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How dictatorships are created


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A recent post from the person who calls himself “Patriot” prompts me to open this topic. It is reproduced below in its entirety. I repeat that I did not say what he accuses me of saying.

So reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a "harmful practice". You are such a dispicable person. You dishonor our many brave military who have given their lives and limbs to allow dirt bags like yourself to be able to stand and pledge your love and support for everything this country stands for. But you consider that simple act a harmful practice. While others give their lives, you mock them, you disgusting piece of s--t.

This is how dictatorships begin. The United States is not at that point, but we were headed in that direction throughout Bush’s presidency. In Hitler’s Germany, here is how it went.

First the Nazi party became respectable. Then it became dominant. Before long, people thought “there must be something wrong with you” if you weren’t a Nazi. You must not be a good German. You must not be a patriot. We can’t trust you. We won’t listen to you. You are "the other" and that is how we will treat you.

Dictators always rely on unthinking thugs to rise to power and stay in power. I hate to say it, but this so-called "Patriot" would have fit right in. The people who supported Hitler were regular people, just like our own “beloved Patriot.” He doesn't mean to act like a Nazi; he just can’t seem to help himself. Obviously, he doesn’t know any other way to think.

The Nazis had their symbols and their slogans. Virtually all dictatorial regimes do. At first, brownshirts were acceptable. Then they became commonplace. Then they became practically mandatory.

If you didn’t belong to and fully support the Nazi party, at first you were called names. Then you were shunned. Eventually you were imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp.

If you didn’t salute Hitler and the Nazi flag, you were “looked at,” the same way people look at us when we don’t stand for the pledge. Then people wouldn’t do business with you. Eventually, not saluting Hitler became a crime. You went away and were never seen or heard from again.

The path toward dictatorship begins with small steps, like saluting a flag. Piece by piece, freedom is dismantled. That is why it is critical to catch the undoing of freedom early. That is why Matthew sat out the pledge, and why I support him.

Our “beloved Patriot” will think I am comparing our country to Nazi Germany. I am, but only in this: every nation is capable of going down that road. We will go down it unless we guard against it.

I am writing this to every resident of Kearny. It is a personal note to each of you. I can’t explain the parallel to the way the Pledge of Allegiance is being treated in our schools all over America, any more clearly than I just did. I repeat, we are nowhere near that point, but we are headed for some tough economic times, and our politics could turn on us in a very short time. I choose to speak up now because I don’t want us ever to come close to the point the German people reached in the 1930s.

Oppressive and dictatorial governments use symbols like the flag or a national song or pledge to identify dissidents, the people who think for themselves, whose fierce independence preserves a nation’s liberty. They are sought out because they endanger dictatorial rule.

The other thing that happens in a free country, which turns it into a dictatorship, is that good people do not act in defense of liberty. I know there are people in Kearny who get this, yet virtually no one has come out publicly in defense of freedom. I keep wondering when someone in this town is going to do that.

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Paul,

I understand what you are saying. You, your son, and the rest of your family have the right not to stand for the pledge. That does not mean you do not respect our country and all those who came before us so that you are able to make that choice.

I choose to stand, just like I choose to pray. Our differences do not make one of us right and the other wrong. We are both Americans and I personally am glad that we are able to have differences or we would be in Nazi Germany wearing our brown shirts.

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A recent post from the person who calls himself “Patriot” prompts me to open this topic. It is reproduced below in its entirety. I repeat that I did not say what he accuses me of saying.

So reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a "harmful practice". You are such a dispicable person. You dishonor our many brave military who have given their lives and limbs to allow dirt bags like yourself to be able to stand and pledge your love and support for everything this country stands for. But you consider that simple act a harmful practice. While others give their lives, you mock them, you disgusting piece of s--t.

This is how dictatorships begin. The United States is not at that point, but we were headed in that direction throughout Bush’s presidency. In Hitler’s Germany, here is how it went.

First the Nazi party became respectable. Then it became dominant. Before long, people thought “there must be something wrong with you” if you weren’t a Nazi. You must not be a good German. You must not be a patriot. We can’t trust you. We won’t listen to you. You are "the other" and that is how we will treat you.

Dictators always rely on unthinking thugs to rise to power and stay in power. I hate to say it, but this so-called "Patriot" would have fit right in. The people who supported Hitler were regular people, just like our own “beloved Patriot.” He doesn't mean to act like a Nazi; he just can’t seem to help himself. Obviously, he doesn’t know any other way to think.

The Nazis had their symbols and their slogans. Virtually all dictatorial regimes do. At first, brownshirts were acceptable. Then they became commonplace. Then they became practically mandatory.

If you didn’t belong to and fully support the Nazi party, at first you were called names. Then you were shunned. Eventually you were imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp.

If you didn’t salute Hitler and the Nazi flag, you were “looked at,” the same way people look at us when we don’t stand for the pledge. Then people wouldn’t do business with you. Eventually, not saluting Hitler became a crime. You went away and were never seen or heard from again.

The path toward dictatorship begins with small steps, like saluting a flag. Piece by piece, freedom is dismantled. That is why it is critical to catch the undoing of freedom early. That is why Matthew sat out the pledge, and why I support him.

