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fgoodwin

Boy Scouts' values never go out of style

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Y'all liberals do keep this Georgia boy laughing!

Lisabob asks a simple question, I give a simple answer, that I feel to be true. My answer is labeled a "screed" by Lisabob and a "rant" by others (any negative connotations with those labels, JD?). My answer was pretty short, so it is hard to see how it could be considered a screed. You are reading this, not listening to me say these or those words, so I don't see how my answer could be considered a rant.

I just want to make sure I have the rules down correctly: A conservative's answer to a liberal's question, which the liberal doesn't like, is a screed and a rant. O.K., I think I've got it.

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CalicoPenn, I can see that "we" conservatives misunderstand "you" liberals as much as "you" do "us."

 

I know of no conservative who would expect a person to stay with an abusive spouse. I also know several liberals who agree that a family with one father and one mother is the ideal arrangement. Kids who grow up without one or the other parent have a harder time knowing how a "nomal" couple should act towards each other. Yes, I know that kids who grow up watching parents abuse each other is even worse, so the abused parent definitely should take the kids and get out!

 

One of my best friends died last year of cancer, leaving behind 3 boys ages 8, 10, and 12. Their dad had no choice in becoming a single parent. I try to spend as much time with them as I can, especially with the youngest, who craves a mother's "touch." (even just having me sit next to him watching a movie, is something that he craves) The boys' grandmother and aunt are also trying to fill in as much as they can. My friend's husband is a wonderful father. But he alone can not fulfill those boys' needs.

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CalicoPenn, I also want to address your question as whether we should go back to women staying at home. What's so wrong with that? Ever since I quit my full-time job 5 years ago, our family life has improved dramatically. We are quite a bit poorer now, since our income was cut in half, while our bills all stayed the same. While I was working I either had to take time away from my family in the evenings while I did paperwork for my job, or I had to stay up late after the boys went to bed. I was constantly exhausted and got sick a lot more often than I do now. I prayed for a long time to be able to be a stay at home Mom. Our biggest stumbling block was that I carried the health insurance for our family. My husband didn't think we could swing it financially, but God helped us work it out. (no cable T.V. or sattelite for us!)

 

I'm not suggesting that all women should stay home. Some people have jobs that are "finished" when their work day is over. They don't have to worry about paper work taking away their evenings. Also, I know some dads that stay home. One family I know took turns being the stay at home parent. Mom stayed home with child #1 and Dad took his turn 5 years later with child #2.

 

As for going back to owning slaves, you really shouldn't have tried that as an argument for "your" side, since it was a conservative president who ended that horrible practice.

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I've read, and re-read, and read again my post and I can't find anywhere where I said I was a liberal, though I can certainly understand how someone might get that impression from my post. Like OldGreyEagle, I'm one of those pesky independents that has no loyalty to one party or another, nor do all of my viewpoints fit only into a liberal or a conservative mold. Heck, most of my friends consider me a firebrand libertarian conservative liberal moderate socialist communist. I like to think that I take the best ideas from all to infuse my sense of political self. And like someone in another thread said (and I think it was OldGreyEagle again), I'm happy with my contradictions.

 

I'm offended by any politician or religious leader, of any political stripe, that hauls out the old "family values" and "traditional values" tripe - it's simplistic jingoism that adds no value to any discussion, in my opinion.

 

If you want to defend family values and traditional values, then do so - but define what you mean by it in your defense, and what you don't mean by it - don't try to define family values by using the term family values as the definition - some of us can see right through that claptrap.

 

FunScout - I have no problem with you staying home as a stay at home mother - in fact, I salute you for it. Understand though that the example I chose is because that is often a picture painted of traditional values - and in this century, that picture is really no longer the norm. As I alluded to in my post, if a politician forced to define what s/he means when s/he uses the term traditional values includes going back to the era when the stay-at-home mom was the norm (and it no longer is) it would likely be the end of that politicians career.

 

As for Abe Lincoln, his brand of conservatism is a far cry from what passes for conservatism today.

 

Calico

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I just want to make sure I have the rules down correctly: A conservative's answer to a liberal's question, which the liberal doesn't like, is a screed and a rant. O.K., I think I've got it.

 

 

Sorry, BrentAllen, apparently you don't have the rules down correctly.

 

If you did, your post would have read more along the lines of:

 

"I just want to make sure I have the rules down correctly: I answer LisaBob's question, Lisabob doesn't like my answer, so it's a screed and a rant. O.K., I think I've got it."

 

See, the labels take away the personal responsibility we each have to others. If it's just "conservatives" and "liberals" hammering away, then there aren't any real people so it's OK to be rude and inaccurate. Idealogies don't have any feelings so the Scout Law doesn't really apply. Of, course, ideologies don't have any intellect either so they offer only a very little to real people.

