On What Ails Scouting

Former Eagle Scout Mike Rowe responds to a woman who expressed dismay about the Boy Scouts going “co-ed.” He posted:

As I read it, The Boy Scouts are launching a separate program that serves girls. …

When I left the organization in 1979, there were 5 million active members. Today, there are 2.3 million. With the recent departure of the Mormon community, that number will soon drop to under two million. Clearly, something is wrong. The question is what? Is it the past sexual scandals? Is it the more recent admission of gay and transgender members? I would imagine those are factors. But a 60% decline? That seems very unlikely. …

[R]ight now, there’s a perception that The Boy Scouts have gone soft. That’s the real tragedy, Sharon, because I can’t think of anything more needed in our country today, than a youth organization that offers kids the same experience I underwent in the basement of Kenwood Church [read the full post]. Why? Because our country’s current obsession with “safe spaces” is destroying character faster than the Boy Scouts of today can build it.

Obviously, we want our kids protected from the hazards of a dangerous world. … But safety is not the purpose of our existence, and this whole idea that kids need to be protected from fear, distress, discomfort, and disappointment is far more dangerous to the future of our country than anything I ever encountered in Scouting. You can’t build character in a “safe space.” You can only build dependence and entitlement, and you don’t have to look very far to see the results. Pardon my rant, but the stakes are high. …

We are the ones who gave them trophies just for showing up. We’re the ones who told them that their feelings were more important than their actions…. Now, we are confronted with millions of dissatisfied young adults with no tolerance for beliefs that conflict with their own, and no realistic understanding of how life actually works. …

It’s not enough to simply ignore bad ideas. The safe space movement needs to be confronted, and I’d love nothing more than to see Scouts of both genders lead the charge.

More. Some of the comments from Mike Rowe’s original Facebook post support his description of what’s happened to scouting:

  • I grew up in a troop very much like Mike Rowe’s. But now a Boy Scout can’t build and climb a pioneering project more than six feet off the ground without their plans being reviewed in advance by the “council enterprise risk management committee” (aka lawyers). So you know the BSA has gone soft. s/A former Scoutmaster, District Commissioner, etc.
  • If these kids are anything like my son, the reason the numbers are declining are due to what is being taught. My son joined with the idea that he would learn outdoor activities, responsibilities, camping, archery, and so forth but in reality the whole year he only learned songs, skits, and chants. He was very bored and lost interest.
  • Same issue with Girl Scouts for my daughters. Two different troops in two different years and not one camping trip or outdoor activity. When I was a young Girl Scout, we learned fire building and first aid. Lots of the same things the boys in Boy Scouts were learning. Now it’s lazy indoor arts and crafts and peddling as many cookies as possible.
  • That was my daughter’s Girl Scout experience as well. Not one thing at all done outdoors in the entire year she was in the troop. Two times a month they met in the school cafeteria after school for an hour to glue beads together or color. … It was such a waste of time and I felt nostalgia for my days as a cub scout in the 1970’s when we met once a week and did all kinds of projects, explored the great outdoors, learned to work together as a team and were all proud to wear our scout uniforms all day at school on the meeting days. Especially when we did the pledge of allegiance in the morning before class started. All these things are now relics of a by gone era it would seems.
  • I was shocked when I became a Boy Scout day camp counselor…and they kept canceling camp because the temperatures outside were too high (in the 80s) for the poor little air-conditioned flowers. … This generation of overly dramatic parents has killed Scouting and all it stood for, which is a damned shame. People just can’t stand to be uncomfortable any more, and will give up anything to avoid it.

But others indicate a wide variety among troops and their activities:

  • We run a Cub Scout Pack and do tons of science experiments, games, whittling, knot tying, and during the summer we hike and bike. I am so sad your son had a bad experience!
  • The troop I am a part of has campouts where shooting shotguns and learning about gun safety is the main activity. Our numbers have grown steadily over the past four years because we still believe in what the scouts’ core values are.
  • By the time my son was 12, he had canoed two 50 milers (led two boats down the 2nd time), rowed his own boat, learned to rebuild a boat engine, been hiking up the tallest mountain in SoCal, camped 100 nights, and was preparing for jamboree. Don’t give up!
  • Our Boy Scouts do activities several times a month. They include camping, hiking, mountaineering, fishing, flying airplanes, skiing, whitewater rafting, canoe trips, horseback riding and still volunteer a lot in the community. All thanks go to the great and tireless efforts of the Troop’s leadership and parents.

Another Legal Action Against an Unwilling Service Provider, with a Twist

According to this report:

Jason Carruthers, the president of Mad Wax on Walker Road, said he was surprised at the legal move since he had explained to the complainant that the spa did not offer Brazilian wax services on male body parts.

“I have no male wax staff,” Carruthers said Friday. “We are not able to provide that service.”

