View Poll Results: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

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    10 14.93%
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    55 82.09%
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Thread: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

  1. #11
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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    Freedom of speech is more important than the American flag.


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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    I really feel there are differences in each of these cases to the flag burning question. I feel like your brining up oranges when I'm trying to talk about apples. So I will address them individually as evidence of this claim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post

    What's the difference in the physical activity between a bar fight and a fight in a ring? In one case yo'ure punching a guy, in another you're punching a guy.
    A fight in a ring is done under contact between two consenting adults. The observers are ones that also consent to viewing such violence. Everyone consents. A public fight is one in which is not planned and so it causes significant disruption to the public. Whereas a legal flagburning, with the proper permits, etc. is planned in
    advanced and those that attend will do so knowing the 'violence' they are about to see.
    What's the difference in the physical activity of making yourself naked in your house and making yourself naked in public? In one case you're taking clothes off, in another you're taking clothes off.

    What's the difference in the physical activity of saying "I'm going to kill the President" as part of a joke and saying "I'm going to kill the President" out front of the white house? In one case you're saying words, in another case you're saying words.
    They've actually taken this to court before I believe. One is that it is actually a possible threat. You may actually have the means of killing the president if you are that close and so you actually pose a threat. The same words in Kentucky is not a realistic threat.

    We have a number of laws where the same physical action in general occurs but the law views it differently. In regards to flags and the disposing of them the flag code states "The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning."
    That's a great code. I was a boyscout. I know the code. the argument is whether or not it should be a law.

    Now, assuming we're being realistic here, we'd need to look at what the PURPOSE behind no flag burning laws is? Stopping desecration of the flag. Additionally, most of the time I've heard these laws bandied about it seems to be that burning is focused on but in general desecration is the focus. But even just with burning, taking that into account, I would imagine such a law would not simply be "Its illegal to burn the flag" but most likely "illegal to burn the flag in an UNdignified manner", essentiallly setting it apart from the flag code statements on disposal.

    Burning the emblem of the United States in a dignified manner is disposing of it. Burning it while unfurled, or tossing it onto the ground, or while screaming out hateful rhetoric, or while marching in a protest, is not dignified disposal.

    Your issue seems to be taking something that is utlimately going to be a law, which means undoubtably its not going to be 5 words long of "burning the flag is illegal", and arguing against it based on the bare bones generalized statement people make in support of the more specific legislation. One must take into account the intent behind the worlds and the common sense notion that legislation would be written and said legislation would likely detail the way in which it is made illegal.

    Now you could say "Dignified" is rather objective. Yes. So is disorderly, obscene, and other such terms.

    I've always heard the argument in a general means of laws against desecration of the flag, with "burning" the flag always being the most contenuous and the most spoken about or the defacto reference simply because its the most common.
    I of course know the law will be more than five words. But goodness, if I posted one of the actual proposed legislative bills here, no one would respond. This argument is one of philosophy behind such a bill. So I apologize for not arguing more specific points, but that was not my intent in creating this poll.
    And so I must end in agreeing, let's look at the PURPOSE. I'm not trying to get into irrelevant details. But if you point out details that are irrelevant, I will point out that they are irrelevant. We are not debating the purpose of the other laws. They're irrelevant to this debate, philosophically. The purpose of the law is to stop desecration of the flag. The flag itself doesn't have rights. It doesn't get a right that it can only be disposed of in a dignified way. If it is my flag, I own the cloth, I have the right.

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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    yes or no?

    I say definately not. It is a form of speech. So long as it is done with proper permits, etc. I mean, you can't just walk out on Main street with such a demonstration. That's just disruptive.

    My favorite argument against flag-burning legislation is this: In the legislation, they always allow the boyscouts to burn the flag when it is torn or tattered as the proper disposal of the flag.

    So boyscouts can do it. But I can't do it in my own home if I'm angry at the US (though note - I would be really angry if I saw someone doing this - I'm very patriotic). So what's the difference between the boyscouts and what I do? Answer: What we are thinking - which is our reason for doing it. So you're not making it illegal to burn a flag - you're making it illegal to think certain thoughts while burning a flag. The government... trying to control what we think. Ouch.

    On the greater scale - The US Flag represents America -which represents all of our individual freedoms. How hypocritcal would it be to refuse a freedom (of speech) in order to protect the symbol of such a freedom? (and likewise, how hypocritical would it be to burn such a symbol?) But let the individual choose to be hypocritical - that's their freedom to do so - don't put it in legislation for goodness sake!

    It seems obvious to me and so I don't understand what the arguments are for such legislation - I figure this would be the best place to get opposing views
    While I agree that burning the flag in protest should be protected under the freedom of speech, I detest it being done. No matter what group is protesting what, they would immediately loose my support for doing such a shameful thing.

