Do Flags Kill People?

by | Jul 11, 2015


No sooner had a sociopath carried out the murder of nine black people at a South Carolina church, than the voice of Boobus Americanus rose up, as one, to get to the cause of the slayings: the Confederate battle flag! The South Carolina legislature hurriedly passed a bill to remove this flag from the capitol grounds. Not content with so limited a measure, it was decided to also cut down the flagpole that had flown it, the pole having been tainted by the flag’s presence thereon.

Proponents of the anti-flag proposals dismissed concerns for “Southern heritage,” ignoring the fact that the real issue was one of causation. If otherwise intelligent minds want to focus on the interconnection between “flags” and “racism,” they would be better advised to go after the federal flag, a symbol behind which the Ku Klux Klan carried out its parades, as well as the federal “Fugitive Slave Act” which forced the return of runaway slaves from Northern states to their slave-masters!

Not wanting to be left out of the frenzied madness that was giving the South Carolina legislature so much media attention, Congress’ House of Representatives has been considering a bill to make it unlawful for people to display the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries. If your great-great-grandfather had fought for the South in the Civil War, and was now buried in a federal cemetery, you might become a politically-incorrect criminal by placing a small Confederate flag beside his gravestone.

What next? Will the playing of the song “Dixie” be criminalized, along with that lovely expression of music – largely the creation of such black musicians as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and King Oliver – known as Dixieland? Will a federal SWAT team be sent into New Orleans’ French Quarter as soon as a few bars of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” are heard coming from a night-club?

I have heard nothing said about the House of Representatives taking down the two giant “fasces” that have long decorated the front of the House chambers. You can see these displayed on C-SPAN whenever that channel provides live coverage from the House. The fasces consists of an ax surrounded by a number of rods, and was used as the symbol of ancient Roman power. This symbol was used by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini for his political system, as well as many in the American political establishment who were so enthralled with Mussolini (see John Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism: The View From America) that, until after the end of World War II, the fasces symbol remained on the back of American dimes.

That so much of this anti-flag lunacy is emanating from South Carolina may lend support to the idea of “the power of place;” the possible tendency for a given territory to influence behavior. South Carolina was the site of a Republican Party presidential debate a few years back, in which Ron Paul was all but booed off the stage for suggesting that the “Golden Rule” might be a good foundation for American foreign policy. Considering that this state is represented, in Washington, by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, might help explain the mindset of South Carolinians.

Reprinted with permission from


  • Butler Shaffer

    Butler D. Shaffer was an American author, law professor and speaker, known for his numerous libertarian books and blog articles for He was a Professor of Law Emeritus at the Los Angeles-based Southwestern University School of Law.

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