Ben Shapiro

This is idiocy, and dangerous idiocy at that. The American flag represents our nation; it represents American values; it represents the blood of those who have died and continue to die on battlefields across the world to protect our freedoms. The American flag does not represent the nonexistent right of traitors to desecrate the stars and bars. When the American flag is burned, it represents a denial of the most fundamental notion of citizenship. Those who burn the flag are no less traitors than those who renounce their citizenship to fight with our enemies. To state that burning the flag is a legitimate form of expression and that we should respond by waving a flag of our own, is to turn political debate from cogent argument to slogan-screaming.

If America is to survive, we must recognize that all parties in political debate have a common ground: belief in America as a nation. The flag represents that belief. Once that common ground is burned, our republic becomes nothing more than an agglomeration of selfish interest groups fighting over scraps of meat.

And yet we are told that to protect those who reject such common ground is noble. "If freedom of speech means anything, it means that we must tolerate not just views we approve but views we oppose," says Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

We are told that to deny such common ground is unimportant. "There are scarcely any instances across America where people are burning the flag. And yet, now we want to set aside the important business of the Senate, health care and energy policy and education, and debate for an entire week this concept of amending our Bill of Rights," says Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).

Protecting those who urinate, defecate, burn or stomp on our flag is not noble. Protecting our flag from such animals is not unimportant. Our flag is not merely a piece of cloth. Burning the flag is not exercising free speech, but denying American nationhood. We disgrace our origins, our soldiers and ourselves by allowing flag desecration an honored place in the constitutional pantheon of rights.

Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro is an attorney, a writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He is editor-at-large of Breitbart and author of the best-selling book "Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV."
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