Sunday, November 20, 2016

IS THE AMERICAN FLAG A CANARY IN A COAL MINE? A lot of people don't think flying the American flag is important, but law professor Eugene Volokh points out the importance of the flag in the debate over immigration in this country: 
I think having more legal immigration to America is important to continued American greatness. (I say this as an immigrant myself, but I think non-immigrants have reason to take the same view.) But if immigration means reduction in our rights as Americans — the right to fly American flags, whether as a sign of patriotism or as an expression of sentiments critical of immigration, the right to own guns, or other rights — then those costs to freedom may well outweigh the benefits that immigration might provide.

If our leaders make clear that they will act boldly to defend our rights, whether against threats from recent immigrants (or the children of recent immigrants) or from the native-born, then we might feel that our rights will indeed remain secure. But if their reaction is to urge people to refrain from exercising their rights, “out of an abundance of caution” — on the theory that flying our country’s flags might yield “personal confrontation or property damage” because it “could be misinterpreted in light of the divisive election and anxiety like that expressed by Nebraska Latinos in a recent news story” — then we have legitimate cause to worry about the consequences of immigration for our freedoms.

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