Do we really need to play the Star-Spangled Banner so much?

I say no, in my latest Bloomberg column.  Here is one bit:

We live in a country where very often the concession stands don’t stop operating during the anthem, nor do fans stop walking through the concourse. We’re fooling ourselves to think that current practices are really showing respect for the nation or its military.


Anthem practices shouldn’t be viewed as sacrosanct, and no one would think the absence of an anthem unpatriotic if expectations were set differently. Professional sports don’t start their competitions with the Pledge of Allegiance, and that is hardly considered an act of treason. Nor do we play the anthem before movies, as is mandatory in India. Furthermore, “The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t sanctioned by Congress as our national anthem until 1931. Earlier in the history of baseball, the anthem was played during the seventh-inning stretch. It was only during World War II that the anthem was played regularly at the beginning of each game, rather than for special games alone, such as the World Series.

Might we consider moving back to some of these earlier practices? To play the anthem before the players are present or during a mid-game break, or perhaps to cease the practice altogether?


The awkward, hard-to-admit truth is that the American national anthem is a form of right-wing political correctness, designed to embarrass or intimidate those who do not see fit to sing along and pay the demanded respect.

Here is a piece by Cass Sunstein also on the theme of right-wing political correctness.


It sure never seemed like it was embarrassing or intimidating until the last few years. From the late 1970s until the early 2010s it sure didn't seem to cause much controversy or trouble outside the far left or far far right fringes. And most of that mainstream controversy was aesthetic, people preferring the insipid America for example, or complaining about its war setting.

After 9/11 there was a bout of God Bless America, can you imagine the ruckus today?

This is the biggest single bit of evidence that the left has moved very far since 2011 or so.

I mean, the right has been getting freaked out about flag pins for years. I honestly view this as one of the more normal types of controversy of the Trump admin. If Fox didn't make a big deal about Kaepernick last year, no one would care today.

Whats going on is that the right is still stuck in 2001, while everyone else has moved on.
Osama Bin Laden is dead. The war in Iraq is over. We can stop wearing flag pins, ok?

They're not stuck in 2001. They're stuck in 1968.

So is the left for that matter.

"We can stop wearing flag pins, ok?"

Patriotism doesn't cease just because you are bored with it.

Can public displays of patriotism cease? Or should we all have to say the pledge of alliegance five times a day while facing Washington DC?

You know how much you love signalling your fealty to minorities some people feel the same way about their country. You don't have a country so you wouldn't understand.

What does mandatory jewelry have to do with patriotism?

That's the problem. Kaepernick wanted to discuss what he thinks as unfair treatment of black people by the police and smartly chose a shocking way to protest to trigger the debate he was aiming at but some people deflected the issue he wanted to discuss and re framed it as an attack on the military!

Kap's protest should lead to a constructive debate between politicians, community leaders, police officers, athletes and whoever has a story to tell or an idea to give to the betterment of this whole situation. Rushing to attack Kap's merit and re-packaging his protest was more a way to kill the issues he raised than a patriotic manifestation.

"Kaepernick wanted to discuss what he thinks as unfair treatment of black people by the police and smartly chose a shocking way to protest to trigger the debate he was aiming at but some people deflected the issue he wanted to discuss and re framed it as an attack on the military!"

Are you sure it was smart, then? If you were anticipating a smart debate with politicians and community leaders then you need to recalibrate your expectations.

Same thing in Britain: Jeremy--no singing "God Save the Queen," no wearing red poppies (white is ok), and no wearing ties--Corbyn.

(Speaking of which, the US really should invent its own melody for its national anthem.)

"My Country 'Tis of Thee" isn't the national anthem. The melody was considered the chief problem with our actual national anthem, until recently, when the lyrics came under fire - but it gives scope to young women to do their "American Idol" vocal contortions.

+1. My dumb mistake.

Everybody has used "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser": Austria-Hungary, Germany, Columbia University.

Ah good old comrade Corbyn... he'll not wear a red poppy but I bet he'll wear a red hammer and sickle.


But flag burning has been around forever as a political issue. It was before the Supreme Court when PJO'R wrote the Parliament of Whores.

What has happened has been a change in the leadership of American institutions. The Democrats might have liked such people but they kept them to the fringes. As did American universities. Until the day before yesterday the NFL did not allow any political statements at all. They fined players just last year for commemorating five slain police officers. Now they have sided with the people who side with their murderers.

The 'God Bless America' stuff was kind of annoying to me actually, and I was probably the most pissed off ready to murder Islamic nutjobs person I knew.
It was the insipid idea that praying for blessings would somehow protect the country that bothered me the most. That and the oblique suggestion that the terrorists were acting in God's name or whoever prayed the most would get God on their side or something.


Tyler's signalling.

I see the kneeling protests as a political advertisement which it appears that the players have the power to place in NFL games because of their skills and the popularity of the sport. I do not see any good reason why they should have this power - if it annoys enough people, presumably there is a deal which involves them being paid to give up the power to use their position to place political advertisements in return for more money.

They get to do it because the players have all the power and the NFL could not exist without them. The owners are trash and the fans either dislike them or are indifferent. Even noted good ol' boy owner Jerry Jones was kneeling with his guys last night.

The players get this political statement for free and the owners will swallow it.

I am not sure a single statement there is true. The NFL could replace every single player without too much trouble. The bench is deeper than you think. The only exception might be Tom Brady. Owners have a mixed relationship with their fans. Some of them are popular.

No one gets anything for free. This is going to cost the owners and hence the players. The owners have swallowed it - after banning statements in favor of murdered policemen and 9-11 victims. They will pay for that in the end.

This is a battle Trump cannot lose. Pyjama Boy is not going to become an NFL fan because the players go Full SJW. But Joe Sixpack will stop watching.

The NFL could replace every single player without too much trouble.

Last time this theory was tested in 1987, the on field results suggested that it's actually a lot of trouble to replace all of the players.

Nah, I'm almost 100% certain you're wrong on the football end of this. The players on these teams weren't selected for their politics, they were selected for their skill. If you fire them for politics, you're guaranteed a reduction in skill. Not to mention the two other issues involved with firing them: one, that the rest of the league might strike, and two, that there are a enough teams who support these protests that someone will sign whoever you cut- Kaepernick excepted, since he's older, at an inflexible position, and was the person who kicked this all off.

Oh, and as a Patriots fan, you're also wrong about Brady. The success of that team has much more to do with Belichick and Jimmy Garrapolo looks pretty great. They'd be a playoff team without Brady, still.

As long as the skill is still equally represented among teams it doesn't matter. A competitive college football game is just as entertaining as an NFL game

Kevin- if some teams cut good players for protesting, and some teams are willing to sign those players, the skill will not be equally represented. Example- let's say the Cowboys cut Zeke, or the Steelers cut Bell. If the Patriots or Seahawks pick those guys up, they get better, the teams doing the cutting get worse. Unless the teams all agree to blackball these guys, you are more likely than not to end up with a less equal distribution of talent.

I'd like to see how many people would be willing to quit over not being allowed to be blatantly rude and disrespectful.

When you go to a friends wedding at Church, you don't have to say the words, but you don't make a big deal out of showing disdain for things other people find important.

Big deal? Surely kneeling while others stand is similar to sitting while others kneel or stand or walk up the aisle for communion at church--which noobies do all the time.

Well, the league already used replacement players once. And NFL players have not yet been able to negotiate for guaranteed contracts, like their MLB and NBA brethren have had for eons. NFL owners literally can fire (most) players at will.

Yea, but they already recieved a big bonus at initial signing valued at much higher then 1 years salary. That helps compensate for the risk they could be fired (or injured) at any moment. Its a quid pro quo agreement between players and owners (mostly to help owners stay under the salary cap)

The players have power only to the extent they can bring in revenue.
Ultimately, the fans/consumers have the power. If they start tuning out, it's all over.

Jones kneeled *before* the anthem but stood up when it began. Trying to keep both sides happy.

True, it's political advertisement, but so is singing the anthem, asking little kids to recite the pledge of allegiance every day at school, military service announcements prior to games and other similar customs. I wasn't born in the US, and it's amazing how many of those things just don't happen in other places, and to question them is to be "Unamerican". Either way, it's training fans and especially children, about beliefs they must have, or at the very least, pretend to have.

Now, it's not as if America's political demonstration of right wing behavior are useless and wrong overall; Go ask Spain now what happens to you when you hand a small minority of people that want independence control over kid's education for over 20 years. But one would hope that the right reaction to political advertisement of a cause like finding the US law enforcement to be racist would not be to try double down.

The general discontent of the day is not just from white people wanting to go back to the growth of the 50s: It's also from black people unhappy with the justice system. They are both complaining about parts of the American myth they have been told to believe.

I see the anthem before sporting events as a political advertisement which it appears that the NFL has the power to place in NFL games because of their monopoly on the sport.

The playing/singing of the anthem is marketing. The NFL wanted to be in the mom, apple pie list along with baseball. So they promoted this "tradition". Now they want to throw off all that tradition to be with the cool kids. Their fans like the tradition and don't appreciate political statements dissing the US during it.

The thing about making sudden changes is, it causes people to reevaluate their whole habit and many will bail using the controversy as the reason. NFL can't really afford fans rethinking right now, because banning anyone under 21 from playing full contact football is really the only solution to the well documented life-long debilitating injuries cause by football to knees and brains. And all those injuries now cost taxpayers since Obamacare and the drive toward government-health "care".

Those injuries were still costing others money, pre-Obamacare.

If costs > premiums, then either before or after Obamacare, insurance rates for others are higher.
If costs < premiums, then insurance rates before or after Obamacare shouldn't rise.

The only difference is that under Obamacare, everyone is required to have some form of insurance or pay a penalty, making the pool of payers larger. Under Obamacare, more people pay, but each pays less incrementally.

Better still would be taxpayer-subsidized healthcare, so that the insurance-layer middlemen aren't adding a stratum of profit-seeking.

It's already forbidden by the NFL, and the players already collectively bargained for the current agreement.

The whole debate looks so odd when viewed from Europe. I don't think most Europeans even know the words of their national anthem. I mean, I'm Irish and I don't even really know the language my national anthem is written in.

Neither do many Americans.....may be even the President. But hey this is the land of the Red, Red, Red, White, White, White ......(and I forget some other colors)

Amazing that Trump is against immigration but "loves" the national anthem so much when the first word to the anthem is "Jose"!

I'm surprised you say that.

The issue of who is singing the anthem well enough arises in European football from time to time, in much the same way, although Trump has a special gift here, eh what? For professional club teams, the best players are not even citizens of the country where the club plays. Probably because of that, they generally chew their gum respectfully.

For national teams, the issue is more acute. The French national soccer team gets this quite a lot, but then they have players the originate from cultures very different from the one La Marseillaise originates from. Some French parties makes much of that when it they imagine a political benefit. That said, the French soccer team's history abounds in sordid controversy. Where have you gone, Lillian Thuram?

