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Gotta Love It

Any introduction I would try to give to this story would be gilding lilies. But trust me, you'll find the brief video interesting, and it is on topic for themes we discuss here at W4.

HT Grasstops USA apparently via WND.

Comments (73)

Okay. Fine. I guess that it could only have gotten better if a Mexican had tried to stop that ZZ Top-looking vet and been gutted and stomped for the edification of the viewing audience, right?
The story doesn't tell us--but I wonder--if the proprietor of the shop had been informed that it is against the law to fly a foreign flag above the Stars and Stripes. Had he been asked to reverse the order of the flags and refused? What if he doesn't visit Craig's List?
Since the video shoot was staged (the hostile vet speaks of what he is doing in the past tense, in obvious reference to the lead-in from the anchors on the news show), one wonders why the matter wasn't handled by the proper authorities, rather than this xenophobic vigilante?
Next step...lynchings?

BTW, before somebody bothers saying that my previous comment is evidence that I hate America, please note that what my comment is meant to convey is that this is not the way to deal with a problem involving the breaking of a law, and that praising the way the problem was dealt with is, imo, wrong.

Come off it, Rodak. If you don't realize that flying the flag of a foreign power above the American flag is a grave dishonor to Old Glory, then maybe you ought to get out of the business of flying flags at all.

If *I* don't realize it? It has nothing to do with what *I* know, or don't know. In any event, even if the shop owner did know that it was against the law, my point stands: A vigilante action, staged for a TV news show, and dripping with the threat of violence, is not the way to deal with the situation. That was as much a provocation as was the flying of the Mexican flag atop the Stars and Stripes.

I praise the way it was done. Sorry Rodak. Call me wrong if you like. I'm with this guy all the way. Nor does it look to me like it was staged. My guess is, "What happened?" is what the bystanders asked him in confusion about his manner, etc., when he came walking up. I love the way you lefties think the local media in Reno (_such_ a conservative town) just joined in in staging this and lied to us when they said they were showing us unedited video of the real event. What do you think this is, the Middle East?

That was a generalized "you," Rodak. Sorry for the confusion.

I don't think the flag flying screw-up was a provocation at all. I think it was a mistake borne of ignorance. But it does not surprise me that it provoked.

Thanks. Saying "one" for "you" sometimes *does* sound a bit stilted. I don't know if the flags were meant to provoke, or not. But the lack of defiance on the part of the Mexicans in the clip leads me to agree with you that it was probably just ignorance.
In any event, violence provokes violence. And threats of violence, and invitations to 'bring it on', so to speak, are not appropriate.
And the vet defiantly stole the U.S. flag. Since when does self-righteousness become a licence to steal?

Rodak, I cannot begin to tell you how unmoved I am by what you are saying. Cannot even begin. I admire this guy.

He clearly believed it was deliberate. I'm taking a mildly agnostic stance on that. There is the fact that the camera crew was already there. If some news cameras drove up and started filming my business, I'd ask them why. And if it was just ignorance, that would have been the time to be out there changing it voluntarily and swiftly. Not just standing around staring. And some of the people around there spoke English, because they spoke to the veteran in English when he walked up. They could just as easily have already asked the camera crew why they were there and then rectified the problem. So that's evidence to me that it was deliberate. Not conclusive, but evidence.

As for "stealing," give me a break. Morally, if someone is abusing his property in an important and publically and morally relevant fashion, and I have reason to believe he's going to keep abusing it if I leave it with him, this is some argument for taking it from him to prevent further abuse. If a man is beating the tar out of his dog, it is not "stealing" to take the dog.

Legally, in this particular case, there is a flag code. Whether "illegal" is technically correct for what was being done to the flag or not is apparently a bit ambiguous. Evidently the code is real but unenforceable because of our stupid Supreme Court and its stupid habit of making things up out of the back of its head as meanings for "freedom of speech" and pretending that they are in the Constitution.

But for myself, the word "vigilantism" doesn't always make me gasp and run for cover, and I put a higher premium on honor, including the honor of my country, than on being nice and not doing something (heaven forfend) "provocative." If the guy had gone up and actually hit somebody, I would draw the line. But all he did was cut down and walk away with a flag that was being dishonored, he believed, deliberately. He uttered some words challenging anyone who wanted to get it back and run it up again in that way to have to fight for it like a man first. He did something while everybody else was just standing around doing nothin and apparently prepared to continue doing nothing till kingdom come. I honor him.

I'm not certain that intentions are all that relevant. The reality is that the flying of an American flag beneath the flag of some other country, on American soil, represents the extension of the jurisdiction and authority of a foreign sovereignty and culture over American soil. It is intrinsically provocative, and the fact that so many immigrants either do not care to learn, or do not care to act upon what knowledge they possess regarding these matters (I rather think that the meaning of the symbolism is obvious.), tells us an enormous amount concerning what they think of America.

I think it's worth asking why they are flying the Mexican flag over a business in the first place. It's one thing to be a temporary immigrant and to have a flag of your own country on your desk or in your house or even occasionally outside your private house, perhaps. Flying a large flag of another country over a business that serves the public itself has a symbolism of the loyalty of that entire business to the foreign power in question. There's an insouciance about the whole approach here that is offensive in itself, and just saying, "I didn't know" isn't all there is to the story. Meanwhile, I continue to question whether they had no idea whatsoever that maybe there was something a little symbolic about flying the Mexican flag over the U.S. one. And I repeat: They could have found out right away when the camera crews arrived. Then the owner would have been the one bringing the flags down and fixing it, before Mr. Broussard ever showed up or as he was driving up.

