Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Burn that Flag?

This is one of those issues that it's easy for me to chime in on. Some have asked me what the libertarian viewpoint is on this subject and to be honest, I couldn't tell you. This is probably an area where we are split. This is where I come down on it.

I hate laws that even look like they inhibit free speech. This said, I'm uncomfortable about a constitutional amendment allowing congress to have the authority to determine this issue.

While we're on the subject of comfort let me just explain what makes me even more uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable with American citizen or people living under the protection of this country burning the flag. They claim it is free speech, but last time I checked...burning something isn't free speech. Speech is speech.

There are certain things you can set on fire which send a message. Some of these messages we like, some of them we ponder, some we label as pure hate.

I think when someone burns a cross and claims that it is free speech, they are guilty of being naive about the clear and distinct message they are sending. The message that is exclaimed by burning a cross should never be protected by law.

In the same way that people celebrate burning man the message is far more abstract. I mean, it's basically a big rave, a modern day hippy celebration. Is burning man something that should be outlawed or is it free speech? Should the DEA at least be nearby ready to make a big bust?

Maybe we burn things because we've become so inarticulate at actually SPEAKING that the only way we can come close to getting across what little is on our minds, is to just light stuff on fire.

When it comes to burning the flag, allow me to propose a happy compromise that is workable for everyone.

Let's not criminalize flag burning. Instead let's make it legal to burn the flag, but also legal for rednecks to kick the ass of anyone they catch doing it. Nothing lethal, just a good beat down. After that the rednecks can go hunting and drink beers and the pinko commie that torched the flag can show off his scars for "the cause."

That's as reasonable as I can hope to be.

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