Self-Righteousness is a Drug
Outrage rang forth from the nation's capital at Wednesday's court ruling that the pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional. All the congressman beat their breasts, said the pledge on the Capitol's steps, and passed resolutions, high on self-righteousness.
"High" is not a metaphor. Self-righteousness is anger at the out-group, self-congratulation at your chosen status, blended with your group's approval, all shaken[Link removed 03/24/2004] , not stirred, into a lovely but toxic drug cocktail using drugs already in the brain. I remember from when I was religious.
So no, the ruling is not silly or the pledge trivial. The ruling won't stand in the current group-think environment, in which political cartoonists are being persecuted and most news articles didn't quote anyone in favor of the decision. CNN quoted U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan professing bewilderment.
Group-think is not patriotism—America was founded on dissent! Criticizing the President is different from criticizing the constitution, or the democratic ideal of the United States, both of which I'm patriotic about. No "war on terrorism" is worth destroying either.