文抄:Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 419-420 (1989)

這一單案叫Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397

長話短說:
 1984年,Gregory Lee Johnson在德州焚燒美國國旗。
 被捕、被控,定罪後被罰。
 後不服定罪,輾轉上訴至美國最高法院
 最終,在1989年,法院以5-4裁定:
  燒國旗是受憲法第一修正案保護的自由言論。

以下引述的,是開明派法官William J. Brennan, Jr.判詞的一部份。

The way to preserve the flag’s special role is not to punish those who feel differently about these matters. It is to persuade them that they are wrong.

[‘]To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.[‘]

Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 377 (1927) (Brandeis, J., concurring). And, precisely because it is our flag that is involved, one’s response to the flag burner may exploit the uniquely persuasive power of the flag itself. We can imagine no more appropriate response to burning a flag than waving one’s own, no better way to counter a flag burner’s message than by saluting the flag that burns, no surer means of preserving the dignity even of the flag that burned than by – as one witness here did – according its remains a respectful burial. We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents."
Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 419-420 (1989) (Opinion of BRENNAN, J.)

州法例被推翻了,但保守派不會這麼輕易死心。
後來通過了《Flag Protection Act of 1989》,修改聯邦法例。
結果,另一件案再打到最高法院:United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310
法院再次以5-4比數,確認保護言論自由更重要。

We are aware that desecration of the flag is deeply offensive to many. But the same might be said, for example, of virulent ethnic and religious epithets, see Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949), vulgar repudiations of the draft, see Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971), and scurrilous caricatures, see Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). [‘]If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.[‘] Johnson, supra, at 414. Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering."
United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310, 318-319 (1990) (Opinion of BRENNAN, J.)

其實,我從根本上就不認同「愛國」、「愛團體」的概念,而對任何「旗幟」、「徽號」,也從不認為有甚麼需要尊重,但這一點並不重要。
(簡單說幾句。「國家」、「政府」是有用的概念、制度、工具,但也僅此而已。你會不會「愛螺絲批」、「愛原子筆」、「愛殺蟲水」?那是工具而已!有用的工具,我們會愛惜,這是好事,但也僅此而已。不要跟工具談戀愛。而工具不好使、老舊、陳腐,那是隨時可以丟棄的。)

就算假設一個「符號」是值得尊重、應該尊重,並不表示我們可以懲罰那些侮蔑這個「符號」的人。你有權利尊重一個「符號」,我也有同等的權利蔑視同一個「符號」。

其實這正是我常說的:
 言論(思想)自由,並不是「尊重不同的想法」,而是--
  「尊重每人能有不同想法的權利」
(如果言論自由是「要尊重不同的想法」,那不就沒有「蔑視另一種想法」的權利/自由了嗎?這顯然不對。)

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