Americans - or perhaps I should clarify that to Republicans - seem to have a huge problem understanding the simple concepts of the Bill of Rights.
There is no value in a version of liberty which means you can believe what you want and say what you want as long as the party in power agrees with you. The whole point of the concept of freedom of speech and freedom of association is that you will defend to the death the rights of others to hold opinions that you find abhorrent. Including the violent overthrow of the state. Because that is exactly what the founding fathers advocated.
The American Revolution was an act of violent uprising against the legal government of the day. Its leaders, if caught, would have been hanged for treason. The 13 colonies were part of the British Empire and thus subjects of the Crown. Indeed last night I watched a fascinating interview by Charlie Rose with retired British General Sir Michael Rose, who has just published a book drawing parallels between the Revolutionary War and the mistakes the Americans have been making in Iraq. (And on his web page you can watch it yourself if you like.)
And it is unbelievable that oaths of allegiance are still a requirement of state employment that continues to be used against Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses. What ever happened to freedom of religion and separation of church and state?
"Land of the Free" - no, not really.