The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 March 2004

Scout's honor

The Supreme Court's 2000 decision in Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale upheld the right of the Scouts to exclude gay men from leadership positions. At the time, while I wasn't enthusiastic about the BSA policy — I suggested, in fact, that it might even be "pigheaded" — I defended the Court's reasoning:

The organization's right to select its members trumps an individual's right to require that organization to accommodate him.

National Review's Rich Lowry says that in the wake of Dale, there has been "a wide-ranging effort to punish the Scouts for exercising their First Amendment right of free association." In Connecticut, the State Employees' Campaign for Charitable Giving tossed the Scouts off their list of approved recipients; in San Diego, the Scouts are being evicted from a city park where they had operated an aquatic center.

Justin Katz points out:

[This action] mainly hurts the people most removed from the controversy and most in need of the benefits that the Boy Scouts can offer. They are the broken eggs in the quest for a religion-free public square.

The Scouts, for their part, aren't budging an inch.

Maybe "pigheaded" is good.

Posted at 10:29 AM to Political Science Fiction


Pigheaded? They seem far more hypocritical in the extreme to me. I fully support their right to decide who will and won't be a member of their organization based on whatever criteria they wish, but their assertion that those decisions should have no consequences is ludicrous to the point of being insulting.

Myria

Posted by: Myria at 3:58 PM on 13 March 2004

Well, every action has consequences of some sort, and I do recognize the symmetry between Dale and the most recent rulings (per your post on the topic), but I'm not convinced that the Scouts should fold their tents and steal away into the night just because they came out on the losing side of a court battle this time. ("Here's a year's supply of gander sauce and a case of Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat, as parting gifts, and thank you for playing.")

In the Connecticut case, I've always questioned the desirability of "combined" campaigns of this sort; I can't speak for anyone else, but I've always thought it was more useful to contribute directly to those I wanted to support than to utilize the services of a middleman, even one with ostensibly good intentions, even one which will match part of my donations. It's none of their business to whom I wish to contribute, anyway.

I won't live to be 150, but I figure right around my sesquicentennial (this would be 2103), people will look back on these little eruptions in the "Culture Wars" of old and think, "What the hell was going on back then?"

Posted by: CGHill at 4:20 PM on 13 March 2004

I won't live to be 150, but I figure right around my sesquicentennial (this would be 2103), people will look back on these little eruptions in the "Culture Wars" of old and think, "What the hell was going on back then?"

I figured about ten years ago that history would judge the 20th century as The Age of Nonsense -- because so much of what our "deepest" and "most advanced" thinkers (aw, heck -- let me put scare quotes on that word too) "thinkers" put forth was utterly at odds with observable reality.

The end of The Age of Nonsense is running a little over three years late, but in another hundred years who'll notice?

Posted by: McGehee at 11:27 AM on 14 March 2004