldn't judge anyone who wasn't patriotic any different from one who was. Just seems to me there's a lot of unwarranted anti-patriotic/nationalism sentiment.
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Postby Phenriz » Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:16 pm UTC

Peshmerga wrote:No doubt, I wouldn't judge anyone who wasn't patriotic any different from one who was. Just seems to me there's a lot of unwarranted anti-patriotic/nationalism sentiment.


for reasons i don't have time to try and explain, fully, right now, you're right.

but the basis of my explanation resides in the fact that those of us that are natural born citizens don't have to "earn" our citizenship.

citizenship if earned means something (see: turkey or israel), citizenship like money or a car if given freely has little to no value(see: america).

which i believe is pretty much towards the root of the "problem"

That said i'm relatively patriotic for my generation, but i did nothing to earn it. For which i do feel a tinge of guilt.

i'll try to get back to this thread and defend my position later tonight.
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Postby Andrew » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:58 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:That is a very surprising question to me. I hear about the stupid shit Bush and Co. have done all the time. You really think there is no criticism of America in the media?


Oh, in the media, certainly. But never in this kind of discussion. I have never once heard someone say "I'm proud to live in America, despite its flaws", but I have heard dozens of people refer to America as "the greatest country in the world" as if that were a statement of fact. Just watch the opening sequence of Letterman. "From Noo York, The greatest cityintheworld..." It's like there's America the country, that everyone agrees is a bit broken, and there's America the idea, like a religion, that is intrinsically sacred and wonderful. And people can understandably get them confused, and start defending the whole country and its actions by recourse to the Ideals On Which The Country Was Founded, and what have you. It's as if you're allowed to critisice America for being flawed, but only if you simultaneously love it for being flawless. As if details like Jeb Bush or Guantanamo Bay are important, yes, but also somehow irrelevant to the matter of national pride.

This whole having-children-chant-every-morning thing is also very reminiscent of a religion, and I have an instinctive and intense distrust for all organisations that operate to that model. It usually means they don't have any good reason to expect me tobelieve them.

I think the religious side of national pride is very dangerous. Frankly, all religion is dangerous, but at least most churches don't have armies or nukes.

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Postby EvanED » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:00 pm UTC

Andrew wrote:I have never once heard someone say "I'm proud to live in America, despite its flaws"


I would have a back in 2002 or so, before Bush had much time. (Say, before he starting being all gung ho about invading Iraq... that was probably what turned my opinion from answering what do you think of Bush from a sarcastic "Bush is doing a GREAT job" to "Oh me yarm please stop the ride and let me off") I expect that I'll say it again in the future.

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Postby a thing » Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:18 am UTC

Imperseptiveness (including unquestioning loyalty) is a vice.

I stand up for the pledge, but only move my lips to the words and don't truly say them. An irrational teacher hating you means a bad grade.
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Postby kira » Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:51 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:I would argue that it's rarely a good idea to start on a concept before a student can understand it. But, that's just my education philosophy.


When would you suggest starting to educate student about a concept? After they understand it? Seems silly.

I think we are doing a service to students by exposing them to the Pledge, in the same way that we are doing a service to students by exposing them to the first Presidents and the famous stories about them ("George Washington chopped down a cherry tree!") because it helps them become well-rounded citizens with historical and cultural knowledge.

The problem does not lie in the Pledge itself, but in how it is presented. If students read it as a piece of literature showing an opinion about America, to be agreed with or disagreed with as they saw fit, it would be a useful learning tool and helpful in letting students establish their own values. Since it is presented to students in the form of indoctrination that is perceived as both "normal" and "correct" by adults and other students, it doesn't allow students to make their own judgment calls.

It's like the difference between abstinence only education and sex education with an emphasis on the infallibility of abstinence. In the first case, abstinence is presented as both "normal" and "correct" by adults. In the second case, abstinence is presented as one of a variety of possible paths to talk, albeit a usually reliable one. The Pledge should be presented that way. As one of a multitude of different ways to feel about and express your feelings about your country and a generally favorable attitude to consider.

