Normally the NZ section of the vast right wing conspiracy stands united on important issues like Winona Ryder’s innocence, but a big split in the ranks has appeared on flag burning.
Stepehn Franks started it by stating that flag burning is not speech and should be banned (as the current law does).
The Whig disagreed and thought one should defend what the flag represents, not the piece of cloth itself.
PNN backed Franks. He argues the flag does not represent a government, it repreents the land, its people etc.
Thr normally demi-libertarian Kiwi Pundit also backed Franks. Nigel thinks it goes from being speech to action.
And NZ Pundit also backs Franks, while acknowledging reasonable people can disagree on this.
Never fear, help is here. I’m with Blair (the Whig) on this one, and if you want to read on, I’ll explain why they are all wrong and we are right 🙂
Nigel (Kiwi Pundit) says the ban is not content based, as it is only banned in public and compares to to banning naked protests in Parliament or grafitti.
But it is entirely content based. It is not illegal to burn the US flag, the Crusaders Flag, the Australian flag – only the NZ flag. That is content based.
PNN says that the flag does not just represent the Government, but the people. Well that is true (otherwise I would burn one every day), but it should be legal to protest against the people and the country also. Not everything is done by the Government. People may not like New Zealand for a number of reasons, and that is theri right. In the nz.general Internet newsgroup there is one elderly UK immigrant who seems to sneer at and hate all New Zealanders, our culture, our intellectual ability etc. God knows why the man lives here, but he doesn’t protest just the Government, but the whole country.
PNN also compares it to passing on military data to our enemies. Sorry but that act actually harms New Zealanders and may lead to people dying. Burning a flag (as long as done safely, unlike the Crusaders fans at Jade Stadium who burnt a Highlanders flag in front of me in the middle of the packed bank) does not harm anyone. It might upset people but not harm them.
NZ Pundit makes possibly the best case, saying icons of our history and our fight against tyranny should be above desecration and juvenile (and it is juvenile – I personally despite flag burners) activism. However I believe the best monument to our fight for freedom is to allow those who feel they wish to burn the flag, to do so. That is after all a very very very small part of the great freedoms we should enjoy in a civilised country.