Hello Readers, here is a libertarian view from the highly credentialed Robert W. McGee on whether there should be punishment for burning the American flag. I welcome views on this issue from any party affiliation. Please comment below to add your viewpoint. Thanks! LeslieLawyerJD
SHOULD THOSE WHO BURN THE AMERICAN FLAG BE PUNISHED?
Author: Robert W. McGee
December 4, 2016
Burning the American flag has been done for decades to protest various American policies. It is considered by many to be an exercise of the right of free speech. Donald Trump has called for flag burners to be punished by fines, imprisonment and/or loss of American citizenship.
Which view is correct? Actually, the answer can be found in property rights theory. The person who owns the flag should be able to burn it. In a strong property rights regime, individuals are able to do anything they want with their own property, provided they don’t violate the rights of others. No one’s rights are violated when you burn a flag that belongs to you. Prohibiting the burning of American flags, or punishing someone who burns his own flag, necessarily violates property rights. The reason governments were formed was to protect the rights to life, liberty and property. To the extent that some government violates property rights, it loses its legitimacy.
Robert W. McGee holds 13 doctorates from universities in the United States and four European countries. Before becoming a novelist he was an attorney, CPA, professor and consultant. He has won 4 silver and 2 bronze medals at Martial Arts World Championship tournaments. You may read about his novels at http://robertwmcgee.com. You can download more than 400 of his scholarly papers here. http://ssrn.com/author=2139.