And one day the Surgeon General will warn of secondhand flag observation…

Just when you thought you’d read the stupidest study that bored university researchers avoiding classroom duties ever concocted, another academic year dawns.

So now we get this:

Just a brief exposure to an image of the American flag shifts voters, even Democrats, to Republican beliefs, attitudes and voting behavior even though most don’t believe it will impact their politics, according to a new two-year study just published in the scholarly Psychological Science.

What’s more, according to three authors from the University Chicago, Cornell University and Hebrew University, the impact had staying power.

“A single exposure to an American flag resulted in a significant increase in participants’ Republican voting intentions, voting behavior, political beliefs, and implicit and explicit attitudes, with some effects lasting 8 months,” the study found. “These results constitute the first evidence that nonconscious priming effects from exposure to a national flag can bias the citizenry toward one political party and can have considerable durability.”

Theirs is the first study to look at the political impact on Americans who have seen an American flag, and it seems to back up another recent Harvard University professor’s study that found that kids who attended a July 4th parade ended up leaning Republican when they grew up. …

Out-of-control statists will no doubt seek to craft intrusive legislation upon such “research,” and the anti-smoking hysteria will provide them many a precedent.

In the meantime, in the off chance that discrete instances of flag-viewing actually drive political views, here’s a glimpse of the Gadsden flag. May your subconscious soak in the nonpartisan, historically American idea of God-given individual liberties that government dare not seek to usurp.

Jon Sanders / Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...