'but then they have players the originate from cultures very different from the one La Marseillaise originates from'

You mean that French colonialism didn't take? - because pretty much all those cultures enjoyed the benefit of being French colonies for several generations, likely hearing La Marseillaise on days like July 14.

Europeans play the national anthem ONLY for national team games. Playing the anthem before every league, college and high school game of any sort is absurd and ridiculous to anyone who was not born into the system and trained to think it's normal. Tyler is spot on here, it's right wing PC big time.

Europeans have been governed by self-loathing effete Internationalists intent on betraying the national interest for generations.

For America it is a bit of a surprise.

Proud internationalist here. Keep your self-loathing for yourself.

Self loathing is self recommending.

Well, depending on whether history repeats itself as tragedy, you won't need to worry about 'self-loathing effete Internationalists' singing 'Deutschland über alles,' since it will be heartily sung by people who know all the stanzas of the Deutschlandlied, not just the official third one. The sort of people who proclaim that Germans should again take pride in what the Wehrmacht did in WWII.

If our discourse and the centre should fail and this all boils down to a choice between Communist thugs, Islamic thugs, or Nationalist thugs.....don't assume people will pick your preferred team.

I'm picking the Grey Warden guy.

You left out genocidal thugs - which is what the Nazis were.

And genocidal thugs still win the worst villain contest, hands down. That is what Gauland is talking about, after all, soldiers in WWII dedicated to a Vernichtungskrieg (in English, war of extermination or annihilation). Though genocide more than adequately covers the goal of a Vernichtungskreig, one can still make the weak and generally pointless argument that it was the SS that handled broad (though not all) aspects of Nazi genocide, while the Wehrmacht handled everything else involved.

And for anyone interested, there is also this wikipedia article -

You're making that assumption I spoke about...

You lose...Godwin's Law.

We all commented on a blog post on the internet. We all lose.

That's why no European country can field an army.

The Russians disagree.

I know the lyrics to "Eidelweiss..."

With the kind of students Tyler and his friends produce, you had probably better learn "Tomorrow Belongs to Me."

This makes me wonder if more Canadians know the American anthem than Europeans know their own anthems.

On 9-11 I was camping up on Lake Superior in Canada. I didn't even hear the news until the following day. Eventually I gave up the camping trip and headed east to Sudbury then down to Toronto. As I passed through the small Ontario towns there were US flags everywhere, and occasionally signs in front of the clapboard churches reading "God save America". I found myself wondering where they got all those flags? How many Americans could lay hand on a Canadian flag if some awful atrocity befell Canada?

That Baudelaire wrote of Delacroix as Pliny the Elder's reincarnate is no one's surprise. What was his passion with color that he forgot the eyes for robes, his disdain for Wagner that he painted with melody.

Rifa Tahtawi felt for one the man embodied the Russian values the Europeans would value in 1848. And this is coming from a Syrian.

The claim of disrespecting the troops and the anthem is just a cudgel to change the topic from what Kaepernick was initially protesting, and an effective one at that. The NFL really could have buried this if they'd just stopped bad mouth Kap skillwise and admitted they were against him using their platform. So many teams talking about their schemes and plans and how bad he was had to turn around and bench their starting QB's they'd been working with for months within 30 minutes of the first kickoff.

NFL players don't really have much power, lacking guaranteed contracts, and blackballing Kaepernick was working great until Charlottesvile showed what a real unamerican protest looks like and Trump opened his big mouth. The league can't give up the fake pageantry - they need it as much as they need gambling. The quality and outcome of the games isn't nearly good enough to drive the level of interest they currently enjoy.


What did you just say? Reads like gibberish.

Also: name a team that would pay Kap roughly what he wants, that has a QB they can get shot of immediately, that has the cap room, that has an offensive coordinator who wants Kap, that has an O line that will have success with his scrambling style, that accepts that his reads downfield aren't that great, etc. Go on.


Kap might be being blackballed by one or two owners at most, and probably not that.

That said, I have a problem with neither his protesting nor an owner's (alleged or hypothetical) unwillingness to hire him.

Houston, Indy, Jets, Jacksonville, Miami , San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago. Giants, Redskins and Arizona could all use him as a backup to put some fire under their guys. It's cool though, these teams have all decided to lose. The line in the sand is clarifying.

Tyler you are extremely insightful in many ways, but you are still young. You have no idea what you are talking about on this subject, in my humble opinion. When I was in my 20s and 30s, before the internet, when records were expensive and in most of the country radio reception was bad, I remember reading library books (I could not afford to buy many books) about classical music (which I fell in love with at the age of 18 or so) and often the writers of the books (Haggin, Schonberg, Rosen, Slonimski, that sort of guy - and it was always a guy, which is a whole n'other issue) would say about some piece of music I had never heard live: That Old warhorse! as if that was (as if that were, if you prefer the subjunctive) a bad thing. Sports events are expensive: we are a country full of children and immigrants who have never heard the anthem played well live: God bless the musicians who wake up early on a day when they could have slept in to play some music, including the anthem of our compassionate nation, for people who have heard it before but Most Importantly for people who have never heard And understood it before (as a local former fan of the Redskins - not a fan anymore, they dissed my peeps, they need to apologize - I have been lucky to have a real band at an NFL game. But, ceteris paribus, the same is true for any arena). Tyler, Trump was right, you were wrong. (By the way if you are reading this and you are not Tyler Cowen - I hope and pray he does not read all the comments here - shades of that poor guy in the Waugh novel who read out loud every single word of every Dickens novel - well, if you are Tyler Cowen and you read this - please stop reading so many comments on your blog! Life is short.) (That being said, if you randomly read this - I meant what I said. And, as always, thanks for the bandwidth - RIP Jerry Pournelle, thanks for that phrase....).Oh, and I know a lot of musicians - they all love to sleep in. Connect, simply connect. I remember being at war in a foreign land, fighting for the USA - an easy war, in its way, but one where thousands on my side died - and thinking "some day I will come home and my small contribution will, no doubt, be appreciated." I was mostly right, and I have nothing to complain about - but I can still hear the voices of many who died. And I was only mostly right, not completely right, but I don't care, I did it because it was right, not because anyone would appreciate it. I feel so sad for the arrogant kneeling fools of the NFL. Not a single one of them is making their grandparents proud. Not a single one. On the bright side, Roethlisberger has already apologized for skulking in the locker room like a shady loser. No country has a bright future of decent people taking care of other decent people: but, Roethlisberger has more or less apologized, and that makes me think things might not be as bad as they seemed.

This is a terrible hymn composed fatality and irreprairable pain.

Thanks. The pain is reparable, though: Those who fought with me are still, and will always be, my comrades. Death be not proud.

Thank you for your comment.

Part of me would love to poke at it, but the rest of me admires the effort and obvious sincerity that got poured into it. So, I'm onboard with 'thank you'

Longer than a Rayward post, but better!

Way better. It was a good post.

No, we don't necessarily need to play it so much, but there has been a large decline in civic culture, and a healthy civic culture requires more than a spirit of protest.

worshipping the government is not the same as a healthy civic culture

Exactly, Anon7.

Recently read a breezy but smart history of France - or chiefly of Paris - "La Belle France." A "healthy civic culture requires more than a spirit of protest" is pretty much the throughline of the book.

No matter what those guys think they're doing, the anthem issue is inseparable from honoring the troops. Could we do with less genuflection to the troops? I think so, mostly because there's grown a sort of pathology around soldiering that doesn't seem healthy. I don't know how to explain it - like, to be a member of the military is to be broken and betrayed. And not a member of society, standing outside it. Meanwhile there's a feeling the police are combatants at war, and certainly some of them embrace it. It is not really their fault, of course, but it's definitely a change for the worse.

But for grown men paid to play a pretend war game to be leading a protest against men who do dangerous work - whether it started as merely a protest against the way the police do their impossible jobs, and is now perceived as against the whole federal government and thus the military - is shameful in the extreme.

"But for grown men paid to play a pretend war game to be leading a protest against men who do dangerous work"

They aren't protesting "men who do dangerous work", they are protesting the uneven and violent application of the law in the United States. Everyone knows that being a police officer is difficult. Not one of these players is making that argument.

"whether it started as merely a protest against the way the police do their impossible jobs, and is now perceived as against the whole federal government and thus the military – is shameful in the extreme."

That the original (and in my opinion, worthwhile) purpose of the protest has been completely ignored/subsumed/caricatured is the shameful part of this whole affair. It takes courage to put yourself in the public eye and attempt to make a difference. Is it the same amount of courage it takes to be a Green Beret? Or a police officer? Of course not.

"Everyone knows that being a police officer is difficult. Not one of these players is making that argument."

If I am understanding the links below, the proportion of blacks among people who kill law enforcement officers is even more disproportionate to their share of the population than that of blacks killed by police. So it is not clear to me at least that Blue Lives Matter to the folks who with proportions in mind, sloganeer that Black Lives Matter [but only black lives taken by blue, the rest were pretty damn disposable, evidently]. I do admit that it would take courage to state that plainly, before an audience of football fans.

"African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population."

"There were 511 officers killed in felonious incidents and 540 offenders from 2004 to 2013, according to FBI reports. Among the total offenders, 52 percent were white, and 43 percent were black.

From 1980 to 2013, there were 2,269 officers killed in felonious incidents, and 2,896 offenders. The racial breakdown of offenders over the 33-year period was on par with the 10-year period: 52 percent were white, and 41 percent were black."

While I obviously don't share your sympathy for the Black Lives Matter movement, I am sympathetic to the players to the extent that their taking a knee draws attention to the fact that relations between blacks and whites (and, where I live, between blacks and Mexicans, who are more fond of football in my state than of soccer; and heck, between Hispanics and white, for that matter) seem at least in the presentation of the media (finally getting their wish!) to be at a nadir, that things are not normal, and it can't go on this way. Nor, given other currents in the sports world, is their protest really unexpected or strange. Why then do I think it's unseemly? Only because other young men - just the ones who might enjoy watching football - have had the dreary job of being at war for 16 years, and there's no end; and no one is accusing them of being the Greatest Generation, and if there's heroism or glory in it, we'd never know about it. All they've really got, as a brand, is the flag.

Sing the anthem, observe the flag, and then walk off the field - now that would get my attention.

And if you think it is no small thing to remember exactly how many soldiers who later died for their country sounded like when they talked about things they cared about, long before they died for their country - and, with those memories, to watch hundreds of young childish millionaires callously exploit the one short moment devoted to the memory of the honored dead, the one short moment that used to be their moment (the moment of the honored dead) every once in a while at some boring game, win or lose (even championships) - if you think it is no small thing to watch as those boring games, even, I guess, eventually the Superbowl games, are turned into displays of disrespect - you will never know what you ought to know about those who lost a relative in a war, and who would not trade a thousand victories in these sad arrogant games for one more day with the loved ones who died for those they loved - if you think those kneeling fools were not being the nastiest most ungrateful little fools they actually were - well then, God help you. Almost all of them will some day repent. But that day is in the future - today they are what they are. Sad for them.