 

You're right, when posters use the terms "screed" and "rant" about your posts there are negative connotations. But they're personal - specific to you. They're something to be worked out between you and them. Nobody's innacurately criticising whole groups based on the actions of individuals. You have a problem with Lisabob, tell her - don't insult me.

 

I'm offended by being labeled a "Liberal" the way you use the word. It shows your lack of understanding of me; and given how you use it, it also shows an intent to insult. Your use of the term for me would be akin to me using the term "redneck" for you -- similarly, showing a lack of understanding of the person and an intent to insult -- even without knowing how you feel about the word.

 

Those kinds of labels represent a lazy, but aggressive, way to think and communicate. Let's stay away from them and try to focus on ideas.

 

jd

 

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JD,

Huh????

I'm not sure I know where to begin...

First, please show me where I ever labeled you a liberal. Lisabob labeled herself a liberal, so that is the term I used. She says she is proud of it, so why do you have a problem with me using it when refering to her?

Second, why is it that some on the left hate being called liberals? You can call me a conservative until the cows come home, and I don't have any problem with it - it's my political philosophy - not just some "term".

Third - the word liberal describes a political stance or philosophy. Redneck does not. But you have showed your cards, so I know where you stand. So much for "speaking well."

I have better things to do with my time - adios.

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"Y'all liberals do keep this Georgia boy laughing!"

 

See now, the word "liberals" is plural, so if that line was meant for Lisabob alone, it might have read Lisabob, your liberal views do keep this Georgia boy laughing, but thats not how the line reads. Liberals is a plural so it could be taken that all liberals keep you laughing, which is what I think John Daigler was reacting too. If all liberals keep you laughing that means you don't try to communicate your ideas or listen to their ideas, you just laugh.

 

and besides, a Liberal could answer like this:

 

What do ya mean, I make you Laugh ? Let me understand this cause, I don't know maybe it's me, I'm a little confused maybe, but I make you Laugh how ? I mean, I make you Laugh like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh... I'm here to amuse you? What do you mean I make you Laugh How do I make you Laugh ?

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I'm not sure I know where to begin...

why is it that some on the left hate being called liberals?...

But you have showed your cards, so I know where you stand. So much for "speaking well."

 

BrentAllen, start with my PM, then reread my post.

If you're referring to me as "on the left" then you don't have a strong enough understanding of me to call me anything, and since you use the term "liberal" in a negative manner, I prefer you not use it with me. My last post didn't show any "cards", I gave a negative example of how labels are inappropriate, overly-generalized and are used when we run out of energy for IDEAS. (Apparently, it was an effective example.)

Labels are a lazy way to avoid thinking about what ideas are being shared and the thinking that goes into those ideas. If we sum up people as "liberal" or "conservative" or whatever, then we mentally ball up their ideas and throw them in a pile. We don't give them the individual consideration such ideas deserve.

 

Labels lead us to overly generalized, unsubstanciated, aggressive, personally insulting, verbal goo like the following:

 

Maybe because conservatives take the phrase "Timeless Values" to be more than just a bumper sticker, and liberals appear to want to do away with timeless (traditional) values.

 

 

jd

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JD, I agree with 100% of what you have said. BUT, for a different perspective on the matter, consider the following.

 

The human brain is evolutionarily wired for pattern recognition. We are programmed to spot similarities in phenomena, evaluate the importance of various aspects of similarity, and then create summary categories that group phenomena together according to the important similarities (and discounting 'umimportant' similarities). The use of such categories allows for quicker stress responses than would be possible if all characteristics of a newly encountered phenomenon needed to be processed. ("Danger, Will Robinson!") This is to say that being able to create useful typologies is a survival trait. And every category needs a label.

 

Old Anthropology joke: "There are two kinds of people in the world those who create typologies, and dead people".

 

Thats not to excuse the willy-nilly use of labels as a substitute for analysis, but its nice to know there is a reason why we do it

 

 

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BrentAllen, personally I think we could all do with a little more amusement and laughter in our daily lives. So if I've provided that for you, however unintentionally, I know I've made your day better and I'll graciously accept that as a compliment from you.

 

I don't know very many liberals who view "the L word" as a pejorative. I certainly know some people who have attempted to re-define "liberal" to have a purely negative connotation. I think it is the job of liberals, though, to stand up for ourselves. If efforts to turn the word "liberal" into a smear have worked, it is in part because we liberals have not been effective enough in standing up for what we believe in. (images of Mike Dukakis riding around in tank still make me shudder - is that the best he could do??? I'm not a big Howard Dean fan for the same reason - he tends to take attention away from the actual message every time he inserts his foot into his mouth, despite the fact that as governor he actually ran, and governed, as a fiscal conservative) Of course, it might also be in part because too many people on all sides would prefer to engage in name calling and attacks rather than reasoned dialogue which, as jd points out, requires a more serious effort.

