September 15, 2016

"To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine..."

"... is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here, the price is not too great. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order."

Wrote Justice Jackson in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Supreme Court case that that recognized a free-speech right of public schoolchildren to resist compulsion to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. That's quoted by Jeffrey Toobin in a New Yorker article about Colin Kaepernick's refusal to show the customary respect of standing during the National Anthem as it is played before professional football games.

Toobin acknowledges that Barnette is about a legal rights that can only be asserted against the government. He doesn't mention that compulsion to recite a pledge is very different from compulsion to show respect while somebody else is saying/singing words that are not even a pledge. And he doesn't mention that Kaepernick chose to join a team, while the children in Barnette were compelled to go to school. And children compelled to go to school are required to follow dictated behavior standards while they are taught material that may be designed to instill patriotism or other political dogma that they might not believe.

And, most importantly, Kaepernick is not being compelled to stand during the national anthem. He sits or takes the knee and we all get to see that. He's got his freedom of expression. He's just being criticized for what he is expressing. There was absolutely nothing in Barnette that saved the schoolchildren from being regarded as bad and unpatriotic for failing to say the pledge.

The criticism too is free speech.

109 comments:

David Begley said...

This silliness helps Trump. Hillary should tell those football players to knock it off.

Chuck said...

What I want in the whole Anthem controversy, is a debate. Live and on national tv. Between Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, and Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute.

TWW said...

Just as he is not free of criticism of his free speech so to is he not free of its consequences.

JAORE said...

Free speech is a good thing.... if it's the RIGHT speech. Do I have that right, Jeffy?


Anglelyne said...

"To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous, instead of a compulsory routine..."

Whose criticism of that sportsball guy is premised on the argument that his behavior will prevent patriotism from flourishing? Anybody's?

But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order."

Nice words, Mr. Toobin. We'll hold you to them.

Be interesting to hear Toobin expand on what he thinks the "existing order" actually is.

David Begley said...

How about a free speech debate between Toobin and False Toobin moderated by Althouse?

MisterBuddwing said...

Just as he is not free of criticism of his free speech so to is he not free of its consequences.

A position nearly everyone across the political spectrum embraces to discourage, if not actually censor, speech they don't approve of.

traditionalguy said...

Kapernick should sit down or just go away. Go away and try another country. Go away and try another Religion. Go away and try another culture.

His only Crime is being totally boring. Making some patriotic Americans angry is a silly trick, but one that will not stop his celebrity status from going away soon.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Respect is the issue. If I am at a meeting and they announce that we will be standing for a prayer, I stand. I'm not especially religious, more like agnostic, but I have the respect for my fellow attendees at the meeting to not make a scene, to not disrespect their religious beliefs. So I stand and think about something else while they are saying whatever.

If I were in Canada, I would stand for O Canada because it is respectful.

Here is an example of our exemplary Canadian neighbors showing respect and good will towards their opponents in a Hockey game. When there were technical difficulties at the game in Toronto, the Canadian fans finished the American National anthem for us

Criticizing those who don't show respect or those who want to shove their disrespect into our faces, is most certainly our right.

chickelit said...

Kaepernick stands for the national anathema.

John Tuffnell said...

Robert Jackson was a great writer and thinker. He's also the last SCOTUS justice not to have graduated from law school.

His dissent in Korematsu (another instance of abuse of power) should have been the majority opinion.

Brando said...

"And, most importantly, Kaepernick is not being compelled to stand during the national anthem. He sits or takes the knee and we all get to see that. He's got his freedom of expression. He's just being criticized for what he is expressing. There was absolutely nothing in Barnette that saved the schoolchildren from being regarded as bad and unpatriotic for failing to say the pledge."

That's the point right there. Everyone clutching their pearls over criticism of Kaepernick are missing the point that criticizing him is fair game.

But more than that, it's a dumb stunt he's pulling--it's the equivalent of saying "I don't want to publicly show respect for this country because I'm mad about something going on in this country", which if that's the standard, it means no one should ever show respect to our country or its symbols. We all have something we're not happy about. This doesn't make people think "wow, maybe I should give more consideration to black lives matter". They're just thinking "what an ingrate."

tcrosse said...

Thise who seek to piss of the squares should not be shocked if the squares are, indeed, pissed off.

John Tuffnell said...

The football field is Kaepernick's workplace. If his employer says he has to stand for the anthem then he has to stand for the anthem. If his employer doesn't care what he does, then he can do what he wants. And get criticized for it.

traditionalguy said...

After Court this morning, I was at the Courthouse in Jackson, Georgia (50 miles south of Atlanta), and reading an Historical marker. It seems that in November, 1864 the Stars and Stripes came through here being carried proudly by 12,000 soldiers of General Howard's Right Wing of Sherman's Army of The Tennessee, which was marching in three columns from Atlanta to Savannah and living off the land.

The Stars and Stripes General bragged in his diary that this part of Georgia had more Hams and potatoes than their wagons could carry off, because it had not been plucked yet by either Army during in the last 4 months of Siege and battles around Atlanta.

