22 June 2005 - Wednesday

So ... flag-burning

Yeah, I oppose the proposed amendment. If flag-burning is not political speech, then what's the problem with it? -- and if it is political speech, what right do we have to outlaw it?

Of course, if burning a US flag were incitement to some violent act, it could be a different story. But I don't think it is; even pacifists can get their point across by burning flags.

Prof. Volokh, however, has a more interesting way of putting it:

"Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States, and the flying of the Confederate flag."

OK, so that's not exactly how the proposed flag protection amendment reads I've added the Confederate flag phrase. But this little thought experiment helps show that the flag protection amendment is a bad idea.

After all, burning the U.S. flag and flying the Confederate flag are similar in many ways. Some people argue that flagburning shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment because it isn't "speech." Well, burning one flag and waving another are pretty similar on that score. I think both are traditional terms in our political language, and should be constitutionally protected; but if I'm wrong, then both should be unprotected.

| Posted by Wilson at 22:12 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Power Desk