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Monday, June 27, 2005

Flag Burning -- The Real Question

The Washington Post says in a Monday editorial that flag-burning should not be banned because
Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech. The great power of this principle is that it admits no exception: not for the most odious racism or Holocaust denial, not for the most insulting criticisms of those in high office, not for cone-shaped white hoods or hammers and sickles, and not for burning or otherwise defiling the Stars and Stripes.
Point 1: Speech involves flapping gums, not flames.

Point 2: Despite the Post editorial's claim, exceptions already are made to the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. Examples include defamation, causing panic/harm to others, incitement to crime, obscenity and sedition (advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government).

A more insightful Post editorial would have tackled the question: Does burning an American flag, by an American, in America, constitute sedition?

If it does, should we ban the practice, or consider it consistent with our revolutionary heritage?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:18 AM

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