Made in America -- Or Else

When the Boy Scouts put American flags in yards throughout my neighborhood on Wednesday, I didn’t check to see if the flags were made in the United States. They might have been manufactured in China, Taiwan, or Mexico. Honestly, I don’t care where the flags were manufactured. All I know is that they added to the patriotic feeling in the neighborhood as we celebrated our nation’s independence.

If I lived in the great state of Minnesota, however, I’d have to care where the flag was made. At the end of the year, a new law goes into effect that makes it illegal to sell American flags that aren’t made in the United States. Those who sell foreign-made American flags could be faced with a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.

The Founding Fathers must be rolling in their graves.

The new law was the brainchild of Democratic state congressman Tom Rukavina who, bursting no doubt with American-made pride, said: “The biggest honor that you can give the flag is that it be made by American workers in the United States of America.”

Actually, the biggest honor you could give the flag is actually abiding by the principles it symbolizes – freedom and liberty – not cloaking yourself in the American flag while acting like a communist dictator or petty tyrant.

The irony of passing a law that forces retailers to sell only flags that are made in the USA is apparently lost on Rukavina and the other legislators that supported the measure. Having the freedom to purchase a flag made in America or one made in China is a foreign concept to them.

It’s easy to get upset at smalltime state representatives like Rukavina. But his well-intentioned bill is small potatoes compared to what other freedom-grabbing politicians are doing.

  • In Brandon, Ore., Scott Cook’s income-producing timberland is being taken by the city via eminent domain so it can be sold to another businessman to expand his golf course.
  • A law, signed by then-governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, took effect in Massachusetts this week that requires all residents of the state have health insurance
  • The U.S. Senate recently passed an energy bill that forces automakers to improve their fuel efficiency standards.
  • Other politicians want to legislate what shows radio stations can broadcast or how many stations an individual or company can own.

Freedom or liberty anyone?

Politicians on both sides of the aisle don’t understand it. Most pay lip service to our liberty and rights but often use the first opportunity to restrict them. Of course they do so under the guise that they’re making our lives better. Supporters of the Minnesota law said it would help save American manufacturing jobs.

Of course if people understood what true liberty and freedom was, they wouldn’t elect politicians like Rukavina who have nothing better to do then dictate whether the flags we buy are made in the United States or another country.

Before you know it legislators will be demanding that only American made flags be displayed.

Oh, wait. Arizona is already doing that.

As of last Sunday, each junior high, high school, and college classrooms in Arizona are now required to display an American-made Old Glory. Flags made outside the United States are not allowed to be displayed.

Apparently the great minds in the Arizona legislature think displaying the American-made Stars and Stripes will make Arizona students bleed red, white, and blue. It seems that flags are a more effective way to promote patriotism than actually teaching things like the Constitution.

“Nothing is more embarrassing to me than a plastic flag made in China. This replica of freedom we should respect should be made in this country,” Rukavina said as he passed out miniature flags at Independence Day parades in his district.

In reality, nothing is more embarrassing than a politician giving lip service to freedom while supporting laws that do the exact opposite.

American politicians should know better.

Unfortunately, most don’t.


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This essay was originally published on You can read all of Abel's FreeCapitalist essays here.