“A Flag Has To Be Worth Torching”

Mark Steyn:

I’m a Canadian and one day, during the Kosovo war, I switched on the TV and there were some fellows jumping up and down in Belgrade burning the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Big deal, seen it a million times. But then to my astonishment, some of those excitable Serbs produced a Maple Leaf from somewhere and started torching that. Don’t ask me why — we had a small contribution to the Kosovo bombing campaign but evidently it was enough to arouse the ire of Slobo’s boys. I’ve never been so proud to be Canadian in years. I turned the sound up to see if they were yelling ”Death to the Little Satan!” But you can’t have everything.

I tend to oppose regulation against flag-burning. I understand why this issue trips some triggers; most people don’t, I think, outside of the ranks with military experience or an acquaintance with American history beyond what the public schools teach. And I can’t quite get beyond the hypocrisy: burning a flag is protected speech, but telling radio listeners why they should vote for you isn’t?

Still, I tend to prefer to err on the side of liberty on this issue. Mark’s essay highlights two advantages of legal flag-burning. First, it’s definitely an act which makes someone’s position on a lot of things clear; don’t you appreciate knowing? Second, being reviled by evil people is honorable, not shameful.

(Via Don Sensing.)