"Morally, if someone is abusing his property in an important and publically and morally relevant fashion, and I have reason to believe he's going to keep abusing it if I leave it with him, this is some argument for taking it from him to prevent further abuse."

So, if I see you under-inflating the tires on your car, which will cause undo wear and tear, I am justified in either stealing your tires, or, perhaps, your whole car, to end the abuse? Right.
Why was it all about property rights, when we're on the topic of wolves vs. cows, and now, suddenly, property right turn out to be revocable in light of some greater good? Consistency and integrity are at least first cousins.

Lydia, I might buy your point of view if the vet had not been so solicitous of violence. He was clearly hoping that somebody would try to take his property (the flag) back, so that he (the vet) could knife him. This is not good.
The flag is just a symbol. And by "just" I mean: "only" a symbol; "merely" a symbol; "nothing more than" a symbol. The flag is not your country, any more than a picture of Jesus is your God. Flying the Mexican flag above the American flag, if meant to be offensive, is effective only if you let it get to you.

No, flying a Mexican flag above an American flag on American soil is intrinsically offensive, because America is a country, and not a random assemblage of individuals, who may or may not be offended by such things, depending upon their personal preferences.

I suppose that when someone burns a flag he is merely burning a flag, and not expressing by that symbolic action something else, be it opposition to a concrete policy or contempt for the nation itself. He just felt like burning a flag, for the sheer hell of it.

And in that random assemblage of individuals, there will be differing reactions to the sight of seeing the Mexican flag above the U.S. flag. Some will git all het up over it; some will be embarrassed by it; some will be largely indifferent to it. The nation itself is an abstraction, every bit as much as is the ideals represented by the flag. The nation is a set of laws, based on a constitution; it is a definable geographigcal area; it is many other things. But none of the things it is can be damaged in the least by disrespect shown to its flag. And neither can any element of that random assemblage of individuals. Unless, of course, one chooses to make a fetish of it.

A nation is a set of determinate relations among its members, relations encompassing laws, customs, traditions, folkways, history, ancestry, and so forth. All of these things are damaged by the act of asserting the authority of a foreign culture and sovereignty on American soil. A nation is no more an abstraction than a family; it is, in effect, a sort of highly-extended family or group of families that provides for an adoption procedure.

And in a family, the right of an individual to act howsoever he pleases - by, say, flying the flag of another family - is not fetishized.

Which bit of the word "important" do you not understand, Rodak? Yeah, there are going to be differences of opinion as to what sort of action is important enough to justify, at the very moment it is occuring, private intervention. Somebody in the act of torturing his dog, I think we can all agree. Somebody deliberately and in an importantly symbolic way abusing the agreed-upon symbol of my country is less cut-and-dried, but that there is a plausible argument justifying what he did is quite clear to me. I suspect I wouldn't have done it, myself, but out of cowardice, not out of "respect for the rule of law" or something like that, though perhaps I might say that was my reason.

You'll notice, by the way, that I based my opinion on the rancher and the cattle not on property rights absolutism but on the fact that, guess what, I don't think the wolves are as important as the ESA bureaucrats think they are, and I think the guy's responsibility to his cows is more important than they think it is. I think I made it quite clear that I was making moral and metaphysical value judgements, whether you happen to agree with them or not.

And I'm doing so here as well. People mean things by their use of symbols. The very words you object to from the veteran are symbols. You wouldn't object to them if they didn't say something. If someone writes you a letter saying, "Mexico should rule over the U.S.," those words are symbols. If someone threatens your family or shakes his fist in your face, he is using symbols. Putting the flag of Mexico over the flag of the U.S. on U.S. soil also means something. That's why we have a flag code in the first place. You will of course disagree with my value judgement that it is seriously wrong to use that symbol in that way, but you can't get away from the issue by talking about "things as just symbols."

"A nation is a set of determinate relations among its members, relations encompassing laws, customs, traditions, folkways, history, ancestry, and so forth."

All of which are determinate only in a chronological snapshot, even where they apply to everyone in the nation, but most of which are specific to different demographic groups. The nation is, in fact, therefore, an abstraction; it never actually exists precisely as the ideal, universal, formal structures would define it in a perfect world. A family is much the same.

Reactions to a perceived insult of the flag will vary similarly. Which is why we have laws, and why, if any action needs to be taken in a case like this, it needs to be taken by agents of the state, not by an individual. The law *can* conform to the formal structure, because it is part of it.

"And in a family, the right of an individual to act howsoever he pleases - by, say, flying the flag of another family - is not fetishized."

Say again? I'm not following you there.

You value cattle ranchers' property rights over the survival of the wolves. I value the rule of law over the right of a vigilante with a knife to violate the property rights of shopkeeper by the forceful removal of an item from his property, with a threat of violence. You probably say that the shopkeeper gave up his right of ownership of that flag by abusing. I might say that the rancher gave up the right to protect each and every one of his cattle by grazing them where wolves and other predators have their natural habitat. That's why we have laws and agents to enforce them; because you and I disagree on what is right and important.
The symbol of the state should be protected by the law enforcement agents of the state of which it is a symbol. If every person acted according to his subjective idea of what is right, we would have anarchy.