A local transgender woman claims she was denied services based on her gender identity and gender expression and is seeking $50,000 for “immense harm to my dignity.” …

“I once again reiterate and state my position and the position of Mad Wax Windsor Inc. that all clients, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, are welcome,” he said in a statement. “However, we also welcome and support all of our staff members and respect their religious beliefs and feelings of safety and dignity in regards to the right to perform waxing services on males or male genitals.”

At instapundit.com, David Bernstein writes:

The good news, such as it is, is that this is Canada, and the hierarchy of intersectional harm is a bit fuzzy in this case: “the female employee working that day was a practising Muslim who refrains from physical contact with males outside of her family.” And in an age of Me Too!, are we really arguing about whether a woman should be forced to groom the male genital area?

Self-Inflicted Wounds

Progressives running the political organizing group Wellstone Action directed their energies toward “work with communities of color and the LGBTQI community.” When the late Sen. Paul Wellstone’s sons raised the issue of focusing as well on economic issues and the plight of working class voters, they were ousted from the group.

Related: Democratic pollster Charles Cook recently wrote, “It’s not clear that Democrats fully understood why they lost the last presidential election and why their congressional gains were so paltry….” He added, “I met last week with leaders and members of a manufacturing union that was still livid over the Obama administration’s ‘war on coal’ that they believe put many of their members out of work or cut their hours,” and concludes, “A bit of self-reflection rather than just scapegoating might be in order.”

More. Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. is “done trying to understand Trump supporters”:

Besides which, is there really so much left to “understand?” Not from where I sit. Long before Trump even existed as a political force, many of us noted with alarm the rise of a backlash among right wingers deeply angry and profoundly terrified by the writing on the demographic wall. Said writing foretold — and for that matter, still foretells — the declining preeminence of white, Christian America.

A basket of deplorables, clinging to their guns and religion.

Free Speech vs. Progressive Activism

Dave Rubin responds, civilly, to protestors. They think the government should forbid speech that makes transgender people feel uncomfortable, including use of the wrong pronouns, and he tries to explain why that is a really bad idea.

The Rubin Report
Dave Rubin goes back and forth with protesters during his entire speech to students at the University of New Hampshire. discussing the importance of free speech the the rights of the individual.

The full, unedited video can be viewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knv7ZwIBmvs.

Nowadays, How ‘Queer’ Is ‘Queer’?

Responds Katie Herzog:

Herzog writes:

Indeed, Davidson and Schankler look, from the photos in the paper, like your typical middle-aged new parents, but, rest assured, they are not. For one thing, Schankler prefers the pronouns they/them and the title Mx. For another, as you will notice from the photo accompanying the article, she’s wearing a jacket over her dress, which, the caption tells us, is “gender nonconforming.” Very queer.

Now, I will admit that my first reaction to this article was to roll my eyes back in my head and pull out my application to a lesbian seperatist commune in Taos, but then I remembered that it’s against the rules to question other peoples’ identities (unless that person is Rachel Dolezal) so I reigned in my annoyance.

But then I read it again, and I thought about some lesbian friends of mine back in North Carolina who just had a kid last year. Unlike Davidson and Schankler, who, I presume, used the body parts they were born with to make a kid, my friends had to go about it the old fashioned ways: turkey baster, with sperm purchased from a sperm bank.

That was the easy part.

Bake a Cake, U.K. Edition

Unlike support, say, for overturning sodomy laws or granting marriage equality under the law, gay people are not uniformly behind “design us a cake celebrating our same-sex wedding, or else we’ll put you out of business. Because…tolerance. “

Grenell Confirmed

The president’s moves to ban transgender service members from the military, even those who have fully transitioned, may preclude him from being seen as transformative on LGBT issues within the GOP, but the party is still changing. Even former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an ardent social conservative, praised the appointment as ambassador to Germany an openly gay man who supported the fight for marriage equality. Grenell wrote in the Wall Street Journal in May 2012, “I can be proud of President Obama’s personal support for gay marriage and still take exception to his dismal national-security and economic records.”

More. Via The Hill:

The fight over Richard Grenell isn’t the cause of the clearly changing sentiment within the GOP; it’s more of the fulcrum than the spark. There have long been Log Cabin Republicans, now dutifully championing the fact that one of their own will likely be the highest-ranking gay official in U.S. history. Yet now, there seems to be a larger presence of openly gay Republicans than ever before; and consistent with polling data, no one in the party really seems to mind.

The Commanding Heights

[We’re back after a server issue took us offline for awhile]

This National Review piece is somewhat overstated—LGBT people in rural areas, especially, still face discrimination. But it is true that in blue America and throughout the national mainstream media the orthodox view is pro-LGBT. Taken to an extreme, however, LGBT nondiscrimination rights become dismissive of others’ rights, such as regarding speech, expression and association.

America is about finding a balance among competing rights, but progressives are behaving as newly ascendant inquisitors.

Another example of progressive orthodoxy run amuck and attacking liberal (in the classic sense) values. At least this time, there was some pullback in the face of an obvious and disingenuous overreach.