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Losing Ohio Why Americans Are Anti-Intellectual

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I Double Dare You!

by Christopher Chantrill
December 04, 2004 at 7:00 pm


THIS CHRISTMAS, I am doubling my customary contributions to the Salvation Army and to the Boy Scouts of America.  And so should you.

I wish I could say my decision was prompted an exquisite reason, but it was not.  I have, as they say, no good reason, but I have reason good enough.  My reason is to stick it in the eye of the liberals.

Back in the 1990s when the liberals last cocked a snook at the National Rifle Association I responded decisively.  I went straight to the NRA website and contributed $100.  When the mainstream media started to rumble against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, I googled up their website, and contributed $100.  This year I’m all riled up about the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts, and so should you.

Someone (and I wonder who) has come up with the bright idea that big retail stores shouldn’t allow the Salvation Army bell ringers to solicit at their doors because it’s not right to show favoritism to one charity over another.  So Target and Mervyn’s, among others one presumes, decided not to allow the Salvation Army to solicit for contributions at their stores this year.

This sort of thing really gets me riled up.  It sends me to a-googling, looking up websites where I can make on-line contributions.  Talk show host Hugh Hewitt is riled up too, and he’s running a campaign to shame Target into revoking its ban.  Mervyn’s has already caved. 

The Salvation Army is founded upon the radical notion that the life of a selfish loser and a drunk can be utterly transformed by a practical helping hand and by the faith that Jesus cares about him and loves him.  And it works.

I’m going to double my usual $100 contribution to the Salvation Army.  I dare you to do the same.

Then there’s the Boy Scouts of America.  Lord Baden Powell started the Boy Scout movement because he wanted to take ten-year-old cigarette-smoking toughs off the city sidewalks and remake them in the image of army scouts, the kind he had led in the Boer War. 

It is, of course, entirely appropriate that the ACLU and other liberal activist groups are harrassing the Boy Scouts.  If the Boy Scouts are right that the way to socialize young boys in the inner cities is through faith in God, service to the community, and an education for outdoor adventure, then the liberal program of socialization: one-size-fits-all government schools, Ritalin, single parent families, and gay scoutmasters is all wrong. 

And if that were true, what would the liberals in their sinecures do then, poor things.

In The Enemies of Civilization, Lee Harris recently explained why the Boy Scout idea works.  The great achievement of western civilization since the Greeks, he explained, has been to transform the natural teenage boys’ gang culture into the culture of the team.  The animating idea of the West is its war against the “eternal gang of ruthless men.”  It fights this war by socializing teenage boys into teams, from sexual predators into husbands.  The gang fights just to rape and pillage; the team fights to build order and increase.  In the old days the Greeks molded their youth into hoplite heavy infantry; today we mold college graduates infantilized by liberal professors into world-beating corporate teams. 

The British figured it out.  With Baden Powell, they learned how to turn their urban youth from the culture of the gang to the culture of the team.  Even the Germans figured it out.  General von Seekt determined to build an army of soldiers that were “self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility.”  It is not, of course, an accident that the culture of the armed forces of the United States is drenched in the ideology of the team.

In its early years, the Boy Scouts had a bit a problem with pedophiles, who naturally seek out opportunities for interaction with young boys.  They decided not to allow avowed homosexuals to act as scoutmasters.  They instituted, as self-governing societies will, a sensible rule to further protect their boys from sexual predation.  They decided that an adult could never be alone with a scout.  William Tucker explained a few years ago what this rule means in practice.  If a scout gets ill at camp and has to go home, then two adults must drive him the 40 miles to the bus station.  And then drive back to camp.

Liberals are right to attack the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts of America.  They stand for everything that liberals abhor.  But we should support these venerable institutions that celebrate the Anglospheric idea of self-government.  You can contribute to the Salvation Army at www.1800salarmy.org.  You can contribute to the Boy Scouts of America at www.givetobsa.org. 

Go ahead: Double your contribution.  I dare you!

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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