Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, February 1, 2013

Too Little Too Late

NRO's Ed Whelan takes pen in hand to announce that scouting is committing suicide by allowing troops to decide if they want to let gay scouts and leaders into their manly club.

Sadly, in the face of intense pressure from ideologues, the Boy Scouts of America are reportedly on the verge of abandoning their long-held policy against gay scout leaders. Among the many corporations facing petition campaigns from gay activists, Merck and UPS recently announced that their charitable foundations would no longer contribute to the Boy Scouts.
Under the policy change that the Scouts’ national board will consider next week, the churches, schools and civic groups that sponsor troops would each be free to adopt their own policies on gay leaders and scouts. 

 Whelen is very concerned about the effect this will have on scouting. Anti-gay church-based troops might be forced to actually see and hear gay scouts and leaders during get-togethers, and this-must-not-stand!
Yet this proposed revision is incoherent and unworkable. The national Boy Scouts leadership obviously recognizes that it’s legitimate to disapprove of homosexual conduct, as the revised policy would let troops continue to exclude gays. [Obviously!] But the change would deprive those troops of the protection that only a uniform national policy provides.

Different troops routinely interact at summer camps and other gatherings, and the staffers at those camps come from various troops. If the Scouts abandon their national policy, a troop that is chartered by a church that opposes homosexual conduct on moral grounds loses much of its ability to protect its scouts from being subjected to actions and statements that contradict the church’s teachings.

Consider, for example, something as simple as how a camp staffer might explain the meaning of the scout oath to be “morally straight.” Or how leaders and scouts from a pro-gay troop might provocatively highlight their new position with scouts from other troops.
I can see it now. At the next Boy Scout Jamboree Troop 666, stuffed to the brim with gays, might taunt Troop 101, a godly group of innocent young teens whose cheeks have never been stained with sex sin, flaunting their lack of hatred and fear. Can't you just hear the jeering laughter as the gay teens display their gayness for everyone to see? Or "provocatively highlight their new position" in your face, as the kids say?

Never mind that many kids have gay teachers (don't worry, the right is working on that as well) or interact with people who are gay all the time. Or that many middle schoolers who taunt others are kids who persecute their classmates by screaming Gay! at them for any perceived weakness, whether they are gay or not. No, the innocent little angels must be protected at all times from any hint of human sexuality. That's the way to deal with teenagers going through puberty!

In 2000, the Boy Scouts won a big Supreme Court victory against state laws that bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That victory rested heavily on the fact that the Boy Scouts taught that homosexual conduct was contrary to their values.

But if the national group abandons that teaching against homosexual conduct, it paves the way for activists to sue troops that adhere to the traditional policy and to threaten troop leaders with personal liability.  
Few troops could afford the expense and hassle of defending against these suits.

 Mr. Whelan is a Harvard educated lawyer and therefore no fool. However it is not a lawyer's job to tell all the truth; his job is to present his case in the defense of his client to the best of his ability. So Whelan pulls a McArdle here, lying by omission. Boy Scout troops that exclude gays have already been sued and forced to make huge payments for the sexual abuse of scouts, mostly by leaders.
In May 1991, the Washington Times published a major five-part investigation entitled “Scouts Honor” on sex abuse in the BSA. Staff from the newspaper had worked for two years preparing the series, reviewing internal and personnel records from the Boy Scouts; court records from more than 20 states; and more than 1,000 newspaper articles; as well as interviewing more than 200 people, including molesters, families of victims, Scout leaders, sex abuse experts and lawyers. The newspaper restricted itself to reported cases of male Scout leaders abusing boy scouts prior to the introduction of its Youth Protection program. In summation, they wrote “The Boy Scouts are a magnet for men who want to have sexual relations with children...Pedophiles join the Scouts for a simple reason: it’s where the boys are.”[4]
The series drew on three sources:
  • Historical “confidential files” (formerly known as the “Ineligible Volunteer Files”) within Scout records, with details on 231 Scout leaders banned from Scouting for sexual misconduct from 1975 through 1984.
  • 50 lawsuits against the Scouts by families of molested boys from around the US.
  • A list from the BSA of more than 350 men banned for sexual misconduct from 1971 to 1986.
The newspaper discovered that 1,151 Scouts reported being abused by their leaders over a 19-year period mostly prior to the implementation of the Youth Protection Plan: they published a detailed list of 416 cases from 1971–1990 where a US Scout leader was arrested or banned from Scouting for sexual abuse of Scouts, adding that experts said the real number of abusers and victims was probably several times higher. The newspaper articles later formed the basis for a book by the main journalist involved, Patrick Boyle: Scout's Honor: Sexual Abuse in America's Most Trusted Institution.