 

So, on that note: Here are some things that I believe as a liberal. Personally I think these beliefs fit rather well with the ideals embodied in the Boy Scout Oath and Law. If you don't think so, by all means, let's talk about it.

**I believe in standing up for freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, and of petition, both when in support of and when criticizing those in power. And just because such freedom is uncomfortable for some isn't a sufficient reason to curtail it. (A scout speaks the truth)

**I believe government can be an effective instrument to reduce social ills like poverty, homelessness, lack of access to quality education and medical care, hunger, etc. (A scout is concerned about other people.)

**I believe that government can and should intervene in society to improve relations between majority and minority groups of all kinds, and that governments have a responsibility to also protect minority rights, not just majority rights. (A scout is a friend to all.)

**I believe that there's an important difference between national pride, which citizens have every right to feel and express, and national arrogance, which is to be avoided, and that it is important to try to understand other viewpoints, even if one disagrees. (A scout is true to his ...nation; and, He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.)

**I believe that one of the best remedies for discontent with government actions and policies is to get involved and work for change. To sit back and wait for others to do it is unacceptable. (If [a scout] thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.)

 

Undoubtedly some non-liberals will find themselves agreeing with at least some of the above too. That's the point: conservatives, liberals, whatever, no one ideological group has a lock on this scouting stuff.

 

And BrentAllen, yup I used the words "screed" in response to your original post. I did that because the tone of your post appeared to suggest that we were descending into knee-jerk hyperbole. Perhaps I misinterpreted your tone though; that's not so uncommon when one only has the printed word to work from (and to me, exaggerated examples and sweeping claims as to the true ownership of values does suggest that we've left the realm of reasoned discourse). If I was incorrect in my understanding of your intended tone then I'll be happy to withdraw my characterization of it - assuming, of course, that you are also willing to consider that you seem to have painted "liberals" with both too broad, and too inaccurate, a brush yourself.

 

Regardless, I really think the original post in this thread highlights many reasons why people of all political perspectives should be proud to be associated with scouting. In my view, the bigger point is, how do we expand the reach of scouting and the positive influence it can have? This argument about whether liberals or conservatives are more supportive of scouting, or scout-like, or however one might wish to phrase it, detracts a bit from the bigger point, don't you think?

 

Lisa'bob

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Hey, Trev, good post. Actually, it's not "a different perspective"- I agree with it completely. It's one of my main reasons for fighting "sound-bite knowledge" and "minimizing labels".

 

I'm familiar with your point - thanks (?);) to over a decade of teaching, and almost as long as a school administrator. The brain loves to chunk data - it's an efficient and effective technique for categorizing and storing information: socks in one drawer; t-shirts in another. The problem, of course, is using a filing system with only big boxes. That makes it difficult for the brain to make judgements and use the information stored. The big box becomes filled with things that are less and less remotely connected, and harder and harder to extract and use appropriately -- Imagine your clothes dresser consisting of one big drawer. Sure that system would quicken filing, and help you recognize, file and judge "clothes", but prevent you from making the distinctions between: socks, T-shirts, too small, too plaid, etc. Very inefficient, very ineffective.

 

I'm sure I've carried the laundry metaphor too far, so let's move past it.

 

A label like "conservative" (especially when used by a "non-conservative") is filled with incomplete, often inaccurate information, often negatively prejudiced. It's an over-generalization that has little value when considering choices, decisions and ideas - it's a cumbersome tool. Meanwhile, considering ideas is a fairly delicate, inter-personal activity requiring complex skills like listening (reading), interpreting, respecting and evaluating.

 

The use of the label, and the label itself, invariably becomes the topic of the conversation rather than the ideas that generated the discussion. The labels become the least common denominator and are much easier to use and consider than actual ideas. They become uniforms (sport, not Scout) that put us on different teams - the good guys and the bad guys. They're never better than confrontational, and usually act as barriers to our own growth and learning.

 

I know I beat this dead horse fairly regularly, but . . .

 

jd

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Lisabob,

So you feel homosexuals should be allowed to be members of the BSA. And you think the BSA's public image suffers because of their policy toward homosexuals. Interesting. Would you want you son to go camping with a group of homosexuals? Did all the press the Catholic church received over it's homosexual priest problem help its image?

