Burn, Baby, Burn!

Recently there has been a brouhaha over Trump saying that burning the American flag should have consequences. There have been many responses. Perhaps the most common answer is that the Supreme Court has ruled that it’s legal, a part of freedom of speech.

I get that. There is a sense that one should have the right to speak out against the nation and this is one means of doing so. But is it really.

The first thing to remember is that technically the Supreme Court does NOT make law. That is the realm of Congress. It is only since FDR time that the Supreme Court has taken to making law – although Madison vs Marbury can be viewed as “making law”. But it took that bandit Cardozo to unhook Congress from the restrictions built into the Constitution. Ever since all branches of the federal government have acted unconstitutionally.

However, in these kinds of questions, it often helps to read the actual text. SO:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note that there is no comment there about burning the flag. Indeed, there is the word “peaceably” inserted and one could read that as burning the flag is no longer peaceable.

I believe the flag is a national symbol of the whole country, regardless of what your politics are. It imposes no restrictions on anyone, nor gives an advantage TO anyone.  One can disagree about policy, philosophy, etc, but it’s still the country. Even if we changed the government system, it would be the same country.

I believe it should be protected. You can say what you want, but you can’t burn the country and you shouldn’t be able to burn the flag. The ‘tard from “Jefferson” who lectured Gov. Pence did it respectfully. He may have been a ‘tard, but he was within his rights to be a ‘tard and say what he did.

?What say you people.

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12 Responses to Burn, Baby, Burn!

  1. NandaNanda says:

    Why this…now? And why the threat to turn those who do into Edward Everett Hale’s “Phiiip Nolan”? Ominous-sounding…

  2. AdministratorAdministrator says:

    Broad agreement, but with some quibbles, in which I sharpen your point and go looking for an ox to gore.
    The Constitution is not neutral between points of view, but is a point of view itself, and is therefore not neutral on forms of government, but specifies a form of government, and is not neutral on whose Constitution it is, it is the Constitution of the people composing the American nation, and not other people. It neither presumes nor attempts to govern any but those whose consent and affirmation are required to keep it going, nor to secure the freedoms of any other people, be they here or there. The nation is the people not the land, and the Constitution is explicitly a nationalist document.
    The duty in the oath is to defend the Constitution, not the land, the government, the office-holders, or even the nation of people.
    The flag is the symbol of the nation, of the ideals of the Constitution, not as it might be in some other word, or given sufficient time in inattention, but as it is written, so let it be done, America.
    I do not care much what the Supreme Court says. I like your take that the burning is no longer peaceable. Burn the flag around me, and I’ll gladly start a fight with no idea who might win.

  3. JJJJ says:

    I have always been of the opinion that people should be free to burn the flag, even though I would never participate nor burn one myself (outside of flag retirement, which is obviously different). But now that you’ve brought it up, I agree that burning a flag might not qualify as peaceful assembly. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but that interpretation seems like it could apply.

  4. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    IIRC the military oath was to defend the nation AND to defend the constitution. Article I, Section 8, where the powers of Congress are enumerated (and then is the federal government power), There is the bit about levying tax “to provide for the common defense”. One can take these to be the land as well as the people. Add to that the concept that property is paramount in the constitution as the product of the labour of the people, and you come up with the land being quite important.

    But we’re quibbling. Both of us appear to believe the flag should be protected – somehow. ?How about decriminalizing any action to DEFEND the flag – including stomping the daylights out of the ‘tard who tries to burn it.

  5. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    JJ – the Founders never envisioned totally unrestricted behavior. One doesn’t have license to riot, even though examples of late seem to give at least city blacks such authority.

    Having been in the service a fair amount of time, I am sensitive to issues concerning the flag. There are specifics proscribed on how it is flown, etc. I have from time to time made comment to places that fail to bring in the flag at night, nor light it properly. With that in mind, ?why would we allow the burning of the flag. It seems an abrogation of our nation, our culture.

    The Left has been busy promoting the concept of “hate crimes” and advocating “safe spaces” and the idea of “micro-aggression”. ?So how about a “safe space” for the flag.

  6. JJJJ says:

    Well, yes, I am also very sensitive about all that same stuff. So maybe I’ve just been inconsistent on that point. But please don’t take my willingness to let people burn the flag for a personal disregard for the flag, nor for approval of flag-burning.

    My eldest daughter was on a national-champion color guard team for two years with the Civil Air Patrol. Some of my proudest moments as a mother was watching that team present outdoor colors. Indoor was cool too, but there was just something really special about the way they did the outdoor presentation.

    This team was so good that when a former CAP member died in Iraq, the team was asked to be the honor guard at the funeral. They totally nailed it, and even the presiding military officer commented on what a good job they did. Such a bittersweet experience.

  7. EThompson says:

    I’ve been reading this exchange between D and JJ for 24 hours now and I’ve been torn as to how to react.

    I think I’ve finally found my moral compass on this issue and this is it:

    The idea of burning the flag simply nauseates me but I’ll approve its legality and focus my criticism on the individual family values that appear to tolerate this behavior.

    As a Boomer from the dinosaur age, I know that my parents would have jerked me out of my fancy private college in a NY minute if I had ever done such a thing on campus.

    In other words, I am pointing fingers at families who do not take responsibility for inoculating their kids from seriously stupid activities.

    I know how difficult this can be (even as a non-parent) but my family dinner discussions about books, newspaper articles, and the international news helped me to form my own opinions and deflect some of the nonsense I was experiencing on campus in the 70s.

  8. Mike LaRocheMike LaRoche says:

    Disco inferno…

  9. JJJJ says:

    You guys will LOVE this video. “Open video letter to Hampsire College Students”


  10. titus says:

    First amendment speech rights are actually pretty limited, construed strictly. It’s about politics & religion, the big things. But Americans are a free people & tend to destroy all limits in their path. Speech turns into expression naturally, because Americans want to express their indignation their birthright.

    I think most of this stuff that’s a little heartbreaking, like flag burning, comes of the age of no consensus. Americans don’t know which way to go. If they did, they wouldn’t bother with this & they’d be ok with reasonable restraints on this kind of foolish behavior.

    The American tendency to litigate disagreements, even or especially political disagreements, & to constitutionalize legal disagreements, too–that’s no way to build a consensus or persuade the people there’s a future for America. It’s very much a second best–a combination of the desire to take revenge that comes to Americans when they don’t see a way forward, they like to take it out on each other, whereas usually they don’t, & the desire to get a neutral answer, because disputations confuse the hell out of Americans & citizen equality makes them feel nobody’s opinion should prevail…

    That said, Mr. Devereaux, let’s talk one of these days.

  11. DevereauxDevereaux says:

    I think you hit on something, Titus. But it isn’t Americans who believe this – it’s the American Left. Which, in truth, resembles all other Lefts.

    It’s the Left that litigates everything. It’s the only way they will get to impliment their agenda. Look at the SCOTUS ruling on Obummercare. That was a travesty if there ever was one. Look at the current commentary about how most Amnericans “like” Obummercare; that’s wishful thinking.

    You are right about Americans liking to be free. But in the last 120+ years our own government has progressively taken away our freedoms, one by one. And most of the time it’s been via the courts.

    There was a time when the culture was confident in itself. So if you tried to burn the flag, you got waled upon. And no one cared. Ball had the right answer – step in and brawl, not knowing how it will turn out but it’s the “good fight”. And odds are it will turn out fine. ‘Tards who burn the flag generally aren’t brawlers; they’re louts who riot and ransack stores when no one is about.

    Mattis is a brawler. ?Think any of them would want to meet him in a dark alley.

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