I know no one on a libertarian economics blog, or practically anywhere else, cares how many unarmed black people get shot by the police, or how few consequences there are to those shootings, but childishly and callously exploit? Save your speech for the guys swilling beer in the concourse if you think the lone moment of the anthem is so important.

Andre: you are a person who likes to insult. I have more black grandchildren than you. Stop supporting the haters of the world!

And I care about injustice. Do you?

I hope you do.

I really do. We live in a real world and we really need to care about each other. Stop supporting the haters of the world: that is good advice. It is easy advice to follow, my friend! I will not be here in the coming decades: I need people like you yo be decent in those decades, because I care about my grandchildren! That being said: Death be not proud. I hope you have, already, found many friends in this world, Andre: and if you have not: I hope someday you will. Peace, brother.

andre - there are tens of millions of comments on millions of websites. From my heart of hearts, brother - I don't care at all that you dissed me - you have decades of life ahead of you - be kind. Believe me, it will be appreciated. Seriously. You probably understand right now, and if you don't, you will. God loves us all.

Be as kind to my black grandchildren as you can, my friend. I mean that from my heart of hearts. I won't be there to notice: but God watches, and God preserves his children.

It's a myth, really a lie that the police violently discriminates against blacks. Whites who interact with police (i.e. misbehave) are more likely to get shot by police than blacks. Interestingly, BLM's police intimidation has caused more deaths than occurred on 9-11 (I predicted exactly this on Marginal Revolution over two years ago).

To paraphrase this website, small steps to a much shittier world.

You appear to have your facts wrong:

I'm honestly not sure that 'dying for one's country' is something that deserves praise and honor. It depends on the war, doesn't it?
In some cases, I think the soldiers that died were really poor deluded fools to went of to fight in someone else's battle, which brought the country no meaningful benefit, protected nobody, defended no meaningful value or ideals, and was just a sad miserable waste. Acting like that's something to be admired rather than mourned is kind of problematic.

You honestly should just go back home.

What the fuck are you talking about. I am home.

No your home is above the 49th parallel. I have no idea what you're doing down here.

I have this thing for individual liberty. For everyone. Not just white people.

You were talking about soldiers. Why bring race into it?

The same might be said about "obeying the law" or "paying your taxes"--in many cases, laws are ill-advised and taxes are ill-spent. Nonetheless, we tend to honor those who obey the law and pay their taxes, while condemning those who don't. Tyler and Hazel and are idiots if they want to destroy a culture that prizes national unity and revert to the war of all against all, but that seems to be their goal.

So you're saying that we should honor people who obediently join the Army and then die, because they were drafted.

That doesn't sound very libertarian to me.

I'm not a libertarian. If I were, and I were philosophically consistent (which few of them are), I would not honor people who obeyed the law or paid their taxes.

" a culture that prizes national unity"

Since when?

Historically, at ball games, after elections, on national holidays, etc. Tyler and his friends want to change that, because they foolishly believe that they will succeed outside the highly-structured regimen in which they now live.

Uh, the US didn't have a national anthem until 1931. We had a hodge podge of various hymns and songs, but nothing official. It was only rarely played at ball games, and I've never heard it played after an election. You might have heard it on the Fourth of July. All of this anthem, troops, and patriotic worship is fairly new. It's weird and unnecessary.

I didn't say that the national anthem was played at all those occasions (read carefully), only that they were historically occasions for displays of national unity, which Tyler despises and wants to eliminate.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Honest Abe's greatest legacy:

How would the soldiers have known when they went to their deaths that it was "someone else’s battle, which brought the country no meaningful benefit, protected nobody, defended no meaningful value or ideals, and was just a sad miserable waste?"

It was the socialists / progressives / fans of Mussolini that pushed the pledge and other state worship during the total war century ushered in by Lincoln and his savage generals and supporters in the US and statists / ne’er-do-wells of various stripes in Europe. These are not right wingers pushing this but conservatives - statists. As Michael Malice might say, “Conservatives are progressives that drive the speed limit.” The right wing - contrary to the defamation by the likes of you and Cass Sunstein - are not statists or collectivists.

Yea as long as we bend over and recite some doggerel poem someone shoved on a statue then the spirit of America is alive.

The left and libertarians are about to find out just how shallow the support for the US as a propositional nation is. Hell the preamble of the constitution explicitly rejects the propositional nature of the Declaration of Independence.

Why bother, but seriously, how does 'We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.' explicitly reject 'the propositional nature of the Declaration of Independence'?

Especially that 'secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity' part.

The our posterity part. Your first instinct was right (for once) you shouldn't have poked.

The awkward hard to admit truth is Tyler Cowen just isn't really that American. I can't blame him- clearly America women were uninterested and he's a hired gun for transnational billionaires but why would any one care what he thinks about American symbolism.


How about this:

" What if you’re an athlete who appears Arabic, or who has a dress style or hair style associated with Islam? Do you have to hold your hand on your heart especially hard? "

Better not to draw attention to your vest

Of course. Only white Christian conservatives are REAL Americans.

You are Canadian I can't emphasize how little your opinion on this matters.

Had it with your bs, this couldn't be more wrong. And the millions, irrespective of thrift backgrounds, who've come here to make a better life disprove you.


Move along; nothing to see here. Just Tyler virtue signaling to the Borg Queen of academia.


His takes are getting more and more cringeworthy.


Virtue signaling is a pretty useless concept in practice.

Lotta haters in this thread already. Do all comboxes have this many posters who despise the blogger? Honestly I only read the comments here and Sumner's blog.

We generally agree with his approach to markets. Those posts are logical and produce mostly congenial debates.

But his take on culture and politics often seems conventional and lacking in logic.

So the readers push back.


It is instructive that someone as intelligent and accomplished as Tyler in the field of economics can be "man on the Clapham omnibus" in another. A lesson in the pluripotency (not) of elites.

@Chip: Not really, it's more that many posters here have a problem with the 'fiscally conservative socially liberal' stance of the typical libertarian. And they get so angry about it.

This. Tyler's either trolling or virtue signalling.

No argument there - I'm pretty much the consummate cuck afterall.

+1 for Cuckold Solidarity! I'm with you my fellow cucks.

How many bloggers employ sock-puppets?

What's the evidence that there are sock puppets on this blog?

I've noted that there's some sort of internet based variation of the Fregoli Delusion where people start believing every single commenter that disagrees with them must all be the same person.

I am inclined to agree, ol Art Deco has been going a big paranoid as of late. Too much time online has a tendency to cause one to loose touch. He should go on a Wanderung for some frische Luft.

Oh there's plenty here, but it will never stop being funny that Art thinks they are 'employed' by the bloggers LOL. They have really gotten to him.

What if the Cuckmeister general is secretly Tyler Cowen ?

How many bloggers employ sock-puppets?

TC doesn't need to employ us. You're so thoroughly an asshole, we gladly troll you for free.


This also applies to those who think the alt right are on the russian payroll. Where's my paycheck?!

America is a rare thing. It's a large sprawling democracy knit together by ideas more than royal lineage or histories and languages dating to and beyond Rome.

To maintain the power of those ideas, to the extent that young Americans willingly make painful sacrifices, there has to be respect for those ideas and sacrifices.

Standing for the anthem isn't onerous or common. It's a very small but important gesture of respect. Here it is in economist-speak: If you're too petty to stand for a minute, while so many Americans lie dead in military cemeteries, then you place no value on their sacrifice.

If sacrifice isn't valued, it won't be offered.

(And of course this doesn't address the fact that disparaging the entire country because you think a policeman is the biggest problem for young black men, is really stupid).

And if respect is demanded, it isn't respect.

Tell that to the people who fired Brendan Eich and James Damore, or who prosecuted Elane Photography.

Actually, if you do not stand and commit to a 3 minutes of making a jerk-off motion before you get in the car every morning, then you do not respect America or all the Native Americans who were killed to by disease and bullet to give you a comfortable continent to live on.

It's a small jerk-off gesture, but you had better do it or else everyone will know you are a disrespectful scum who doesn't value those sacrifices.

Cool now if you can get seventy percent of America to agree with this you got yourself a winning issue. Frankly I'll take sixty republicans in the senate. Pleas keep disrespecting the national anthem left wingers.

Think about it this way each time you kneel that border wall gets taller and taller.

When did this weird conflation of the anthem and Memorial Day happen?

Go read the lyrics. Nothing in there about memorializing our dead. Indeed its only reference to war dead, in the 3rd stanza, is a contemptuous reference to the enemy.

People can of course think whatever they like when singing along! But your treacly sentimentalizing is undignified.

It's the ritual, stupid

I think this is just a reluctant admission that TC knows that these protests are not going to work out well. He is trying to have a foot in both camps and the logical contradiction is making him uneasy.

As a solution playing the anthem less is stupid. The Left is out to offend. They are out to offend in the most visible, in-your-face way they can at a sore spot for Red America - their favorite sport and their anthem. If it was played less, they would just find something else to stab at.

So who gives a sh!t if it is played too often? It is irrelevant. You may as well just say it should be played more. The anthem is just the play toy here. The issue is whether you love America or you hate America. The NFL's fans mostly love America. Some players are signalling they hate America. Some owners have foolishly sided with the players. That will cost them.

The interesting question is which side will MR side with. I think they will side with those that hate America. After all when Nathan was here and claimed that Christians were joining the Army in order to slaughter Muslim civilians for the sheer fun of it, they delete every objection I made. No matter how polite. Their colleagues' happiness and tenure do, after all, depend on being in with the Left.

And in the end we will all have to take sides. That is what the Left wants. They insist that we care. Now I care. I really really care.

" The issue is whether you love America or you hate America."
More binary thinking. If only it was that simple. Using a (kind of) public situation to object to something that large numbers of people find reprehensible is a sure sign that someone "hates America". There can be no other emotions, it's either love or hate. Using the platform of the introduction to a sacred sporting rite to call attention to social failings is obviously a sign of hatred for America.

This is the sort of content-free blather that people produce to signal they are part of the tribe - it is all about context and nuance. Except it isn't.

The whole point is to make sure that this is a binary choice. Just as you are in favor of anti-Fa or you're a Fascist.

They are not pointing to social failings. They are pointing to Blood Libels. There is no a problem with race in the American Justice system. Nearly every case of "police misconduct" has in fact been a case of libel and smear. By CNN and the rest of the Democrat Media.

Some players are deliberately seeking to offend to push that Blood Libel. Naturally that is going to upset people. That is a binary choice.

"Nearly every case of “police misconduct” has in fact been a case of libel and smear."

I've seen a lot of cases of police misconduct, corruption and casual brutality. Some are pretty horrible. But it genuinely looks colourblind.

Meanwhile the cases the left has SPECIFICALLY SELECTED as examples of waycist cops have nearly all turned out bogus. This hasn't stopped the increasingly faux outrage.

In reality, it's designed to be binary, courteous of the Electoral College and the two-party system that attends it.
Since politically there are normally only two options, bogus as they might be, the nation is divided into two camps. The citizens must adapt their wishes to one or the other because no third option realistically exists. The two parties intend to keep it that way.