They burned the place down, and left.

If history is the big complaint, then the deplorable southerners should be the ones protesting the American Flag and Song.

mockturtle said...

Tony La Russa made a good point about the Kaepernick issue: That the players are in uniforms, representing their teams at the time of the anthem so the management has some right to dictate behavior. La Russa also believes Kaepernick's protest to be a personal bid for attention rather than any deep convictions [which I have said, all along].

The NY Yankees have, for many years, enforced a code of personal grooming not seen on most teams. A player may have the right to wear long hair but, if he wants to play for the Yankees, he'll have to cut it. [I'm not sure if the Yankees still enforce this rule].

How much individual freedom do we/should we have in the workplace?

jimbino said...

What is a freedom-loving person to do when compelled to participate in a "moment of silence"? You can't very well voice your objection without being accused of interfering with everyone else's religious expression. Yet, you have to object. Keeping silent only betrays your true sentiments.

mockturtle said...

PS: Are the New England Patriots involved in this protest? Just curious.

Unknown said...

Consider this: from discussions I've had recently with local leftists, their argument is that churches and people need to be silenced because by merely stating their belief that homosexual behavior is wrong or sinful or just unhealthy, that Christians are "legislating morality" and "imposing a Christian theocracy." Merely disagreeing with them is doing this.

Of course, they also argue that the 1st Amendment is waived when you get a business license, along with all other constitutional rights or indeed, any rights at all. If you want your rights, don't open a business.

I'd love to get our esteemed hostess's legal view on whether a business license constitutes a waiver of any rights the Government decides it doesn't like anymore.

--Vance

mockturtle said...

Good one, chickelit at 9:19!!!

Chuck said...

John Tuffnell said...
Robert Jackson was a great writer and thinker. He's also the last SCOTUS justice not to have graduated from law school.

His dissent in Korematsu (another instance of abuse of power) should have been the majority opinion.


Yeah, Justice Jackson was one of the very best writers in modern Supreme Court history. The one and only holder of the trifecta of legal appointments; Solicitor General, Attorney General and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Add to that, Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials.

A true giant of American law.

rhhardin said...

I object to the pledge being thought of as patriotic at all, an objection addressed to the mob.

What makes us American and unites us is the American rules, meaning the constitution.

Undermine those rules and you get disunity.

There's the thing to be patriotic about, not the stupid flag.

The ceremonies are run by people who run ceremonies and demand your deference. Quite the opposite sort of thing. Thoughtless, like you'd want in a people whose rules you want to undermine.

It takes intellectual effort to recognize evil. Evil goes where it will and shows up anywhere.

rhhardin said...

What is a freedom-loving person to do when compelled to participate in a "moment of silence"? You can't very well voice your objection without being accused of interfering with everyone else's religious expression. Yet, you have to object. Keeping silent only betrays your true sentiments.

It takes your choice away. There's no option open that expresses what you think. You go along with the ritual that you think is at best idiotic or else you're unpatriotic.

This ritual is forced on you for commercial gain. They want the crowd to shut up and pay attention.

And the crowd goes along.

Weirdest thing I've ever seen.

Basil said...

Toobin competes with Obama for the worst straw man arguments. Maybe its because they both had substandard law school educations.

This entire article is a giant straw man argument. Defending against an argument not made by anyone anywhere.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What is a freedom-loving person to do when compelled to participate in a "moment of silence"? You can't very well voice your objection without being accused of interfering with everyone else's religious expression.

A moment of silence isn't going to harm you. Think about something else. Make a shopping list in your head. It is just respectful. If you can't stand the moment of silence, then don't go to the event or leave quietly before the "moment" happens.

Yet, you have to object. Keeping silent only betrays your true sentiments

Why do you HAVE to object. What purpose in disrespecting everyone else at the event or meeting? Keeping silent, standing for a National Anthem (if that is the custom) is not betraying your sentiments. Loudly singing an anthem you don't feel, saying the pledge you don't mean. THOSE would be violating your sentiments.

Being respectful of others and not being an @ss in public is not going to harm you. If it does, then I suggest you avoid public areas and find a safe place with some leggos, cuddly blankets and a binky.

rhhardin said...

It may be what's called backwashing in dog training.

We admire soldiers (they're called and they go, is what they're admired for); soldiers are drilled in anti-individualism and collective action, for which the flag is useful. But that's the military.

The flag is imported into civilian life where you want the opposite, and admired because we admire the military. That's a mistake. It's an empty ritual in civilian life.

Watch out instead of somebody undermining the legal rules that unite us as Americans.

rhhardin said...

Being respectful of others and not being an @ss in public is not going to harm you. If it does, then I suggest you avoid public areas and find a safe place with some leggos, cuddly blankets and a binky.

Maybe you like sports (I don't) and have paid for your ticket. You're there for the game.

Question the motives of those demanding your respect for a change. Don't give in. They're totalitarians.

Michael K said...

