Ivan Eland at the Independent Institute has a new article out on the “Stolen Valor Act,” a law which exists to jail people for wearing military medals they did not personally earn. The act does not distinguish between those wearing the medals to for deceitful gain and those wearing them for other purposes, meaning that “a kid could be arrested for wearing old military medals as part of a Halloween costume.”
Ridiculous, no? Nonetheless, “[d]ozens of people have been arrested” on such charges and sentenced with up to a year in jail. Eland comments on the gross distortion of patriotism which this kind of law represents:
Such excessive admiration of things military is quite the opposite of what the founders believed. They, almost to a man, were suspicious that large standing armies, such as those of 18th-century European monarchs, would be a major threat to liberty….
Liberty, for which our military men and women are supposed to be fighting, should trump nationalism, faux patriotism, and militarism. In fact, all of these things probably harm the U.S. military more than a wannabe hero making false claims about earning a martial medal.
The full article is available here.Published in