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Yes, this. There is more that unites us than divides us. Would that we could summon the outrage for literal flag burning and turn it towards the metaphorical flag burning that is done when our country, for example, spies on the innocent. Is that not also trampling the flag?

Edited to add: we should start a newsletter!

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i find the reverence for symbols of such artificial, abused, and potentially dangerous concept as a nation-state to be a bit silly.

Let the flags burn. All of them. So there is nothing to wave over stupid wars and silly geopolitical games.

A joke to illustrate:
A man dies and goes to Heaven. The immigration officer asks what countries he lived in. The man answers:
“I was born in Austria-Hungary. Studied in Czechoslovakia, then in Hungary, then in Czechoslovakia again. Then I worked in the Soviet Union, and later I died in Ukraine.”
The officer frowns. “Go away, we don’t want such travelers here.”
“But… but… I never left the city of Mukachevo!”


So when this principal watches kids playing “capture the flag” does he think it’s an actual war reenactment?


You’re talking from an honor culture perspective, which is a real thing, but is not the world we all live in. Honor culture does get wrapped up in the defense of symbols–flags, gang signs, and so on–and often is violent about. One theory for the apparent centuries long decline of interpersonal violence is the replacement of honor culture with what sometimes gets called “dignity culture.”

Honor culture still is out there, and the US has to deal with it, but we probably are best off encouraging it to fade out.


Let me ask: Does the act of publicly burning a LGBT flag also fall under your reasoning?

If you agree that it does and that such an activity is a valid form of expression, then you need not reply.

First, you cannot make conditions like that, I might disagree with you but simply not see your post.

Second, congratulations on completely misunderstanding my posts. I am consistently of the view that there is nothing sacred about flags or symbols. But elsewhere I clarify that I don’t deny their power.
Burning any flag doesn’t imply blasphemy or desecration. The US flag is the symbol of the most powerful, most militarised country in the world. It’s a political symbol.
An LGBT flag, assuming there to be such a thing, is a symbol of a minority which until recently was powerless. That minority deserves protection, and I consider that any physical or expressive attack on such a minority is a bad thing. I disagree with the current interpretation of the US 1st amendment on hate speech and agree with the European position. (Westboro can’t come to the UK, and if they did they would get arrested.)
Burning flags, which are abstract symbols, is OK, except for any civil damages if someone else’s property is involved. Burning people isn’t.

[edit - I would add something else. LGBT people may not identify with a flag; I am especially suspicious of people who claim to speak for other people, or who tell people to “unite under” some symbol.
One of the first such symbols, the Roman Fasces, was a bundle of sticks and an axe. Its literal meaning was “do as we say or we will beat and perhaps kill you.” Some flags since have really meant little else, like that of ISIS/Daesh, or Confederate flags being flown to warn black people to stay out of an area. The same symbol can have different meanings at different times, another reason symbols should not have special protection.]


Well, the LGBT community is a human institution and the symbols of it are not sacred. So yes, burning the LGBT flag isn’t desecration. People will get pissed off though.

I suspect what you are trying to get to asking is “Should the State get involved when flags are burned?”

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I think we are in agreement, even thought you did equivocate a little.

Just testing the depths of your commitment to your own stated principles.

So to summarize: We agree that publicly burning the LGBT/Gay Pride/Rainbow flag is an acceptable form of protest( given that there are no civil damages ).

Not so much, I dont think the state should get involved with any type of flag burning, on the condition that one is burning ones own flag.

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That’s a ridiculous provision. For example, I should be allowed to burn a Nazi flag if I wanted to. (I wouldn’t, but only because I’d first have to purchase a Nazi flag.)

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It’s more that I think the burning of any flag is an acceptable form of protest. I don’t have to like the message and I can counter protest, but I shouldn’t expect the police to get involved just for flag burning.

Personally I am not into burning anything even if I disagree with what it is a symbol of. I might bleach and reuse a flag though.

Who said anything about protest?

For a protest to make sense, someone has to be around to “explain” the context. And the method of that “explanation” may break European law (which I agree with) but not US law. So no, not entirely. If I were, for peculiar reasons of my own, to stand in a public place and burn a rainbow flag without comment, placards or handing out leaflets, and didn’t create any fire risk or inconvenience, fine.
The original intention of the US First Amendment was to allow free criticism of the government, not individuals or minorities. I think that’s essential to an advanced society, and I consider that flag burning comes under that. If the British UKIP wish to burn EU flags, I wouldn’t stop them. If I decided to burn a Union flag and wave an EU one, I would expect the police to prevent me from being beaten up by UKIP supporters. But in the EU we have laws against provoking fear in minorities. Burning a rainbow flag in Parliament Square is one thing, burning it at the entrance to a gay bar would add context that might make it an offence.

Given your nick, however, I suspect that all this is just to see if you can provoke me into something you can argue is hypocrisy.

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And this is also bound up with the decline of rank (inherited status). Honor culture tends to be a feature of aristocracies, or clan societies with clan leaders. Both of these groups are very prone to interpersonal violence.

Actually, myself, I was done with this part of our conversation. The only hypocrisy I might accuse you of is that you didn’t add any provisos against the idea of burning the American( or British? ) flags.

But if you want to explore this further I would be happy to.

Given that a symbol represents a minority group and therefore it should be protected is a concept that I can find some exception to. For example neo-nazis are a minority group( in my country ) yet I doubt you would shed very many tears over the desecration of their flag.


I’m not sure we are having the same conversation. Can you clarify?

I agree.

Now, to be clear, when I am making my argument I acknowledge( as I am sure you do as well ) that there are fire and conduct ordinances to be considered- but that’s not really what we are talking about.

A person who burns a national or group flag should not be subject to charges on the basis of the status of the symbol. I can see a charge of disorderly conduct or endangerment being valid… maybe… but that’s the price one should be willing to pay for their commitment to their cause( no matter how misguided it may be ).

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