What’s good for the goose…

So, it appears Sarah Palin’s used this copout while justifying her support of “under god” appearing in the pledge of allegiance.

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

Now, nevermind that the Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 and the “under god” was added in 1954, well after anybody involved in the war for American Independence or the drafting of the constitution and other legal documents, had died (don’t tell her, or any conservative for that matter, that it was written by a socialist!)

This reflects the enshrining of the “founding fathers” as godlike, beyond reproach, perfect human beings with views to be judged in terms of eternal truths and timeless virtues. Rather than people of their time, people with very progressive views, but still people of their time. Clearly, the founding fathers represent everything and anything that a good American should stand up for; no more, no lesss. They never supported a single idea that we now deem reprehensible. Of course, we all know the founding fathers never even heatedly debated amongst themselves and ended up writing compromises of their diverging views. They were all no doubt unanimous on their approval of unquestionably righteous ideals.

What if we use this same construction to argue for other things that were implicitly or explicitly supported by the founding fathers (or what we think they supported)? Will it still carry the same weight, not to mention seriousness? Is it more effective if one only uses things that the founding fathers actually supported?

  • If slavery was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of the right to own human (dark) beings.
  • If guaranteeing the right to vote only to white males who owned land was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of the right to suppress the vote.
  • If fathering illegitimate children was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in the defense of the right to promiscuity.
  • If not believing in the divinity of Jesus was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of thinking he was just a man.
  • If Manifest Destiny was good enough for the founding fathers [Ed. Note: Remember, all that matters is that you think the founding fathers approved], it’s good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of the right of America to annex and invade lands.

The list goes on and on. This is clearly a very useful little argumentative tool. It may be entirely worthless, but hey, you get to give your little nationalistic founding fathers talking point! And that’s what matters.

Why is it so hard to just say “Yes, I believe that the U.S. of A. is a nation that exists under God’s direct tutelage”? I mean, it may run against separation of church and state ideals (gasp! supported by the founding fathers!), but that’s what most religious conservatives, Sarah Palin’s base, believe. Why take the dodge and go for a founding fathers copout? I guess that’s the mavericky thing to do.

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3 Responses

  1. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/from_the_horses_mouth.php Not sure if you’ve seen that or not, but PZ pretty much said exactly what you did. =p

  2. I hadn’t! And this comment here is probably the most hilarious thing I’ve read today:

    “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for Texas schoolchildren.”
    I can’t stop laughing. Thanks for the link!

  3. This post is full of awesome. Now I read the linked post.

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