Our “beloved Patriot” will think I am comparing our country to Nazi Germany. I am, but only in this: every nation is capable of going down that road. We will go down it unless we guard against it.

I am writing this to every resident of Kearny. It is a personal note to each of you. I can’t explain the parallel to the way the Pledge of Allegiance is being treated in our schools all over America, any more clearly than I just did. I repeat, we are nowhere near that point, but we are headed for some tough economic times, and our politics could turn on us in a very short time. I choose to speak up now because I don’t want us ever to come close to the point the German people reached in the 1930s.

Oppressive and dictatorial governments use symbols like the flag or a national song or pledge to identify dissidents, the people who think for themselves, whose fierce independence preserves a nation’s liberty. They are sought out because they endanger dictatorial rule.

The other thing that happens in a free country, which turns it into a dictatorship, is that good people do not act in defense of liberty. I know there are people in Kearny who get this, yet virtually no one has come out publicly in defense of freedom. I keep wondering when someone in this town is going to do that.

I never thought of it that way before, but he's right!

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A recent post from the person who calls himself “Patriot” prompts me to open this topic. It is reproduced below in its entirety. I repeat that I did not say what he accuses me of saying.

So reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a "harmful practice". You are such a dispicable person. You dishonor our many brave military who have given their lives and limbs to allow dirt bags like yourself to be able to stand and pledge your love and support for everything this country stands for. But you consider that simple act a harmful practice. While others give their lives, you mock them, you disgusting piece of s--t.

This is how dictatorships begin. The United States is not at that point, but we were headed in that direction throughout Bush’s presidency. In Hitler’s Germany, here is how it went.

First the Nazi party became respectable. Then it became dominant. Before long, people thought “there must be something wrong with you” if you weren’t a Nazi. You must not be a good German. You must not be a patriot. We can’t trust you. We won’t listen to you. You are "the other" and that is how we will treat you.

Dictators always rely on unthinking thugs to rise to power and stay in power. I hate to say it, but this so-called "Patriot" would have fit right in. The people who supported Hitler were regular people, just like our own “beloved Patriot.” He doesn't mean to act like a Nazi; he just can’t seem to help himself. Obviously, he doesn’t know any other way to think.

The Nazis had their symbols and their slogans. Virtually all dictatorial regimes do. At first, brownshirts were acceptable. Then they became commonplace. Then they became practically mandatory.

If you didn’t belong to and fully support the Nazi party, at first you were called names. Then you were shunned. Eventually you were imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp.

If you didn’t salute Hitler and the Nazi flag, you were “looked at,” the same way people look at us when we don’t stand for the pledge. Then people wouldn’t do business with you. Eventually, not saluting Hitler became a crime. You went away and were never seen or heard from again.

The path toward dictatorship begins with small steps, like saluting a flag. Piece by piece, freedom is dismantled. That is why it is critical to catch the undoing of freedom early. That is why Matthew sat out the pledge, and why I support him.

Our “beloved Patriot” will think I am comparing our country to Nazi Germany. I am, but only in this: every nation is capable of going down that road. We will go down it unless we guard against it.

I am writing this to every resident of Kearny. It is a personal note to each of you. I can’t explain the parallel to the way the Pledge of Allegiance is being treated in our schools all over America, any more clearly than I just did. I repeat, we are nowhere near that point, but we are headed for some tough economic times, and our politics could turn on us in a very short time. I choose to speak up now because I don’t want us ever to come close to the point the German people reached in the 1930s.

Oppressive and dictatorial governments use symbols like the flag or a national song or pledge to identify dissidents, the people who think for themselves, whose fierce independence preserves a nation’s liberty. They are sought out because they endanger dictatorial rule.

The other thing that happens in a free country, which turns it into a dictatorship, is that good people do not act in defense of liberty. I know there are people in Kearny who get this, yet virtually no one has come out publicly in defense of freedom. I keep wondering when someone in this town is going to do that.

My God, I just realized something else. Dictators use things like flag salutes and pledges to control the people.

This is a really good post.

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A recent post from the person who calls himself “Patriot” prompts me to open this topic. It is reproduced below in its entirety. I repeat that I did not say what he accuses me of saying.

So reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a "harmful practice". You are such a dispicable person. You dishonor our many brave military who have given their lives and limbs to allow dirt bags like yourself to be able to stand and pledge your love and support for everything this country stands for. But you consider that simple act a harmful practice. While others give their lives, you mock them, you disgusting piece of s--t.

This is how dictatorships begin. The United States is not at that point, but we were headed in that direction throughout Bush’s presidency. In Hitler’s Germany, here is how it went.

First the Nazi party became respectable. Then it became dominant. Before long, people thought “there must be something wrong with you” if you weren’t a Nazi. You must not be a good German. You must not be a patriot. We can’t trust you. We won’t listen to you. You are "the other" and that is how we will treat you.

Dictators always rely on unthinking thugs to rise to power and stay in power. I hate to say it, but this so-called "Patriot" would have fit right in. The people who supported Hitler were regular people, just like our own “beloved Patriot.” He doesn't mean to act like a Nazi; he just can’t seem to help himself. Obviously, he doesn’t know any other way to think.