Yes, well, Rodak, this exceedingly itsy bitsy bit of "anarchy," in which, pace you, no one was threatened (the reference to fighting was if someone wanted to take the flag back from him) is far preferable to our all standing about like a bunch of mutant waddling cattle and mooing while foreigners dishonor our flag and assert the sovereignty of their country over ours on our soil. I notice that the world has continued to revolve, not one drop of anyone's blood was shed, the bar owner is managing to live without the American flag (flying under the Mexican one) and the state is still functioning. I think we'll survive, and all the better for having a few men among us with a sense of the importance of symbols and patriotism. Let's hear it for Jim Broussard.

"(the reference to fighting was if someone wanted to take the flag back from him)"

I still can't get over how property rights, which were so important to you before, become literally parenthetical to you, when they are the property rights of an individual of whom you don't approve.
Do you know for a fact that the bar owner is a "foreigner"? If it is a bar, can a "foreigner" even get a liquor license in Reno? There are Hispanics in that part of the country whose families have been here a good deal longer than the families of most Anglos.

So the guy couldn't simply ask the owner to correct the situation?

I understand that sometimes drastic action can be taken. I would not wait for the police to show up to thwart a life-threatening situation. But this did not seem to be a life-threatening situation.

I guess the issue is whether one believes the actions were proportional.

"before somebody bothers saying that my previous comment is evidence that I hate America, please note that what my comment is meant to convey is that this is not the way to deal with a problem"

You have posted about about 10 somewhat wordy comments. There is data there that can be interpreted that you hate America. Most comments are neutral toward this country, as if you wwere judging a dispute between Brazil and Argentina.

Besides you have never told us what is the proper way to deal with this problem, if it is a problem at all in your opinion.

So, evidence suggest that at best you are neutral toward the USA or you hate it.

Why not be an honest man and just state what you really feel?

If there were not tens of millions of Mexican illegals resident within our borders, then the actions of Mr. Broussard would be disproportionate. Because there are tens of millions of Mexican illegals resident within our borders, because the political and economic establishments wish to place their legislative imprimatur on this situation, and because the Mexican government actively abets this demographic invasion/displacement, his actions were proportionate.

Somehow I get the sense these days that reporting this to the police wouldn't get much of a reaction, maybe about the level of reporting a missing cat.

I bet a good flag-burning (of Mexican flags) in, say, San Antonio, would get their attention. Right next to the Alamo.

He could have, C Matt. It's my opinion that if somebody had done so a good deal earlier that day, that would have been a darned good thing. Probably part of what bothered the guy is what bothers me: everybody sitting around doing literally nothing but taking pictures. But it doesn't bother me all that much that he didn't at that time of day have a long and gentle conversation. A little drama seems to me to have been warranted. It's not really so terribly disproportional, violent, and horrifying to cut down and take a flag in order to protect it. Again, if he'd walked up to somebody just standing there doing nothing else and punched him, or even started screaming in his face and shaking his fist at him, sure, that's wrong. Disproportional, even. He took fairly calm, non-violent, and decisive action, despite being very angry. That's part of what's admirable about it.

Rodak, if the Hispanic guy or his family has been there that long, that only makes his actions more inexcusable. Suppose he lived in the U.S. for longer than most Anglos: he still considers himself bound to the sovereignty of Mexico? He's been there all that time and never bothered to find out how to display the U.S. flag correctly? So he's certainly acting like he considers himself a foreigner!

It's my opinion it's the bar owner who should be apologizing. For being exceedingly careless and uninterested in getting it right at best and for being a big-time jerk and snot, insulting the country in which he is living, at worst. Maybe if he says he's sorry and will get a copy of the flag code and follow it he can get his flag back! If that relatively small piece of his property is that important to him.

"I guess the issue is whether one believes the actions were proportional."

For me, the issue is whether the actions were *legal*. What the hell does the flag stand for, if not--first and foremost--the protection of the individual under the rule of law?

"...that only makes his actions more inexcusable."

Surprisingly enough, I agree with there, Lydia. I'm not pro-dissing the Flag. I'm anti-vigilante. That the Hispanic guy is wrong, even w-a-a-a-y wrong, doesn't give an individual the right to confiscate private property. Just because it *feels good* doesn't mean that it's right--either morally or legally.

Rodak, I think you need to get a sense of proportion. Legally speaking, as I've already pointed out, the owner was violating a U.S. federal code, albeit one for which there is no enforcement in place. As to formal legality, we can at that point get into the question of the status of U.S. Supreme Court "interpretations" and the flag-burning jurisprudence, though I'd rather not. My own position is that Supreme Court rulings are not laws and should never be spoken of as laws. In that sense, it was the bar owner who was doing something illegal, unless you take strictly literally the claim "without penalty there is no law."

Aside from that, I'm getting more than a little tired of your repeated references to "property rights." You appear unable to understand the meaning of the notion of a "regulatory burden." It is nothing for a bar owner to have to display the American flag above other national flags rather than below them or simply to refrain from displaying it at all. But for a livestock owner to be told he can't hunt predators who are killing his livestock is a direct burden on his livelihood-making activities, and a fairly ridiculous and heavy one. I am allowed to criticize silly and burdensome laws with which I disagree, and if you can't see the difference there, that's your problem.

Presumably, the Hispanic bar owner went out and bought the U.S. flag that was flying over his bar. Therefore, it was his property. That being the case, neither you, nor I, nor Mr. Broussard, has a legal right to cut it down and take it away. It's that simple. You don't care about his rights because he has offended your sense of decency. I don't know that the law protects your sense of decency in this case, but it *should* protect the right of the bar owner to his property.

