Coerced patriotism is pretend patriotism
America does not have an official national anthem or pledge of allegiance to the republic. Therefore, people lacked a basis for claiming Colin Kaepernick unpatriotic for remaining seated while the Star-Spangled Banner played in protest of inequality and injustice in America
By what authority do most Americans set deference or idolatry of the flag as the highest expression of patriotism? Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and amateur poet, wrote the Star-Spangled Banner. Colonel George Balch composed the original Pledge of Allegiance of the United States in 1887. Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist minister and author, changed it in 1892. Congress did affirm the Star-Spangled Banner as the national anthem in March 1931 and the Pledge of allegiance to the flag in 1942, respectively 143 and 153 years after the nations’ founding. But what does Congress approval mean?
Both congressional actions define the form and content of official patriotic speech. This government-approved speech is acceptable for members of America’s Uniformed Military Services. They surrendered personal autonomy on joining the services. However, the Constitution of the American Republic forbids Congress, government, authority over free-speech rights of citizens who are sovereign individuals. This exclusion denies Congress authority to regulate speech or to approve official symbols of patriotism like the flag or anthem that citizens must venerate. Therefore, Congress approval of those symbols lack a Constitutional basis. Laws of nature and America’s founding documents, Declaration of Independence and Constitution, decide this issue.
Nature’s law orders that all organic and inorganic conditions reflect the forces that created and continues them. Every organism developed certain primary survival traits. Humans developed the individual inborn ability for higher order reasoning. This ability enables individuals to develop knowledge about the diverse forces and conditions on earth they face for survival and fulfillment.
Although human reasoning ability is innate, each person must develop his or her moral and logical standard for thinking. Everyone thinks within a personal environment influenced by self-perception, inquisitiveness, experience, information, standards of morality and logic, and survival instinct.
Nobody can directly access another person’s thinking, or implant knowledge in another person’s mind. Someone or authority can force another person to memorize a body of information and recall it by testing. However, memorization is not knowledge, and the recital of information does not confirm knowledge. Each person must analyze information to develop it as knowledge. Obviously, everyone has a unique reasoning environment and viewpoint.
It is noteworthy that nature endows everyone with reasoning ability to develop knowledge. It does not endow individuals, groups, or societies with knowledge. We can only experience the result from our thinking. Therefore, true feelings of patriotism cannot result from group-coerced reverence for uncertain government-approved symbols of liberty and justice.
Reasoning does not follow a simple formula. However, at minimum someone must define the problem, condition, or question at issue; describe its subject and applicable terms; and examine personal ideas before and as he or she reasons about it. Otherwise, he or she forms an opinion based only on belief and prejudice. The pursuit of knowledge is a lifetime activity, because its growth changes and broadens the holder’s perspective. In addition, the challenge of new problems or conditions requires each person to review held knowledge from different perspectives. This reviewing requirement challenges each person to understand his or her reasoning methods and standards.
Accordingly, reasoning ability is clearly and indisputably a trait of individuals. Therefore, it follows that liberty—the right of self-direction free of arbitrary government or group restrictions—is also the inborn human right of individuals and not groups.
The founders stated in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” They based those truths on nature’s laws. Therefore, each person’s loyalty to the nation must comprise sincerely held respect for and identification with the moral and logical basis of its political and social-economic policy. He or she can only develop this basis for patriotism by reasoning and introspection.
America is a constitutional republic founded on republican principles of personal sovereignty, retained inborn human rights, and limited government. Here, republican refers to a political philosophy of guaranteed liberty and limited government by elected representatives and not those of a political party.
The U.S. Constitution does not grant human rights, contrary to what most Americans believe. Its first Ten Amendments do not comprise a true Bill of Rights that summarizes all the peoples protected human rights. They list a few specific prohibitions against the exercise of federal power over the people’s liberty rights. For example, the First Amendment does not grant freedom of speech or of the press already affirmed as innate in the Declaration of Independence. Instead, it says, “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Currently, it appears that all government agencies respected First Amendment restrictions of its powers over Colin Kaepernick’s speech rights. A possible exception is an alleged letter from Santa Clara Police Officers Association to Kaepernick’s employers that it must change his conduct or officers may not honor their contract with the city to protect the arena during San Francisco 49er games.
The belief is illogical that government decides the symbols of patriotism—national anthem, and pledge of allegiance—in a free society. Nevertheless, there is no reason why Americans cannot express patriotism voluntarily. Voluntary participation in songs of fellowship and shared values can have a positive influence on a group or society. However, an official national anthem ordered by government causes dissention. Disputes among Americans already abound with many preferring lyrics and music of “America the Beautiful,” or “God Bless America” as preferable expressions of patriotism.
I am a military veteran retired after twenty-years of service. Do I believe Americans as sovereign individuals owe allegiance to country?
Yes, if allegiance means the duty and commitment to defend the homeland from attack. After all, we join in relationships of reciprocity to advance our common interests.
Yes, if allegiance means the duty to promote social policy based on principles of human equality, and to protect individual’s inborn rights of life, liberty and associated rights of self-direction.
No, if allegiance means idolatry of the flag and anthem that obscures important issues of morality and political significance. Idolatry of the flag unquestionably motivated many people’s negative emotional-based response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest.
“Equal laws protecting equal rights…the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.”
* James Madison
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”
* James Madison was the Fourth President of the United States and principal author of the Constitution.
“May we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”
* Dwight D. Eisenhower was a five-star general in the United States Army who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. He was the 34th President of the United States.
Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.
- Benhanin Franklin was a Diplomat, Scientist, Inventor, writer and a drafters of the Declaration of Independence.
I include those quotes because they express a philosophy of liberty and equality that conform to nature’s law and not only because famous persons wrote them. After all, Madison enslaved 100 plus humans all his adult life and who therefore was an amoral hypocrite no matter his intellectual assertions.
I find it ironic that the quoted remarks and those written by many others throughout history consistently report a philosophy of liberty, equality, and knowledge that agrees with Kaepernick’s actions as the best protection of liberty and guarantees of loyalty.