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Postby Castaway » Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:59 am UTC

Personally, I think it's a little anachronistic and primitive. Sure, at one time it instilled courage and pride, but now that people (especially kids) are constantly having propaganda thrown at them (not remarking good or bad, just saying), it seems redundant and kind of played out now.
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Postby SpitValve » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:52 am UTC

I think New Zealand is a great country, "I love New Zealand despite its flaws" (most of whom are Australian).

But I wouldn't pledge allegience to it...

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Postby Vaniver » Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:00 am UTC

Edit: I can actually think of an example of this from my own life...a christian family that housed me when I was essentially homeless and foodless for a few months. I can only imagine that christianity played at least some part in that decision on their part. I am grateful to the family (incredibly grateful), not to christianity.
My parents claim to have been considerably nastier people before they became more Christian. I feel I owe many beneficial aspects of my childhood to that Christianity.

Does that mean I'm Christian? No. It's not for me. Does that mean I respect Christianity? Yes- I've seen its benefits firsthand.

I find it amazing that americans CONSTANTLY use this as a source of pride, when it is entirely irrelevant.
Surprise, no one would shoot you for critizing the goverment in ANY real democracy, and there are loads other than America.
That wasn't talking about pride. That was responding to thefiddler claiming that the American government can "stomp out negative opinions". No, that's flat-out wrong.

Not reciting a pledge, be it because you don't like to swear to a piece of cloth, or because you don't believe in god, or because you don't like the abstract love of a "nation", because the nation states system is pretty shitty, it should not be looked down upon.
My interpretation of this: I dislike nationalism and patriotism. I recognize that this is an unpopular opinion. I desire for this to be a popular opinion.
Am I mistaken?

Me and Vaniver
Vaniver and I!

Okay. So explain to me how, from that first quote, the second quote is not the logical conclusion. Your government gives you nice things, so you fight for it. If someone else can give you the same things, how can you blame people for leaving?
Because one has already happened, and another could happen. There are other differences as well, but they take too much time to enumerate for too little benefit.

Okay. So it's an irrational feeling. So you'd agree that there's nothing wrong with people who *don't* feel this compulsion?

Because that's all I'm going for here.
Has anyone here argued "people who aren't patriots are evil scum", except for people setting up straw men to knock down? At most we have said that people who lack patriotism have a number of undesirable qualities, but most of those have been modestly undesirable at worst.

Loving a piece of land and what has occured there seems pretty strange to me, now praising some ideas, that is worthy.
But what about the people who feel strong connections to land, especially land they built their homes on, or land they lived on? A place can be as important as an idea, and many places are molded by ideas. The two often cannot be separated easily.

Phenriz, ever read Starship Troopers?

When would you suggest starting to educate student about a concept? After they understand it? Seems silly.
Did you miss the word "can"? It's rather important to that sentence.
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Postby Captain_Thunder » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:14 am UTC

Well, the thread's a bit long, so I'll just respond to the OP:

No, the pledge is not blatant brain-washing. There's nothing wrong with having pride in your country; or asking others to have the same pride, for that matter, since America has done a lot for them too. Compared to some other countries, we have it pretty good here.

After nine-years of saying the pledge daily, it has never lost its meaning for me. I'm proud to be proud of my country. Yes, it's done some fairly stupid things in the past, but for me at least, the good far outweigh the bad.

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Postby Puellus Peregrinus » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:48 am UTC

SpitValve wrote:I think New Zealand is a great country, "I love New Zealand despite its flaws" (most of whom are Australian).

But I wouldn't pledge allegience to it...

Indeed. I love my country and respect it despite certain flaws. But still, if it ever fails me I will abandon it like a rat abandons a sinking ship.


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Romanes eunt domus!

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Postby Owijad » Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:29 pm UTC

SpitValve wrote:I think New Zealand is a great country, "I love New Zealand despite its flaws" (most of whom are Australian).

But I wouldn't pledge allegience to it...


The point is, you would if you were five.



As soon as I understood the pledge, I stopped saying it. It's a ridiculous promise to make.