The Nazis had their symbols and their slogans. Virtually all dictatorial regimes do. At first, brownshirts were acceptable. Then they became commonplace. Then they became practically mandatory.

If you didn’t belong to and fully support the Nazi party, at first you were called names. Then you were shunned. Eventually you were imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp.

If you didn’t salute Hitler and the Nazi flag, you were “looked at,” the same way people look at us when we don’t stand for the pledge. Then people wouldn’t do business with you. Eventually, not saluting Hitler became a crime. You went away and were never seen or heard from again.

The path toward dictatorship begins with small steps, like saluting a flag. Piece by piece, freedom is dismantled. That is why it is critical to catch the undoing of freedom early. That is why Matthew sat out the pledge, and why I support him.

Our “beloved Patriot” will think I am comparing our country to Nazi Germany. I am, but only in this: every nation is capable of going down that road. We will go down it unless we guard against it.

I am writing this to every resident of Kearny. It is a personal note to each of you. I can’t explain the parallel to the way the Pledge of Allegiance is being treated in our schools all over America, any more clearly than I just did. I repeat, we are nowhere near that point, but we are headed for some tough economic times, and our politics could turn on us in a very short time. I choose to speak up now because I don’t want us ever to come close to the point the German people reached in the 1930s.

Oppressive and dictatorial governments use symbols like the flag or a national song or pledge to identify dissidents, the people who think for themselves, whose fierce independence preserves a nation’s liberty. They are sought out because they endanger dictatorial rule.

The other thing that happens in a free country, which turns it into a dictatorship, is that good people do not act in defense of liberty. I know there are people in Kearny who get this, yet virtually no one has come out publicly in defense of freedom. I keep wondering when someone in this town is going to do that.

"The Nazis had their slogans and their symbols". So in your twisted mind, you equate Americans standing and reciting the pledge with the Nazis. The millions of Americans who love their country and fight and die to protect it from our enemies are not worthy of your respect. You're a real nice guy Paul, I'm sure you're just a pleasure to be around.

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Paul,

I understand what you are saying. You, your son, and the rest of your family have the right not to stand for the pledge. That does not mean you do not respect our country and all those who came before us so that you are able to make that choice.

I choose to stand, just like I choose to pray. Our differences do not make one of us right and the other wrong. We are both Americans and I personally am glad that we are able to have differences or we would be in Nazi Germany wearing our brown shirts.

Thank you.

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"The Nazis had their slogans and their symbols". So in your twisted mind, you equate Americans standing and reciting the pledge with the Nazis. The millions of Americans who love their country and fight and die to protect it from our enemies are not worthy of your respect. You're a real nice guy Paul, I'm sure you're just a pleasure to be around.

I am a nice guy, though I'm not everyone's cup of tea. You're distorting my words and my meaning. All I'm saying is that when the people make too much of a pledge or a flag salute or anything like that, the country is in danger of going down the road the Nazis went down. Standing and reciting is not the problem. The problem is the attitude behind it:

(1) Insisting that everyone else do it;

(2) Thinking there's something wrong with people who decline to do it;

(3) Turning it into an obligation;

(4) Confusing it with the real work of patriotism, things like contributing to the community, getting an education, raising a family, working and paying taxes.

You will never understand what I'm saying if you keep distorting it.

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Paul,

I understand what you are saying. You, your son, and the rest of your family have the right not to stand for the pledge. That does not mean you do not respect our country and all those who came before us so that you are able to make that choice.

I choose to stand, just like I choose to pray. Our differences do not make one of us right and the other wrong. We are both Americans and I personally am glad that we are able to have differences or we would be in Nazi Germany wearing our brown shirts.

Definitely.

And here's an interesting article which expands on Paul's comments - that slippery slope.

And They Thought They Were Free

"And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/511928.html

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Guest Charlie Brown

Good Grief, Paul. Give it a rest. Stop over analyzing everything and just let people do what they wish without throwing in your two cents (in your case it's more like a quarter). There is nothing wrong with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance...once, twice or on a regular basis. To most of us, it feels good and we enjoy it and it makes us feel proud of our country. If you, your son and all of your friends don't want to, that's okay too. Just please stop making the rest of us who worship a God, support a religion and honor our country the way that we want to, feel like we inferior to you and your beliefs. Live and let live. I guess I could just stop reading your rants but I feel some need to defend a portion of our society who just don't simply follow along with things like sheep (the way you would have us believe) but we do so because we are good people with faith, our own beliefs and respect for others. I think your legal mind is always looking to defend what is right and wrong, black and white or good and bad. That's fine , I guess. Just please stop attempting to change our thinking. I lot of us like the way we are (and the way we think) just fine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are going down the same path of Nazi's or a dictatorship. None!

A recent post from the person who calls himself “Patriot” prompts me to open this topic. It is reproduced below in its entirety. I repeat that I did not say what he accuses me of saying.

So reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a "harmful practice". You are such a dispicable person. You dishonor our many brave military who have given their lives and limbs to allow dirt bags like yourself to be able to stand and pledge your love and support for everything this country stands for. But you consider that simple act a harmful practice. While others give their lives, you mock them, you disgusting piece of s--t.

This is how dictatorships begin. The United States is not at that point, but we were headed in that direction throughout Bush’s presidency. In Hitler’s Germany, here is how it went.

First the Nazi party became respectable. Then it became dominant. Before long, people thought “there must be something wrong with you” if you weren’t a Nazi. You must not be a good German. You must not be a patriot. We can’t trust you. We won’t listen to you. You are "the other" and that is how we will treat you.

Dictators always rely on unthinking thugs to rise to power and stay in power. I hate to say it, but this so-called "Patriot" would have fit right in. The people who supported Hitler were regular people, just like our own “beloved Patriot.” He doesn't mean to act like a Nazi; he just can’t seem to help himself. Obviously, he doesn’t know any other way to think.

The Nazis had their symbols and their slogans. Virtually all dictatorial regimes do. At first, brownshirts were acceptable. Then they became commonplace. Then they became practically mandatory.

If you didn’t belong to and fully support the Nazi party, at first you were called names. Then you were shunned. Eventually you were imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp.

If you didn’t salute Hitler and the Nazi flag, you were “looked at,” the same way people look at us when we don’t stand for the pledge. Then people wouldn’t do business with you. Eventually, not saluting Hitler became a crime. You went away and were never seen or heard from again.

The path toward dictatorship begins with small steps, like saluting a flag. Piece by piece, freedom is dismantled. That is why it is critical to catch the undoing of freedom early. That is why Matthew sat out the pledge, and why I support him.

Our “beloved Patriot” will think I am comparing our country to Nazi Germany. I am, but only in this: every nation is capable of going down that road. We will go down it unless we guard against it.

I am writing this to every resident of Kearny. It is a personal note to each of you. I can’t explain the parallel to the way the Pledge of Allegiance is being treated in our schools all over America, any more clearly than I just did. I repeat, we are nowhere near that point, but we are headed for some tough economic times, and our politics could turn on us in a very short time. I choose to speak up now because I don’t want us ever to come close to the point the German people reached in the 1930s.

Oppressive and dictatorial governments use symbols like the flag or a national song or pledge to identify dissidents, the people who think for themselves, whose fierce independence preserves a nation’s liberty. They are sought out because they endanger dictatorial rule.

The other thing that happens in a free country, which turns it into a dictatorship, is that good people do not act in defense of liberty. I know there are people in Kearny who get this, yet virtually no one has come out publicly in defense of freedom. I keep wondering when someone in this town is going to do that.

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Good Grief, Paul. Give it a rest. Stop over analyzing everything and just let people do what they wish without throwing in your two cents (in your case it's more like a quarter). There is nothing wrong with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance...once, twice or on a regular basis. To most of us, it feels good and we enjoy it and it makes us feel proud of our country. If you, your son and all of your friends don't want to, that's okay too. Just please stop making the rest of us who worship a God, support a religion and honor our country the way that we want to, feel like we inferior to you and your beliefs. Live and let live. I guess I could just stop reading your rants but I feel some need to defend a portion of our society who just don't simply follow along with things like sheep (the way you would have us believe) but we do so because we are good people with faith, our own beliefs and respect for others. I think your legal mind is always looking to defend what is right and wrong, black and white or good and bad. That's fine , I guess. Just please stop attempting to change our thinking. I lot of us like the way we are (and the way we think) just fine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are going down the same path of Nazi's or a dictatorship. None!

Pretty damned ironic, your lecturing me to "live and let live." The entire genesis of this discussion is the fact that quite a few people can't seem to live with the fact that Matthew and I are not going to stand for the pledge unless and until some attitudes change. You live and let live, then we wouldn't have to have these discussions.

No, I will not stop. There is more reason for concern than you think in my opinion. We may have turned the corner with Obama's election, but under Bush our liberties were significantly restricted. The executive branch took on increased powers and was allowed to spy on us without any meaningful check from either of the other branches of government. The right to habeas corpus was dimininished. Bush and Cheney argued for and were advancing a "unitary executive" theory, which is just a fancy phrase for one man controlling everything. Not a step toward dictatorship, you say? Then what would you call it? And now you want me to be quiet. Uh-huh.

Furthermore, if you follow these threads carefully you will see that I am not the one to initiate these discussions. I opened this topic, but only in response to an especially vicious post from so-called "Patriot," who cannot seem to abide any dissent.

Just because you like saying the pledge doesn't mean there isn't a problem. Chocolate cake feels good too, but if you eat too much of it too often, you have a problem. I was six years old when JFK was elected. At that time Americans used to think beyond their own personal comfort when they thought about politics. I hope we'll get back to that. Meanwhile, the pledge is a product of our laws. It's not like a group of folks just decide to get together and have a picnic.

It's easy for you to say "live and let live." You are in the majority, you are safe. I stick my neck out a little every time I post here. You don't even have the guts to post your real name, so don't even think about complaining about what I should post and not post. I will continue to post here as long as KOTW's administrators allow me to do it. It's not your call to make.