"What is a freedom-loving person to do when compelled to participate in a "moment of silence"?"

Obama came early to the Pentagon ceremony on 9/11 and insisted on having the "moment of silence" early so he could leave.

It was supposed to be at the moment the plane hit but he was in a hurry. Probably a tee time.

rhhardin said...

Doing away with pledges and anthems as objects of reverence would disarm politicians, another plus.

The first flag by the podium ought to be greeted with laughter, like Obama's greek columns.

Unknown said...

rrhardin still supporting anti-American blather, I see.

Hey, you never asked my question, rrhardin: Who is the true patriot, the one flying the flag or the one burning the flag and the truck to which it is attached to like happened recently near me?

This summer one of the local churches put on a free to attend pageant, wherein they had everyone stand while the anthem was sung. Part of the pageant was a description of God's protective hand and involvement in our liberty. It featured quotes from various leaders in the past about the divine blessings America has received.

I presume you think the people singing the anthem should have been shot or something, right? Because how dare anyone wish to promote any sort of felling of respect and love for this country and its God-given freedoms. Should this church be banned from putting on the pageant, since it might encourage patriotism? It's full of "empty patriotism" no doubt?

--Vance

mockturtle said...

Per Vance Consider this: from discussions I've had recently with local leftists, their argument is that churches and people need to be silenced because by merely stating their belief that homosexual behavior is wrong or sinful or just unhealthy, that Christians are "legislating morality" and "imposing a Christian theocracy." Merely disagreeing with them is doing this.

Some years ago, the great defensive end, Reggie White [who was also a lay preacher] made the statement on his own time that, according to the Bible, homosexuality is a sin. He had a sponsorship with Campbell's Soup at the time and when they heard about this, they cancelled his contract, which they had every right to do. I wrote a letter to Campbell's Soup expressing my displeasure with their move [which I had every right to do] and told them I would never buy another can of Campbell's Soup [and I haven't].

rhhardin said...

The only thing that could be American about a politician is respect for the Constituion.

Everything else is interest group driven, be it veterans or corporations or the political party establishment.

rhhardin said...

Hey, you never asked my question, rrhardin: Who is the true patriot, the one flying the flag or the one burning the flag and the truck to which it is attached to like happened recently near me?

Flag burning is fine with me. The flag burner thinks the flag means the same thing that you do, so he's really on your side in the flag symbolism argument. You just disagree about whether you ought to be pro or con.

The answer is that you can't tell which is the patriot from the information given. Maybe he's protesting the undermining of the Constitution. What then?

He is guilty of destruction of property, so may be a felon, whether he's patriotic or not.

rhhardin said...

Understand that it's the Constitution that makes us American and not whatever nationality we came from. Nothing else unites us.

No flag, no anthem, no moment of silence.

Unknown said...

Oh, wait: according to you, the flag and anthem are totalitarian. So is the pledge of allegiance. I presume our national motto is totalitarian too?

So somehow the symbols of liberty and freedom are now instruments of totalitarianism because sometimes Americans actually sing our anthem or pay homage to our flag.

I think the totalitarian one is you. Pretty sure you don't have an issue with the Internationale and the Hammer and Sickle, do you?

When the US flag is raised and the US anthem is played at the Olympics, do you feel shame, rrhardin? Do you despise America? Do those athletes standing on the podium, hands over their hearts and tears running down their face embarrass you and do you wish it were Russian or Chinese athletes and their anthem and flag on display instead of those items of totalitarianism, the US flag and anthem? Of course you do.

--Vance

rhhardin said...

As for instilling patriotism in youth, being an example of the real thing is not a bad way to go.

rhhardin said...

Oh, wait: according to you, the flag and anthem are totalitarian. So is the pledge of allegiance. I presume our national motto is totalitarian too?

Those who impose them are totalitarian; and furthermore don't know what patiotism is, the color under which they impose them.

They displace true patriotism into trivialities. That's not a service to patriotism.

rhhardin said...

What's our national motto? I know the bird.

rhhardin said...

Be prepared, probably.

Unknown said...

Further, rrhardin: My neighbor has flown, off and on, one of those "blue line" flags recently, to support fallen police officers. My child is taught by a police officer at church. I suppose I need to go across the street and rip down his flag because he's being totalitarian by flying the flag.

What about my nephew, recently returned from Afghanistan? Is he flying the flag of totalitarian government and should I go spit on him because he deserves no thanks and is supporting totalitarianism?

I honestly think you do believe that my nephew is an evil person for being in the US military and risking his life.

--Vance

rhhardin said...

When the US flag is raised and the US anthem is played at the Olympics, do you feel shame, rrhardin? Do you despise America? Do those athletes standing on the podium, hands over their hearts and tears running down their face embarrass you and do you wish it were Russian or Chinese athletes and their anthem and flag on display instead of those items of totalitarianism, the US flag and anthem? Of course you do.

Those are the choices that mob action leave you with. No other opinion is possible.

It's trivialities. You can have the Olympics without anthems and it would work fine. The winner is the winner.

