Dispatches from the Creation Wars

In their annual drive to pander to the hyper-emotional right, the House has yet again passed an amendment to ban flag burning. The award for the most shameless demagoguery so far:

“Ask the men and women who stood on top of the (World) Trade Center,” said Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif. “Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment.”

Come on Duke, you could have done better than that. You didn’t mention godless commies, mom or apple pie. You’re losing your touch. The award for the most sensible statement so far:

But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said, “If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents.”

Eugene Volokh has an excellent takedown of this bad idea here.


  1. #1 NJ
    June 23, 2005

    Somewhat OT perhaps. Or perhaps not, if viewed from a libertarian standpoint.
    The Supremes handed down Kelo today. The government CAN take your property and give it to someone else.
    I look forward to Ed and Timothy fisking the majority opinion.

  2. #2 Troy Britain
    June 23, 2005

    “If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents.”

    Hear, hear!

  3. #3 jpf
    June 23, 2005

    Liberals say you don’t really own land. Conservatives say you don’t really own flags. Seems everyone is a fairweather Commie nowadays.

  4. #4 jpf
    June 23, 2005

    Now that I think of it, the common rhetoric among the right-wing of “the people’s right to protect The Flag” (which is, of course, nonsensical gibberish since there is no “The Flag” that is in any jeopardy, only individual, mostly privately owned, instances of flags, most of which will never be burned, and those that will can be easily replaced) smacks of Collectivism.

    The “political spectrum” is an abject failure as a model and should be replaced with a “political Mobius strip”.

  5. #5 raj
    June 24, 2005

    A wag might note that it is somewhat odd that the US Congress might provide protection for a piece of cloth that is produced–in China.

    A wag who was a boy scout in the 1960s–as I was–might also note, that he was instructed to destroy a tattered US flag by burning it.

    A wag might also note that the number of incidences of US flag burning in the US over the last decade or so are between slim and none. A wag might wonder whether there aren’t more pressing issues for the US government to deal with than this one.

    A wag might suggest that, the fact that the government isn’t dealing with the more pressing issues is that those controlling the government don’t have the slightest idea how to deal with them. Bait and switch.

    But I’m not a wag. So I wouldn’t suggest any of them.


  6. #6 Mark Paris
    June 24, 2005

    I prefer to refer to this as the Flag Worship Amendment.

  7. #7 raj
    June 24, 2005

    A wag might also note the similarites between this and the “10C” cases, in which the people are genuflecting before Cecil B DeMille’s movie advertizements. Many of the 10C cases seem to involve ads that were mounted to advertize DeMille’s Ten Commandments movies, a horrible piece of silliness that ABC broadcasts every year during easter season. It was a wonderful piece of marketing, but the idea that people would revere these movie ads is literally weird.

New comments have been disabled.