If the only way one can stand to love America is in a Pantomime version where everything is perfect rather than America as it is, with both its glories and its faults, can one really be said to actually love it?

"Here is a piece by Cass Sunstein also on the theme of right-wing political correctness."

Maybe we can take a break from having Cass an arbiter on moral behavior until we find out why his wife unmasked hundreds of Americans via NSA surveillance. She was the UN ambassador after all.

Seriously, these corrupted so-called elites need to take a break from lecturing others.

I think you should take a deep breath before being critical of elites - these people DID make it through the hyper competitive filter to get where they are today. Probably the most brilliant leadership class in human history you should show done humility.

Well, it was certainly a filter. Doesn't mean the product coming out the other end was filtered for desirable qualities though....

"Probably the most brilliant leadership class in human history"

Wut? I would like to have what you are smoking.

There were more "brilliant leaders" in Virginia in 1776 than in all of the US now.

Given the level of competition, a B+ student at Harvard is far closer to the zenith of human achievement than the leaders of 1776.

Hahahahahaha. Seriously? You think the modern Harvard process selects for "Great Leaders"?

Maybe "Great Managers". Or "Great Sociopaths". Maybe.

look if this particular Portland state grad wants to cosplay as an Ivy leaguer let him.

I suppose some people are resentful of the successful but I think we should be more appreciative of the modern elite.

I'm not an Ivy Leaguer I just don't like people resenting success.

I am an ivy leaguer we honestly would prefer you don't say anything. Its not that we don't like you but you just don't have "it".

Hardly anyone at Harvard now would have been able to graduate 18th century Harvard.

People now have access to more facts but the Greek and Latin and Hebrew alone would task all but the top 1% now.

We have access to more facts now. That is it.

@Sam, I know technically Cornell is in the Ivy League but come on, you know it doesn't count.

I think the best solution to settle this is a Black vs White NFL All-Star game. If the whites win, then every player has to stand for the anthem, no exceptions. If the blacks win, not only can protestors take a knee, but the NFL all has to institute a social justice awareness month in the same as their breast cancer month. The whites obviously are going to dominate in QBing, O-line, coaching and kicking. But man, oh man is their defense going to suck.

This solves a lot of problems at once. First, it makes for a really interesting, really engaging game. The NFL, with their sagging ratings and boring crop of young stars needs an injection of WWE style flair. Second, it separates the true football fans from the culture war interlopers. Anyone who cares about football is going to pee their pants with excitement. Anyone who whines about this not being how a "cultural dialogue" should be carried, doesn't watch football anyway, guaranteed. Third it settles the issue in a definitive way, such that the other side may not be happy, but they'll accept the outcome.

Ta-Neishi Coates and Sean Hannity can yell back and forth ad nauseam, but they're never going to change the other sides' mind. But Tom Brady and Marshawn Lynch on the field of battle, that's decisive. No matter which side wins, the outcome of this game would at allow the losing side to retreat with dignity and sportsmanship. Once the match is over the issue will be settled in most people's minds, and we can move on.

Kapernick could play for either team!

The whites don't have any shot whatsoever. There are plenty of black OL and QBs; there are no (literally!) white CBs.

I remember simpler times when the controversy was that artists lip-synced or made mistakes during the national anthem for the super bowl.

Also, most of time the national anthem part is not shown on TV. For people at home it means just another commercial break. What changed?

Or consider a couple of alternatives:

1. The original protest is the entry of politics into yet another sphere when we're already tired of politics.
2. It's the sports corollary of the Natalie Maines rule: You're getting paid to entertain. When you lecture or insult your audience instead of entertaining, don't be surprised if you loose your audience.
3. It's only a game that's taking itself too seriously.

Such is life in nowaday's America.

Why not discuss the complete insanity of a business embracing protests that are guaranteed to alienate a sizeable portion of their customers? The true genius of Trump is his knack for getting his enemies to hurt themselves.

So, a business that generates thousands of good jobs for Americans such as the NFL counts as "enemies"?

you're asking as if i think they're my enemies. i'm not even american.

look, it is obvious the protests are going to hurt the NFL's business, and it was obvious before they happened, so why did the NFL's decision-makers allow them to happen? the politics are boring. we all know what's up. but since we all know what's up, and the billionaires know what's up, why did they light millions on fire when they could have.. not? why convert money into piety *now*? that's a more interesting question and tyler is a good person to answer it.

Well, you see capital being destroyed.

So, how capital being destroyed counts as a Trump genius? Remember a few NFL team owners contributed to Trump campaign.

Could you explain where's the genius in biting the hand that feeds you?

you haven't considered the possibility that Trump doesn't like the NFL specifically, or that Trump is engaged in a more personal game against other billionaires? or that all of this doesn't benefit him with his base and marginal supporters who assign value to Trump being "right" and his opponents being a bit loopy and over the top and anti-American? this is obviously good for Trump.

you may think he's a narcissistic crackerjack who can barely string together a coherent sentence, but Trump is smarter than both of us. deal with it. all we can do is try to suss out what's going on so we can get smarter.

Trump rightfully hates the NFL from the USFL days.

But he was not thinking about that, it was just a offhand comment at a campaign rally when it started.

Tyler has given us a lot to think about.

Ultimately, I am a fan of the National Anthem, and the Anthem as a sports tradition. I love Little League opening days, with kids of every race, color, and creed, with little caps over little hearts. That is a very positive American image: teamwork, sportsmanship, and competition. Sportsmanship (as should be life) is a balance between honor and the desire to win.

It is honor set in opposition to winning "at any cost."

If this could be a teaching moment, it should be that we respect honorable behavior, even when we disagree.

I respect Alejandro Villanueva for his choice to stand. I won't say he is right or wrong any more than Colin Kaepernick is right or wrong to take a knee. I respect Justin Houston for his choice to kneel in prayer. Again, I won't say he is right or wrong.

I respect every player who took this as a serious issue, looked to his conscience, and did what he thought was right.

Good comment. At the end of the day, I wish they'd just leave politics out of football. We go to, or watch the game to get away from the week's BS.

+1 to both of you

Read the full story on Alejandro Villanueva, the new hero of the American right. He screwed up and got stuck out in the front of the tunnel. He ended up apologizing to his teammates.

"Villanueva and his teammates indicated a day later that his presence outside the tunnel actually occurred accidentally rather than by design. He said he had wanted to see the flag before the game but was still outside when the anthem began, at which point he did not want to move. Yet he subsequently felt as if he'd broken ranks and admitted there was pressure to stand from fellow veterans, including those injured in wars abroad."

"Unfortunately, I threw (my teammates) under the bus, unintentionally," he said. "Every single time I see that picture of me standing by myself, I feel embarrassed.

"We as a team tried to figure it out. Obviously we butchered it. ... I'm not gonna pretend I have some kind of righteous voice."

Did Tyler have this opinion a year ago? Or did it just arrive in the monthly update of Things We Always Believed?


Reveille and Retreat accompanied by cannons or rifle shots were a natural part of my youth. As an adult I miss the haunting clarity that Taps brings with the sunset. These rituals are meant to bind unlikely acquaintances into a cohesive unit. Military life is much different from civilian life. The football field is not a battlefield and the players do not die if a mistake occurs.

When my father returned from Vietnam demoralized and ashamed, he was spit on by protesters. By default, I should disdain anyone who disrespects the flag or those who fight for freedom. But I do not. What we must remember is that the Declaration of Indepedence and the Constitution supercede the national anthem.

While I agree with Cowen, I would point out that the association of athletics with the military and patriotism can be traced to ancient Greece, where the formal education of young men (the ephebate) combined training in athletics, the military, and citizenship (philosophy, etc.). That doesn't make it sacrosanct, but the ancients and Greek philosophy and culture occupy a prominent place at GMU and the Mercatus Center, so I would have expected more deference to the ancient Greek structure for education. In any case, the flyover by one or more military aircraft has become as much a part of the big game as the national anthem. I'm talking about enormous (and loud) stealth bombers not piddling little fighter jets. No doubt the ancients would be impressed.

Another way to say it:

In all the photos coming in, you see a player kneeling and the player beside him standing. Which one is right?

They both are. They both had to make a difficult decision under tremendous pressure of all kinds. If we can be sure of one thing, it is that they thought about it, a lot.

So respect that effort at moral decision, it is ultimately more important than the moment.

I can definitely see the point that in a better world we wouldn't have these worries, but you know, this ain't that better world.

i can't tell if you're joking: the world is so good that we're pretending to worry about whether some millionaires knelt or stood while some music played instead of working the fields so we can eat. never forget that you're living in what nearly all of our ancestors would consider paradise.

Look at Alejandro Villanueva's sad and confusing apology for breaking from the team. Feel for that guy. He was trying to do what was right, but in that confusing moment there were a lot of factors.

(As I understand it he didn't expect to be photographed, thought it was a private moment with a few teammates off camera.)

They both had to make a difficult decision

The term 'difficult decision' does not mean what you fancy it means.

Two drivers are running late for work and reach a red light. One decides to stop and the other decides to go through it. They both had a difficult decision to make.

The militarization of the game celebration is also a concern. How is it that a roaring stealth fighter fly-by timed for the conclusion of the anthem became standard at open-air games? (Are indoor games less patriotic, respectful, supportive? Hmmm...soon military drones for indoors events?) What, exactly does this have to do with a couple of privately-owned clubs getting together to toss a ball around? What is its cost?

The military considers those displays an effective recruiting tool. What's your plan for reaching 15 to 25 year old men who might want to enlist? Adrienne Rich retrospectives? Or maybe just stop having a military?

Sports going back to the Olympic games were designed to help train men for military service. Why does the connection bother you so? Do you think that we can defend ourselves merely with drones or passive resistance?

[eyeroll]. Exhibit #637 in the file marked 'The Mercatus crew will say nothing which will cause them discomfort in the faculty rathskellar'.

Maybe we should just arrest most of our chatterati, strip them of their citizenship, and deport them to western Europe. They can enjoy their fusion food in Brussels as well as Boston.

You at all familiar with this guy? -

He is also an occasional substitute host for Rush Limbaugh. You really have very little actual knowledge of the Mercatus Center, it appears.

Particularly as the Mercatus Center has nothing to do with GMU. Not a single employee or scholar or whatever at the Mercatus Center receives a penny from the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Virginia for whatever it is they do when working for Mercatus.

I totally disagree here. It's wrong to compare the US with other countries - we are not a country built on a common ethnicity or religion. We need to reinforce important central common values to keep this thing going.

Now that I have described why I respect the players, I can describe why I do not respect the Troll in Chief.

He took the flip side view. He disrespected the players, then when they would not swing his way the coaches, then the owners, then the whole NFL. He made the ultimate authoritarian command to need Him or be fired.

He blew it. A wedge issue is supposed to spit off a majority, it is not supposed to split off your friends. Here, half a dozen people who had campaigned for Trump had to come out against it.

Beyond being abominable morality, that is just not how you win at politics.

Pretty sure I typed "heed Him" there. Android!