Hello all, I have been reading this exchange with interest. My own opinion hinges on the difference in what I will term "legal" (civil law) and what is "just" or perhaps "honorable" (moral law?). I think historically this country has tried to make (legal) laws that are just or honorable, although this has not always been the case. Often what is legal is not just; sometimes what is truly just is not legal. Is it possible this is what has captured the public imagination in this event?

I submit that ultimately our society is made up of individuals that are morally responsible. It may be that no amount of legalism can make up for that reality.

Would you fly the Papal flag above the US one?

Would you fly the Papal flag above the US one?

Although pennants are not specific church flags, they are clearly religious. Federal Flag Code (36 U.S.C. 171-178) (c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. (See Public Law 107, page 4)

My own position is that Supreme Court rulings are not laws and should never be spoken of as laws.

In most cases I would agree with that in a limited sense, since most of their decisions simply clarify which laws are or are not Constitutional. Yet they have the ability to craft remedies on their own initiative, which is a type of lawmaking. Also in a more general sense, setting the specifics of what is permitted or excluded is a reformulation of the scope of law - sort of the way an editor is not the writer, but he or she has an intrinsic connection to the final product.

Though taking the flag and walking off with it was legally more questionable, it was probably prudentially speaking less likely to result in a fight and/or someone's getting hurt thereby than any attempt to confront the owner directly, however peaceable in intent. Going to talk such things over is one way fights get started, when one thing leads to another. There was no way of telling whether the owner would be amenable to a request or not. I suppose if a female had gone to have such a talk, the probability of violence would be somewhat less likely, especially if there were witnesses, but if Broussard felt impelled to do something himself one way or another, well...There would have been a real danger of the owner's temper flaring, etc., in response to a request from an obviously rather upset and big guy. And then it would have been portrayed as his having tried to threaten him, coerce him, intimidate him. This cut the Gordian knot, as it were.

I enjoyed the video, Lydia. And you and Mr. Broussard have my sympathy. But that's all you'll get. Rodak is right. The man took the law into his own hands, committing theft and vandalism, brandishing a rather large knife in the process, and it sounds to me as if you're trying to rationalize it. If the law in question is unenforceable, there might be some legal means to remedy that, but I doubt that remedy would involve allowing Mr. Broussard to deputize himself.

Rationalize, nuthin'. I'm saying it wasn't wrong, and I haven't the smallest qualm about saying it. Civil disobedience is sometimes justified. This wasn't a life or death situation, but neither did he "brandish the large knife" at any human being. In other words, the non-life-or-death nature of the offense was met by a very, very mild form of civil disobedience. And the only vandalism he committed was cutting a rope. Tell you what: Let's pay his legal expenses, not arrest him but order him to appear in court on the smallest charge possible, and sentence him to pay for a new rope, period. The flag can be turned over to the police to be kept in trust until the owner gives them reason to think he knows how to treat it. Then he can have it back, and no one will be the worse by a single molecule of flag silk, while the rest of us will have received an uplifting example of straightforwardness, manliness, and courage. Works for me.

Let's all together now: The Boston Tea Party was a property rights violation, and must be condemned.

I agree with Mr. Luse.

"Civil disobedience is sometimes justified."

In addition to agreeing with Mr. Luse, I will add that we should be reminded that it is not permissable to commit evil so that good might result. It follows, therefore, that any act of civil disobedience that entails committing an act that is intrinsically evil (such as theft) is immoral. Therefore, condoning it is also immoral. Praising it is proportionately worse yet again.

Theft is intrinsically immoral? You mean you wouldn't take anything from anybody without his permission for any reason under any circumstances? It would always be wrong? New one on me. (Hey, cool, you must be against non-voluntary taxation. Maybe Rodak is becoming a conservative!) And I suppose if I start counterexampling that gross overstatement about taking something from somebody left and right you'll tell me we can't have an intelligent conversation about this matter, right? Of course, I suppose you can define "theft" as intrinsically immoral. And then I can say this wasn't "theft" in that newly defined sense. But why should we play such a game?

Gintas, :-) :-). And y'know, dressing up in Indian costumes--Pretty scary stuff. And somebody rowing around in a dinghy in the harbor might have gotten bonked by the cask of tea. Heck, I'm even suggesting they pay for the broken tea boxes! I consider myself to be making concessions. :-)

Tell you what: Let's pay his legal expenses, not arrest him but order him to appear in court on the smallest charge possible, and sentence him to pay for a new rope, period.

Why would you want to do this if, as you say, "it wasn't wrong"?

No, the circumstances were certainly not life or death, nor was it a matter of civil disobedience. It was one of taking the law into his own hands. (I can repeat it again if it will help the concept sink in.) Civil disobedience is resistance to a law by which you or some other innocent is being unjustly persecuted (e.g. abortion clinic sit-ins). Mr. Broussard was not being persecuted. He was simply insulted by the flag-flying. He broke the law in three ways: by cutting the rope, stealing a flag that didn't belong to him, and enforcing a law that by your own account is unenforceable. And you and he don't get to make up the circumstances in which such actions are allowable, even if it happens to frustrate your need for displays of "manliness and courage."

neither did he "brandish the large knife" at any human being.

That's pretty funny. If you had been that Mexican, how inclined would you have been to approach Broussard and ask for your flag back? Not much, I think.

Mr. Broussard's actions may "work" for you, but they (and you) are still wrong.

"Theft is intrinsically immoral?"