 

Also interesting is the statement that liberals stand up for the core freedoms in the 1st Amendment. I am not a liberal and I am a staunch believe in all the Amendments. They are why we are America! But if you are equating the BSA not permitting homosexuals and atheists to be members as being a violation of the 1st or any other Amendment, you are incorrect. There is no violation. The BSA is a private organization and can therefore set its own membership requirement.

 

One doesn't need to be a liberal to defend the Constitution. One just needs to be an American that loves this country.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed, the Church's problem was pedophile priests, not homosexual priests.

 

If a Unit followed G2SS, and I knew the Leadership (a personal requirement even without homosexual Scouters involved) I WOULD let my son camp with the Unit. Heterosexuality isn't a focal point of a campout - why would I believe (worry) that homosexuality was?

 

You draw a picture of a "group of homosexuals" as if that's a scary thing. Very few Units would likely be overwhelmingly homosexual given population percentages. I suppose a Unit might actually develop into a predominantly homosexual group due to personal comfort levels and commonalities. I probably would not be comfortable with my son in such a Unit - because he wouldn't share the group's commonality. I wouldn't want him in an overwhelmingly LDS Unit for similar reasons.

 

jd

 

I've seen that Lisabob can stand up for her own ideas, but I didn't read her post to say that "non-liberals" Didn't defend the Constitution. I think you jumped to A Conclusion Too Far.*

 

*starring: ???

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I think its a fair statement to say that the image of the BSA is lessened because of its stance on gays. The question is, who are the people who feel the image is lessened and are there more or less of them who think the BSA's image is stregthened by the BSA stance on gays. That will be the continual debate.

 

I know I would prefer my son to go camping with BSA trained leaders who happen to be gay than with non BSA trained leaders who are pediphiles. Gay men live amoungst us everyday and manage not to rape little boys, I wonder how that is possible?

 

And what was the biggest mistake the Catholic Church had, that they had pediphiliac priests or that they consistently and systematically sent those priests out amoungst children time and time and time again? Was the scandal really about having gay priests or allowing pediphiliac predators to continue clerical duties?

 

And yes, I think everyone supports Free Speech. I remember back when Linda Ronstandt made an anti Bush statement at a Las Vegas Casino/Hotel. She was booed off the stage and put off the property by security. Hollywood was in an uproar over perceived "censorship" remember it was not a governmental unit that booed her, and was not the police who took her off the property, it was the customers in the concert and the employees of the hotel. In America, I get to say what I want, and I get to face the consequences of what I say. Being an entertainer does not deprive someone of 1rst amendment rights. They get to say what they want. If people are turned off by what is said and decide not to buy the records, go to their movies, attend their concerts, then they are expressing first amendment rights and the censorship/goverment doesnt enter into it.

 

The first amendment is a great thing, it does have two edges that cuts both ways

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Ed, first and foremost, you made my point for me. Yes, to all those "non liberal" types out there - whether you're conservatives or what have you - I do agree that all of us probably care deeply about the first amendment. Or anyway I certainly hope so. My point was that the basic ideals of the BSA are not limited to any particular political persuasion; despite persistent insinuations that liberals can't/don't/won't support BSA ideals, we liberals support all kinds of values that fit nicely with the BSA's professed beliefs as indicated in the scout oath and law.

 

As for your other questions and comments:

I don't recall saying, or even suggesting, that the BSA's decision to keep gay and atheists out violates the first amendment. I think the decision is short sighted. I think it is illogical. I think it is bad for our image. I think it takes our attention away from bigger questions, like how to provide a great program to even more kids like the young man featured in the article in the original post on this thread. I think it will probably change one day because policy is not carved in stone and public opinion evolves. If or when that policy changes though, it won't be because gays and athiests rely on the first amendment to force change - that's not a winning legal argument. In fact I seem to remember that in the majority opinion, the Supreme Court itself used the free assembly clause of the 1st amendment to uphold the BSA's choice of membership requirements; ie, that one cannot be compelled to associate with others (in this case, with gay people) any more than one can be prohibited from freely associating with others.

 

I'm pretty sure we'll disagree on this one but no, I would not have any problem at all sending my son on a camping trip with leaders who were gay, PROVIDED THAT those same leaders otherwise met all of the BSA requirements regarding training and having a leader app accepted by council, etc.. I don't believe being gay can be equated with being a child molestor. And the problem the Catholic church faces isn't that they've got a bunch of gay priests (having grown up as a Catholic I can tell you with certainty that *that* information wasn't news to most Catholics). The problem is that the church routinely covered up the illegal, immoral, unethical, and downright awful actions of a few priests who were pedophiles. Now - if the BSA started covering up for leaders who molest children, then yes of course I (and most other sane people, I hope) would certainly have a problem with that. But that's not the issue. Being gay is not the same as being a child molestor.

 

Lisa'bob

 

 

 

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