I think the "need Him" is actually a better reflection of Trump's psychology.

Black Lives Matters is massively unpopular. Something like 60% of people dislike them.

Trump is on the side of the majority here. Everyone is sick and tired of these wannabe Red Guards smashing things up. Crowds are cheering Trump. Not the people who are kneeling.

Hillary lost because she could not win a small number of blue collar traditionally Democratic states. Those states are becoming more and more pro-Trump all the time. If you think former steel workers behind the Blue Wall are looking at these thuggish freaks who get paid millions of dollars to disrespect the country, its police, its military, its flag and its anthem, well, I hope you are looking forward to the mid-terms.

If it was such a clear win, would there be this at National Review?

You mean the journal that has long voiced opposition to Trump?

That answer connects to my "effective wedge" argument. The National Review was founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1955.

Bill Buckley led for years an intellectual conservative resurgence.

How did NR get "wedged out" to become an enemy of a new Right, not centered on reasoned discourse, but on angry tweets?

NR is NYC/Beltway conservative, that is to say liberal.

This was apparent before Trump. Trump just heightened the contradictions.

Well, I was a Buckley conservative before I was an independent.

Maybe that is why I am conscious of how the wedge splits. But go ahead, keep splitting. The GOP is down to 29% approval. You can do better. By that I mean worse.

Yes, and for good reasons. Why is POTUS sticking his nose in this matter at all? Whatever happened to limited government?

60% is not massively unpopular. It means in a group of five people, two of them will support it, and three will be against. That might turn into a landslide in the electoral college, but as poll numbers go that's fairly evenly divided.

To really take this home, Trump put the whole thing under a harsh new light.

A year ago a lot of people could not understand Kaepernick. Even many who saw his free speech right couldn't see the need, especially in his sports context. Racism was over, right?

Then, the guy who had said that there were "very fine people" among the KKK torch burners said that black players quietly taking a knee were "sons of bitches."

If you ask me, Trump proved Kaepernick's case, and now many more people understand that.

Trump, making America great again, one bent knee at a time.

Do have any evidence that the general public is against Trump on this? A poll? Anything?

It might take a little time to settle, but ultimately I think people will listen to the coaches. Smart guys. Listening to them you can get how they make it work as leaders, moral guides for young men.

Listen to them.

So, no. Becky below does. I ask for numbers and you offer up more "thoughts." The polite way of saying what you're doing to talking out of your hat.

Here is a poll, not at all unrelated

Is this really a "good wedge" against that backdrop?

It is unrelated, but nice try. I'm done now. You are pathetic.

Ha. Well I can explain why it is very related.

Donald Trump ignored the big problems in this country, disaster recovery, healthcare, Korea, a new tax bill, to go down to Alabama to rip open a new wedge issue.

The question at the poll is does he do more to divide than unite?

Hells yes, he does.

And he probably does it became he knows he can't give a uniting speech on any of the real problems above.

Allow me to reqrite that first sentence for you: "Here's why I think it's related."

Now, let me be clear one last time: I'm not impressed by your specious arguments. You're only convincing. You are a troll. I am done.

Truly you belong with the Troll in Chief.

Because neither did you talk about uniting, or about any of the serious issues facing the country.

For you, now, it is all about driving the wedge

You too are a divider.

(I certainly did my 5 minutes on uniting for sport, and the Anthem, and respecting differences, above.)

"Informal poll" in "the Houston area" meets your standard for acceptable data?

Something something revealed preferences and all that.

Torch burners? Are we trying to make this something scary? That's what torches are for!

Trump said there were “very fine people” among those protesting the removal of the statues, which should offend no one.

But hats off, making up stuff to find offense seems to be the new politics.

It has apparently been decided that this was officially a KKK or Nazi march or something. Seriously, people genuinely believe, or at least claim to believe, that he was saying that Nazis are good.

What was the chant josh?

That looked surprisingly professional.

I was disgusted by Trump's "very fine people" comment and think it will follow him the rest of his life. In fairness, I think he meant to defend people who don't want to destroy and replace Confederate statues, but it was still troubling. However, attacking the unpatriotic (and stupid) players and the NFL is correct both on substance and politics. Moreover, it's exactly the kind of entertainment (albeit lowish brow) that we expect from Donald Trump. Remember, the man is a WWE Hall of Fame Inductee.

"A year ago a lot of people could not understand Kaepernick. "

The only thing I don't understand about Kaepernick is if he's related to Rachel Dolezal.

An informal poll in the Houston area, yesterday, actually found 61 percent in favor of punishing the athletes. That was a bit surprising.

Wow! What spinelessness.

It is irrelevant that other countries don't do this. WE do this. It is our culture.

It is irrelevant that the practice is relatively new. For most of us, the practice has spanned every year of our interest in these sports.

Who cares that concessions don't stop selling. I'm sure the church janitor doesn't stand in the basement when they play the bridal procession.

Right wing political correctness? I seem to recall a time when patriotism transcended party affiliation. But now that we have a full fledged, anti-capitalist, anti-American socialist party, I guess patriotism has now become political.

The current practices are showing respect for our SHARED American values. You know: liberty, democracy, rule of law.

The National Anthem is based on a poem about this nation surviving an invasion by a foreign enemy. I would have thought that to be unifying rather than dividing.

The attention seeking miscreant multi-millionaires can get all the speech they want off the field. They could buy Super Bowl commercials talking about the perceived injustices. But no. They don't want to spend their own money, they want to spend other people's money. They don't want to use their time, they want to use our time. They don't want to speak, they want to disrupt other people's speech.

Do WE really need to play the anthem so much? You may not think so but a hundred million Americans do. We NEED the anthem now, more than ever. It is not the standers who are dividing us, but the kneelers.

Nope, it is the people who demand conformity, one way or the other.

And pig cop socks, don't forget to wear those on Sunday.

As I understand it, those were a poor choice at practice. But I agree a poor choice. Kids today.

"They don’t want to use their time, they want to use our time."

Ah, yes, that most precious of assets, some portion of the day, a portion that would otherwise be put to productive use. How dare they! In economic terms, it's a great externality. That athletes should make use of their privileged position to call attention to an issue is so wrong.

I say we replace the anthem with “we shall overcome” and the flag with the rainbow flag and relegate the current flag and anthem to the racist part of the museum where they belong. America soon no longer will be a white majority nation. Holding on to these fading symbols of old white America will only make it harder to integrate newcomers and stimulates black resentment against white cops.

I am still wondering why the lefties don't support affirmative actions for Asian Americans in all major league sports but support it in college admissions.

Asians don't get AA in college admissions. It appears that they are actually penalized.

Yup, that was my point....

Comments on this thread are all over the place, very little of it about the football issue at the core of it. Leftists say that Colin Kaepernick was blackballed because of his actions last year (because it fits their narrative).

When Kaepernick first became a starting QB it was because his play was very effective It caused his team to trade the previous starting QB. For whatever reason, he lost that effectiveness. Had he not lost it he would not be currently unemployed. Effective QBs are worth their weight in gold for the simple reason that there are never enough of them.

Anyone who argues that Kapernick or anyone else doesn't have the right to kneel during the Anthem does not understand what America is, in my opinion.

And he shouldn't face reprisals (not sure if he has) anymore than James Damore should (he has).

Snowflake Nation.

You might have missed Damore's shark jump.

He had a dumb tweet after being put through the wringer and fired? That's your argument?

He was fired for saying things that are quite possibly true and consistent with everything we know and quite definitely unpleasant to the people who were able to get him fired.

But you glom on to whatever you need to get through the day.

That was a spectacularly stupid article. Which proves nothing. Except that people will rationalize away their pre-judgements any way they can.

I agree with you on rights and free speech of course. Damore just turned out to be a guy about pushing buttons in general. We'll see if Kapernick has more restraint .. in his future political career.

Kaepernick has already to name just two examples worn a shirt glorifying Fidel Castro and socks depicting cops as pigs. Both those are more offensive than Damore's tweet and were well publicized. So you have your answer now. Kaepernick is a troll.

Awaiting acknowledgment.

I had seen the "cute pig" socks, and did consider them borderline. I hadn't seen the Fidel shirt. That would certainly be too commie for me.

I read up on it. Kaepernick says he likes Fidel, but only the good parts. That is naive at best, but it sounds like he was given some good push back.

Strong man authoritarianism is never only about the good parts.

So Kaepernick gets a lot more leniency than Damore. White privilege indeed.

You can judge me as you will, but I can't quite cotton to KKK jokes. And from the standpoint of an employer, you have to wonder what kind of jokes this guy thought funny at group meetings.

Kaepernick et al deserve contempt.

The flag is not some abstract symbol of "powers that be." It is a symbol of all of *us,* our story, our sacrifices, and our fellow-feeling. When we salute the flag, we also honor the memory of those who died fighting on our behalf. To protest such a thing is like standing next to a lady placing flowers on her husband's grave and then throwing dirt on her flowers because you didn't like her husband. It's disrespectful, cowardly, and selfish.

You want to have an honest talk? Let's start with Lyndon Johnson, Malcolm X, public housing, Amiri Baraka, unrestricted abortion, the deliberate breakdown of the black family, and decades now of ugly, gloating, self-centered hedonism.

Most of these problems can be laid directly at the feet of the statist, political Left.

Your analogy is awful. You go to a funeral to pay respects to the deceased. You go to a football game to watch a football game.

America is big enough to handle the fact that some Americans aren't crazy about America. If the gesture isn't voluntary, it's meaningless. And if some people don't want to make the gesture, they have their reasons. Maybe they are bad reasons, maybe not. It's not the end of the world.

The day we play the Anthem in America and nobody stands, that's a problem. If 1% don't stand, meh.

Hard to believe you're an American, Brian. Maybe you aren't.

Have you been to a football game? The moment you're called to "stand" for the national anthem, you're being called to pay your respects and despite the competition to come to remember that you're part of a big story called America. It's a moment to honor, remember, and be unified.

THEN it's "just a football game."

Did your father not teach you these things?

Just what IS the big story called "America" ?
Is it a white Christian story? What if you're not white, or not Christian, and your story includes struggling *against* the US government and it's laws and culture?

I've been to hundreds of professional sporting events and always stand for the Anthem.

Sometimes, they play O Canada at hockey games and I stand for that and sing along too, but that's some whole other big story that I'm not a part of.

For Blackhawk games, the crowd roars during the Anthem. I get pretty jacked up for this- a kind of weird, benign, thrilling fascism.

Some people think this is disrespectful. The vets who are honored tend to disagree. Different people have different ideas about what the Anthem means to them.

The flag is not some abstract symbol of “powers that be.” It is a symbol of all of *us,* our story, our sacrifices, and our fellow-feeling.

The problem is that for a lot of Americans it is not a symbol that includes THEM in the "us" and there are many Americans who go out of their way to remind them of that fact. I.e. blacks, asians, non-Christians, gays - are often made to feel that they don't belong, and aren't really "American".
The flag-worship is in some ways an effort to force those people to pay homage to something that they are constantly being told doesn't include them.

It's not "worship." It's not "fascism."

