Editorial: The latest assault on individualism

Editorial: The latest assault on individualism

Michael Gold, Editor

In just a couple of months, we will be welcoming in the year “2018”. I believe history will remember it as “the year Americans lost their individualism”.

There has been a movement afoot for a number of years that is clearly bent on robbing us of our individualism — the right to celebrate that which makes us different from one another. Let’s face it, we are not all the same.

Some of us excel in sports, some in business, others in research and education, or a profession; but some of us want everyone to be allowed to have and do the same as everyone else. They see a perfect politically correct, non-competitive utopia where nobody gets their feelings hurt. We award trophies to winners, but everyone gets a trophy just for their participation.

I have noticed it in behavior that will eventually destroy our cultural differences. In my family, for example, my paternal grandparents immigrated from Ireland. Although they met other European families when they arrived, they also met those who didn’t care for them; simply because they were Irish. My grandfather told me how hard it was for him to find a job when he tried to enter the workforce. Not because he lacked skills or was impaired in any way — other than the fact that he was Irish. He said it was not unusual to find signs posted in shop windows that read “Irish need not apply”. I suppose it is because everyone knows that the Irish are all drunks, won’t show up for work on time, or sober, are given to settling their differences with their fists instead of their brains, and will probably drive your company cars into a few ditches, before they quit.

My personal example reminds me that you don’t have to be a negro to be the victim of racial discrimination in America. Most Irishmen are fair-skinned and about as “lily white” as it gets. The truth is that stereotypes exist across people of all cultural backgrounds and other immutable conditions. Is there anyone who hasn’t heard or repeated a funny “blonde” joke?

When I was a boy growing up in St Augustine, I was allowed to participate in scouting. I registered as a Cub Scout as a second-grade boy; and, by the time I was twelve, I joined a local Boy Scout troop. At sixteen, I joined a local Explorer post. It should be no surprise that I am a fan of Boy Scouts of America.

The reason my parents encouraged me to become a Boy Scout was because I had an interest in archery and camping. And, I was and still am a boy. If I weren’t, I could have become a Girl Scout and sold cookies. But yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America announced that, starting next year, it will welcome girls into some Scouting programs. The move shakes up more than a century of tradition and just illustrates how seriously in jeopardy our individualism really is.

The Boy Scouts already serves more than 2 million young people, according to last year’s annual report. Of course, this decision is the result of parents of girls who wanted to be boy scouts suing the organization after being denied. In the past five-years, other lawsuits against BSA led to these announcements:

• announced in 2013 that it would admit openly gay youths
• announced in 2015 that it would admit openly gay leaders
• announced earlier this year it would admit transgender boys

Those decisions I understand; the decision to admit girls, on the other hand, is beyond me. And I am in good company. This “blonde” moment didn’t sit well with the Girl Scouts of the USA, either. Their leadership accused the Boy Scouts of running a “covert campaign to recruit girls”. Girl Scouts National Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan called the Boy Scouts’ plan “unsettling” and said it would only serve to undercut the Girl Scouts. She added that a co-ed model goes against “research supporting single gender programming”.

What is wrong with being a girl? Feminists want us to really live the message that women are powerful and strong and capable. But there must something wrong with being a girl. What else can be the reason for all the attempts to join, infiltrate, and take over men’s organizations?

There are surely benefits to co-educational opportunities. But there are also great benefits to single-gender education. Groups that want to associate with one gender ought to be allowed to do it and to have the support of the law in doing so. In this case, the law is probably on the side of single-gender Boy Scouts, had the Boy Scouts wanted to hold firm to their past position. By law, as a private organization, they are already exempted from having to adhere to non-discriminatory practices.

Nothing is holding the girls back from scouting activities, and the Boy Scouts is not the only place where they can get that experience. Instead of inserting chaos into a national organization for boys, these girls could just try being awesome girls, becoming empowered through activities of their own choosing in a group of kids who make a conscience choice to experience these activities together.

Why must these non-boys take the route of disrupting an organization where a lot of good is being done in all-boy settings? Why should the girls’ desire to learn archery or go camping override the boys’ interests of learning in a single-gender group?

Where is protection for the boys’ rights to freedom of association?

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