Like, say, Christianity in it's more wholesome forms, patriotism causes people to do good things. But it also causes them to do pointless, stupid, and sometimes harmful things. So, if I can do all the good things on my own initiative, because I recognize them as good, WITHOUT deluding myself, then that's clearly a better course.



In response to Andrew, down there VVVVVV

You most certianly can make people feel a certain way.
Last edited by Owijad on Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Andrew » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:11 pm UTC

Captain_Thunder wrote:There's nothing wrong with having pride in your country; or asking others to have the same pride, for that matter,

There is everything wrong with asking other people to feel a certain way.

You can't control how you feel. Asking someone to do so is patronising and insulting and detrimental to their development and that of society.

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Postby Vaniver » Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:42 pm UTC

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?

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.
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Postby kira » Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:56 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
When would you suggest starting to educate student about a concept? After they understand it? Seems silly.
Did you miss the word "can"? It's rather important to that sentence.


The word "can" is only marginally important to that sentence. Either way, you should start educating children about concepts before they can and before they do understand them.

This is why we start introducing Algebra in about second grade. "What plus 2 equals 5, kids?" It's the building blocks of Algebra and without being exposed to a basic version of the concept, they will be WAY behind when they can finally truly understand the abstract version of the concept.

Looking back at the introductions thread, you are a lab assistant. I am a kick-ass teacher (*snicker*). I spent four years of my life learning about educational theories. Do not underestimate me! :twisted:

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Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:05 am UTC

The word "can" is only marginally important to that sentence. Either way, you should start educating children about concepts before they can and before they do understand them.

This is why we start introducing Algebra in about second grade. "What plus 2 equals 5, kids?" It's the building blocks of Algebra and without being exposed to a basic version of the concept, they will be WAY behind when they can finally truly understand the abstract version of the concept.
But, if you expect an answer instead of blank stares, doesn't that mean that you think that they *can* understand it?

I meant that in the sense of "we shouldn't teach calculus until we've taught algebra", not "we shouldn't start algebra until we can do it right". Using your example, the Pledge can be seen as asking "What plus 2 equals 5?" when it comes to philosophy; it's a poor analogy, but bits of it fit.

Looking back at the introductions thread, you are a lab assistant. I am a kick-ass teacher (*snicker*). I spent four years of my life learning about educational theories. Do not underestimate me!
I wasn't under the impression that I was; I was just taking your position as a teacher to mean that you've got experience in the field. It tells me nothing about what schools of education philosophy you believe in, how much literature on developmental psychology you've read, and similar things. My position as a lab assistant tells you none of those things as well; so it seems silly to use those credentials instead of arguments.
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Postby kira » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:11 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:But, if you expect an answer instead of blank stares, doesn't that mean that you think that they *can* understand it?

Well, if that's the question, then I think they *can* understand it, at varying levels of abstractness, from the minute they achieve language.

Vaniver wrote:I wasn't under the impression that I was; I was just taking your position as a teacher to mean that you've got experience in the field. It tells me nothing about what schools of education philosophy you believe in, how much literature on developmental psychology you've read, and similar things. My position as a lab assistant tells you none of those things as well; so it seems silly to use those credentials instead of arguments.

I was actually mostly joking. I know this is serious business and all, but there's nothing in the rules against throwing in a joke at the end. I know. I checked!

However, the fact that I teach suggests that I have been schooled in various educational theories and have seen first hand some of these things that come into play. Until you present your credentials, my first hand experiences do add merit to my arguments since it's not only idle theorizing.

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Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:30 am UTC

Well, if that's the question, then I think they *can* understand it, at varying levels of abstractness, from the minute they achieve language.
If we use Piaget's theory of development (which is generally useful as a starting location), I'd say that serious discussions of the Pledge can't really occur until the concrete operational stage, and that any rigorous discussion of the Pledge can't really occur until the child has hit the formal operational stage.

Good old academic theories; nothing like saying "I don't expect them to use logic until they can", and "I don't expect them to use deep logic until they can", and "Language use occurs before logic is fully developed", in considerably less clear (although, admittedly, more specific) language.

I was actually mostly joking. I know this is serious business and all, but there's nothing in the rules against throwing in a joke at the end. I know. I checked!
This thread is SERIOUS BUSINESS >:[.