It's sports fans, choosing mostly their own team.

Show me how the Constituion comes into the Olympics and maybe you can discover patriotism there.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also...my link Team America NSF

Unknown said...

And our national motto is "In God we trust." What more evil, totalitarian motto could there possibly be, right rrhardin? Such a motto should never, ever be displayed anywhere, lest the gullible, impressionable dumb citizens actually want to trust in God.

What sort of evil country could ever want such a thing, am I right? Sophisticated liberals and libertarians all know the proper thing to do is stamp out feelings of pride in America and whatever else, make sure that God is banished from life as much as possible.

Tell me, rrhardin: you want to make it illegal to sing the Anthem or fly the flag or pledge allegiance to it, correct? To protect against false feelings of patriotism, etc. We need to banish the symbols of totalitarianism. What's the penalty for saluting the flag? For reciting the pledge of allegiance? Heck, I bet you want to ban the flag at the front of parades too. Or the Scouts from reciting the pledge of allegiance before meetings, or learning flag etiquette, and how to properly raise and lower the flag... all evil practices to be stomped out with extreme prejudice, because it might influence these scouts to actually want to be patriotic! The horror!

--Vance

rhhardin said...

Suppose you want to watch a football game. Why do you have to stand? What does the national anthem have to do with football?

Nothing.

I'm not telling you how to behave, I'm telling you what to think. It's an argument addressed to the mob, asking what the hell do you think you're doing?

The mob thinks it's being patriotic. It isn't. Quite the opposite.

Rebelling in this case is patriotic but practically impossible to do, because you're not allowed any way to express your opinion. That choice is not open.

JAORE said...

Kappy is also reported to be romantically involved with a west coast radio personality and BLM advocate.

I think not standing for the anthem is a misguided gesture if your beef is with police departments, but he sure gets attention. And probably a lot of action at home.

When you are thinking with your little head, at least you are thinking.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, the idea that this is really about some compulsory expressive behavior is a bit much, I think. He's being asked to do nothing more than stand there and shut the fuck up--he's choosing to take deliberate expressive action and draw attention to himself (for doing his own thing, etc). That's the whole point of what he's doing! He's trying to "raise awareness" or something by deliberately doing something to draw attention to himself and his cause.

This is yet another instance where basic civil behavior/civic politeness would have gone a long way. When someone wants to lead a quick prayer and I'm around, even in a public space, I don't jump up and down and shout "wall of separation, wall of separation!" and make a nuisance of myself. I stand there calmly and let the people enact their ritual and we all go on our way. The point of the protest these jackasses are doing is specifically to be impolite--to NOT show the basic low level respect everyone else is expected to.

The Lefty argument against criticizing protests like this is essentially: You must show respect for their disrespectful actions.

That is, clearly, stupid. The argument they try to switch to is:
You must not make it illegal for people to act disrespectfully.
Of course no one is trying to do that, so it's just one straw man after another. Toobin's is a bit better dressed, maybe, but it's still empty.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I deleted my original comment because the link was definitely NSFW... and reposted here.

Maybe you like sports (I don't) and have paid for your ticket. You're there for the game.

I don't care for sports at all. Don't follow any of it. Don't care. However, IF I were to 'voluntarily' go to a game or event and everyone else wants to stand, I would stand out of respect for them. Some people are there for the game only, others the experience of being part of a team, Team America F*#k Yeah!!! or for the beer,nachos and hot dogs, which would be my reason.... IF I were to go to a sporting event.

Question the motives of those demanding your respect for a change. Don't give in. They're totalitarians.

Voluntarily attending an event and showing respect for the customs of the other attendees is much different than being rounded up and forced to Pledge Allegiance. As pointed out the students in the case cited were not voluntarily at school and were being coerced to say the Pledge. Being forced to attend, forced to participate...that would be totalitarian. No once forces you to go to a football game. AND....No one is forcing Kapernkic (or whatever his name is) to be on the team where he is an EMPLOYEE.

If I don't want to attend church I don't have to. If I object to the Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club saying the Pledge of Allegiance or a prayer, I don't have to go. If I don't want to sing the National Anthem. I don't have to. However, to be polite, I will stand.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

rhhardin said...Rebelling in this case is patriotic but practically impossible to do, because you're not allowed any way to express your opinion. That choice is not open.

Right, right, dissent is the real patriotism, I remember. What if the group of people you're with all believe that, though, and then you dissent from that belief by acting patriotic...isn't that dissent, then, more patriotic?!

I do like the swing we've made, as a country--the elite Lefty Media was real big on the "dissent is the highest form of patriotism" argument back when GWBush was around and Obama was running for Pres--now that we've had 2 years of a Dem. Pres. the line is "Donald Trump and the Right should stop bad mouthing our nation, we're great and exceptional and things are great" which is quite a change! Simultaneously, though, they're happy with protests like this one--arguing that one shouldn't show low-level respect for America (by standing during the anthem, etc) because America isn't worth y of that respect (because it's so racist a nation, etc).
But, you know, only dumb non-Lefties like me worry about consistency.

rhhardin said...

