Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Private Property Issue

Billy Beck on burning flags:

Try it like this: a person could be said to be making the same sort of political statement in burning a swastika on a lawn, except that they'd better be burning it on their own lawn instead of someone else's. That's the very first thing.

Anyone could burn a flag if they wanted to, as a matter of rejecting the value that you posit here, but they can't burn someone else's flag. If they want to do that, they have to acquire their own. First. And if it's theirs, then that means that they can do what they want to with it.

As for the political value we're talking about: even if we agree on it -- which I don't have too much of a problem with -- if we're talking about freedom, then we're necessarily talking about the leave to use one's own mind in judging that value. (Always remember: "Of what value, to whom?") And you and I might say that someone who rejects it is being stupid, but if freedom means anything at all, it means that people have the right to be stupid -- with their own property (first thing) -- whether we like it or not.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are there any limits to property rights?

Pietr said...

Yes.
My property.

Mitch said...

I like Steyn's prize winning column on flag burning, which can be distilled into two points:

1. Flag burning makes it easy to identify the real loonies and enemies;

2. You need to have a Flag worth burning. Notice that we don't see Canadian flags burned regularly. A nation of strength and resolve has its flag burnt. Sissypant nations do not have theirs burnt.

Pietr said...

You can't burn someone else's flag; but you absolutely can (publicly)defile their sacred icons.
So much for split-level thinking.

Meaghan Walker-Williams said...

"Are there any limits to property rights?"

No.