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Good Grief, Paul. Give it a rest. Stop over analyzing everything and just let people do what they wish without throwing in your two cents (in your case it's more like a quarter). There is nothing wrong with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance...once, twice or on a regular basis. To most of us, it feels good and we enjoy it and it makes us feel proud of our country. If you, your son and all of your friends don't want to, that's okay too. Just please stop making the rest of us who worship a God, support a religion and honor our country the way that we want to, feel like we inferior to you and your beliefs. Live and let live. I guess I could just stop reading your rants but I feel some need to defend a portion of our society who just don't simply follow along with things like sheep (the way you would have us believe) but we do so because we are good people with faith, our own beliefs and respect for others. I think your legal mind is always looking to defend what is right and wrong, black and white or good and bad. That's fine , I guess. Just please stop attempting to change our thinking. I lot of us like the way we are (and the way we think) just fine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are going down the same path of Nazi's or a dictatorship. None!

"Please stop attempting to change our thinking." What the hell has happened to this society? "Leave me alone." "Don't make me think."

Watch the film clip on this link. Scroll down to the second screen to play the video. We've accepted a subservient role in our own society. Thsi film was made 30 years ago. Tell me this doesn't predict the rise of Fox. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeec...chnetwork3.html

If we don't start thinking very seriously about how profoundly the world has changed in our lifetimes, we are not going to maintain any semblance of freedom. Maybe you don't want to think about it. I do, but my thinking isn't enough. I need you to think too. So sorry, if you're going to read these pages, I'm going to be ranting because I think it's not just important but essential. The fact that it bothers you says something, and that something isn't good. Think about it.

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Guest *Autonomous*
"The Nazis had their slogans and their symbols". So in your twisted mind, you equate Americans standing and reciting the pledge with the Nazis. The millions of Americans who love their country and fight and die to protect it from our enemies are not worthy of your respect. You're a real nice guy Paul, I'm sure you're just a pleasure to be around.

This has been said for years. Answer this-how precisely does not reciting the pledge disrespect our soldiers? I didn't fight for the pledge, I fought for my country and the ideals upon which it stands.

I am a nice guy, though I'm not everyone's cup of tea. You're distorting my words and my meaning. All I'm saying is that when the people make too much of a pledge or a flag salute or anything like that, the country is in danger of going down the road the Nazis went down. Standing and reciting is not the problem. The problem is the attitude behind it:

(1) Insisting that everyone else do it;

(2) Thinking there's something wrong with people who decline to do it;

(3) Turning it into an obligation;

(4) Confusing it with the real work of patriotism, things like contributing to the community, getting an education, raising a family, working and paying taxes.

You will never understand what I'm saying if you keep distorting it.

To all the right-wingers-the bolded part is what you need to pay attention to.

Paul-do you remember your basic anthropology? The Pledge of Allegiance is a ritual. To those who engage in it with introspection it can be meaningful, while some cannot because of the two added words. I do in fact stand for the pledge, but as an atheist I can certainly understand why the "under God" bit makes that a difficult proposition for others. You are absolutely right-to people like Patriot the ritual has taken place of the ideal. It is a very primitive way of thinking-ritual as cultural identity. Since you don't take part, you become the Other, and to primitive morality empathy only extends to their own group. This way of thinking is in fact necessary to allow injustices such as the rise of the Nazis-or even our own actions as defining anyone opposing us as a terrorist so that anything we do to them is alright.

We pretty much already knew that about Patriot by his version of Christianity-he is moral and we are immoral because he is Christian and we are not-allegiance trumps actual morality. Never mind that he is a perfect example of everything wrong about religion-he can treat us however he wants because once again we are the Other. He is lazy-rather than actually being moral he'd rather just conflate morality with group identity. This precisely why I dislike religion-far too many of its adherants use it to feel moral without actually having to do anything.

Good Grief, Paul. Give it a rest. Stop over analyzing everything and just let people do what they wish without throwing in your two cents (in your case it's more like a quarter). There is nothing wrong with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance...once, twice or on a regular basis. To most of us, it feels good and we enjoy it and it makes us feel proud of our country. If you, your son and all of your friends don't want to, that's okay too. Just please stop making the rest of us who worship a God, support a religion and honor our country the way that we want to, feel like we inferior to you and your beliefs. Live and let live. I guess I could just stop reading your rants but I feel some need to defend a portion of our society who just don't simply follow along with things like sheep (the way you would have us believe) but we do so because we are good people with faith, our own beliefs and respect for others. I think your legal mind is always looking to defend what is right and wrong, black and white or good and bad. That's fine , I guess. Just please stop attempting to change our thinking. I lot of us like the way we are (and the way we think) just fine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are going down the same path of Nazi's or a dictatorship. None!

You are wrong, you idiot. How can you be so stupid!

How did that make you feel? Did you want to respond?

As far as the 'no reason' bit-talk to anyone trained in sociology or even psychology. Dehumanization is a necessary first step. I don't think that we are headed towards dictatorship because only a tiny minority of the country thinks as people like Patriot do. But do you really think that Patriot would oppose a new Sedition Act?