I honestly think you do believe that my nephew is an evil person for being in the US military and risking his life.

I said the opposite. We admire soldiers because they follow the essence of ethics: they're called and they go.

I'm saying don't import the reverence of the military for the flag, which serves a purpose in the military owing to what you need to do there as teams, into reverence in civilians, using the civilians' reverence for the military as the hook.

An inclination to good and decency is what evil uses to get its way, among a population not sufficiently suspicious. As Hannah Arendt pointed out about the German character that led to the rise of Hitler. Everything was decencies and kindnesses.

History and repeat it, etc.

rhhardin said...

Right, right, dissent is the real patriotism

The form doesn't tell you anything. That's what I'm saying about the anthem and the flag and the ritual. It's also true of dissent.

Consider more carefully what makes a German immigrant, an Irish immigrant, a French immigrant, etc all American. It's the rules they agree to live under, not anything else.

Those rules are the Constitution, which is what the founders agreed to live under, without benefit of flag, anthem, or pledge.

Is this hard?

cubanbob said...

rhhardin said...
What is a freedom-loving person to do when compelled to participate in a "moment of silence"? You can't very well voice your objection without being accused of interfering with everyone else's religious expression. Yet, you have to object. Keeping silent only betrays your true sentiments.

It takes your choice away. There's no option open that expresses what you think. You go along with the ritual that you think is at best idiotic or else you're unpatriotic."

Attendance is a choice. Don't attend if you feel that way.

Unknown said...

So rrhardin is on the record in this thread as saying that the US Flag and anthem are symbols of totalitarianism, and that pledging allegiance to the flag or singing our Anthem is just like Hitler, and those who do it are one step away from putting people in camps.

Because the first thing I think of when I think of the US flag and reverencing it is putting people in camps, thank you very much rrhardin.

There's no difference in your mind between the US flag and the Swastika, is there, rrhardin? And those of us who reverence American and what it stands for are the same as goose-stepping SS members.

Yeah, that's winning argument: Don't wave a US flag, because only Nazi's wave the flag!

--Vance

Hyphenated American said...

Here is the fun fact. All those liberal, progressive, feminist women, when they go to moslem countries, they cover their hair in order to show "respect" towards moslem culture. How about those same liberals show respect for the US culture and the anthem?

Basil said...

Blogger rhhardin said...
Understand that it's the Constitution that makes us American and not whatever nationality we came from. Nothing else unites us.

No flag, no anthem, no moment of silence.

Nice try, rhhardin, but no cigar.

It's not the Constitution that makes us Americans, it was Americans who wrote the Constitution. The God given rights that are mentioned in the Constitution are God given and universal.

Lefties like you want Americans to see themselves through the Constitution so that the Supreme Court can change the nation by fiat. Our government is not rule by a 5 lawyer cabal. This is the true reason for Trump and why you will soon see President Trump.
Emanations from penumbras, rights to kill babies, Wickard (that abomination), the right to homosexual marriage in the 14th Amendment, federal judges regulating election laws, Kelo, Obamacare and War Powers. The Supreme Court is anti-democratic and anti-Constitution. Kennedy and Roberts are the ones who have brought us to the edge of President Trump. They shall reap what they have sown.

rhhardin said...

Because the first thing I think of when I think of the US flag and reverencing it is putting people in camps, thank you very much rrhardin.

The head of the German human society was Herman Goering. He put jewish scientists in camps because of the inhumane experiments they were running on animals. Decency was everywhere.

Evil is not so easy to spot as you think. It takes intellectual effort.

Hillary's evil is easy, but that's just what people expect. That's storybook evil. The real stuff goes under the flag of goodness.

Why would you reverence a flag? It seems like an easy way to lead you by the nose anywhere, don't you think?

You can display it, that's fine. People will interpret right, most of the time, in its context. I like it in US embassies abroad. You know there are normal people there where now you're surrounded by weird foreigners.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry, I have to whack rrhardin once more. He says that the flag is "false patriotism" and that we should focus on "True American values" instead of this symbol of totalitarianism, the Flag and the anthem.

I was in Scouting, I taught the 11 year old boys turning twelve. We taught how to handle the US flag: how to reverence it show it respect; how to hang it, how to conduct a flag ceremony. rrhardin says I'm promoting Nazism and totalitarianism by teaching these boys about the flag: about the 13 stripes on the flag representing the original 13 colonies; about the stars, on for each state. When I told them about Mt. Siribachi on Iwo Jima and the flag, was I promoting totalitarianism, rrhardin? When we talked about Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled banner, was I preaching blind obedience to government? When I talked about Washington crossing the Delaware, or when I mentioned the "Don't tread on me" flag currently being flown by someone in our town: that was just incitement to put on the Nazi youth uniform, right? When I talked about Armstrong and Aldrin putting a US Flag on the moon: clearly something despicable to teach.

