Should You Be Able to Buy a Confederate Flag?

One of the ramifications of the events of the last several weeks is the decision of many retailers and resellers not to stock Confederate flags for sale. This is, of course, their right, and the people who are complaining about this (and thus implicitly think that some outlets should be forced to carry such items … so much for private enterprise and freedom of choice, folks) miss the point (of course, some of these folks are the same folks who think bakers should not be forced to provide wedding cakes for same-sex marriages, but then consistent logic has never been their strong suit). After all, other providers will still market an assortment of Confederate flags, and we know there will be buyers.

Yet, as we seek some clarity and clear thinking about recent discussions, I think it’s a fair question to ask: should one be allowed to purchase such items? There is, of course, a good argument to be made that one should be allowed to do so (and I’m in that camp). However, if we do see these flags as symbols of hate, when why allow them on the market?

As for myself, I had my eye on a replica of the banner of the 28th North Carolina to purchase for my wife, who had an ancestor serve in that regiment, but I can no longer find it (it disappeared from eBay). I’m sure this will astonish some of my (mindless) critics, who will ignore that statement in their rush to characterize me in whatever way suits their agenda. But I do notice that the Virginia Flaggers were making a lot of noise about raising yet another flag just before the Charleston murders took place (and they did raise it, working alongside another Confederate heritage group recently denounced by the Virginia Division of the CSA). Since then, it’s been rather quiet.