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Rally 'Round The Flag

Rob Port is an excellent blogger, and I consider him a good online friend. (As well as a Guest Wizbanger Emeritus, and I am proud to claim him as one of "my" nominees.) He and I don't see eye-to-eye on everything, but we agree far more than we disagree.

Today isn't one of those days.

He has a piece up in reaction to a move to require all US flags to be made in the United States. He presents several sound, logical, reasonable arguments against such a law, and I cannot argue with a single one of them. In fact, I agree with him to the point where I would also oppose such a law.

But there is where my agreement ends.

While I oppose a LAW requiring all US flags to be made in the United States, I would personally support a boycott of any flags made outside the US -- especially in Communist China. In fact, I already do.

Rob's arguments, as I said, are sound, logical, and reasonable. And I agree with him on a purely intellectual basis.

But the flag is not just any consumer good. It has an emotional power, a symbolic meaning, an iconic status that transcends its material components and design specifications. It says "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in absolute terms, it instantly identifies itself and all associated with it with our nation and our history and our heritage and our ideals and our accomplishments and our principles and our flaws and our failings and our shortcomings. It is us, for good and ill.

And as such, it should be of us. Made by us, here among us.

Sorry, Rob. We're going to have to part company on this one.


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Comments (18)

Giving a Chinese company re... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Giving a Chinese company responsibility for screening for nuclear threats is more disturbing.

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/4/10/193654.shtml

have to agree with you on t... (Below threshold)
tj:

have to agree with you on this J

So is it ok, even noble per... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

So is it ok, even noble perhaps, to burn a Chinese-made American flag? It's a quandary. :)

Jay:While you have... (Below threshold)

Jay:

While you have every right to have a self-imposed boycott, it's the very act of flying the flag that says "THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", not the flag itself.

Where would a government policy like the one being proposed stop? Would it then be applied to 4th of July bunting, party supplies, et. al.?

Jay is right, in a common s... (Below threshold)
RG:

Jay is right, in a common sensed way, which many here tend to fall off the deep end with intellectual and/or philosophical arguments, ad infinitum.

The "free trade uber alles" crowd is mistaken. Too much outsourcing is bad not only for our people economically but it also hurts our national security.

The flag is a symbol of our nation, our heritage, etc. - not just the flying of it. That sounds like nickel and dime'ing the issue for the sake of argument.

If the free-trade above all else crowd continue to get their way, we will we hollowed out and turned into simply a "region", full of multiple languages existing at the same time, sub-cultures "nations within the nation" cultures and economically, consumers who consume Chinese goods.

Good luck. We'll need it.

Jay, you keep writing about... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Jay, you keep writing about China, and I've noticed a couple of things. First, you seem to think that anytime you mention the name of the country, you must preface it by "Communist." I'm not sure why; I've seen you write about Vietnam and Cuba, not "Communist Vietnam" and "Communist Cuba." It seems to be some sort of rhetorical strategy, but I don't understand the point. Do you think the word communist is still the boogeyman it was a few decades ago?

The reason I ask has less to do with an objection to your rhetorical idiosyncrasies, and more to do with the fact that you seem to have a very inaccurate perception of China. It became most apparent to me when I read this:

The Communist Chinese company that passed off the poison -- like pretty much every other company in Communist China, and everything else in the country -- is owned by the government.

Either you haven't paid a lick of attention to what has happened in China over the last 25 years, or you're purposely bullshitting; I can't tell which. Do you really believe that (almost) everything in China is owned by the government?

The Cato Institute estimated in 2003 that the private sector in China accounts for about 33 percent of GDP and about 2/3 of industrial output. They note that the Chinese Constitution now states, "Individual, private and other non-public economies that exist within the limits prescribed by law are major components of the socialist market economy," and that "[t]oday there are nearly 2 million private enterprises employing more than 24 million workers, and the number of private enterprises is growing by more than 30 percent per year."

Business Week pointed out (in an interview titled "China Is a Private-Sector Economy") in 2005 that 70% of China's GDP came from private enterprise. Gang (the interviewee) also states, "There are 200 large state companies -- basically, they are in utilities, some in heavy industries, some in resource industries. Traditionally, this is where governments have invested."

Capitalists can now join the Communist Party in China (does this not tell you something?) and private land ownership is now protected. The government has been steadily decentralizing, closing ministries and bureaucracies, and shifting to local authorities on economic and administrative matters.

