respect, not of a phony pluralism.nBut flag-burning does not evennqualify for the protection offered tonblasphemy in a doubtful case. Flagburningnis not speech, but an act. It isnnot participation in free deliberationnbut a demonstration of contempt fornthe community, the last step before annact of violence. It is, in this respect,nanalogous to a sit-in or painting answastika on a synagogue. It is theninstinctive understanding of this thatncreates the vast popular feeling againstnthe Court’s ruling.nBut, alas, the clamor for a Constitutionalnamendment against flag-burningnbears about the same relationship tonreal statesmanship as flag-burning doesnto real freedom of speech. It is a merendisingenuous and insulting gimmick.nThe problem is not flag-burning. Thenproblem is judicial usurpation and anwarped reading of the First Amendment.nThese are the ills that would benattacked by a statesman able to perceivenand pursue the welfare of thencommonwealth.nThe Reagan Revolution had twonsubstantive accomplishments — thencontrol of inflation and the rescue ofnthe judiciary from left-wing extremism.nWe can only pray that the former willnendure. The behavior of Justices Scalianand Kennedy in the flag-burning casenmust give us reason to wonder hownsolid the latter achievement really is. Itnwill be a Pyrrhic victory if the justicesncontinue to adhere to a disorientednlegal tradition rather than exercisingnthe courage and intellectual skill necessarynto renew contact with the realnConstitution.n—Clyde WilsonnA FLAG AMENDMENT—whatnwould be the effect? In one school ofnthought that goes back through Actonnto Jefferson to Plato, the health of ansociety is inversely proportional to thenamount of written law (and the numbernof lawyers) it has. A suspicion ofnlawmaking is even more justified in thencase of constitutional law. How manynamendments have actually done us anyngood? The Fourteenth is used routinelynto destroy state and local government;nthe Sixteenth legitimated thenincome tax; the Eighteenth gave usnprohibition. But, you will say, thesenwere obviously bad ideas. What’sn6/CHRONICLESnwrong with protecting the flag? Nothing.nBut there was nothing wrong innthe first nine amendments guaranteeingndue process and freedom ofnspeech, press, and religion against thenfederal government. Unfortunately, bynredesigning the Tenth Amendment tona dead letter, the federal courts havenbeen able to use every one of thosenfreedoms as a weapon against the verynpeople and communities they are supposednto protect. The terrible truth is,nthe Constitution means whatever ninenpolitical appointees say that it means,nand any additional provisions are onlynextra weapons in their arsenal. Notnlong ago I attended a conference onnthe family and heard a prudent andnsensible politician ask if there shouldn’tnbe a constitutional amendment protectingnthe rights of families. What annightmare. The justices would protectnfamilies in exactly the same way theynprotect religion—by making war on it.nIf we have to discuss such deadnissues as the US Constitution that oncenexisted, the place to start is the TenthnAmendment. Since it has been effectivelynnullified by the usurpers on thenfederal bench, it is high time thatnsomeone like Senator Helms introducednit as a proposed amendment.nMaybe if we passed it a second time, itnwould stick. Send us your name andnaddress on a postcard saying, “Yes,nRepass the Tenth Amendment,” and Inwill personally make sure it gets to thenright people. (TF)nBATMAN was the summer’s boxnoffice sensation. Responses to the filmnfollowed the usual pattern: audiencesnand lowbrow critics loved it; highbrowncritics turned up their noses. Pans fromnserious film critics are the best recommendationna movie can get. Yes, it is andark and violent movie, and yes, MichaelnKeaton is a perfectly dreadfulnactor—Jack Nicholson doesn’t have tonsteal this one: Keaton gives it to himngratis. And yes, the New York criticsnhated it because of its all-too-accuratenportrayal of life in New York. As DavidnDenby in New York magazine put it:n”In this filthy, demoralized, and abandonedncity, gangsters run the show andnpols are either weak or on the take.”nExactly.nI expected something a litfle less of anpaean than, say, The Muppets TakennnManhattan, and I was not disappointed.nWhat I was not prepared for wasnthe deadly serious criticism of radicalnchic. Gotham is a city paralyzed bynfear and corruption, and when thenJoker stages his own city festival throwingnaway money, the degraded mobnturns out to cheer.nBut the script goes further, invitingnus to see the Joker as the typicalnpsychopathic killer who is the victim ofncircumstances. The most interestingndialogue comes near the very end, asnthe Joker and Batman wrestie for theirnlives at the top of a cathedral —nsignificantly abandoned, as if NewnYorkers have turned their backs onnGod. The Joker whines that he is whatnhe is because Batman dumped himninto a vat of acid. Now, we alreadynknow that this is not so: he was anprofessional killer before the accident,nand it was Batman who tried to savenhim. But instead of correcting him.nBatman accuses his enemy of killingnBatman’s parents. Fair enough, thenJoker answers: we made each other. Anninteresting point, but the obvious differencenbetween the two—for all thendoppelgdnger imagery — is that whilenone of them has responded to misfortunenby turning into the world’s greatestnhomicidal maniac, the other hasncreated good out of evil by devoting hisnlife to protecting the innocent.nAll of this is a wine too strong for thenNew York palate, but the one unforgivablenscene seems to have passed bynwithout significant comment. Leadingnhis merry crew, the Joker prances intona great museum and proceeds to carvenup or spray paint the great masterpiecesnof Western art. His depredations arenonly halted for a moment when he isnconfronted with a specimen of modernistnart—Rauschenberg? de Kooning?nwho cares? This I like, he oozes,nand spares the painting. Still in thengallery, he explains to Batman’s girlfriend,na photographer, that he too isnan artist—a murder artist—and revealsnthe masterpiece he has etchednwith acid on his own girifriend’s face.nArt as destruction, art as a prank, artnas a violent statement on a violentnsociety — where have we heard all thisnbefore, except in all the catalogues ofnperformance art exhibitions and successfulngrant applications to the Na-n