No. Theft is intrinsically evil. Stealing is immoral. All of those acts explicitly named in the Decalogue are intrinsically evil, theft among them.

"Why would you want to do this if, as you say, 'it wasn't wrong'?"

It was a compromise suggestion, since the rope was the only thing actually physically damaged, and since it would involve going through the forms of law regarding the matter, which I gather would be considered importantly virtuous by y'all who think I'm nuts about this.

I don't actually happen to agree that deliberate legal infractions can never be justified except when some innocent is being unjustly persecuted, though certainly those are paradigm cases, and the most obviously justifiable ones. I never actually tried to list all the situations where I would think some deliberate, minor legal infraction might be justified and see what categories they fall into, but to say one can't be justified ever unless an innocent is being persecuted or someone's life is at stake is a pretty sweeping statement, anyway. What's funny is that I question the admirableness of lunch-counter sit-ins, but most people accept that they were legitimate and praiseworthy instances of civil disobedience. I suppose refusing to serve somebody lunch on one's property is "persecuting" him? Doubtful.

And here's an odd thought: It seems that Broussard's making his little speech, carrying his knife so very noticeably, and "brandishing" it (at a helpless flag rope) are a big part of what is bothering people here. Well, he could have avoided all of that by going out at three in the morning with a pair of gardening scissors, quietly cutting the rope, and making off with the flag. At least it's not so offensively belligerent, right? Yet I think that would have been much worse--sneaky and cowardly, and not wanting to own what you have done.

Good Lord. In battle men fought around the flag. Conquering the flag and bringing it to the ground were signs that the enemy had won. Standard bearers would defend the piece of silk with arms as a symbol of the winning or losing of the battle, and their hands would have to be hewed off before the standard could be brought down into the dust. And we sit here like...small-time bureaucratic cummin-counters fussing over the fact that a man calmly and without violence, without so much as touching a single human being or raising his voice, took the flag of his country away from people who were dishonoring it. Perhaps Broussard belongs to another age.

In sanctioning theft under certain circumstances, what you are advocating is moral relativism and situational ethics. I don't deny that these are all the rage today, but they seem strange attitudes, as promoted by a soi-disant conservative.

Rodak, first we decide what is and isn't intrinsically wrong. If something isn't intrinsically wrong, then of course the surrounding circumstances are relevant. This is basic stuff. Just for example, "hitting somebody" isn't a category of intrinsically wrong act. I'm inclined to say that "taking an item of property from another person without his permission" is also not an intrinsically wrong act. I would, for example, happily take a working part out of the engine of a Nazi's car so that he couldn't pursue his innocent quarry and drag said quarry off to a death camp.

but to say one can't be justified ever unless an innocent is being persecuted or someone's life is at stake is a pretty sweeping statement

It sure is, and it's one I didn't make. The persecution can range from life-threatening to something less. All I know is that the circumstances that would justify Mr. Broussard's act in this case are utterly absent.

Good Lord. In battle men fought around the flag. Conquering the flag and bringing it to the ground were signs that the enemy had won.

Yes, it is a glorious thing, especially when the good guys win. The problem is, Mr. Broussard doesn't have the authority to declare war.

"I would, for example, happily take a working part out of the engine of a Nazi's car so that he couldn't pursue his innocent quarry and drag said quarry off to a death camp."

If you had been authorized by a properly instituted authority to undertake such an act, then it would not be a theft. This, of course, was the defense of every Nazi on trial for war crimes, so it isn't entirely satisfying to me. If, on the other hand, you undertake an act on your own authority which resembles theft, but can be defined as something other than theft (e.g. confiscating illegal drugs found in your child's bedroom), the act would not be intrinsically evil.
Mr. Broussard's act is not protected by the first condition above. I would argue that neither was it authorized under the second. I think it obvious that the *actual harm* being done by flying the Mexican flag above the U.S. flag to any person or entity, is proportionately much smaller than immediate risk of physical violence posed by the brandished combat knife (and it *was* brandished), and the violation of property rights in the theft of the flag. If it was a theft--as I believe that it clearly was--it was an intrinsically evil act.

I suppose when Jesus drove tne money-changers out of the temple we'll have to say what he did couldn't be defined as "vandalism, assault, and damage to property." And if he released some of the doves in the process, it wasn't theft. Yet I'd like to see what would have happened if one of those guys had nicely asked him to stop. If you want to use definitions that way you can, though I usually prefer not to.

What Jesus did in the temple, he did with authorization from the Highest Possible Authority.
If you want to claim that Mr. Broussard was sent by God the Father to cut down that flag, I'll listen. But I warn you up front, I'll be listening with extreme prejudice.

I tend, change that to do, view this as part of a whole, the taking back of states, La Raza, different incidents with the Mexican flag, mass demonstrations, usually with that flag, and sometimes accompanied with violence directed at counter demonstrators,[the nerve of them], the whole bag. So I guess I'm not to worked up by it as it does appear that there is an element intent on repeated acts of disrespect, deliberate alienation, unjustified aggression, and power acquisition by, let's say, dubious means, encouraged by various thugs and assorted criminals also referred to as Mexican politicians.

But that's just me, viewing things as a whole, an act that tends to blunt any singular and tunneled outrage, say at a vigilante.

Speaking of vigilantes, is slugging a counter demonstrator covered by this category? Would taking it upon oneself to illegally plant a foreign flag on American soil fit in? Not that these things bother everybody but just as an exercise in language and identification.

