The Latest "Racist" Flag? Maryland's (!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

As a conservative blogger at Hot Air has been putting it of a crusade I have long been suspicious of, "You didn't really think they were going to stop with the Confederate Battle Flag did you?" That blogger was speaking of the Gadsden Flag, about which the EEOC has recently had to issue a workplace ruling, well covered by Eugene Volokh. This is doubly interesting, given that I heard of this after I learned of the following from the Baltimore affiliate of CBS:
Yes, even though Maryland was a Union state, the flag -- which is featured on the state's license plate and is a popular adornment for clothing and accessories -- does contain some Confederate symbolism.
The "Confederate symbolism" in question was bolted onto the red-and-white quadrants of the banner of Lord Baltimore's (pre-revolutionary) coat-of-arms, which is, in turn, part of the state seal, which featured on unofficial state flags long before the Civil War. That said, the black-and-gold colors were more strongly associated with the state before the Civil War, and the corresponding quadrant was used by residents serving in the Union Army. Maryland-born Confederates used the red-and-white quadrant. The cherry-picking of historical facts to create "controversy" out of thin air should be apparent here: Yes, like many of the Founding Fathers, Christopher Gadsden owned slaves and, yes, some Confederates appropriated part of Maryland's symbolism. But no, neither fact has any bearing on the primary use of either flag at the relevant historical time. The Hot Air blogger quotes a conservative publication on the fatuousness:
Other American slave owners include Benjamin Franklin. Is it racial harassment to wear bifocals?

It is by the complainant's logic...
And if the "thinking" behind this is bad, the practical results are worse, in the case of the Gadsden Flag: We can see, by the fact that the government is involved in this at all, and in the way that it is, that First Amendment and property rights are at the mercy of bureaucrats and the near-mystical snowflakes who sense this are trying to manipulate them.

This is not to say that the symbolism is unimportant. A well-designed symbol of freedom, like the Gadsden Flag, can help us remember who we are as a nation. So it is revealing that the same people who spend their time looking for any excuse to claim the authority to say what such symbols "really" stand for seem hell-bent on disparaging symbols of (actual) freedom, not to mention "saving" those of tyranny, such as the swastika.

-- CAV

P.S. Do note further that one can tell which side is in favor of freedom by the methods they employ. The anti-freedom side is trying to use government force to squelch freedom of speech, whereas the pro-freedom side uses moral argument and boycotting. I am pleased to hear that the tee shirt company selling swastika shirts has pulled them after public outrage. The quick result is encouraging, but fragile. The other side is working more slowly but, since government can force us to act contrary to our judgement, any victory it wins, however small, is dangerous. Furthermore, given that fundamentally changing the government, requiring cultural change, is slow, such danger is greater and longer-lasting than it may seem.

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