Taking the Boy Out of the Boy Scouts

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Wed, May 20 - 8:00 am EDT | 3 years ago by
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Competition, danger, aggression, and destruction.

Like a Baptist preacher, special interest groups and feminists shout these accusations to any congregation willing to listen when describing the devil among us — the common boy.

Thing is, they aren’t wrong. The human male holds a high regard for all four of those adjectives, but what many safety-obsessed, risk-no-hazard groups declare as a vice can actually be one of the human male’s greatest virtues.

A boy’s need to be rowdy, destructive, and sometimes violent isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. As a man, we may need all three of those in the future for one reason or another, and encouraging that kind of varied competitive behavior isn’t a bad idea if you temper it with a good dose of learning right from wrong. The man who does right will be destructive and violent when society needs him to be. The man who does wrong will be destructive and violent when he needs him to be. Either way, these behaviors are going to happen in some way, shape, or form.

In a world where safety and peace are just one bad decision away from being shattered, we need those attributes turned virtues.

No one seemed to understand that better than the Boy Scouts. I use past tense, because now that understanding seems to be falling by the wayside.

Boy Scouts ban water guns
Source: Shutterstock

In their recent National Shooting Sports Manual, the Boy Scouts of America declared that boys shooting each other with water pistols — a favorite pastime of anyone with the ability to have fun — is now prohibited within the BSA. Yes, squirt gun fights among Scouts are banned.

“Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations.”

Why? According to Scout Leader Bryan Wendell: “Why the rule? A Scouter once told me this explanation I liked quite a bit: ‘A Scout is kind. What part of pointing a firearm [simulated or otherwise] at someone is kind?’”

Yes, a Scout is kind, but a Scout needs to learn to be kind as well as learn to be dangerous. It’s part of being a boy, and becoming a man, but I say that as an aside. All the BSA is doing here is going against the very fabric of the organization’s existence — and caving to a PC culture that would like to see boys made soft and passive — by telling them that they can’t squirt water at each other from a mechanism that pumps it out of a nozzle to form a stream.

For one, I’m insulted that they think the common boy is so dumb that he doesn’t know the difference between squirting your buddy with water and hosing a person with lead. This is the organization that teaches boys survival and leadership skills, and how to use power tools to make a small wooden car. You think these same boys are going to confuse a Super Soaker with a 30-ought-6?

Secondly, what kind of organization that prided itself on harnessing the boy’s natural tendency to be adventurous and dangerous turns around and paints one of the most harmless activities on Earth as “unkind”? The only thing remotely unkind here is suppressing the boy’s natural inclination to be competitive and rowdy with his friends in the misplaced hope that somehow this will make us all more safe.

To hell with safety. Give the boy his boyhood.

This isn’t the only time the Scouts have slid into politically correct territory. Recently the BSA has also decided to get into the gender gap game concerning STEM fields. These programs seek to help close the gap between boys and girls in STEM professions by bringing girls into the fold.

I hate to say this, but I can’t see the Boy Scouts as being good for boys anymore if this is the route they plan to take. As is the pattern with any institution, the moment it puts too much emphasis on safety and political correctness it begins to devolve into a sterile mass of useless programs and wasted time. What used to be a place for a boy to cultivate his inherent nature is now becoming another place where the boy has to hear about how his qualities are no longer wanted, and in many cases frowned upon.

Boy Scouts - Prepared for Life



Hailing from Austin, Texas, Brandon Morse has been writing about politics and culture across many websites for the last six years, with a heavy emphasis on anti-authoritarianism. Aside from writing articles, he is also known for voice acting and authoring scripts. He is an avid gamer, dog person, and has a bad habit of making vague references to things no one has heard about or seen. Follow him at @TheBrandonMorse on Twitter.

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  • SmokeyBehr

    Political Correctness has invaded the last bastion of raising upstanding boys.

  • Shmendrich

    I have been in the scouts since I was 9 years old (quite a while ago :P) And I totally agree with this article. And I will let you know why this happens: A lot of the leaders of the boy scouts, were NEVER scouts. They are just adults who joined the movement to try and help shape boys in to adults(or even worse, because they had nothing better to do…or because they enjoy the feeling of being in a position of control/power. Sadly there’s a SHITLOAD of people like this in the movement).

    People like this never lived as an scout, and hence dont understand what it means to be one. And they make important decisions without knowing about it. Thinking they are doing it for the good of the guys.

    Think of Ned Flanders joining the boy scouts as a leader. Think of all the things he would prohibit and change for the “good of the boys”. Thats what is happening here. He does it with good intentions, but it doesnt makes the decision any less dumb.

    The movement needs adults, and some of them come in with a really good notions of scouting even if they were never in the movement before. Still I think it would be better if high positions in the organization were simply unavailable for people who were never scouts as kids. Not as discrimination or anything, but for the good of the movement.

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