A lot of the people you mention have been made to feel they are not included in ("bourgeois yick puke!") America by the extremist Left. "Stay black" has been the refrain of extreme Leftists for decades. Sure, the Right disapproves of certain behaviors and norms just like everyone else. Maybe I live in an unusually nice center-right county, but the only thing I've ever heard from the Right about minority people and positions is "don't shove X in my face, don't force me to do your Y thing, or I don't like Z but you have the right to do it," etc.

Yes, there have been broadly Judaeo-Christian norms in this country that have sustained it, and not everyone shares those values. Briefly, I believe those values are a crucial basis of social trust. When such norms collapse, you get the war of each against all, which is basically where we are now. PC conformity is a poor substitute for those norms, isn't it. What a disaster.

I'm aging out, so good luck with what comes next.

>>Yes, there have been broadly Judaeo-Christian norms in this country that have sustained it, and not everyone shares those values. Briefly, I believe those values are a crucial basis of social trust.


A lot of convergent research in economics, genetics, and anthropology (Putnam, anyone?) is starting to point to institutional function being dependent on culture/ethnicity and not floating above it. To put it bluntly, we shouldn't expect a political system to work the same way regardless of the culture/ethnicity of its members.

Liberal open societies may be possible under several but not ALL cultures. It is reasonable to worry about how enduring political freedoms may be if social trust declines.

So what do you propose to do about all the people who don't share those Judeo-Christian norms? Force them into compliance? Ethnically cleanse them? How are you going to build social trust if you're telling people who don't share your Judeo-Chrisian values that they don't belong and aren't welcome? How's that going to work out?

How about shame them into showing respect and vote against the party they support. That's what people will be doing in 2018.

Ahh, yes, shame all the non-white Christians into respecting white Christian dominance. That'll work splendidly.

It *is* worship if noncompliance is penalized.

no one is saying NFL players should stand for the flag or go to jail. they are saying they expect them to stand for the flag or they will stop buying the stuff that supports their giant pay cheques. many NFL fans are asking NFL players to respect them, not the flag, and that's not unreasonable. it happens invisibly every single day.

politics is the mindkiller.

I guess. I'd like to think that the NFL hires the best people for the job, and the job is playing football, not working the media or being a fan favorite or supporting high-profile causes or lining up with my politics or any other hoops we want people to jump through.

I mean, all else equal, I'll take the guy who sticks around for an hour after the game signing autographs- that's a nice add-on. But not if he keeps missing his blocks.

As fans, what hill are we prepared to die on, what requirements outside of football ability are we going to enforce? For me, this nonsense is way down the list.

"Anyone who argues that Kaepernick or anyone else doesn’t have the right to kneel during the Anthem does not understand what America is, in my opinion."

It's their workplace and the owners have a right to put limits on their behavior. They have NO first amendment rights there. Kneeling got such a bad rep and such a backlash because it was started by Kaepernick, who is really a big *sshole.

Trump knows that no one can derive any reasonable sense of patriotism or national pride from listening to him or considering his administration, so it might be no surprise that he tasks his followers to look to actions of the Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars in the 9 minutes before the kickoff of their football games to demand that those citizens adhere to some imaginary standard of conduct.

Spoken like a gentry liberal.

Who would a poll show to be more favorable to discontinuing "The Star-Spangled Banner," Democrats or Republicans?

As far as I know, the American national anthem is the only national anthem that takes the form of a question: can you see? does that banner yet wave? etc.

So when America sings its anthem, it challenges itself.

How this is "political correctness" of any type escapes me. That charge sounds like a classical case of psychological projection, and those who protest it are evidently clueless, careless, or both.

Personlly I love 'The Star Spangled Banner'. I see it as a paen to a struggle against oppression - it's about a guy in a prison cell watching desperately to see if his cause survives the night.
It's great because just about anyone who has struggled against oppression can relate to it.

I don't think everyone interprets it that way, though. I'm sure some people are just looking at the symbolism of singing a song about a flag and a country, and not thinking about the lyrics too much.

The missing stanza story is true tho.

A little embedded irony.

The only oppression Hazel has faced has faced is a likely low t husband which causes her to fetishize "virile" foreigners.

How long can the US exist as a political unit if the people don't see themselves as a cultural unit *in any way*. I don't mean culturally uniform, but people increasingly seem to reject the idea that they are bonded by anything at all (except the self-contradictory notion that we all must share the idea that we don't have to share anything at all). The only thing holding this country together will be force.

There's an overlap between the people supporting these protests and people who demand their political opponents make personal sacrifices for policies such as universal healthcare, welfare, etc.

Think about the pay your fair share mentality and how it comes off to a person watching people who can't be bothered to show 3 minutes of unity as a country.

No common values, no shared vision...that would be the end of America.

Here's the problem:
There is a faction of the country - mainly white conservatives, who feel that America is culturally their property. That is that "America" as such is inherently linked to whiteness, Christianity, and certain norms of cultural conservatism. This vision of what America is, by it's nature tends to exclude non-whites, non-Christians, and various social liberals - hippies, bohemians, LBGT people, etc. They are effectively defining those people as not-really-American, kind of like they are just guests in America who are tolerated but not really a meaningful part of society, and those groups of people are getting larger and larger.
Simultaneously, the right also wants to enforce loyalty to "America" - the same America which they define as something exclusive of many Americans. But that effort to force loyalty while simultaneously excluding these various ethnic and cultural subgroup from true membership is effectively an effort to subjugate. They want them to pay homage to something that does not represent them. To worship a flag that represents a culture they do not belong to.

What is needed is really a reimagining of American culture as a whole that includes everyone: blacks, whites, asians, gays, Christians, Buddists, even Muslims, built around shared ideals rather than race or ethnicity or religion. A reenvisioned American culture could command loyalty from all of those sub cultures, but it's not going to happen unless white conservatives abandon the idea of America as exclusively ethnically white and Christian - a point which the alt-right's explicit agenda is to oppose.


Utter tendentious nonsense.

I don't think "tendentious" means what you think it means.

No - you need to go back to your home and stop trying to recreate this country in your addle-brained image.

Guess I'm going to have to add "immigrants" to the list of not-really-Americans.

If they're here illegally, they're definitely "not really Americans," are they.

If your first act on American soil is to break the law, then who is excluding whom? Seems to me the person who breaks the law is saying FU to everyone else. Classic stiff-arming.

To those people, I say take a hike. You're not welcome.

How does that apply to the "Dreamers" - people who have been here since childhood, speak English, and are culturally assimilated?
Is Americaness defined by having the right pieces of paper, or by culture and ideology?

How does that apply to the “Dreamers” – people who have been here since childhood, speak English, and are culturally assimilated?

The Dreamers are a sociological fiction. Margaret Mead put more effort into that sort of thing than the PR people of the open-borders lobby.

LOL Art you usually aren't this clueless. Kids brought in to the US when very young are a 'fiction'? Then why are they talked about so much?

How is it even controversial that of course America means more and its symbols have more salience to people descended from those that hacked this country out of the wilderness. My ancestors have shed blood in every conflict this nation has been involved in except for the Spanish American war. America symbolizes a lot more to me than you.

Honestly how dare you lecture me on what it means to be an American anymore than I would lecture a black persons on what it means to be black. You are a stranger in a strange land you absolute lack of humility is appalling.

"My ancestors have shed blood in every conflict this nation has been involved in except for the Spanish American war."

And why did they chicken out for the Spanish-American war?

Too busy shoving your nerd ancestors into lockers.

I'm just saying I wouldn't brag about how your ancestors were fair-weather patriots.

So that's what your tail between your legs looks like.

How is it even controversial that of course America means more and its symbols have more salience to people descended from those that hacked this country out of the wilderness. My ancestors have shed blood in every conflict this nation has been involved in except for the Spanish American war. America symbolizes a lot more to me than you.

That's nice. Mine got here in 1635. Fought the British in the Revolution, served under Grant and Sherman putting down the slaveholders' treasonous rebellion, and in both the Pacific and European theaters of WWII.

You ain't special, snowflake.

From one Old Stock WASP to another: stop being a thin-skinned, malingering whiner, pull the stick out of your ass, have a Coke and a smile, and shut the fuck up.

Yikes all your ancestors came here on one boat. Stop fucking your cousins and maybe you'll respect America more.

"That’s nice. Mine got here in 1635. Fought the British in the Revolution, served under Grant and Sherman putting down the slaveholders’ treasonous rebellion, and in both the Pacific and European theaters of WWII."

Fighting the British in the Revolution was the definition of treason.

I bet they even burned British flags and refused to stand for God Save the Queen.

No – you need to go back to your home and stop trying to recreate this country in your addle-brained image.

You're one to talk, paddy.

Well, that might be easier if the discussion here was actually advocating a set of ideals one could respect.

Colour blindness.....or racial quotas for all in employment and education?
Civil rights.....or endless calls for reparation and affirmative action?
Secure borders.......or uncontrolled immigration and voter importing?
Free speech.....or the Heckler's Veto, violent intimidation and relentless doxxing?
Free contract....or relentless imposition of political choices through "public accommodation" and the regulatory state?
Accountable and quality policing.....or racial agitprop for the democrat voter base?
Security of person and property.....or the security state?
State rights and limited powers..... or mandatory transgender bathrooms?

The first set of ideals is already open to all and one makes no apology for defending them. But don't pretend to our faces these squalls are about them. It's about the second set and the left's quest for unlimited power.

You are mistaking culture for policy.
What I'm suggesting is that "American culture" is large enough to encompass gay pride marches AND baptist churches, rap music and country music, and Indian immigrants in Saris, and hookah bars, and Chinatown, and Spanish Harlem, and nudist clubs, and swingers, and Jugallos and Goths and shake handling cults and hillbillies.
America is ALL of those things, not just white Christians conservatives.

Well, I'm with you on that much, mostly. I'll defend all those things.

(Though I've recently started to worry if an open liberal political system that we both admire (I think) can be maintained by any culture or only a smaller sub-set of cultures. Much I would like to believe may not be true.)

But with respect Hazel, we wouldn't be fighting if it was just about culture and personal freedoms. I don't care how many Hookah bars and gay pride marches happen. These events divide us insofar as they concern attempts to control what people can do, believe, think and say using either state power or a strong social orthodoxy. I feel the "strategic picture" is of a rapidly growing threat to liberty from left, of which these controversies are mere tactical actions.

Well, you can see upthread some examples of people, who really really do defend the idea that America belongs to white Christians and everyone else should just fuck off.

There's a threat to liberty from the left, because the right has allowed the left to represent the interests of all these excluded groups of people. The left is allowed to say that social tolerance and socialism have to go together. You can co-opt those tactics people by embracing a liberal order that is racial and culturally inclusive.

When we had 8 years of the Presidency being turned into a "good ol'" Uncle Remus story I think it's clear why people are legitimately concerned. Go home please.

Your hiring practices lack taste, hon.


>You can co-opt those tactics people by embracing a liberal order that is racial and culturally inclusive.