Excluding gays didn't protect scouts from predators or scout troops from large fines.

A study of 50 lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America showed that from 1986 to 1991 BSA and local councils agreed to pay more than $15 million in damages. According to federal tax returns, BSA payments to one law firm in Miami working on abuse cases were more than one-half million dollars; the BSA insurance reserve, from which the damages are paid, stood at $61.9 million.[4]

The actual payment total, said the Washington Times in 1991, is probably far higher because the Scouts sometimes agree to pay damages only if the payments are kept secret. Keeping damage awards confidential is commonly required by insurers.

Boy Scouts Of America implemented a strict set of rules protecting kids from predators after these heavy fines.

BSA adopted the following policies to provide additional barriers to child abuse within Scouting. These policies are primarily for the protection of its youth members; however, they also serve to protect its adult leaders from false accusations of abuse.
  • Two-deep leadership. Two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings. The "two-deep" policy requires that a minimum of two adults be present during all activities to minimize the potential for clandestine abuse.[12] The chartered organization is responsible for ensuring that sufficient leadership is provided for all activities.
  • No one-on-one contact. One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In situations that require personal conferences, such as a Scoutmaster's conference, the meeting is to be conducted in view of other adults and youths.
  • Respect of privacy. Adult leaders must respect the privacy of youth members in situations such as changing clothes and taking showers at camp, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults must protect their own privacy in similar situations.
  • Separate accommodations. When camping, no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his own parent or guardian. Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted for showers.
  • Proper preparation for high-adventure activities. Activities with elements of risk should never be undertaken without proper preparation, equipment, clothing, supervision, and safety measures.
  • No secret organizations. The Boy Scouts of America does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program. All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.
  • Appropriate attire. Proper clothing for activities is required. For example, skinny-dipping is not appropriate as part of Scouting.
  • Constructive discipline. Discipline used in Scouting should be constructive and reflect Scouting's values. Corporal punishment is never permitted.
  • Hazing prohibited. Physical hazing and initiations are prohibited and may not be included as part of any Scouting activity.
  • Junior leader training and supervision. Adult leaders must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by junior leaders and ensure that BSA policies are followed.
The plan has been criticized for not making criminal background checks a requirement for all volunteers until 2008, and that failure to require those allowed additional child molesters into the organization. [13][14]
But Whelan is still very very concerned that gay scout leaders will be sexually attracted to the boys, ruining scouting for everyone with their gayness.
Imagine that a group of girls is going on a long camping trip, supervised by adult volunteers who are young men you barely know. Would you let your 15-year-old daughter go?

Nearly every parent, I think, would recognize the folly, even though the men might well be models of good behavior. Why should our common-sense response be any different if the 15-year-old is a boy and the possible, even if not-likely-to-be-acted-on, sexual attraction of the adult supervisors is homosexual rather than heterosexual?
As the father of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout, I’ve taken part in summer camps, a canoeing trip in remote northern Ontario and several other overnight outings. I can attest that privacy is often at a minimum. Injecting the aura of possible sexual attraction would degrade the experience.
On the amorphous fear that the presence of gays will "degrade the experience" of scouting, Whelan wants to exclude anyone who offends his religious beliefs.
...[M]any parents choose the Boy Scouts to provide the environment for these activities precisely because, in an age awash in the wreckage of moral relativism, the Scouts have stood strong. Those parents who wish a different environment for their sons should join other groups or build their own.
The Boy Scouts are — or at least have been — a great organization that has done so much to help transform young boys into fine men and to serve America’s communities. Unfortunately, in the warped progressive understanding of diversity, all organizations must be the same. The Boy Scouts are a target of the Left precisely because they have, until now, upheld traditional moral standards.
Among the virtues set forth in the Scout Law, a scout is trustworthy and brave. The leaders of the Boy Scouts will betray those virtues if they cave to pressure and abandon their national policy. The Boy Scouts deserve better.
So to protect the innocent of America's youth, it is absolutely necessary to continue to exclude gays from scouting. Only then will the boys be safe from predators or large fines or lascivious looks Ed Whelan.