Paul doesn't want you to stop saying the pledge-he just wants you to respect his right not to. You may very well be a 'good person' who recites the pledge out of patriotism-but so is Paul, and until you can recognize that your claim to respect others is farcical.

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Good Grief, Paul. Give it a rest. Stop over analyzing everything and just let people do what they wish without throwing in your two cents (in your case it's more like a quarter). There is nothing wrong with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance...once, twice or on a regular basis. To most of us, it feels good and we enjoy it and it makes us feel proud of our country. If you, your son and all of your friends don't want to, that's okay too. Just please stop making the rest of us who worship a God, support a religion and honor our country the way that we want to, feel like we inferior to you and your beliefs. Live and let live. I guess I could just stop reading your rants but I feel some need to defend a portion of our society who just don't simply follow along with things like sheep (the way you would have us believe) but we do so because we are good people with faith, our own beliefs and respect for others. I think your legal mind is always looking to defend what is right and wrong, black and white or good and bad. That's fine , I guess. Just please stop attempting to change our thinking. I lot of us like the way we are (and the way we think) just fine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are going down the same path of Nazi's or a dictatorship. None!

You're kidding yourself, Charlie Brown.

“When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Fascism#Attributed

http://www.cafepress.com/gimmiesometruth/2708263

Anyone who says it can’t happen here is a poor student of history.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul225.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Can't_Happen_Here

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/art...8/public_enemy/

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I am a nice guy, though I'm not everyone's cup of tea. You're distorting my words and my meaning. All I'm saying is that when the people make too much of a pledge or a flag salute or anything like that, the country is in danger of going down the road the Nazis went down. Standing and reciting is not the problem. The problem is the attitude behind it:

(1) Insisting that everyone else do it;

(2) Thinking there's something wrong with people who decline to do it;

(3) Turning it into an obligation;

(4) Confusing it with the real work of patriotism, things like contributing to the community, getting an education, raising a family, working and paying taxes.

You will never understand what I'm saying if you keep distorting it.

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I am a nice guy, though I'm not everyone's cup of tea. You're distorting my words and my meaning. All I'm saying is that when the people make too much of a pledge or a flag salute or anything like that, the country is in danger of going down the road the Nazis went down. Standing and reciting is not the problem. The problem is the attitude behind it:

(1) Insisting that everyone else do it;

(2) Thinking there's something wrong with people who decline to do it;

(3) Turning it into an obligation;

(4) Confusing it with the real work of patriotism, things like contributing to the community, getting an education, raising a family, working and paying taxes.

You will never understand what I'm saying if you keep distorting it.

Maybe you should feel that it's an obligation.

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Good Grief, Paul. Give it a rest. Stop over analyzing everything and just let people do what they wish without throwing in your two cents (in your case it's more like a quarter). There is nothing wrong with reciting the Pledge of Allegiance...once, twice or on a regular basis. To most of us, it feels good and we enjoy it and it makes us feel proud of our country. If you, your son and all of your friends don't want to, that's okay too. Just please stop making the rest of us who worship a God, support a religion and honor our country the way that we want to, feel like we inferior to you and your beliefs. Live and let live. I guess I could just stop reading your rants but I feel some need to defend a portion of our society who just don't simply follow along with things like sheep (the way you would have us believe) but we do so because we are good people with faith, our own beliefs and respect for others. I think your legal mind is always looking to defend what is right and wrong, black and white or good and bad. That's fine , I guess. Just please stop attempting to change our thinking. I lot of us like the way we are (and the way we think) just fine. There is absolutely no reason to believe that we are going down the same path of Nazi's or a dictatorship. None!

There is reason to believe it. It's always the same thing. One person dares to be a little different and takes all kinds of abuse for it. Even the people who aren't doing the abusing side with the abusers. "Stop making the rest of us. . ." "I feel some need to defend a portion of our society . . ." "Just please stop attempting to change our thinking." God forbid that you should change your thinking. Why does that threaten you, Charlie Brown? The point is not what you're doing, but how you're doing it.

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A recent post from the person who calls himself “Patriot” prompts me to open this topic. It is reproduced below in its entirety. I repeat that I did not say what he accuses me of saying.

So reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a "harmful practice". You are such a dispicable person. You dishonor our many brave military who have given their lives and limbs to allow dirt bags like yourself to be able to stand and pledge your love and support for everything this country stands for. But you consider that simple act a harmful practice. While others give their lives, you mock them, you disgusting piece of s--t.

This is how dictatorships begin. The United States is not at that point, but we were headed in that direction throughout Bush’s presidency. In Hitler’s Germany, here is how it went.

First the Nazi party became respectable. Then it became dominant. Before long, people thought “there must be something wrong with you” if you weren’t a Nazi. You must not be a good German. You must not be a patriot. We can’t trust you. We won’t listen to you. You are "the other" and that is how we will treat you.

Dictators always rely on unthinking thugs to rise to power and stay in power. I hate to say it, but this so-called "Patriot" would have fit right in. The people who supported Hitler were regular people, just like our own “beloved Patriot.” He doesn't mean to act like a Nazi; he just can’t seem to help himself. Obviously, he doesn’t know any other way to think.