Any American dad or mom, taking their kids to a ballgame, should be using the Anthem and the flag as an opportunity to explain basic civics to their children. It's not "blind patriotism." It's a teaching moment, if you want it to be.

And I'm sure you are teaching your children, if you have any rrhardin, hatred of the US and what it stands for. That's plain as pikestaff.

--Vance

n.n said...

Recycled Republic crawling.

rhhardin said...

It's not the Constitution that makes us Americans, it was Americans who wrote the Constitution. The God given rights that are mentioned in the Constitution are God given and universal.

It's pretty uniquely American.

You might ask, if we're all American because we agree to live under these rules, what happens when the supreme court starts changing the rules.

You might get some disunity. This is not what we agreed to.

The flag isn't going to help. Instead you get balkanization. People no longer recognize the country because they no longer recognize the rules.

Althouse errs in not understanding that you can't get your own way in certain ways, or the system breaks.

Evil creeps in under kindness to gays in unexpected ways.

rhhardin said...

The scouts are practice for the military. It's not a bad character to learn. We need warriors.

If you're going to be self-governing, though, you need to think about other things.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why would you reverence a flag?

It isn't the flag that is reverenced or respected.

It is the ideals and the history that the flag represents. The American Flag as an object is just a piece of cloth. The concept of America, the Constitution that is the framework of America and every single person who died to support, protect and defend that concept is where the reverence is being placed.

The flag is a symbol, just as the cross in a Catholic Church or even a full body Burka are symbols. The items are immaterial, the concepts are the crux. The human mind is geared by millions of years of development and history to use symbols to represent things that are complex and not quite easily put into baskets.

Unknown said...

The Scouts are not practice for the military, idiot. They are practice for being a generally self-sufficient human being. The Scout Oath: "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my Country, and to Obey the Scout Law. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." The Scout Law: "A Scout is Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind. obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent." Nothing about shooting other people.

Why do you think the left is so determined to ruin scouting? Because a Boy Scout who has earned his eagle is likely not going to be prey to their gospel of evil, hatred, and hedonism.

Scouts make good soldiers, yes, but that's not what it's meant for.

--Vance

rhhardin said...

The flag can represent anything at all. That's the problem with it.

You get flag saluters rewriting the constitution.

The gimmick is that you have to think our rewrite deserves the same respect as what you agreed to because it's the same flag.

Far from helping, the flag is a concealment.

What do you think the flag is doing by the politicians' podiums?

rhhardin said...

The Scouts are not practice for the military, idiot. They are practice for being a generally self-sufficient human being.

Flag protocol helps you be a self-sufficient human being how?

And you're not allowed to carry a knife anymore.

Martin said...

Yes. Kaepernick is within his legal rights to not stand. And the NFL and the 49ers would be within their rights to terminate or fine him if they made standing a condition of employment. He would not be forced to say anything.

I am within my legal rights to despise him and boycott the NFL.

traditionalguy said...

This is more than a Culture war.

The United States Flag is suddenly under a drum beat of attacks from all over the earth simply because it represents continuation on earth of the Manifest Destiny of Calvinist White Anglo Saxon Protestants to own, occupy and defend the heart of North America, which from sea to shining sea is still the Jewel of the earth's resources. We took it by courage from various Indian Empires, the French Empire and then the British Empire, and then from those masters of slavery ruthlessness done for silver and gold , the Spanish/Portugese/Roman Catholic Empire.

If any of you Deplorables who want to come up on this hill and fight to keep it, now is the time to fight.

Kapernick is a silly fool.

Earnest Prole said...

Jeffery Toobin is dumber than a sack of hammers. Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it.

Anglelyne said...

rhhardin: Understand that it's the Constitution that makes us American and not whatever nationality we came from.

You can pretend that a list of abstractions is the thing "that makes you X" as long as most X-istanians share a set of unspoken assumptions about what the abstractions actually mean. Once the state of shared cultural assumptions breaks down a constitution just means whatever the people with the power want it to mean.

Genuine "proposition nations" are very unstable and ephemeral entities. A nation that operates on a set of explicit codified abstractions can be successful and stable, but only because those codified abstractions rest on substantial cultural "bottom", not because those abstractions have any meaningful stand-alone substance. (Half the planet claims to venerate "rights" like "freedom of religion" or "free speech". Mean quite different things in different cultural contexts, or diddly.)

Michael said...

Althouse wrote "The criticism too is free speech."

Do we think one in ten Progressives believes this? One in a hundred? One in a thousand SJWs?

rhhardin said...

The reason Muslim immigration is an intuitive problem is that they won't be Americans owing to exactly contrary religious beliefs.

Nothing about race or origin.

Anglelyne said...

Basil: Lefties like you...

Our rh is not a "lefty" by any stretch of the imagination. You can't really judge where he's coming from without exposure to his extended Althouse Ĺ“uvre.

richard mcenroe said...

You know, if I can't trust someone to make a simple effort at a/ public ceremony they knows they'll be attending, I probably can't trust them to make a necessary effort at work or in a crisis. Bernchwarmer Kaepernick seems to be a good example of thay.