None of this is to claim that China is an open society. They still live by single-party rule, and that rule is authoritarian in many respects. But the fact is that despite the name "communist," the China of today doesn't fit that description at all. North Korea and Cuba are far more communist, yet you don't feel the need to apply the label in every mention of those countries the way you have lately with China.

So I guess my question for you is this: why do you keep writing about a country while being demonstrably ignorant of its recent history?

-- Sorry for being somewhat off-topic; I meant to bring this up in your earlier China posts, but I don't seem to have a lot of time lately. On topic, the only U.S. flag I own was made here. However (you'll love this), I own a Communist flag from Communist China that was made in Communist China and that I bought in Communist China. (I buy flags from every country I visit; I have six so far).

"...and our flaws and our f... (Below threshold)

"...and our flaws and our failings and our shortcomings. It is us, for good and ill."

No, it really just represents the goodness that is America. We'll always have the left to highlight, and whine about, and embelish, and fabricate, and join our enemy in opposition to the "failings and shortcomings" of the greatest earthly force for freedom and the end of human suffering that has ever existed. So, kinda like when Spencer Tracy held both the Bible and Darwins "Origin of Species" at the end of "Inherit the Wind", so too are we forced to accept the simultaneous existence of what the flag represents and the endless bearing of false witness by people who excercise their freedom of (hate)speech.

Please JT, let the Statue of Liberty be the only major American icon that exudes socialistic pap.

Mantis, why you're just a s... (Below threshold)
RG:

Mantis, why you're just a sophisticated "citizen of the world" aren't you? I'm so impressed!

Perhaps Jay uses the term "Communist" in the front of the word China because for many years there were two Chinas, and still to many of us.

Furthermore, whatever BusinessWeek or Forbes or other such magazines promote, it's best for you to remember that these outfits are obsessed with so-called "free trade" - even to the point of selling their soul for a tiny increase in profit.

China is a totalitarian, communist nation, which uses large amounts of near-slave labor, currency manipulation, copyright infringements, vast network of spies (industrial and military), etc. to feed it's appetite.

Those who think the "world has changed" and there no enemies and there will never be war again are foolishly naive. The same thoughts were believed in the early 20th century.

History will repeat itself.

RG, shouldn't you be down i... (Below threshold)
mantis:

RG, shouldn't you be down in the bomb shelter? The fucking reds are coming!!!!1!!

Say what you want about RG,... (Below threshold)

Say what you want about RG, mantis, he nailed my reasoning behind "Communist China." I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Republic of China (more commonly and incorrectly called "Taiwan"), and I don't like pretending they don't exist out of the emotional sensitivity of the tyrants of Beijing. They've been great friends of ours -- in some ways, I think, better than we deserve.

J.

They should also be made of... (Below threshold)
WebDiva Author Profile Page:

They should also be made of fire-proof material.

I have a tremendous amou... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Republic of China (more commonly and incorrectly called "Taiwan"),

I like ROC too, but they're not all sunshine and roses. You do know there were a lot of Taiwanese living there before the Chinese took the place over when Japan surrendered, right? Read up on the 228 Incident and the White Terror that followed. The Republic of China has its basis in brutal suppression of the indigenous Taiwanese (martial law was imposed for 42 years, you know). By the way, the name of the main island is Taiwan, and that was the name before Chiang Kai-Shek arrived, and before the Portuguese named it Formosa in the 17th century. The nation is now called the Republic of China, but the island is still Taiwan. Besides, if you were so hung up on using proper state names you would call the mainland The People's Republic of China, now wouldn't you?

However,

I don't like pretending they don't exist out of the emotional sensitivity of the tyrants of Beijing.

I agree with you there, but it doesn't have anything to do with what I wrote, most of which I notice you've ignored.

They should also be made... (Below threshold)
mantis:

They should also be made of fire-proof material.

US Flag Code. TITLE 4, CHAPTER 1, Sec. 8(k):

"The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning"

Why are they atill allowing... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Why are they atill allowing products from china after this poisoned pets bit?

Jay, I agree. No laws requ... (Below threshold)
JimK:

Jay, I agree. No laws required, but personally, I choose to stay far away from Chinese-made flags.

Personal choice and responsibility. It should be the choice of a new, old and present generation.

Mantis,I suppose w... (Below threshold)
lowmal:

Mantis,

I suppose we should all not be surprised that, out of the hundreds of countries to visit in this world, one of your 6 would be COMMUNIST China..

Oooh, you got me. I'm just... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Oooh, you got me. I'm just a big commie.

Worker of the world unite!


Tool.

Remember when all we got fr... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Remember when all we got from china were those swell dishes?




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