The Nazis had their symbols and their slogans. Virtually all dictatorial regimes do. At first, brownshirts were acceptable. Then they became commonplace. Then they became practically mandatory.

If you didn’t belong to and fully support the Nazi party, at first you were called names. Then you were shunned. Eventually you were imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp.

If you didn’t salute Hitler and the Nazi flag, you were “looked at,” the same way people look at us when we don’t stand for the pledge. Then people wouldn’t do business with you. Eventually, not saluting Hitler became a crime. You went away and were never seen or heard from again.

The path toward dictatorship begins with small steps, like saluting a flag. Piece by piece, freedom is dismantled. That is why it is critical to catch the undoing of freedom early. That is why Matthew sat out the pledge, and why I support him.

Our “beloved Patriot” will think I am comparing our country to Nazi Germany. I am, but only in this: every nation is capable of going down that road. We will go down it unless we guard against it.

I am writing this to every resident of Kearny. It is a personal note to each of you. I can’t explain the parallel to the way the Pledge of Allegiance is being treated in our schools all over America, any more clearly than I just did. I repeat, we are nowhere near that point, but we are headed for some tough economic times, and our politics could turn on us in a very short time. I choose to speak up now because I don’t want us ever to come close to the point the German people reached in the 1930s.

Oppressive and dictatorial governments use symbols like the flag or a national song or pledge to identify dissidents, the people who think for themselves, whose fierce independence preserves a nation’s liberty. They are sought out because they endanger dictatorial rule.

The other thing that happens in a free country, which turns it into a dictatorship, is that good people do not act in defense of liberty. I know there are people in Kearny who get this, yet virtually no one has come out publicly in defense of freedom. I keep wondering when someone in this town is going to do that.

No,Paul, that didn't prompt you to open another topic, you just wanted to be Post #1 instead of continuing on page 3 where

our other topic was. Give your fellow Americans a little more credit. Those of us who say the Pledge are not saying it mindlessly. We know we have the right not to say it and I believe that is what our schools should be teaching our children. It was taught to me that way and I want it to be continued. From what I see a lot of people have come out publicly on this site to defend our freedoms. I don't give my name because I choose to not have my family be criticized for my way of thinking. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't stand on Kearny Ave and shout my name for freedom if the need arose.

I can see now why Matthew made the decisions he made and they all come from you. The child has been the victim of your rantings. You are no better than those parents who live through their children in sports. You need to now back off and let your child figure out for himself where his life is going to take him. He is not you, Paul.

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No,Paul, that didn't prompt you to open another topic, you just wanted to be Post #1 instead of continuing on page 3 where

our other topic was. Give your fellow Americans a little more credit. Those of us who say the Pledge are not saying it mindlessly. We know we have the right not to say it and I believe that is what our schools should be teaching our children. It was taught to me that way and I want it to be continued. From what I see a lot of people have come out publicly on this site to defend our freedoms. I don't give my name because I choose to not have my family be criticized for my way of thinking. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't stand on Kearny Ave and shout my name for freedom if the need arose.

I can see now why Matthew made the decisions he made and they all come from you. The child has been the victim of your rantings. You are no better than those parents who live through their children in sports. You need to now back off and let your child figure out for himself where his life is going to take him. He is not you, Paul.

In other words, a sheep is a sheep because he's being a good sheep, but a watch dog is his father's fault. You can say you're not mindless as many times as you like. Mindless is as mindless does.

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Guest Patriot
This has been said for years. Answer this-how precisely does not reciting the pledge disrespect our soldiers? I didn't fight for the pledge, I fought for my country and the ideals upon which it stands.

To all the right-wingers-the bolded part is what you need to pay attention to.

Paul-do you remember your basic anthropology? The Pledge of Allegiance is a ritual. To those who engage in it with introspection it can be meaningful, while some cannot because of the two added words. I do in fact stand for the pledge, but as an atheist I can certainly understand why the "under God" bit makes that a difficult proposition for others. You are absolutely right-to people like Patriot the ritual has taken place of the ideal. It is a very primitive way of thinking-ritual as cultural identity. Since you don't take part, you become the Other, and to primitive morality empathy only extends to their own group. This way of thinking is in fact necessary to allow injustices such as the rise of the Nazis-or even our own actions as defining anyone opposing us as a terrorist so that anything we do to them is alright.

We pretty much already knew that about Patriot by his version of Christianity-he is moral and we are immoral because he is Christian and we are not-allegiance trumps actual morality. Never mind that he is a perfect example of everything wrong about religion-he can treat us however he wants because once again we are the Other. He is lazy-rather than actually being moral he'd rather just conflate morality with group identity. This precisely why I dislike religion-far too many of its adherants use it to feel moral without actually having to do anything.

You are wrong, you idiot. How can you be so stupid!

How did that make you feel? Did you want to respond?

As far as the 'no reason' bit-talk to anyone trained in sociology or even psychology. Dehumanization is a necessary first step. I don't think that we are headed towards dictatorship because only a tiny minority of the country thinks as people like Patriot do. But do you really think that Patriot would oppose a new Sedition Act?

