Completely missing the point

PrawfsBlawg provides an example of studiously and completely missing the point in Obama’s School Speech and the First Amendment. This is like the “health care myths” debunkers who also create an army of straw men and then express hubris in knocking them down. The hubris is necessary to overcome the intellectual integrity failures with aplomb.

Two things strike me about this “controversy” — if it is that, and not simply a case of a few nuts with good access to media outlets. One is the parallel to the Pledge of Allegiance controversy following the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Newdow.

On any given day, schools teach far more controversial values to their children — say, that one ought to love one’s country, or for that matter one’s neighbors. When should parents be able to pull their children out of school for those reasons?

The ‘hubris’ part can be seen in the “few nuts” comment. The straw man is the parallel.

Referring to the debate about mentioning Judeo-Christian religious concepts or those about teaching sex in schools is where the straw man creeps in. What is causing the Obama speech controversy is the narcissism that was in the original speech where students were asked to serve the President and not the country. It is this that is deeply offensive to many American parents. The fact is that schools do very little to build pride in country or dedication to its principles and values and this also bothers many parents. The attacks on the pledge of allegiance are where many see the “few nuts” and not those who think that pledging allegiance to their country under God is a good thing for their children.

See, for instance, Pledge of Allegiance Becomes Pledge to Obama or “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama”. Many Americans have an inherent distaste, and indeed outright fear, of the phenomena of pledge to a ‘dear leader’ because they have seen this in many of the United States’ enemies. It is an offense to basic cultural values of independence and self reliance. The ‘Prawf’ and others may ridicule it and pretend something else but the real issue is what is motivating the reaction, not the straw man.

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