That's well said, and in a better world I would be entirely on board with you.

But I'm in an interesting game theory situation. The liberal/libertarian racial and cultural inclusiveness option is not strong. In fact, I think it is not strong enough to prevail with any reasonable odds.

I reason that victory, or at least a successful resistance, by the alt-right reaction could ultimately create space for something better. After all, liberal conditions arose once out of such tradition and may do again. I also feel that the abuses the alt-right would undoubtably deliver in victory are slight compared to the ones the left would deliver. So there is a little bit of me looking for the maximised social optima over time here. Finally, a selfish point; a alt-right victory or successful defence is far better for me, personally, than an left-wing victory. I'm sorry to resort to personal considerations, but I have a family to consider.

It's all rather more complicated than that, but you'll forgive my meanderings on a painful set of choices.

If you're considering your family, I'd ask you to think about what sort of society would be created by one with a high degree of racial and ethnic prejudice. I think it likely that the more tribal, the more ethnically fragmented society is going to have lower social trust and more violence. It's going to be the sort of place where you can't go into the wrong neighborhood if you don't belong to the right ethnic group, without risking being robbed or assaulted or worse. Is that the sort of place you want your kids to grow up? Or would you rather have a place where there is a basic level of social harmony between ethnic groups? I know I'd rather have my kids grow up in the society with less violence and less hate and fear.


I'm all for your utopia, were it possible.

I just don't think you can achieve it. The left will try and pull you down at every step and I fear they can do it. And I think in trying to achieve it you'll lose everything to their assault. I fear their dystopia above all things. I am prepared for considerable minimax to avoid it. And honestly, at the risk of sounding awful, I just don't buy your negative assessment of a set of self-segregated, cultural and ethnically homogenous states. There are fewer returns to scale in the state market. A set of small cohesive states may well do much better than a big disjointed one. Yeah, they will be "evil", but I think on a limited scale and the lesser evil of the real choices here. We're not talking a return to the antebellum south.

Of course it would be nice to think you could unite people easily behind an ideal rather than tribe, but this isn't Star Trek. Putnam's work and others suggests to me very strongly that multi-ethnic / mutli-cultural societies of the like you describe will have low social trust anyway. I just don't think humans generate enough asabiyyah like that and the record of large multicultural states through history is....patchy at best. It would be nice if we did, but we are tribal animals and have to deal with the world as it is not as we would like it be. Maybe in another 500 years.


Incidentally, I think you need to clearly define for us what you understand by the terms "prejudice". Like "racist" it is a weasel term in this context and apt to mislead understanding.

self-segregated, cultural and ethnically homogenous states

America is not culturally and ethnically homogenous, hasn't been for a long time, and isn't getting any more so.
The idea of returning America to some ethnically homogenous past is a fantasy. We either figure out how to get along with people across ethnic lines, or we suffer the consequences in terms of lack of social trust.
There is no option of making America a white dominated ethnically homogenous country. Not without some sort of program of ethnic cleansing or apartheid which nobody will support and won't happen.

What's involved in this "American culture"?

Right, and that's why Trump is exactly right to bear down on this. Obama was the great divider. Hillary, like Lady Macbeth, would've torn America to shreds out of sheer spite. As soon as this news cycle is over, we'll be back to the next heaping of fresh hell. But Trump would've called attention -- again -- to the importance of the ties that bind us, rather than those that divide us.

Football used to be one of those times -- until Kaepernick in his stupid selfishness, turned it all into a political spectacle.

Speaking of the playing of the national anthem before sporting events, does anyone else think that playing it before the game in London was particularly weird?

No more weird than NFL players sitting for the US anthem while standing for "God Save the Queen".

Not if you watch hockey.

Not really; on an international exhibition match it seems perfectly respectful to play both the anthem of the visiting team(s) and that of the host (and most of the crowd).

Thank you to both teams for standing for "God Save the Queen", by the way, the courtesy was appreciated. It was just rather sad and embarrassing that some US players couldn't do the same for their own anthem. It's like having a couple around for dinner only for one of them to pick and argument with the other.

All NFL stadiums now have super scoreboards that are actually giant televisions and the fans in the stands are actually watching a televised game, just like the folks at home. (How many at-home viewers stand for the national anthem?) In addition to showing a computer-generated rippling Old Glory on that huge television while the national anthem plays, how about showing still photos or video clips of the Branch Davidian affair or the atomic blast over Hiroshima or the WWII internment camps or Alabama cops fire-hosing black protesters or some of the other events that have apparently circled into the national memory drain? Everybody knows what the flag looks like and is familiar with the anthem. But they may have forgotten some things that they should keep in mind.

Clearly what we need in this country is less unity and more divisiveness.

Countries are not holy anymore -- no longer one step below God (still one step below God in importance). Not since black and white television. Now we see countries as land and people. That's your dog run and this is my dog run; and you'd better stay off my dog run. At least that's the way television hits a lot of us a lot -- and most of us at least some. Get me Marshall McLuhan.

Do you love your kids? Do you think they are holy? Maybe you do think so, but people who love their kids just as much as you do don't think they are holy. Alternate ways of looking at the same reality; none really right or wrong.

Right now I think my country stinks: disappearance of labor unions. Democracy without labor unions is like a car without gas -- it is going nowhere.

The players are not objecting to the new introduction of the national anthem before games -- never been done before. They are making a complaint about the gap between our high ideals and our sad reality (permanent human condition). I don't know how the military even gets into it -- except conflated by politicians in order to play with us.

Maybe I'm missing something, but whether the anthem is played or not at games is a side issue....

To me, the real issue is the rampant hypocrisy on all sides of the political spectrum. On the left, those who are saying that the players have every right to their free speech are the same people who have cheered on the speech suppression on campus, and the violence of the anti-Trump protests in cities. On the right, the very people who complain about speech suppression on campuses are the very people who think the players should be quiet on the field.

We, as a country, seem to want free speech on our side and none on the other. I view this a just a symptom, in parallel with all the screaming and yelling and name calling going on in social media and in the news media(s). I believe the players should do as they please, and fans who are outraged should also be free to turn off the TV, or not buy any more tickets, or even burn their team's jersey. If we just take each other's speech as it comes, respect it, and answer as we see fit (hopefully with some moderation in tone), we might be able, at some time, to speak to each other.....not now, though.


False equivalency. Free speech matters because it allows for the circulation of ideas. We know what kapernick thinks at this point and the players are welcome to express their opinions at any other juncture than a 2 minute window. If campus speech suppression were limited to a two minute window you might have a point- but still not really.

Right wing political correctness actually makes for better speech because it reinforces the shared sense of identity that allows for differing viewpoints to coexist. Real PC is just will to power.

LOL no.

Don't be bashful you can admit you don't actually have an argument. No one here is capable of respecting you any less.

LOL no.

Yikes am I bringing the Tourette's back. Go to your safe space.

Haha nope.

You can see some examples of how right-wing PC reinforces our shared sense of identity in Sam Haysoms other comments in this thread.

"Shared sense of identity" = only white Christian conservatives welcome, everyone else bow to us.

Yea non members shut the fuck up. This is basic.

You aren't American. This doesn't concern you. Go pay attention to your kids or go back to work.

You're lucky we don't string you invaders up. Thank your god for our forbearance.

It's amazing how you keep proving my point, with every since comment you make.

I absolutely think the players should be quiet and absolutely agree that they shouldn't be fired for voicing their opinions. These aren't mutually exclusive positions!

I am shocked at Professor Cowen's comment that "American national anthem is a form of right-wing political correctness" My deceased father in law who served in the military, earned a purple heart (and was very liberal politically) had a very emotional reaction to the playing of the National Anthem. For him, the emotions were deep and sincere. The loss of brothers in arms was a very real experience that he could never forget. He bore physical and emotional scares from doing what he considered his patriotic duty. I find it sad that a public display of patriotism, a brief reminder of the sacrifices that shaped this country and world, is written off as right-wing political correctness.

I don't understand why President Trump picked this fight. I would hope he had better things to do. However I also find the claim by Cass Sunstein that commenting on a protest equals a call for political correctness. Or is Cass Sunstein writing a piece critical of Trump a sign of his political correctness? What is wrong with saying that you find the actions by some group disrespectful and that you think people should not patronize their performance? What is wrong with saying that you do not want to patronize employers who allow such demonstrations at their work place? President Trump has proposed no law, has not called for government intervention in the debate, has not called for violence or done anything beyond expressing an opinion on a topic. Hardly the actions of a tyrant. Rather just another voice in the debate.

Professional sports have at times seemed to use patriotism and military personal as marketing props. I don't see that as a right wing conspiracy. But perhaps some view patriotism as a right wing conspiracy. If so the country is more deeply divided then I could ever imagine. Crass marketing infects sports, Christmas, Mother's Day, funerals etc. Somehow we survive the onslaught.

I disagree with both the way the NFL players are protesting and what they are protesting. The politically correct in this country are the ones who will attack you as a racist for holding such views.

Kaepernick started this because, he said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." Eric Reid of the 49ers then explained that it expanded after "We (Kaepernick and Reid) spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system,"

I don't view the United States as racist. How does a systemically racist country twice elect an African American President?

I don't view police brutality as a major issue in this country. Some bad police officers exist. Some bad people play in the NFL. NFL players have been violent criminals involved in drug crimes, domestic abuse, rape, murder etc. I would hardly use that as the basis for a claim that NFL players are scum.

A disproportionate amount of violent crime in this country is black on black, where is the protest against street gangs?

Perhaps I am wrong about police brutality, in which case any NFL player who can pass a drug screen and background check is free to seek employment at their local police department.

As for Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, the next time they kneel during the National Anthem please show, on that big screen they are so proud of in Dallas, the faces of the soldiers and first responders of a racist nation that died doing their duty.

I don't know why the Left wants to abandon the flag and anthem to the Right again. I will take their gift though.

It is interesting, and by that I mean sad.

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys tried to show respect all the way around. Owner and players linked arms. They took a knee to recognize those with concerns, and then they stood together for the Anthem.

They stood for the Anthem.

Trump is reveling in booing fans who won't accept a unified, all respect, message.

He demands that you do not give respect to that owner and that team trying to do the right thing, by their lights, in a united way.

22 comments and counting, most of which can be boiled down to "I hate Trump! Hate him!"

And you're not a pathetic troll because? Oh, wait you'll give some arrogant answer about you unparalleled wisdom. Take the plank outta your eye, my man.

Ha. I wrote:

"Which one is right?

They both are. They both had to make a difficult decision under tremendous pressure of all kinds. If we can be sure of one thing, it is that they thought about it, a lot.

So respect that effort at moral decision, it is ultimately more important than the moment."

What did you reply, troll?

Really this comes down to an authoritarian demand that there be only one answer to a question of free speech.

From Trump, and from his sub-trolls.

Nah bro, no one is going to arrest anybody and throw them in jail.

It's still a free country.

If you want the jail thing, move to Germany.

First of all, I applaud the "free country" thing. We are and we should be.