(The >:[ always makes me laugh)

[quote]Until you present your credentials[/quote]I have intimate experience with the educational system from one side of the desk; a bit of experience from the other, and a considerable number of conversations with teachers about educational theory, one of whom is writing a book on the topic. Is it a formal education? Hardly. Do formal educations and corrections go hand in hand? Not as much as we would like.
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Postby Owijad » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:35 am UTC

Kira, lets try and avoid ad hominem.

It seems you're using math as an analogy for patriotism, but that's absurd. If anything, religion is the closest analogy. The big difference is, the God's power and benevolence are demonstrable.



By reciting the pledge or similar things, you're teaching children to love their country unconditionally. It's morning prayer to their country. A far better approach is to teach them -why- to love their country.


Since you seemed to like it in these terms, it's the difference between saying that the symbols "3 + 3" are the same as the symbol "6", and actually teaching them math.
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Postby Vaniver » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:52 am UTC

The big difference is, the God's power and benevolence are demonstrable.
[edit]Belial corrected my misreading of this.

By reciting the pledge or similar things, you're teaching children to love their country unconditionally. It's morning prayer to their country. A far better approach is to teach them -why- to love their country.
But, let's continue this line of thought. We teach prayers before we teach theology; we baptize before we confirm. The fact that we cannot teach theology is not necessarily a reason to not teach prayers- if anything, we want them to be grounded in the motions before they talk about the reasons; theology makes considerably more sense to the regular attender of church and reader of the relevant book than to the person who is unfamiliar with either.

Nowhere am I suggesting that patriotic love should be unconditional, or that people should not be taught 'why' to love their country. In fact, it might be instructive to reread my first post in this thread:
Personally? I'm not a fan of the pledge. I feel that it's not a solid replacement for an education or class that actually instills patriotism. That said, I feel that there's too much "oh, America isn't that great" for schools to not have a counterpoint. It's a problem that the counterpoint is a daily pledge instead of something more rigorous, but I don't think the pledge does more harm than good.
Last edited by Vaniver on Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Belial » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:56 am UTC

While I agree with the heart of your point, this looks reversed. Isn't it easier to demonstrate the power of the nation than the power of God?


I believe he means the "God" of patriotism, if patriotism were a religion. Which would *be* the nation.

But, let's continue this line of thought. We teach prayers before we teach theology; we baptize before we confirm. The fact that we cannot teach theology is not necessarily a reason to not teach prayers- if anything, we want them to be grounded in the motions before they talk about the reasons; theology makes considerably more sense to the regular attender of church and reader of the relevant book than to the person who is unfamiliar with either.


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.

Nowhere am I suggesting that patriotic love should be unconditional, or that people should not be taught 'why' to love their country.


But it's been agreed that patriotism is irrational, and there's nothing wrong with not doing it. So why would people want to sign their kids up to have it brainwashed into them?
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Postby kira » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:04 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:I'd say that serious discussions of the Pledge can't really occur until the concrete operational stage, and that any rigorous discussion of the Pledge can't really occur until the child has hit the formal operational stage.

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.

Owijad wrote:Kira, lets try and avoid ad hominem.

My comment was hardly ad hominem! I meant to imply nothing about Vaniver's education, only sought to bolster my argument via ethos.

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.

Edit:
Vaniver wrote:But, let's continue this line of thought. We teach prayers before we teach theology; we baptize before we confirm. The fact that we cannot teach theology is not necessarily a reason to not teach prayers- if anything, we want them to be grounded in the motions before they talk about the reasons; theology makes considerably more sense to the regular attender of church and reader of the relevant book than to the person who is unfamiliar with either.


Kira wrote:I think we are doing a service to students by exposing them to the Pledge, in the same way that we are doing a service to students by exposing them to the first Presidents and the famous stories about them ("George Washington chopped down a cherry tree!") because it helps them become well-rounded citizens with historical and cultural knowledge.

The problem does not lie in the Pledge itself, but in how it is presented.


It is totally like we are arguing for the same thing! Oh, but wait, we are.
Last edited by kira on Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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