Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Of Flag Burning And Trampled Constitutions

this is a good article that i think everybody should read. i dont agree to everything that this article says and i find it hard to accept some of the concepts pointed out. There are two quotes from 2 famous persons that i have difficulty embracing 100%. i can accept them in some ways but not entirely. it shows that not every concept/theory can be applied across the board haphazardly.

Bertrand Russell said, "“only kind of freedom which is undesirable is that which diminished the freedom of others”.
On the flag burning issue, the writer Malik Imtiaz implied that flag burning is the freedom of expression of a person. Examples were give to justify his statement according to Russell's quote. But i have a problem with this because i think this is not the way to justify Russell's quote. Why? Let's see: It is the freedom of sumone to burn a flag, and it is also a freedom of mine to protect it at all cost. Dont ask the reason why first. Most important thing is, it is my freedom, my choice. So if flag burning is allowed, it already impedes the freedom of ppl like me who wants to protect the fact.

Voltaire said, "‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’

In most cases, i would say i agree to this but in some rare cases i cannot. Example, when some one insults you or someone you loved, will you still defend the right of that person to say it? To the religious ppl, i take Christians as EXAMPLE, you disapprove of what the Bible says you cannot do, but will you defend the right of ppl who wants to do what the Bible says to not?
many more examples can be used here but i think two is enough.

So what do you people think of this. I would really love some well thought-of inputs on this.


L.W.Jau Yn said...

I can't say anything bout the first quote cos i don't understand what is said at all. The second quote on the other hand ~ Well it's people's right to say what ever they want unless of course it's not true. I can't say i DEFEND what they say but then perhaps ignore it. In terms of religion, things had to be seen in a different angle. My choice of religion is islam and of course there are certain things that i disapprove such as why had to do somethings and that. However, i still will defend the right of ppl who wish to do because that is the law. I may not like the law but still i will follow because it is my duty. sooner or later, maybe i would have find the reason why am i doing it. I don;t know what ppl disapprove in christian but one thing for sure is, is the act something bad or good? What is the logic of the act? For example the holy book says don't consume alcoholic drinks because it's not good for your health and yada yada. One may disagree with that because the person enjoys it and by following the law, he will be stripped for what he likes to do. The disapproval on one side is doing good while the other as seen as being stripped of freedom to do something. Talking bout sins if we still do it if we are not suppose to... well, we can still see whts God had to say when we die. Don't know if wht i wrote makes sense or not. ><

jemufo said...

how, exactly, does the burning of a malaysian flag, impede your freedom?

you ARE indeed free to protect the flag, and take issue with those who burnt it. you can take issue with the reasons/opinions on why they chose to burn it, and they can take issue with your reasons why Not to burn it.

the issue here seems to (correct me if I'm wrong) be what you think the flag-burning represents. as far as I know, flag-burning is generally a form of protest. and you probably would not disagree that protesting is in itself, wrong/disagreeable. I am guessing that you associate flag-burning with something more blasphemous and traitorous, and thus take such an issue with it?

Carmen N said...


I really really want to understand what you mean but thus far, your comment is a bit unclear to me.

You seem to be making the distinction between religion and law? I am reading you right? Care to explain a bit more.

I think using paragraphs will also help because easier to read and follow. One point per paragraph would help too! :-) Thanks!

I think learning how to clarify and explain your points clearly is an excellent CT exercise too! So, those of you who find other people unclear, it is always a good idea to tell them so. In that way, they can revise their sentences, rewrite and in the process, also spend more time thinking through their comments in a more rigorous way.

Cheers! Sorry to be very like *teacher* today lah... hehehe

Esther said...

About the flag burning issue, actually I quite agree with the article that it is a freedom of expression. To show their dissatisfaction with the government. I think this is the fastest way to catch the attention of the government, like the negarakuku case. Why do they need to use things that symbolizes our country to express their dissatisfaction? They must have their reasons to do so. It is their freedom.
As for what you said about flag burning impeding your freedom of protecting the flag, you are also impeding their freedom of expression. So, it is up to both parties to see each and others' reasons.

And speaking of reasons, this leads to the 2nd quote. So you disaprove of flag burning. Why? You have your right to give your reasons. So does the other party, eventhough you both disagree with each other. Different people have different kind of thinkings and way of doing things. Different cultures, religions, races, nationalities etc. have different views about many things. Don't have to go that far, just any 2 person of the same race, religion, nationality etc. still can have difference in opinions. The quote is actually talking about defending the RIGHT of the person to say it, not what the person says. I may not agree with someone about certain issue, but I can't stop him from expressing his view, even if it is insulting. A Christian may not agree with a Bhuddhist, but both have the right to say things the way they think. Anyway, those who say anything will have to bear the consequences, if there is any.