Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today, I was "this guy"

No, I am no August Landmesser.  I did follow my conscience, though.

It may not have been exactly a Nazi rally, and I probably wasn't in any real danger, but if you won't stand up (or remain seated) for what's right when it is easy, how do you expect to stand up for what's right when it is hard?

You have read of my difficulties since my daughter chose to enroll in the government school.  Today her kindergarten class had a Christmas concert (complete with State-sponsored Christianity).  I was shocked, although I probably shouldn't have been, when they began the program with a Nazi ritual: the Pledge of Allegiance.

I did not stand or chant with the crowd, and may have been the only to not do so.  I try very hard to avoid places and situations where this ritual will be followed- sometimes despite my best efforts I find myself in the middle of it.  I have not participated in years.

Yes, I felt self-conscious, but that's better than feeling like a Nazi.  I was also a little afraid of some "good ol' boy" wanting to make an example of me.  I'm glad nothing happened.



  1. Kent,
    I'm curious how you have dealt/will deal with teaching your daughter about the pledge of allegiance from a libertarian perspective. Do you tell her it's a bad thing and she shouldn't recite it because she shouldn't pledge allegiance to any government or any piece of cloth? Or do you tell her what you think about it and leave it at that, knowing she's likely, as any child is, to give in to peer pressure and conform lest she be singled out or confronted or bullied about it? Or some other approach?

    I have a feeling any child of yours is going to become a skeptical, free, independent thinker, so whatever collectivist Statism she's inculcated with, she'll probably grow out of on her own, but still, no sensible libertarian would want their child to ever pledge their allegiance to any government or its flag.

  2. My daughter has brought up the subject a few times. The first time it came up we were going to the post office and she saw a federal flag flying over the bank. She asked me if I knew "the pledge" and I said I did, but that I don't say it. She asked why, and I told her it is because I think it's a bad thing to say. She wanted to know why I thought it was bad, so I told her it was written by some people who weren't very nice. She asked why they weren't nice and I started to try to give her an understandable answer, but she was already thinking about the next thing.

    Yesterday, after school, she asked me if I said the pledge. I told her that I didn't. She asked again why I didn't. I said I think it is a bad thing to say and I won't say it.

    I never tell her to not say it, just like I don't order her to not say other words she has picked up (not from me) that can cause problems around certain people- I just tell her what I think and let her make her own choices. Usually I like the choices she makes.

    I don't know that she would really understand deeper reasons I am opposed to "the pledge" yet. I'm pretty sure she would stop paying attention to any explanation by the second sentence, so I'll leave more details for later. Probably answer them one at a time, as she asks, so I don't bore her. Kind of like I do about other types of religious propaganda she gets exposed to.

  3. I volunteered a few years ago to be a girls counselor for a nearby camp. I used to do a lot of that sort of thing for Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls, but had not in many long years.

    Anyway, the evening campfire included the "pledge" and I simply sat quietly through it. I won't even stand up for this...

    Interestingly enough, only one person actually asked me about it, not even in a hostile manner, and I spent considerable time after that, both personally and in email, explaining to her what self ownership was and why the "pledge" was slave talk.

    But a five year old is really not ready to hear all that. I'm glad you are not overwhelming her, but answering simple questions and giving her every good example to make up her own mind. It's a tough enough call when you have them with you all the time.