But, you tell me. When was the last time a President of the United States called anyone "sons of a bitch" in a public speech? When was the last time a President called for a citizen to be fired for a non-violent protest?

In a public speech, you got me there. I'd guess Lyndon Johnson. Calling CK's knee "a non-violent protest" is a half-truth. CK is politicizing sports in the most visible way possible. He chose the time and place. He could've chosen differently, and actually DONE something about it. But no, we have the usual m.o. from the extreme Left.

Johnson was a nut job but he managed to keep it fairly buttoned up in public. That's the point.

And no, you don't get to say something as respectful as taking a knee is "violent" just because it gets attention.

We teach little soccer players to do it.

All those little kids kneeling, as coach checks the kid who just took one to the balls, are being little sportsmen.

You're welcome to re-frame as compulsively as you want, but the stubborn fact is that CK started the whole spectacle.

CK's grandstanding is like kids taking a knee for someone injured on the field?

Er, no.

Certainly anyone with that sports background has that image when they hear "take a knee."

I forgot one.

When was the last time a President called for a boycott of any US business interest, for any reason?

Look if you want to tear the MLK monument down I guess this talking point would make sense. But you can't deify who boycotted like crazy and then complain about boycotts.

Talking point?

The business of America is business.

The President *never* talks down an American's right to commerce and profit.

What next, Hugo?

Obama and Las Vegas

I don't know that one. If it is gambling that does have a complex history.

During the president's town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, he discussed the need to curb spending during tough economic times. "When times are tough, you tighten your belts," the president said. "You don't go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don't blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you're trying to save for college."

The president's comments come nearly a year after he criticized companies that received federal money for taking corporate junkets to Las Vegas. "You can't go take that trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on taxpayers' dime," he said at the time. Local business leaders say Nevada tourism suffered last year in part because companies canceled trips to Las Vegas in the wake of the president's comments.


Campaign Finance

Catastrophic healthcare plans

Stem cell research, abortion clinics

"It's a free country" is a phrase we don't seem to hear as much as we used to. "You must obey" is the implicit message of much of our politics. Let's give "it's a free country" another chance. You don't want the stand for the anthem? Suit yourself, and you can keep your job, it's a free country. But don't ask the rest of us to discontinue a tradition that we enjoy.

Agreed 100%, on both sides. Most of the nation could stand to be a bit more libertarian in their attitudes.

Tyler and Sunstein are absolutely correct. The people of the United States hate each other and have nothing in common, so why pretend otherwise? If you think Tyler would bother to cross the street to save the life of one of his commentators if it meant his being late for lunch, you are living in a fantasy world. The elites of the US fantasize about a Ukraine style famine starving out the working class white population, and the working class white population fantasizes about a Cultural Revolution in which the elites are taken out to the country and shot. May both their dreams come true. I quit standing for the national anthem when Obama was elected. How can one seriously honor a country that elects a corrupt, incompetent, race-baiting imbecile for president? I took a lot of grief for it so I have a certain amount of sympathy for the obese, brain-damaged thugs of the NFL even if their cause for kneeling is a completely fabricated slander. But what the heck, sumo is more entertaining and involves real athleticism so who really cares about the NFL. What really is offensive though is the pledge of allegiance which should really be at the top of the list of things that needed to be abolished like yesterday. One nation indivisible? Sorry, that is exactly the opposite of what the constitution states. The 9th amendment states that the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and the 10th states the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, thereby the right to secession and making the pledge's "indivisible" anti-constitutional. The US is a failed state, humanity must look to Brazil and India for inspiration. Brazil is actually doing something about government corruption unlike nearly every other country on the planet. And unlike every other country, India is doing something to improve the well being of the less fortunate of its citizens. The US should observe and learn.

"The people of the United States hate each other and have nothing in common, so why pretend otherwise?"

Bullshit, Edgar.

"I quit standing for the national anthem when Obama was elected. How can one seriously honor a country that elects a corrupt, incompetent, race-baiting imbecile for president?"

You should've stood for it BECAUSE we elected an incompetent, race-baiting imbecile for president. During O's term, America got sick and tired of the extreme Left. The result was Trump. You could've been part of growing strength and clarity. But you sat down instead, demoralized. But it's a free country. And there's always a next time.

Until there isn't.

>designed to embarrass or intimidate

Ty has hit rock-bottom for idiocy on this one.

It's amazing that the NFL would allow for such "designed intimidation" at the start of all of its games. That's a flat-out hate crime if there ever was one.

Salute the flag?!?!?!



I agree with a lot that Tyler says, especially about the overuse of the national anthem. Still, I think he confuses two issues -- (a) actively participating in singing the national anthem and (b) conspicuously showing your disrespect for it/ what it stands for. (a) is a matter for our individual consciences, but (b) is equivalent to giving the finger to a stadium full of 25,000 people or whatever. It is question of civility.
I grew up in England, Egypt and France. So I have stood to attention for several different national anthems, without really learning the words of any of them. As an atheist, I have always been respectful of religions (in the plural), even if I have moral reservations about them as well as being a non-believer. I don't see why Kaepernick shouldn't do the same.

Come on Ian, wouldn't the way to "give the finger" be to actually give the finger?


It would be one way, but far from the only way. You're being too literal. Don't ignore the many figurative ways of giving the finger.

ok but

I kind of hate to "ok but" you because I do see you trying to make an honest point.

but do they teach "taking a knee" in England?

Not that I remember. Genuflecting yes. I think a Walter Raleigh would kneel before QE1.


Well, a Pennsylvania fire chief just called Steelers coach Mike Tomlin a ‘no-good n*gger’ for staying in the locker room.

That certainly takes the fun out of it for people who wanted to make the "no racism" story work.

That fire chief should face discipline, absolutely. He has abused the public trust.

But you go ahead and turn that anecdotal evidence into a General Law.

It's a free country.

And you'll sweep this racism under the rug with the rest.

The carpet is getting pretty lumpy.

OMG, one guy said something.

Debate over. One guy speaks for all the people.

It doesn't have to be all, but when combined with Trump's "good people," an ugly picture.

Wait .. wasn't there an "alt-right" that happened too?

No, it could not be.

What race is the fire chief?

But odds are he's a union member and votes Democrat.

In other racist news, the governor of Puerto Rico (Lefty translation: "an island full of marginalized brown people") has been praising Trump and the administration for their swift and substantial response:

And didn't the sitting US president send $1M of his own money to help Mexico (Lefty translation: "the large source of humans who will break US laws and vote for us!")?

I smell a "colonialism" argument warming on the stove!

Let's take this thing international...have a look at a YouTube video of the Italian national soccer team "The Azzurri" singing the Italian national anthem, known as the Inno di Mameli or the Song of the Italians. Typically the players, who consider it a great honor to represent their county, sing the anthem with great passion, singing loudly and with their whole heart. Team Captain, and legendary goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon is known for his particularly passionate singing. Question: Can you imagine an Azzurri player kneeling for the "Song of the Italians?" Not likely to go over well...

Internationally, national anthems are only played at games of the respective national team. The players on that team represent their country. Regular season games are not national events. Gianluigi Buffon would consider it ridiculous if he had to sing the anthem before every Juventus game.

There are neo-Confederates who don't like the Star Spangled Banner either, because it is a Yankee song saluting a Union flag.

These neo-Confederates agree with Tyler's sentiments.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, eh?

There was a time when Liberals and Conservatives alike could sit down and enjoy a game together, putting aside their partisan differences for a while. And they could still share respect for their country, and honor for her flag and anthem. Progressives decided to secede from all that. Confederates are not the only haters who want to leave the Union.

Maybe Progressives just got bored of football.

The national anthem is a ceremony or ritual. Ceremonies like weddings, funerals, and various demonstrations of tribal or national affiliation are of great societal importance, and they are present in all cultures. I do think it's an open question how often and under what circumstances a given ceremony is worthwhile, and I would be open to dispensing with the pop singer renditions of the anthem before every game. But *as a matter of definition*, these ceremonies must demand respect and reverence from the participants. And those that seek to disrupt such ceremonies can expect ostracism (though not typically legal consequences). Lack of allegiance to the group is met with some proportionate withdrawal of benefits of group membership. Does all of this "impose" on the individual? Sure. But some imposition is inevitable and probably mutually beneficial in most instances.

The "right-wing political correctness" that Tyler dismisses is primarily about enforcing respect for tradition and important social institutions. The purpose of it is to develop social, communal, and civic cohesion. Left-wing political correctness in contrast is about the left capturing institutions and then imposing unpopular standards on the masses. It seeks to subvert rather than preserve, to replace organic societies with top down systems.

[In Haidt's framework, supposed "right wing PC" is all about loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation while left wing PC is all about care/harm.]

Some of that "left-wing political correctness" is about forging social cohesion across racial and cultural boundaries. For instance, it's hard to have social cohesion between blacks and whites, when a significant percentage of whites hate blacks and repeatedly make them know it. (Same thing for other racial or cultural groups)

Gregor gets it. The anthem is a solidarity ritual, and BLM and the left have opted out. Careful what you wish for.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” wasn’t sanctioned by Congress as our national anthem until 1931.

Hmm, right at the start of the push toward fascism by the FDR administration.

"The slogan into which the Nazis condensed their economic philosophy, viz., Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz (i.e., the commonweal ranks above private profit), is likewise the idea underlying the American New Deal and the Soviet management of economic affairs. It implies that profit-seeking business harms the vital interests of the immense majority, and that it is the sacred duty of popular government to prevent the emergence of profits by public control of production and distribution."

von Mises, Ludwig. (1947) Planned Chaos

Tyler ends with "There are many other ways of showing respect for the American military."

Why should we show respect for the American military at a sports event? Why at all? Is there a sports connection because the military is all about offense, not defense? The military is an inefficient bureaucracy with little accountability seeking engagement in foreign conflicts to justify it's oversized existence. Why is joining the military considered serving the country?

Self loathing is self recommending.

"We live in a country where very often the concession stands don’t stop operating during the anthem, nor do fans stop walking through the concourse. We’re fooling ourselves to think that current practices are really showing respect for the nation or its military."

In the military, those standing inside the building do not salute during reveille and retreat. Concessions and concourses inside the stadium are treated similarly. In fact, Tyler's point demonstrates the application of military rules to paying respects during the anthem.

"We live in a country where very often the concession stands don’t stop operating during the anthem, nor do fans stop walking through the concourse. We’re fooling ourselves to think that current practices are really showing respect for the nation or its military."

Every time I've been in the concourse when the anthem is playing (anecdotal, I know, but includes this past Sunday), folks in the concourse, in line at concessions and working at the concessions pause, turn toward the flag, put their hand over their heart and wait until the anthem is over to resume normal activity. I've also seen this happen in the parking lot on the way in, not just sometimes, but every time I've been in the parking lot when the anthem is playing.

As other commenters have mentioned, even if there are a few still milling about, it's usually due to cluelessness, not deliberate protest. 'Very often' when they pull their nose out of their phone display and look around they seem embarrassed and pause.

This is the least compelling line of reasoning I can recall from Tyler.

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