In any case, there are seemingly worse things to worry about. There are thousands of these vigilante/gangsters roaming our borders, armed yet. Much worse, they are Americans, apparently with nothing to do and time on their hands, and making specious claims about "protecting our borders", which as sensible people know, shouldn't exist. Why worry about the occasional flag grabber?

But then vigilantes, unwelcome as they are, move into a vacuum. Which leaves the question, who or what crated or caused that vacuum, couldn't be our government over 30 or 40 years of neglect, could it? Does the question answer itself?

I think you have a good point, John. And Maximos was getting at that, too. The generalized disrespect for the U.S., etc.

All in all, I think we just need to have a sense of perspective on this. I suppose most people would admit that if you're driving at 3 in the morning to see your father and be reconciled to him before he dies, it might be morally okay to run a red light at a deserted intersection. But suddenly when this guy is carrying a knife (didn't people used to go around carrying swords all the time? Since when is being armed such a horrible thing?) and says his speech to the camera, it's "what a terrible thing, he broke the law by cutting that rope and walking off with a flag," as though we all agree that legal infractions are always wrong, or at least as though this particular case is just so obviously way beyond the pale. I don't understand this attitude at all.

Rodak, where Jesus' actions are or aren't an example to us or an indication that "such-and-such isn't wrong, because Jesus did it" is of course not always cut and dried. I've heard countless times the incident with the money changers used to illustrate that as a general rule it can be okay to get angry some of the time at evil-doing, because Jesus did it. We don't always have to be sweethearts, etc. This seems reasonable enough to me. But I suppose one _could_ argue that he had special authority for not being super-nice, but we _always_ have to be Mr. Nice Guy and never get angry. After all, he had special divine authority for _everything_ he did, so I suppose perhaps we can't use him as an example at all, having no special divine commission ourselves. My own inclination is to point out that in the money-changing incident there was damage to private property directly in flagrant violation of civil law and even for a symbolic reason: "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." I tend to think this has at least some relevance for the question, "Is it always morally wrong to violate civil law and individual property rights when individuals are abusing those property rights in an important symbolically relevant fashion?" You can take the position that it doesn't have any such relevance, but I'm not sure what principle of "when is Jesus an example" you are using for that purpose. But, again, I acknowledge that sometimes that sort of line-drawing is difficult.

Okay. We've reached an impasse on the question of Mr. Broussard that I don't intend to try to bridge, once we've made his act morally equivalent to the cleansing of the temple by Jesus. I will admit that I did not discern these qualities in Mr. Broussard; I saw only a biker with a big knife and a certain flair for grandiosity.
So, let's move on to the Big Question: what is it that you want? What is it that Maximos implies that he wants, in the new post above this one? Do you want to try to purge the United States of all illegal aliens, all the *millions* of them? Does Maximos propose to make war on the Muslims, all billion plus of them? If the answer is "yes" to either of those questions, now is the time to propose the means of reaching those ends. If the answer is "no"--then what are the satisfactory alternatives?
I seem to recall that when the Roman Empire got fed up with the on-going hassel of Jewish insurgencies in Palestine, they finally razed the temple and trashed Jerusalem. And that was end of the temple cult and Jewish national unity forever. So, if you believe Islam is intrinsically evil, and all Muslims infected with evil by their faith, do you propose to take out Mecca and the Kaaba--the equivalent in devotional focus for Muslims of Jerusalem and the temple? It worked for Rome.
Domestically, do we round up all the illegals, load them on boxcars and freight them out to some kind of fenced in holding area until such time as deportation hearings can be held for each one?
What's the plan folks?

I'm an immigration hawk. I'd support a good deal of summary deportation of illegals. I support overt discrimination against Muslims and people from Muslim countries in immigration, and meaningful immigration law enforcement. I'd like to see Michelle Malkin as top advisor to the president on immigration law, with Duncan Hunter, perhaps, at her side as well.

I also support Paul Cell's suggested jihad sedition law.

If you follow our threads at all, you must know that you are setting up your trademark strawman with the stuff about nuking Mecca. We're the anti-nuke folks here. We've even been called (snort, chuckle) pacifists for being opposed to nuking civilian cities.

On the flag, I think the Supreme Court ruling that flag burning is constitutional free speech, being an obvious lie about the meaning of the constitution, should be ignored. The federal government and localities should have laws with relatively minor penalties, but enforced ones, for serious violations of the flag code, including burning, displaying under other countries' flags, and other forms of blatant and public dishonor. At a minimum, the authorities should be able to confiscate the flag in question, and certainly in flagrant cases like this they should make an effort to do so promptly, thus making the entire question of private citizen action moot.

I think that I carefully avoided using the word "nuke" above. What is being done to Bagdhad, and other cities in Iraq, would be sufficient to the purpose, I think.
I, btw, actually *am* a pacifist, and a Vietnam-era Conscientious Objector--might as well be explicit about that.

So, are you going to address my questions, or merely continue the evasive, ad hominem tap dance in other directions?

1) If Islam is intrinsically evil, how do you propose to *effectively* oppose it?

2) Since there are millions of illegal aliens in this country, how you propose to *legally* expel them?

It's easy to point fingers at those who have failed to deal with such issues. But it's a pointless exercise to do so, if you have no proposal of your own of how to deal with them.

I stated specific policies I support. I think it would have a helpful effect if we immediately stopped issuing visas to Muslims and to all people from particular named Muslim countries. I think Paul's jihad sedition idea would have a helpful effect. You should do some research of your own to find out what I mean by that. What do you mean "tap dance"?

