As an Eagle Scout and former Scout Master, I say thank goodness the anachronism that was the Boy Scouts of America has finally been brought into the 21st century! The idea of channeling a young boy’s unbridled energy into arguably constructive pursuits disconnected from the internet in possibly dangerous outdoor environments where he could be subjected to all manner of discomfort and injury is at odds with conventional wisdom. Children, particularly boys, should be medicated and put into highly structured activities were they are safe and feel nurtured, like little league baseball, soccer or football — well, maybe not the latter with possible concussions and other injuries that have definitively been demonstrated to have a lasting deleterious effect.
And then there is the completely bogus, and frankly weird, pledging to oaths that include references to “God” and being “morally straight.” What does that mean, anyway? Thank goodness the organization has expunged these relics from their core mission to appease the enlightened parents — well, probably better to say adults — of today’s tolerant America. Finally, after years of watching its membership decline precipitously, Boy Scouts of America has attempted to eliminate insensitive language, has permitted LGBTQ scouts and leaders into its ranks, has refocused its programs to appeal to a broader audience and, most recently, has opened the organization to girls. (RELATED: Boy Scouts Of America Totally Caves, Will Allow Transgenders Now)
For anybody who has ever been irritated being around a goodie two-shoes like Jim Comey, we can now drop insufferable references to people like him having a reputation as a “Boy Scout!” It can’t happen soon enough that the Boy Scouts will take their rightful place with other lost fraternal orders like the Elks Club, Odd Fellows, Knights of the Golden Eagles, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, etc.
Indeed, now that Boy Scouts of America has bravely gotten rid of the appellation “boy” to better reflect its current focus they will soon need to address the continuing vestiges of male white privilege by eliminating the offensive term “scout,” which conjures up the oppression of a dominant culture sending in treacherous spies to clear the way for the mastication of helpless victims. Hopefully the current leadership will also dispense with the unflattering olive green uniforms that remind us more of Hitler’s brown shirts than inclusive colors that would certainly be appealing to little girls and other genders.
At the same time, polling and focus groups should be convened to look at replacing and updating the various merit badges and rank advancements — except, on second thought, there probably shouldn’t be rank advancement with implications of winners and losers. With names like Tenderfoot (insensitive), Second Class (obviously prejudicial), First Class (winners), Life and Eagle, these awards should no longer be tolerated in the new scouting organization. Quite frankly I’ve always found BSA’s highest award, a militaristic eagle against a nationalistic backdrop of the American red, white and blue, unsettling and a little strange in a world of plastic gold trophy cups!
With Scouts now firmly ensconced in the panoply of righteously reformed organizations ready to move our multicultural and diverse society into higher orders of tolerance, fairness and enlightenment, we should turn our attention to that other anachronism of the early 20th century: Planned Parenthood. It should come as no surprise that organization, which began just over 100 years ago at almost the same time as the Boy Scouts, needs some updating, modernization and broadening of scope. Just as it evolved from the American Eugenics Society, which sought to control births by picking winners and losers, particularly in poor black communities, Planned Parenthood needs to move beyond its current reproductive services — well, primarily abortions — to assist men and the LGBTQ community.
Let’s start first with its name. Surely in 21st century civil society where “parenthood” has itself become outdated and non-inclusive, and where “planned” implies an authoritarian fiat from above, the organization might begin where the Boy Scouts finished by completely changing its name to accommodate a new mandate? A couple of appropriate names immediately come to mind: Freedom Alliance (non-consequential sex), Save the Planet (already taken?), Tolerance Exchange — well, you get the drift!
Next, the organization needs to provide an equal budget for services to men and the LGBTQ community for Viagra to sex change operations and of course all the different flavors of birth control. This is particularly important since, unlike the Boy Scouts, a significant amount (more than a third of its budget, or over $500 million) of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from the U.S. government.
Finally, Planned Parenthood needs to reorient its political messaging and public relations away from solely progressive female issues and be more inclusive in aligning itself with men’s and other genders’ issues. I’m not suggesting it needs to coordinate with the likes of the National Rifle Association or National Football League, but it certainly needs to broaden its outreach to reflect a more open and diverse constituency.
With Scouts (or whatever its new name evolves into) and Planned Parenthood (under a new name) modernized to fit the needs of America, I feel comfortable that the next generation will be well served to thrive and reach their full potential in the 21st century. Next we can start working on those other pesky organizations that encourage bitter Americans to “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”
Alan Beard is a managing director of Interlink Capital Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based financial advisory firm and fund manger focused on emerging market finance. He has contributed and written several books and articles on international finance. He has also been active in scouting, most recently as a scout master in the National Capital Area Council.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.