Even if I were to say, "Stalin was the greatest man who ever lived," that would not make me morally equivalent to Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney. They are war criminals; I am, at worst, a dumbass.I want to carefully read this [via] later, but I'd love to see some of my Republican readers take a whack at it, too.
No one is crippled for life by my apologetics for Stalin. No one loses their father at age five because I want to pose as a Maoist. My avid reading of Chomsky books does not replace a once-fertile countryside with a mine field.
Update: the second Carnival of the Decline of Democracy is up.
Fair 'nuff. But being a certain level of dumbass should qualify you for federally funded stiff kicks in the crotch.
Take flag burning, for example. Sure, it is and should be a Constitutionally protected form of free expression. However, if you burn a US flag on US soil it should be legal to punch you in the mouth.
See here for more details.
No. Cute, maybe, but no.
I was just reading about some Nazi groups marching, and thinking that the immense costs of police protection would be better spent on hospital coverage... then I remembered that Fox Comedy is not my standard for civil discourse....
Still, sir, you must agree that some people would benefit from a good stiff kick to the crotch? Or, perhaps, the government can hire actor Kirtwood Smith to go around the country shouting at people "You're a dumbass!"
It could help.
WTF is wrong with a person that they would burn a flag and consider it a good idea, or at least, an effective form of communication? Burning a symbol expresses nothing but hatred for that symbol.
Burn a Hamas flag in front of the UN and see how far you get before someone kicks the snot out of you.
Still, sir, you must agree that some people would benefit from a good stiff kick to the crotch?
Oh, sure. The difference is that I believe that we as individuals are only truly justified to use force in self defense: that someone would benefit from abuse (and its doubtful whether the benefit would be theirs or ours) is entirely different from whether we as individuals have a right to judge and implement what seems like the appropriate abuse.
So, even if you think you can convince the Supreme Court that "stiff kick in the crotch" is neither cruel, unusual, nor sexist (it's much worse for men, obviously), legally speaking it's still vigilantism and morally speaking it's a terrible response to symbolic speech.
Burning a symbol expresses nothing but hatred for that symbol.
That's not true, actually. The most obvious example is the Klan's burning cross, which is intended as a ceremonial celebration of their pitiful version of Christianity. Many traditions use fire to consume a symbol of importance, to offer it to the gods, or at least remove it from our own realm. And burning is one of the traditional methods of disposing of soiled or tattered flags.
I hate it when you're right.
I suppose I'll have to stick to burning that stupid green flag in responce.
You burn my flag, and I'll burn yours!
If you'll excuse me, I have to buy stock in the Zippo Corporation.
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