What do you mean, "legally deport"? I'm saying that the federal authorities in charge of immigration ought to deport these people. That's their job.

And we ought to man the border with Mexico big-time. I don't care if people talk about "militarizing," like it's some sort of horrible thing. We should tell our guards down there to fight when the drug dealers attack their positions, as the drug dealers have done. With guns. The wall should be built and manned. And the federal authorities should respond promptly when they get calls from the Minutemen about sightings of illegals coming across. Instead of which, it is policy deliberately to ignore them.

And Ramos and Compean (sp?) should be immediately pardoned and released from prison, with an apology.

And what would you propose to do with all of the Muslims already legally in this country? That plot in the UK involving a cadre of Muslim physicians comes immediately to mind. Do we round up all the Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan and grill them to find out if they're showing jihadist tendencies? If Muslim U.S. citizens and Resident Aliens with relatives in foreign countries go to visit those countries, should they be allowed back into this country afterwards? Or would it be safer to preemptively confiscate the U.S. passports of all Muslims in the country and cease issuing new ones? What if some person with a Muslim name claims not to be religious, will he still be considered Muslim-by-association?
By "deported legally" I mean that prior to deportation, there is some kind of hearing, is there not? How can it be proven that any given individual is illegal without such a hearing? Where would you get the personnel to conduct such hearings? And how long do you suppose it would take? Or do you, as is *your* emerging pattern, just suspend the law, in order to accomplish the end (assuming that there would be adequate numbers of INS agents deputized--Blackwater?--to round up several million people)?
What I've seen you propose is so vague and sketchy as to be without any real meaning. Can you get more specific?

Y'know, Rodak, since every serious answer I give to every question of yours merely meets with a new outbreak of scorn, sometimes in an entirely new direction, and with new demands for further answers, which will then meet with the same sort of response, I'm not at all inclined to waste my time. No doubt any concrete enforcement procedures of even our present immigration laws (did I hear someone yelling about "the rule of law"???) that I or any of the potential advisors I've named would come up with would meet with your outraged and scornful disapproval, so why should I or anyone else bother trying to commend them to you?

And since every word I say on almost any topic, on this blog or any other, arouses this sort of response in you, why should you waste your time on me? I suggest you take up chess or something instead.

So, again, it's about me, and not about your explanation of the possible logistics of enforcing the laws you want to see enforced.
I've asked some straight-forward questions. I haven't changed the subject, but rather have sought to move the discussion from the theoretical to the practical.
I've never said that I don't want the law enforced, I've only indicated that I see no way of enforcing it legally. If you can tell me how you would do that, I'm ready to listen.

I don't understand your problem.

I'm sure if you start hanging out at michellemalkin.com and other immigration hawkish web sites, you can find plenty of concrete enforcement proposals at which to seethe and fume. I would set Michelle at my right hand were I president and take every or virtually every word of her advice on immigration policy. And in any event, did you notice my mention of a wall? And staffing it? Sounds *concrete* and practical to me. And "stop issuing more visas to foreign Muslims" isn't a practical and concrete proposal? And I notice you've made no attempt (that you've indicated) to find out what I mean by a "jihad sedition law." But no doubt if you had you'd merely be incredulous, outraged, etc., etc., etc.

Sorry, Rodak, but I'm not actually obligated to answer every sneering question you ask only to have my answers similarly scoffed at. As a pacifist and an (obvious) political liberal, you no doubt realize that on many topics you and I have absolutely nothing in common.

Have fun with the chess.

By the way, "Change immigration officials' day-to-day working policy so that they are ordered to go when a citizen group calls them to report border crossers in order to stop the new incursions, instead of ignoring citizen group call-in reports" is an extremely concrete and modest proposal. You ignored it along with the others and implied I'd made no serious or specific answer to your question at all, demanding more logistics, more sweeping statements, more, more, more. But I know the tactic: Sneer at modest and specific proposals because they aren't sweeping and effective enough. Try to goad the conservative into proposing something more sweeping. Then sneer and express horror and shock at the more sweeping proposals because they sound or can be made to sound draconian and harmful to innocent people. I have no intention of playing that silly game liberals try to play with conservatives.

Rodak, go to sleep.

Rodak, there are several essays on this website, with long comment threads (though perhaps not so tedious as this one) on the subject of concrete policies to counteract the Jihad. Most of them involve domestic policy. The short version of my proposal is that we proscribe the doctrines of jihad and sharia, making the promotion, espousal, or endorsement of the these doctrines tantamount to sedition, which is already a federal felony with rather severe penalties; that we effect reform of our laws of political association to establish Islam as a political as well as a religious organization; that if necessary we write laws removing Islam from First Amendment protection.

The idea is to place various burdens, of a political, social and criminal nature, on the advancement and promotion of the Islamic religion, especially its particularly wicked doctrine of jihad; and to be very blunt about this, so that no one, least of all ourselves, misunderstands the judgment of the "deliberate sense of the people" (Publius) on this question.

The advantage of all this from your perspective is that it involves no wars in foreign lands (though I do not for a moment rule out that those may be necessary as well.)

As for immigration, I think we have basically good laws, and ought to enforce them, though I would like to reform the 1965 Immigration Act to throw out all its baloney about the perfect equality of all people regardless of national background. Our immigration policy should be designed to aid this country, and thus some calculation of assimilability must come into play.

The idea here is not mass deportation but gradual attrition: steady crackdowns on illegals, but also on employers of illegals, to reduce the attraction of trespass on our lands.

