Nolte: Trump Is Wrong About Outlawing American Flag Burning

Protesters try unsuccessfully to burn an upside down US flag during a protest outside the White House in Washington, DC on November 25, 2014, one day after a grand jury decision not to prosecute a white police officer for the killing of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri. AFP …
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty

President Trump believes a Constitutional Amendment to ban the burning of the American flag is a “no brainer.” I disagree.

The Amendment in question is the brainchild of Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), and is necessary because the Supreme Court has already ruled (correctly)  that the burning of the flag is constitutionally protected speech. There is only one avenue around the Supreme Court: a Constitutional Amendment.

The politics behind this are obvious. Once again Democrats and their media confederates will go on the record defending flag desecration. As always, rather than defend the principle, the left will overreach in defense of anything anti-American and in doing so betray their own anti-Americanism. I get all that.

And no one need lecture me on the uniqueness of our flag, why it deserves special protections. Like I said, I get all that, I do…

But as much as I despise the burning of the American flag, what I hate even more is the idea of living in a country where the government can punish you for it.

Any inanimate object I purchase legally belongs to me, which means I now have the right to do whatever I want with it — including the safe and legal burning of it. If I cancel my homeowners insurance and obtain the correct permits, I should be allowed to burn down my house. It’s mine.

If someone purchases an American flag, or the gay flag, or a Bible, or a Koran, it belongs to them and if they want to throw it in the fireplace or on the grill, it is their God-given right as an American to be an asshole.

You see, I’m a bit biased on this issue — I’m a free speech extremist. Any speech that does not encourage criminality or violence should be protected from any kind of government censorship, corporate blacklisting, or social shunning. I want to live in a country where people can express themselves in the most vile ways imaginable without facing any consequence other than a counter-argument.

You see, burning the American flag is no skin off my nose, does not violate my rights. All it does is piss me off and there is no right not to be pissed off in this country, only the right to piss others off.

Do you want to what does violate my rights? Outlawing flag burning, making it illegal for me express myself in whatever way I choose, prohibiting me from doing what I want with my own property.

And think about this…

What if someday you want to burn the flag?

I know that sounds outrageous, but 15 years ago, gay marriage sounded outrageous; ten years ago, biological men competing in women’s sports sounded outrageous; eight years ago, Democrats openly pursuing the legalization of infanticide sounded outrageous; five years ago, the FBI orchestrating a coup against a sitting president seemed outrageous.

We are living in a country where the media and far-left seek to normalize The Outrageous on a regular basis and what if in ten years America is so not-America anymore you want to express yourself by burning the American flag.

What I mean is…

What if someday you believe the only way to fully express yourself is to commit an extreme act that at one time was unthinkable? What if crossing a line is your act of personal expression?

Besides, the fastest way to encourage flag burning is to prohibit it. If a Constitutional Amendment passes, you will see the flag go up in smoke in protest after protest after protest, and while I would never join such a protest, I will defend them.

Regardless, this is the most important thing…

The only way to protect your own speech, to protect your right to express yourself, is to defend speech and expression that disgust you. Outlawing flag burning moves the line against your speech a little closer to you.

As I wrote in my defense of Louis Farrakhan and Alex Jones:

If you are going to defend free speech, don’t defend your own speech, don’t defend speech you agree with, don’t defend speech you find acceptable — if you are going to defend speech, be an American… go out there and find the most offensive and disgusting speech you can find and defend that because that is the most important speech in the world.

The best movie ever made about how free speech works is Milos Forman’s The People vs. Larry FlyntGive it a look. We defend pigs like Larry Flynt as a means to defend ourselves, we defend pigs because no one should have the ultimate power to decide what is and is not piggish behavior — because once you give someone that power, they get drunk on the power, and as they decide to perfect society (the goal of every Bond villain), the Pig Line is always going to move closer to you and me.

Sure, I used to believe in outlawing flag burning. But over the past decade, as the left and their media allies seek to silence us with fascist hate speech laws, as the blacklisters in Silicon Valley exterminate ideas they disagree with in their monopolized public square, the importance of the First Amendment, of protecting all speech and expression, has made me a bit wiser.

Restricting speech is every bit as un-American as burning the flag.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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