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Television host Mike Rowe replied to a viewer who criticized him for being "blindly patriotic" in an earlier post in which Rowe suggested that college students opposed to flying the American flag should therefore refuse any government funding for their education.

In his previous post, Rowe was responding to recent events at Hampshire College, in which Old Glory was burned and the college president called for the removal of all American flags thereafter-- a decision he recently recanted.

The woman said Rowe, host of 'Dirty Jobs' and 'Deadliest Catch', should "take a civics course" and recognize the flag as a "mere symbol".

Rowe said the flag is as much a symbol as the Crucifix, Swastika, wedding ring and middle finger.

Anyone who sees the flag as simply a symbol should ask themselves "if the people you work with suddenly started coming into the office with pointy white hats fashioned from bedsheets," or determine whether it would be acceptable to treat the Rainbow Flag in a similar manner, Rowe said.

"'Mere symbols'...  represent 'mere ideas' and 'mere ideas' are the backbone of 'mere humanity'," Rowe said, adding that in the case of the American flag, those "ideas" are expressed in the Constitution.

Rowe said he was not suggesting Americans be denied the right to burn "whatever flag they wish", but that it would be inappropriate to quietly accept behavior they dislike, in the way that motivates others to freely express themselves.


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