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The Thin Blue Line Flag

Summary:
Current Events If Black Lives Matter had made a flag like this, many people on the Right would be pissed, claiming they’ve defaced the flag. But when cops do it, it’s fine. In general, I despise symbolic politics. Politics should be about policy and outcomes; politics is not a poem. But given that people insist on making politics about symbolism rather than policy, it’s interesting to see how the rules about symbolic expression vary. For various reasons, many Americans treat their flag as a sacred object. Certain people–e.g., black football players–are expected to treat it with reverence, while others–e.g., white cops–are free to violate the “rules” with impunity.

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Current Events

The Thin Blue Line Flag

If Black Lives Matter had made a flag like this, many people on the Right would be pissed, claiming they’ve defaced the flag. But when cops do it, it’s fine.

In general, I despise symbolic politics. Politics should be about policy and outcomes; politics is not a poem. But given that people insist on making politics about symbolism rather than policy, it’s interesting to see how the rules about symbolic expression vary. For various reasons, many Americans treat their flag as a sacred object. Certain people–e.g., black football players–are expected to treat it with reverence, while others–e.g., white cops–are free to violate the “rules” with impunity.

Jason Brennan
Jason Brennan (Ph.D., 2007, University of Arizona) is Robert J. and Elizabeth Flanagan Family Chair and Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business, and by courtesy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Georgetown University, and formerly Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Research, at Brown University. He specializes in political philosophy and applied ethics.

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