Let us pause to consider the recent death of the Boy Scouts of America, a venerable institution which did much good. It perished from a mugging at the hands of rabid liberal activists who profess to champion “tolerance,” but deny others the right to hold any point of view but theirs. The Boy Scouts of America refused for years to accept the liberal vision of an anything-goes society, so it had to die.
From the date of its organization here in 1910, the BSA taught generations of American men not only to love the outdoors, but also to embrace their duty to God and country. It taught preparedness and proper behavior, respect and rectitude, civic engagement, kindness, morality. It was a powerful force for decency and honor in America, so it had to die. R.I.P.
The issue that killed this much-loved organization was an insistence that the BSA admit “openly gay scouts.” To understand the lunatic nature of this demand, and the implications of the BSA’s ultimate acquiescence, step back a moment and think. What is an “openly gay scout?” Are homosexuals characterized by their snappy repartee? Their stunning fashion sense? Not really. The principle identifier for homosexuals is sexual attraction to, and intimacy with, persons of the same sex. So the BSA has been pressured into accepting persons self-identifying with a behavior that, given the age of the average Boy Scout, would qualify as statutory rape in at least 40 states. This defies common sense. It also creates inconveniences with the whole “morally straight” thing.
Shock aside, the BSA’s surrender has provided some useful lessons: when one’s deeply-held beliefs are challenged, just change them. When involved in a moral struggle, give up. No principles are really worth defending. One day, we may regret teaching young people lessons such as these.
Nor is this the end of the affair, as homosexual activists and their political allies like Nancy Pelosi are quick to point out. The former Democrat Speaker of the House called Thursday’s decision “an important first step,” but noted that the scouts still ban homosexual adult leaders. The Human Rights Campaign opined “the policy doesn’t go far enough,” calling for immediate elimination of that ban, a theme echoed by others on the far left. Then there’s that whole “God” business; it’ll be the atheists’ turn next.
The campaign against the Boy Scouts has always been about more than the unwise decision to allow homosexual scouts into the ranks. It is instead part of a much wider attack on organizations that are the repositories and bastions of tradition in our society. Tradition itself is really the target of liberals’ gleeful, nihilistic wrecking; it is what the left is attempting to sweep away in its effort to create a Utopia — that which has never been, and which can never be.
Tradition gets a bad rap. It conjures up an image of old men in tweed jackets sitting in front of a fireplace drinking Scotch, smoking cigars and sharing an imagined past. But tradition is much more important — and more powerful — than this.
Tradition is the unseen glue that binds a society together. It governs interactions, making the trust among individuals on which business dealings are based possible. It sets the norms of behavior, separating gentleman from cad. It arbitrates fairness and equity, dictates fashion and food, celebrates thrift or profligacy; honors charity or selfishness. Tradition creates understanding about a common culture and shared goals, about what it is to be an “American.” And it does all this without the interfering hand of government.
Which is the essence of the problem it poses to liberals, and those of other political stripes who see government as the solution to all our problems — despite ample evidence to the contrary. To those who think thus, Big Brother can never be too big, too meddlesome, too powerful, too present in every aspect of our lives. It must be all these so that the liberal political class, far wiser than we poor peasants, can control us. All in our own best interests, of course.
To achieve this end, traditions and the institutions that guard them must be smashed; the diligent undermining must continue in the name of the greater good, until all the props under our current racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, Muslim-hating, oppressive society have been kicked out. There must be no other thought than liberal thought, no speech but liberal speech, no behaviors that do not meet with liberal approval. To paraphrase a construct from the mid-twentieth century, everything must be within liberalism, nothing outside liberalism, nothing against liberalism ... Or else.
Until the ceiling caves in.
Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.