Paul doesn't want you to stop saying the pledge-he just wants you to respect his right not to. You may very well be a 'good person' who recites the pledge out of patriotism-but so is Paul, and until you can recognize that your claim to respect others is farcical.

So Autonomous, you've become Paul's mouthpiece? You claim you're former former military and you support Paul turning his back on our flag? The more you post, the more I'm convinced you must have served in the Cuban Army.

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This has been said for years. Answer this-how precisely does not reciting the pledge disrespect our soldiers? I didn't fight for the pledge, I fought for my country and the ideals upon which it stands.

To all the right-wingers-the bolded part is what you need to pay attention to.

Paul-do you remember your basic anthropology? The Pledge of Allegiance is a ritual. To those who engage in it with introspection it can be meaningful, while some cannot because of the two added words. I do in fact stand for the pledge, but as an atheist I can certainly understand why the "under God" bit makes that a difficult proposition for others. You are absolutely right-to people like Patriot the ritual has taken place of the ideal. It is a very primitive way of thinking-ritual as cultural identity. Since you don't take part, you become the Other, and to primitive morality empathy only extends to their own group. This way of thinking is in fact necessary to allow injustices such as the rise of the Nazis-or even our own actions as defining anyone opposing us as a terrorist so that anything we do to them is alright.

We pretty much already knew that about Patriot by his version of Christianity-he is moral and we are immoral because he is Christian and we are not-allegiance trumps actual morality. Never mind that he is a perfect example of everything wrong about religion-he can treat us however he wants because once again we are the Other. He is lazy-rather than actually being moral he'd rather just conflate morality with group identity. This precisely why I dislike religion-far too many of its adherants use it to feel moral without actually having to do anything.

You are wrong, you idiot. How can you be so stupid!

How did that make you feel? Did you want to respond?

As far as the 'no reason' bit-talk to anyone trained in sociology or even psychology. Dehumanization is a necessary first step. I don't think that we are headed towards dictatorship because only a tiny minority of the country thinks as people like Patriot do. But do you really think that Patriot would oppose a new Sedition Act?

Paul doesn't want you to stop saying the pledge-he just wants you to respect his right not to. You may very well be a 'good person' who recites the pledge out of patriotism-but so is Paul, and until you can recognize that your claim to respect others is farcical.

Superb post, for the most part. Too bad most people refuse to admit that they are part of the human species, and subject to all the twists and turns that go with it.

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No,Paul, that didn't prompt you to open another topic, you just wanted to be Post #1 instead of continuing on page 3 where

our other topic was. Give your fellow Americans a little more credit. Those of us who say the Pledge are not saying it mindlessly. We know we have the right not to say it and I believe that is what our schools should be teaching our children. It was taught to me that way and I want it to be continued. From what I see a lot of people have come out publicly on this site to defend our freedoms. I don't give my name because I choose to not have my family be criticized for my way of thinking. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't stand on Kearny Ave and shout my name for freedom if the need arose.

I can see now why Matthew made the decisions he made and they all come from you. The child has been the victim of your rantings. You are no better than those parents who live through their children in sports. You need to now back off and let your child figure out for himself where his life is going to take him. He is not you, Paul.

Actually, the reason for opening a new topic was to have a discussion on how dictatorships arise. That’s a new subject so I opened a new topic.

But as usual, you assume that you know more about my motives than I do. And of course, we’re not going to discuss the topic. You’re just going to take another opportunity to insult me, anonymously of course.

As for Matthew, I did my job rather well, but the credit really is his. He is talented. That kind of courage and perceptiveness cannot be trained. But thanks for the unintended compliment.

Meanwhile, we have a new president about to take office, but are stuck with two more months under the lamest of lame duck presidents and a lame duck Congress. We are entering the most difficult economic period since the Great Depression, have two wars going on, and have an urgent need to retool and restructure our entire economy. Every citizen will be affected. Surely you have better things to do than insult me.

You’re not going to get me to stop. I got used to this crap when you tried to shut me up two years ago. “Autonomous” is absolutely right about the anthropological lessons here; you have no idea that you’re behaving just like monkeys.

What works with most people doesn’t work with Matthew and me. That’s why we do it the way we do it. Attack me, and I’ll just post twice as often. You boneheads never learn, do you?

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I don't give my name because I choose to not have my family be criticized for my way of thinking.

That’s not how democracy works. At the old town hall meetings, everyone who stood up to speak was known to the community. In fact, the right to speak arose directly from being a member of the community. Everyone who participated put her name behind everything she said.

Most newspapers won’t publish your letter unless you sign your name. That’s a way of keeping letters responsible and to the point. People are less likely to say ridiculous things if they have to put their name to it. It doesn’t say much for the participants here that almost no one’s identity is known. Even the right to vote is premised on being identified as an eligible member of the community.

You have no credibility here. Nothing you write is worth anything, except strictly for its substantive content. Your claims of fact are meaningless because you refuse to identify yourself. The name-calling and invective could be coming from a lunatic or a psychotic. For all I know, you could be a radical Islamic terrorist posting here to undermine our democratic system. Do I think that? No, but I do stand by the observation that you have no credibility without your own name.

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