Honestly, I’d rather not write about this subject EVER again but unfortunately it just won’t go away. Now President Elect, Donald Trump has fanned the flames once again stating that he believes that anyone who burns the American Flag should be jailed or lose their citizenship or something…. OMG! are you kidding me?
Unfortunately there are more than a few people who have jumped on the bandwagon singing the praises of Trump for his patriotic vitriol and fall lockstep in line with the same rhetoric. And of course they will blast it all over Facebook and tell these flag burning infidels that “if you don’t like it then just leave”… blah, blah, blah and everyone and their uncle will click “like” and they all go to bed at night thinking… “well I guess we told them!” all the while being clueless to the fact that the US Supreme court has ruled, more than once, that, flag burning is regarded as free speech and if people wish to express dissatisfaction with their government in this manner they have every right to do so.
For all you people who consider yourself to be true patriots for standing against the “desecration of the flag” I want to ask you a few questions but before I do that let’s examine this idea of flag burning being a free speech issue.
The ruling of the Supreme Court is all well and fine but in fact, this is not really a free speech issue. It is however, a property rights issue. I would assume that these people who burn these flags go to the store and purchase them and are therefore the owners of these flags and if they are indeed the owners do they not have the right to do with their property whatever they wish, so long as they are not violating the property rights of others or aggressing against someone else’s property or person? The short answer for anyone who believes in property rights is – YES
So that settles it… But I know it doesn’t for many so to those who only claim to believe in the ideal of property rights let me get back to those questions. First. Let’s say the flag flying over the VFW has seen better days and it’s time to replace it with a new one. What is the procedure for disposing of the old flag? I believe it’s to be BURNED! Now, since we know the purpose of the burning of this flag has nothing to do with protestation against the government it’s all well and fine right? So if burning the flag, in this case, is not a “desecration” then what we’re saying is that it’s really about “intent” and if it’s about intent or in other words, what the person doing the burning “thinks” then when we purport that there should be a law against this sort of burning and anyone who breaks said law should be punished, we are saying that they should be punished for what they THINK and not what they do because obviously the ACT of burning a flag is only “wrong” in some cases but not all. Is that really a tenable position for those who claim to believe in liberty and freedom to take? Absolutely not, unless of course they are really comfortable with their hypocrisy.
Second. Where do people get the idea that a piece of colored cloth is “sacred”? In order for a thing to be desecrated is to say that it IS sacred and anyone of any sort of religious persuasion should be appalled at such a notion. Did God say anywhere that the flags of nation-states are holy and there shall be no desecration upon pain of punishment or death or any such thing? I don’t think so. And if the flag of your country is sacred doesn’t that mean the flag of every other country on earth is also sacred or is only the “American” flag sacred? What about the Iranian flag? Is it okay to burn it? “…but people have bled and died for that flag and are fighting for it even now”. For goodness sakes people, it’s just a piece of cloth and nobody has EVER died for a piece of cloth and I doubt that they ever would but if that’s the case, didn’t people bleed and die for the Iranian flag as well? You see how superfluous this becomes?
The problem lies in the fact that those who have come through the government school system have been indoctrinated with “statism” from K through 12 and then on into college, if they attended and they don’t know how to think any other way. People today seem to have the idea that the founders of this country wrote and enacted the Pledge of Allegiance and required every citizen to place their hand over their heart while singing the national anthem at public gatherings and such but in fact, I believe, most of them would have been appalled at the idea of pledging one’s allegiance to and saluting a flag. Most of them were not Nationalist and were all too familiar of being forced to “pledge allegiance” to a King or any such authority figure including “The State”. This is why they created a Federal Republic and not a National Government. It was about self determination, liberty, self reliance, volunteerism and the like. You know, the “pursuit of happiness” and all that, it wasn’t about forcing people to worship the “Republic” and bow down in front of it’s flag.
I’ve said it so many times but again, pledging allegiance to the flag and standing at football games for the National Anthem, a patriot does not make and maligning those who choose not to do so is more endemic of Nationalism bordering on Fascism. This attitude would be much more at home in North Korea or the old Soviet Union or even Red China but it’s not at all an American ideal. It’s nationalism and it’s part and parcel of nationalism that had it’s birth at the end of the Civil War (so called) and has been propagated by the power mongering Statist progressives of the 20th century and beyond.
These machinations of patriotism are all quite modern and were not practiced by the earlier generations of Americans. Do the research and you’ll find that the “Pledge of Allegiance” is quite a modern phenomenon. It became popular around the same time as Hitler was Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year”. That should give you pause and make you wonder what sort of influences people were under at the time; they were all about Nationalism and it’s gotten worse I’m afraid.
So if you really want to be a patriot, do what patriots have always done and stand for liberty and freedom and against tyranny of any form and that includes the tyranny of the majority, better known as democracy. Using the power of government to mandate your version of patriotism is the antithesis of the liberty and freedom that you say the flag represents so let people alone to do what they will with their own property and if you don’t like the way they think then try using the art of persuasion, not coercion. It is the feeble minded who use the threat of violence to force others to yield to their point of view.