Thank you. Being new to this site, I haven't all the background of previous discussions to draw on. The sedition laws may very well be a workable idea within this country. It may well be successful in keeping cells of jihadis from forming here and carrying out terrorist attacks. But it does not seem to me that it would be an effective response to the greater part of the problem. Even if we completely eliminate Islamists in our midst, they will be able to attack American interests around the globe, disrupt air travel, make oil production ever more prohibitively expensive, and disrupt the domestic tranquillity of most of the nations of Europe. We will still have Pakistan with nukes. Israel will still be in constant jeopardy. And so on. We can lock down our borders and huddle in isolation, but I don't believe that we can do so and maintain our standard of living.
As for gradual attrition in the case of Hispanic illegals, that will not solve the problem of the growing pressures on social services, school systems, etc. The problem has grown "gradually," but it has reached critical mass. It would seem that the only real solution is to get most of the millions of illegals to leave the country voluntarily, as soon as possible. The only way that I can see to accomplish this would be to completely secure the borders, and then to spend an awful lot of money making it impossible for illegals to work in this country. It would probably get ugly before it was over.

We're not aiming at utopia here, Rodak, just improvement.

Well, Paul. I'm pretty sure that most of the Mexican illegals would echo that sentiment, word-for-word. The jihadis, unfortunately, are intent upon the Muslim version of Utopia. That leaves us still between a rock and a hard place, imo.

The Mexican illegals are not citizens of this Republic.

But yes, there are rocks and hard places all around us.

You've lost me on this immigration stuff, Mr. Rodak. The point I was defending was rather narrow. I'll be supporting Lydia, Paul, et.al, on the immigration front, and on policy towards Islam, e.g., immigration restrictions, the jihad sedition law, etc. I don't recall hearing this one from Paul before: if necessary we write laws removing Islam from First Amendment protection. But I like it.

Okay, your declaration is registered. Do you have anything to say in refutation of my suggestions why the proposals as presented above will be largely ineffective? I don't dispute the goals, but the means I am hearing are unconvincing. How, for instance, will removing Islam from First Amendment protection, or any of the other proposals concerning amendment of the constitution and/or stature law, protect Americans who must travel the world for business purposes, from being targeted by terrorists abroad? How will it protect foreign nationals who do business with Americans from being targeted? How will it protect Israel (if that is America's duty)?
Unlike Europe and Asia, we are not on a landmass that is contiguous with Muslim countries. With sufficient effort, we can keep most Muslims out of this country. We may lose the "friendship" of the Saudis and the other oil sheiks, but we can do it. And then what?
As for the Mexican illegals, gradual attrition will only amplify the problem of ten of thousands of babies being born here to illegal women, and who can not humanely be turned away from medical facilities and schools. On the other hand, the prospect of identifying, incarcerating, and deporting millions of people is horrifying. Again, I see noble intentions, but no practical means of achieving the stated goals.

I don't dispute the goals, but the means I am hearing are unconvincing.

Since you don't dispute the goals, the means, within prudentially moral parameters, are negotiable. But it sounds like you can't take the suggested means seriously because you won't settle for anything less than perfection. If that's the case, turnabout seems fair play: what would you do?

I've already stated what I would do in the case of illegal immigration. I would seal the borders and then spend a lot of money making it impossible for illegals to work in this country. The money would be spent on hiring sufficient personnel to check credentials, and to putting into place a fool-proof ID system that would not put the burden of verifying the credential on employers, using a card that could not be counterfeited. This would still take much longer than would be preferable, but I think it's the best we can do while respecting the rule of law.
With regard to Islam, I would withdraw all U.S. assets, military and corporate, from Muslim lands and not return until invited, and then only to do business according to mutually satisfactory, prearranged conditions. Should we not be invited back, so be it. But I think that we would be.
I would make our continued support of Israel contingent upon finding a solution to the Palestinian issue that would give the Palestinian Arabs an economically viable independent state, so long as they would agree to a period of international military presence to ensure peace. Israel would have to allow Arabs who were property owners in what is now Israel, and who left involuntarily the right of return and/or fair compensation for their losses. Arabs who did not own property in what is now Israel would have no right of return.
That's enough for a comment box, but it gives you a rough idea of my thoughts on these questions.
With these solutions to the on-going, unresolved political issues having been proposed, in a good faith effort to meet the Muslims half way, if the jihadis persisted, and were not dealt with by their own governments, it would be necessary to go to Plan B. I'm not the man to design Plan B. But I would concede, at that point, that justice had failed to bring peace.

That all sounds pretty good to me, with the possible exception of the Israeli-Palestinian stuff. I say we put your suggestions and Paul's and Lydia's all into effect.

Plan B? I thought you were a pacifist.

"Plan B? I thought you were a pacifist."


I am. But at the point where every effort has been made to deal charitably and justly with the the Muslim world, if it persists in attacking innocent people, I believe that a Just War of defense would be morally justifiable. I couldn't take part in it personally.
I question the wisdom of messing with the Constitution in order to target Islam, however. That seems like a dangerous move toward a slippery slope.

Bill, knowing you, I know you _definitely_ don't want to agree with Rodak's suggestions re. Israel's situation. But that's all I'll say on that topic.

No, I don't. But it's good to know he's not really a pacifist as long as someone else is doing the fighting.

"But it's good to know he's not really a pacifist as long as someone else is doing the fighting."

Low blow, Bill.

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