Brando said...

"Why would you reverence a flag? It seems like an easy way to lead you by the nose anywhere, don't you think?"

Obviously it's not about the flag itself, but what it symbolizes. When people stand for it they're not thinking "boy that's one terrific flag, so great I have to stand" but rather "there's the flag, and I'm standing to in some small way demonstrate the respect I have for this country, its ideals, and those who sacrifice for it."

You may not like the symbolism, and think a lot of hypocrites engage in it (and of course many hypocrites do) but at least recognize what it means for many people. And it's a healthy thing for us to have these rituals as reminders of what we're all about.

I wouldn't make a big deal out of it if you were at a game and not standing for the flag, but just remember people may make unfair assumptions about you because they have no way of knowing why you're staying seated.

rhhardin said...

And it's a healthy thing for us to have these rituals as reminders of what we're all about.

Not if you're vague about what we're all about. It's more of an pre-approval of what it's about to be changed to.

Because, after all, it's the same flag.

Why make it easy to undermine America?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

rhhardin said...Watch out instead of somebody undermining the legal rules that unite us as Americans.

It's a fool's errand, I know, but I'm going to try to work with you on this, rhhardin.

You've said that people who think we should show respect for the flag, the anthem, and other symbols of our nation are acting on a totalitarian impulse, and that the impulse should be resisted. You've repeatedly stated that the symbolic value of those things should not be respected, and that people insisting they should be respected are acting in an unAmerican way. Most people here seem to disagree with you there, but let's put that aside for the moment.

You have explicitly identified the Constitution and/or the "legal rules that unite us as Americans" as a better symbol and theme toward which we should be respectful. My question, rhhardin, is in what sense do you think "the Constitution" is a valid symbol but "the flag" or "the Anthem" are not? Does not "the Constitution" face all the same problems you've identified the flag facing? You say the flag is a bad symbol because no one agrees on what it means. Ok. Is that not also true, to a greater degree even, for the Constitution? The flag is at least an abstract symbol, but the Constitution is much more concrete--and I would wager the disagreements about what "the Constitution really means" are at least as widespread and as varied as are those about the flag!

In short I don't see any reason to think your substitution of unity behind and respect/reverence for "the Constitution" is superior in any way to the same for "the flag" or "the anthem." They're all symbols of beliefs about our nation, and they're all contentious (in many of the same ways).
Do you think Kapernick would show respect for the Constitution or "our shared legal rules?" He's protesting that we don't have "shared legal rules!"

Brando said...

"Not if you're vague about what we're all about. It's more of an pre-approval of what it's about to be changed to."

It's big picture, but I wouldn't say vague. As you noted, it's about a constitution and the rule of law, democratic institutions and individual rights, and a free market economy creating and spreading more wealth than any command system ever did. Now, of course we all fight over the details when it comes down to it, but adhering to the big picture is important. It's that big picture which separates us from say Venezuela.

And there's no pre-approval of anything but that big picture.

Doug said...

Yeah, that's some set of principles Mr. Kaepernick has there. Won't stand for the flag because it oppresses him so ... but if told to go into the game, he wouldn't hesitate for a second to put on his helmet WHICH BEARS AN IMAGE OF THE AMERICAN FLAG on the back. Because, paycheck.

rhhardin said...

The flag allows you to jail a baker who won't bake a gay wedding cake. The constituion does not.

That they do it means that you have something you need to correct. The flag is what the jailers are waving at you.

rhhardin said...

Obama for everything: "That's not who we are."

Brando said...

"The flag allows you to jail a baker who won't bake a gay wedding cake. The constituion does not."

How does the flag allow that?

rhhardin said...

How does the flag allow that?

It's our country and its regulation done by a duly elected government.

Only the constitution says you can't do it.

Freeman Hunt said...

I've never liked that the pledge is to the flag and not the Constitution.

mockturtle said...

Tradman offers: If any of you Deplorables who want to come up on this hill and fight to keep it, now is the time to fight.

I, for one, will fight for it so long as there is breath in my body.

rhhardin said...

It's a principal/agent problem. The agents start working in their own interests even when it's against the interests of the principals.

The agents control the flag.

The principals control the consstitution.

rhhardin said...

I've never liked that the pledge is to the flag and not the Constitution.

It's a poem, and constituion doesn't scan.

You wouldn't know it's a poem because they added "under god" in the 50s and that doesn't scan either.

Brando said...

"It's our country and its regulation done by a duly elected government."

But that's government doing that; the flag as a symbol is whatever we want it to be.

rhhardin said...

I'd change the national bird to the red tail hawk, whose call they always use anyway. The eagle has a wimpy call.

rhhardin said...

But that's government doing that; the flag as a symbol is whatever we want it to be

No, you don't control that. They do.

rhhardin said...

The military has the flag as sacred duty and line of command.

Freeman Hunt said...

