Friday, June 24, 2005

"The Nazis Had Pieces of Flair, Too..."

The US House of Representatives has passed a Constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning, and many analysts think that the Senate will also pass the amendment later this Summer.

Jon Stewart may have said it best: "[flag burning] is a dickish, juvenile act... but this almost makes me want to go out and burn one." Or something like that.

While, superficially, this is nothing more than some cheap politics, a diversion from our actual problems, there is a very disconcerting side to the story: the significance attached to the symbols of a nation-state are directly related to its slide into fascism. It's symbol over substance, as I discussed in Love Your Nation-State. Attaching meaning to the symbol itself is only necessary if the substantive freedoms or principles supposedly attached to that symbol are under attack.

As Nietzsche said, we have Symbols "in order not to perish of Truth." See John Zerzan's "The Case Against Art" for a primitivist critique of symbols.


Lone Ranger said...

I can understand the politicians' frustration. The flag is supposed to be a symbol that unites us. But since Vietnam, the left has used it to divide us. And since 9/11, burning the flag has become more than un-American, it's become anti-American. But that doesn't mean we need another law. Instead of banning flag-burning, I suggest the act be placed under the Fighting Words Doctrine -- meaning, if I saw someone burning our flag, I could kick his butt with impunity. After all, if we could defend our flag from the enemy on every battlefield from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War, why can't we defend our flag from the enemy on the battlefields of the cultural wars? I haven't punched out a hippy since one spit on my uniform in 1971. Maybe with some real luck, I could nail the same guy.

Ryan said...

The problem with the "fighting words" doctrine is that it would ultimately give license to lynch mobs. That didn't work out so well either.

I think our national deficit is a far more important issue for Congress to concern itself with than flag burning. How much taxpayer time and money was wasted drafting and voting on this?

...and I wear a uniform, and am deploying to the Middle East soon.

But I think anyone should be allowed to burn the flag. If we don't allow flag burning, we go down a very slipperly slope, and it ends in facism.

Jules said...

The end of the First Amendment (at least what is left of it) is drawing near...