Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting a Merit Badge in Axe Grinding

While still an iconic organization of a wholesome boyhood, the Boy Scouts of America are in a seemingly precipitous decline:

The organization, long an icon of wholesomeness in a simpler America, has seen its membership plunge by 42 percent since its peak year of 1973, when there were 4.8 million scouts. In the last decade alone, membership has dropped by more than 16 percent, to 2.8 million.

The declines reflect the difficulties of keeping up with changing times and shifting demographics, as well as of battling a perception that the organization is exclusionary because it bars gay people and atheists ....

This is axe grinding, not journalism.

Full disclosure: My son is on task to become an Eagle Scout, and TOSWIPIAW is on the Troop's executive board.

The membership decline is largely a reflection of an increasingly urban society. Just as hunting has been in a similar decline, people whose primary experiences are in large cities, outdoorsy stuff is remote both physically and conceptually.

Then add to that the knock-on effects of the Baby Boomer generation that used the 60's and 70's to assiduously reject Scoutings basic values. The same organization they wouldn't be caught dead in as boys is unlikely to draw their participation as dads. Even provided they had the loyalty to stay married. The one thing that characterizes the Scout troops my son has been in is married parents and involved dads.

As for battling an “exclusionary perception”? What a load of egotistical twaddle, which is probably the single most effective litmus test for who belongs to the MAL. See the reader comments if you don't believe me.

There is no contradicting the fact that Scouting's bylaws insist belief in God is essential to being morally grounded, and that, by extension, homosexuality is immoral because God has said so.

Newsflash: Scout troops would be hard pressed to care less about any of this, unless one is determined, through hypertrophied ego, to make them conclude otherwise. Beyond mouthing a few brief pieties, both banal and ecumenical (I know, redundant), religion is utterly absent.

My family has never attended church, and views all religions as being equally silly. The Boy Scouts do not know this, because the the only way to make them care is if we took it upon ourselves to expend vastly more energy imposing our religious beliefs upon them than they upon us.

Just so for homosexuality. Scouting is not about sex (just one look at the photo in the cite is iron clad proof); imposing one's orientation among the wider group is merely indulging in flights of self importance over an issue less relevant than a kickstand is to a football.

Yes, presumably the Boy Scouts have been seeing a membership decrease, although you wouldn't know it from my son's troop.

But the only perception battling going in is in this journalist's brain, such as it is, and the rest of her fellow bigots who can't wait to slap derogatory labels on any group they don't agree with.

Without the slightest hint of irony.

Monday, September 06, 2010

And the alternative would be ... well, what exactly?

According to this NYT Editorial, heartless capitalists are once again victimizing labor:

The latest annual survey of employer health benefits contains good news for the employers but bad news for their workers. The good news is that the average total premium for employer-sponsored health insurance (typically paid partly by employers and partly by their workers) rose only a modest 3 percent this year for family plans, reaching $13,770 in 2010.

The bad news for workers is that their share of the premiums soared by 14 percent, reaching almost $4,000, while the amount employers contributed did not increase. In other words, employers shifted virtually all of the increased premium costs to their hapless workers, who were in a weak position to resist in an economy where there were few other jobs to jump to.

Left unmentioned is what the exploiter class is to do instead.

Perhaps that is because the NYT editorial staff believes that employer-sponsored health insurance is free, just like the employer-paid portion of social security is free. And that there are pink sparkly unicorns.

Hint for the NYT editorial staff, in order to avoid having villages across the US worried they are missing their idiots. Repeat as often as required, no matter how long it takes: there is no such thing as free.