I have difficulty imagining many of the founding fathers willingly pledging allegiance to a flag. If you pledge alligiance to a law, that's a specific thing. Say the United States dropped the law and had a dictator instead? Would you still maintain allegiance to it? Hell, no.

rhhardin said...

Catch-22 was about the principal/agent problem, not about the military. It's common in every organization. Workers greatly enjoyed the book when it came out.

rhhardin said...

Can the principals control the agents? Yes, but they have to see that they have to fire them.

The less fuzz in the way of seeing that, the better.

Freeman Hunt said...

Now I've read the thread.

"What makes us American and unites us is the American rules, meaning the constitution."

Could not agree more.

Unknown said...

The problem with his protest is that 1) he is representing his team, who could justifiably fire him for making them look bad and 2) he is not respecting all the fans who are forced to witness his display. Freedom of speech does not mean you can make your employer look bad. Let's say you work at McDonald's and you wear gang uniform to work--ok? How about you wear a Trump hat in customer service? You are representing the company. This is not the same thing as signing a petition, showing up at a rally, protesting somewhere.

Anglelyne said...

rhhardin: The flag allows you to jail a baker who won't bake a gay wedding cake. The constituion does not.

That they do it means that you have something you need to correct. The flag is what the jailers are waving at you.


You're positing this as symbol (flag) vs. straightforward enumeration of law (Constitution). Symbols are mere repositories of emotions and implicit understandings (manipulable and corruptible); constitutions are a political device entirely distinct from that.

Bu the jailers are waving the constitution just as vigorously, and with great success. So your dichotomy is wanting.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've never liked that the pledge is to the flag and not the Constitution.

The pledge is to what the flag represents and part of that representation is the history of the country, the Constitution and the freedoms that are written into it as well as those in the first 10 ammendments to the Constitution.

The IDEA of America in its totality.

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic
for which it stands,

one Nation under God,
indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.


For which it stands. It is a short poem and people can disagree with adding the God part which was added later. The flag itself is the symbol and representation of a larger and more complex idea, not the actual thing being revered.

People seem to be awfully dim on this concept of symbolism.

James Pawlak said...

"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty."
Frank Herbert

rhhardin said...

The guys running the anthem ceremony are also punishing North Carolina for not honoring the Federal non-transgender bathroom regulations.

rhhardin said...

The agents are enacting voting rules to make it more difficult for the principals to fire the agents.

Freeman Hunt said...

"and to the Republic
for which it stands"

Notice the "and."

Freeman Hunt said...

Loyalty to a flag seems very European.

Loyalty to an idea seems very American.

Freeman Hunt said...

You don't pledge allegiance to a country. You pledge allegiance to its ideals. That is, if you're going to pledge allegiance.

Freeman Hunt said...

It's not surprising that the pledge was written by a socialist nationalist who wanted to press his ideas into the public schools.

PoNyman said...

Freeman Hunt and rhhardin are carrying the torch nobly. Thanks for saying the things that I have a hard time expressing. All this virtue signaling over the flag/anthem/pledge is very annoying. 100% compliance in almost anything makes the thing complied with almost meaningless.

Robert Cook said...

"The flag itself is the symbol and representation of a larger and more complex idea, not the actual thing being revered.

"People seem to be awfully dim on this concept of symbolism."


It's human psychology. Icons are honored, then become revered, as representative of something--an idea, a god, a nation--and the "larger and more complex idea" is ignored, then forgotten. The icon becomes all, the thing itself. The "complex idea" is too hard to grapple with, while the icon becomes the focus of mindless and simplistic feeling. For example: if the American flag stands for anything, it stands for the right to burn or otherwise abuse it, as an expression our freedom of speech and thought, even if our speech and thought is the minority view, or opposed outright to the majority view. Yet people become quite emotionally wrought up over the idea (heh) or actuality of a flag being being "desecrated," (the term implies an assault on a sacred object).

This is why some religions forbid the making of "graven images," as people long ago recognized the seductive and deleterious effect of symbols on the human mind.

mockturtle said...

In the scene at Rick's in Casablanca when the patrons drown out the Nazis' singing with a stirring rendition of La Marseillaise, the anthem had meaning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM-E2H1ChJM So did the singing of God Bless America after 9/11. A cause--a country--worth standing up for. Fighting for. I strongly suspect many of you simply don't give a shit. About anything.

Jonathan Graehl said...

hm. i guess this does help trump a little. hadn't thought of it that way.

Robert Cook said...

Criticizing one's own country when one believes it has gone wrong, even in the face of public scorn, is a greater show of patriotism than standing for or saluting the flag or singing anthems.

Doug said...

Robert Cook said...
Criticizing one's own country when one believes it has gone wrong, even in the face of public scorn, is a greater show of patriotism than standing for or saluting the flag or singing anthems.

No, it's not. You're just parroting Shrillary's old platitude. It may be a very solid show of other things, like courage, skepticism, moral superiority, cynicism ... but criticizing one's own country - right or wrong - is not a show of patriotism.

mockturtle said...

Trying to change one's country for the better is a show of patriotism. Trying to tear it down is not.