    Your example of the boyscouts burning flags is a little off point. There is a long standing tradition of disposing of the American flag. It is done ceremoniously and with reverence. It's not done disrespectfully. In addition to the boyscouts, it's done by the military.

    In addition to the freedoms and liberties the US flag represents, it also represents the people that died giving you the right to do it. We have a lot of freedoms in America, but just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    I'm an idiot and read the poll question wrong, so I voted yes.

    Flag burning should be legal. Whether you agree with it or not, it's protected by the constitution.
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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    Yes! It should be illegal! Just like punching me in the stomach is illegal. Just like yelling "fire" in crowded theater is illegal. You can protest any injustice you perceive without pissing everybody off. Make signs. Gather support. Go naked! Don't burn the flag!

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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    i think it should be illegal for citizens to burn their countries flag, however, in america, it is protected under freedom of speech, so it'll have to be legal.
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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    First, your boyscout argument is terrible and full of holes.
    You have identified the person to whom you are addressing your comments.

    followed by:


    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    If you have such disdain for the ideals of the country that you destroy the flag that is its symbol and is the national representation of those ideals then frankly I don't want you in the country, and I find it dispicable that you're taking advantage of the very things that flag stands for in your destruction of it in your immature and ignorant thought of using it to "protest".

    I may think you doing such is the scum of the earth, one of the most assholish things to do, and an action that will make me forever and a day look at someone as anything but America regardless of what their citizenship says. I may think you are a flaming (no pun intended) hypocrite, a complete and utter jackass, and an immature mental child whose likely doing something to be a "rebel" and thinks is cool without realizing how asinine and juvinile it is let alone how illogical.

    So utlimately while I'd love for it to be illegal, it shouldn't be and I'd actually vote against making it illegal, because the principles of the constitution and what the flag stands for is more important than keeping douchy idiots who are ignorant of their own hypocrisy from burning it. However I do think its fine if such people are scorned, ostracized, and viewed as anything but American by the individuals of this country imho.
    which is one of the more over the top personal attacks I have ever seen in this forum.
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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    I'm not American, but I don't like it when people burn their countries' flags. A flag is a symbol of a lot more than just the country's government. It's a symbol of the country as a whole. The culture, tradition, way of life, history and people that made it what it is, and yes, to some degree, the current administration in power. Burning flags to protest your own government is kind of self-destructive. You're burning a symbol that represents yourself along with a zillion other little things that makes your country what it is. The government is only one part of that whole.

    I can understand people burning flags from countries they deeply disapprove of. Sometimes I get this weird urge to burn Saudi flags by the dozen. But I would never burn my country's own flag. If it came to that point, I'd think it's time to leave and find myself another country.

    That said, regardless of how destructive and counter-productive I think it is, I absolutely think that it should be legal. Freedom of expression is more important to me than ideals and symbols.
    Last edited by Arcana XV; 07-03-10 at 09:58 AM.
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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcana XV View Post
    I'm not American, but I don't like it when people burn their countries' flags. A flag is a symbol of a lot more than just the country's government. It's a symbol of the country as a whole. The culture, tradition, way of life, history and people that made it what it is, and yes, to some degree, the current administration in power. Burning flags to protest your own government is kind of self-destructive. You're burning a symbol that represents yourself along with a zillion other little things that makes your country what it is. The government is only one part of that whole.

    I can understand people burning flags from countries they deeply disapprove of. Sometimes I get this weird urge to burn Saudi flags by the dozen. But I would never burn my country's own flag. If it came to that point, I'd think it's time to leave and find myself another country.

    That said, regardless of how destructive and counter-productive I think it is, I absolutely think that it should be legal. Freedom of expression is more important to me than ideals and symbols.
    That's what is so beautiful about the American flag. If they outlawed burning it, it would undermine what it stands for. That would be a thousand times worse than burning it.

    Has anyone ever burned a Swiss flag?
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    Re: Should burning the US flag in America be illegal?

    I support it being legal purely because Congress already passed laws against it - and then the Supreme Court already shot those laws down. 9 times out of 10 I support with the Court's rulings . . . regardless of my personal feelings.

    Now - just because something's protected with freedom of speech doesn't mean it's socially acceptable. . . MOST citizens were in support of Congress banning flag burning. . . and the measure passed with huge support within Congress.

    So that means that MOST people respect the flag - and that's fine with me.

    But I always caution people about getting too emotionally-wrapped up with representative objects. Crosses, flags, colors, books - all of these are MATERIAL things which only have meaning because we imply it's meaning. When you imply meaning to material items they can be used against you - with the intent to stir emotions and stab at your heart (IE: burning the cross - burning books). If you don't hold their meaning up too high then your enemy's attempts to hurt you by desecrating said item is hollow.

    If they made it illegal - the # of flag-burnings would INCREASE because that would give someone a way to stab at you emotionally on the other side of the world.
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