TheStone said...

Great post! Just one minor quibble - there are lots of really dense lawyers and some of them graduated from Harvard and/or make lots of dough.

Susan of Texas said...

How does that happen? I understand that some people are very good at memorizing and regurgitating information, but surely Harvard's standards entail more than that?

Downpuppy said...

The NRO went all in today, complaining about the President dissing Nazis:

Nazism may have been an ideology to which the United States was — and to which the president is — implacably opposed, but it is hardly “senseless.” By the early 1930s, the Nazi party had hundreds of thousands of devoted members and repeatedly attracted a third of the votes in German elections; its political leaders campaigned on a platform comprising 25 non-senseless points, including the “unification of all Germans,” a demand for “land and territory for the sustenance of our people,” and an assertion that “no Jew can be a member of the race.” Suffice it to say, many sensible Germans were persuaded.

Don't be stupid, be a smartie
Come on join the Nazi Party!

Ed Whelan - pfft. No points without pink triangles, big guy.

Susan of Texas said...

Hah! Those comments are great.

Anonymous said...

Nazism is hardly senseless because no Jew can be a member of the race makes sense.
Why..the Jews loan money! Therefore they're the source of German debt. And if we eliminate them, THE DEBT GOES AWAY THE LOGIC IS IMPECCABLE and that's why Obama is a socialist.

mew said...

Wow, that NRO article is If that doesn't completely atomize the author's writing career, then nothing will.

In that respect, it's almost like the ultimate wingnut litmus test: "If we can defend Nazism without consequence, then we can just come out and say anything at this point."

Susan of Texas said...

The author, according to a commenter at Lawyers, Guns and Money, is the daughter of Powerline's Scott Johnson. Who would have thought that a nepotism hire would be inept?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

but surely Harvard's standards entail more than that?

Legacies do end up in Ivy League schools, based on daddy's donations and connections, and expensive private secondary schools.

And there are the willfully ignorant...more than happy to spout the propaganda that keeps the paychecks flowing.

Susan of Texas said...

After reading Ross Douthat's book on his years at Harvard I shouldn't be surprised.

Lurking Canadian said...

That piece about the sensible Nazi policies would be rejected by The Onion as too far over the top. I can't even formulate a hypothesis to explain what the author thought she was trying to say.

Susan of Texas said...

Since the Holocaust made sense to the Nazis, Obama was stupid to call their violence senseless!

My favorite part (beside the omnipresent Great Lebowski quote), was when everyone quoted Reagan saying the same thing.

Roger said...

Ben Shapiro is a Havard Law graduate.

'Nuff said.

Susan of Texas said...

From now on I'll just assume the Douthats cheated their way through Harvard and prep school. It's the only thing that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Chunky Reese Witherspoon

Susan of Texas said...

I've always wondered how someone smart enough to make it through an Ivy League school could be unable to think his or her way through a problem to its conclusion. And why so many people who should have confidence in their own intellect are actually insecure. Cheating could explain a lot.

Anonymous said...

Oh my sweet Jesus

She doubled down on the senseless comment.

Anonymous said...

Yes, only Evil Rethuglican-associated lawyers are cheats, swindlers and con men.

And Harvard's standards transcend that division, by producing brilliant legal scholars of both Donkey and Elephant persuasion or sexual preference.

And the Boy Scouts never had any gays before, and only Reactionary youth go into the Boy Scouts, because Good Progressive Boys instead cross-dress, learn to love espresso and mascara, and reject the Patriarchy with every snarky post they put to Twitter or ZuckBuck.