Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Boy Scouting versus The Knockout Game

Change is in the air these days, and it isn't good.

Change is nothing new; neither is hope.Every moment, this universe is in flux. We change with every choice we make, with every breath we take. Life is perpetually in hope of continuation.

Some change is deliberate, and toward a definite aim or direction. Other changes are directionless, as most young people, or those under forty, are today. This too is indicative of major societal changes.

When my father was a boy he joined the Boys Scouts of America near this organization's Mortimer L. Schiff Scout Reservation national training center, which he said was "within walking distance" from his home in Plainfield, New Jersey. During the 1930s, so it seems, a ten, fifteen or twenty mile walk was common, and considered no big deal. Reading Kit Carson books and the early Boys Scout books were favored over school work; scouting activities in the wild were also more interesting than sports. Both had more appeal than academics because these learning activities were something that he could feel and sense his abilities grow as he took on new experiences. Learning new skills led to confidence in his abilities as a boy, then as a young man with direction and purpose. The Scout Oath made this purpose quite clear:

"To help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

Based on these experiences, like millions of other American youth of his generation, my father entered the Second World War fully prepared for what he would face in Belgium and France, and later in Germany, Italy, and Austria. At the commencement of the Battle of the Bulge, on December 16, 1944, Sergeant R. M. Nagy was leading a patrol squad of ten soldiers and a corporal in the Ardennes region near the French border, in Belgium. Suddenly he found his unit behind advancing German lines as a full offensive cut him off from the main Allied Forces. Skills learned in Scouting were absolutely essential in keeping himself and his troops alive for two weeks of bitter cold and starvation in the dense forest, surrounded by enemy troops within hearing distance. Still, he had to witness several of those troops die from exposure, three from dysintery. Winter camping as a Boy Scout in New Jersey was key to survival. He found his experience of living from the land in winter camps, with a day's food, one knife and a hatchet had taught him what to do, and how to remain undetected for more than two weeks. Still, some things could not be avoided, such as frostbite; everyone who survived suffered from this during the nineteen days and nights beyond a safe line of friendly forces.

As a good friend likes to remind me often, "There are no atheists in foxholes." Reflecting on my father's expeiences in two wars, and in life, I'm reminded of these words of James West, an early Boy Scout leader ...

"Boy Scouts of America believes that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God."

Seventy years later, 2014 will see another war that is not declared, yet millions of Americans will be participcating. This war has begun, and it seems inevitable that it will grow.This is a much more a war than a game.

Commentary on the Knockout Game

This is another indication of a war on values, including those values espoused by Boy Scouts, as they once were famous for. Today's Scouts, so it seems, are far from those known by father's generation and my own. Rather than teach woodcraft and survival skills, it seems that Scouts have succumbed to pressures from Progressives and modernism to water-down moral values while opening their leadership to feminization of boys. For good reason, Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts had always been separated into different and distinct troops, in exclusive organizations. With recent changes in policy forced on the Scouts, despite a historic Supreme Court decision regarding memberships, Scouting is now open to allowing gay and questionable gender persons into many organized troops. [Will we see a merit badge for applying eye-liner and makeup in the near future?] The point to be made is that skills at video games and feminized activities for boys are far astray from the essential woodcraft and survival skills that are still quite important to know and practice in today's world.

In addition to many valuable skills and benefits of a wide variety of expereinces, Scouting teaches its practitioners to "Be Prepared." 

As this world becomes increasingly violent for no reason justifiable by common moral values, each person has this to be conscious of, the necessity to be prepared for nearly any eventuality. To survive on streets and public places in America, it makes a great deal of sense to be prepared for outbreaks of violence ... in a shopping mall, in a convenient store hit by a flash mob, or driving on a well-lit roadway. How a person does this will depend on one's moral values and accrued experiences. Most of us will not be prepared when danger, or a stranger, strikes.

Some might argue that these words are "hate speech," and that I should be more trusting of the goodness of human nature and our common desire to lead peaceful, prejudice-free lives. Typical delusions of many Progressives, this sort of thinking ignores the reality of this world while painting a idyllic picture of humanity that does not belong in anyone's collection of concepts. This is not to say that some, or most, of us are not peaceloving and kind at heart. Rather, it is to stress that random violence is now a part of life in society, and that everyone in our mobile, densely populated cities will be effected by random violence in some way, directly or indirectly.

When the Scouting movement was initiated in the early Twewentieth Century by men such as Lord Robert Baden-Powell, W. D. Boyce, Ernest Thompson Seton, Daniel Carter Beard, Gifford Pinchot, Edward S. Stewart and Stanley D. Willis, and populaized by George S. Barton in Boys Life Magazine, this world was exceedingly different. These men recognized the need for young men to have positive direction and leadership in order to grow into outstanding leaders of the future. We are living in that future today. And this is a world that is adjusting to spontaneous violence against fellow citizens and neighbors, taking place in a moral vacuum created intentionally by modernists and Progresssives. Dominant media perpetually teaches populations to be complacent and to rely on government and corporations to provide economic and physical security rather than to develop skills taught by those men and women who founded the Scouting movement. Their answer, to depend on an increasingly militarized police network to provide protections that creep daily toward martial law. At the same time, we are expected to ignore the fact that moral leadership is dead within those who have taken control of our lives.

It follows that the death of moral leadership has been a major contributing factor to this recent development of flash mobs and knockout games. The inevitable result has been our devolution into a new Cold Civil War pitting neighbor against neighbor, Progressive against Conservative, native-born against immigrant, LBGT against anyone religious, and so on throughout the spectrum of divisions and divisiveness.

The less-than-glib Governor Rick Perry of Texas was right. We need to live more earnestly with Boy Scout values to work our way out of this mess we're in.

On My Honor by Rick Perry