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Interesting BP Quote

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I came across a quote from Lord Baden Powell, written in his diary in 1939:


"Lay up all day. Read Mein Kampf. A wonderful book, with good ideas on education, health, propaganda, organization etc.and ideals which Hitler does not practice himself."


From The Boy-Man:The Life of Lord Baden Powell by Tim Jeal.


On another note Baden Powell was also in the "Black Book" of individuals to be interested upon a successfull invasion of the United Kingdom.

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It was a list of people to be arrested should a german invasion of the UK be executed and successfull.





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Evidently there were a few people on Black Book's list that had passed away (Such as Sigmound Freud) or moved elsewhere.

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I don't have them at hand right now, but there are quite a few 'interesting' quotes to be had from BP. I spent some time last year, digging around in the foundations of Scouting, to try to get a grip on how -- and whether -- it would help my son.


Like many social thinkers of his era, he was apparently attracted to what I've called the "optimistic evolutionism" of the era. This was expressed, in its more benign forms, in novels by Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burrows (Tarzan), and Gene Stratton-Porter (Freckles). Less benign expressions include Ayn Rand's novels and most notably, the eugenics movement. The most terrible visible outworking of both "optimistic evolutionism" and eugenics was, of course, Hitler's Nazi regime.


BP actually spoke favorably of eugenics in at least one text. (Again, I've got it somewhere, but you might be able to locate it with Google Text.) He was in the company of many prominent people of the time, in this regard. Eugenics conferences and academic instruction at universities was supported by the Kellogg, Carnegie, Rockefeller and other foundations. Margaret Sanger, known as the founder of Planned Parenthood, was also a notable support. In the 20's and 30's, many people who thought well of eugenics, also viewed Nazism with at least partial favor, as BP may have done.


But, it's not clear to me how far BP went in his support of eugenics or Nazism. He died before eugenics lost favor in as the truth of the Nazi movement became known, so it's hard to say what he might have revised. An article by Christopher Hitchens in Atlantic Monthly (June 2004), attributes a number of pro-Nazi and pro-eugenics statements to BP. I am rather sceptical, however, since his article is not footnoted, and because I'm familiar statements he has made about Christianity that are transparently false, IF you happen to know the facts. It is interesting that, in a text called "The Progess of Eugenics", the following statement is made:

". . . Dr. Starr Jordan, the official head of American Eugenics, has consented . . . to become the Vice-President of the Boy Scouts in the United States . . ."



Anyhow, I am continually amused by the way that BP's writings appear to be used as a source of quotes to justify whatever a BSA or council staffer wishes. I'm have already begun a small collection of my very own BP quotes, to be used in my

'discussions'. Just for fun -- I'm not trying to make any particular point with these, other than to stir up a bit of a fuss ;-) -- I've posted a few below.







from B-P's Outlook (available online)


"I HAVE said before now: "I don't care a fig whether a Scout wears uniform or not so long as his heart is in his work and he carries out the Scout Law.""

Aug. 1913



"A BOY does not really get the value of the Scout training until he is a First-class Scout."

Feb. 1914



"AS the camping season is now upon us, I may say that one or two of the camps which I have already seen have been unfortunately on wrong lines, though others were very satisfactory. I strongly advise small camps of about half a dozen Patrols; each Patrol in a separate tent and on separate ground (as suggested in Scouting for Boys), so that the Scouts do not feel themselves to be part of a big herd, but members of independent responsible units."

Jun. 1910



"NOT long ago I was shown a pattern schoolboy camp where there were rows of bell-tents smartly pitched and perfectly aligned, with a fine big mess marquee and clean well-appointed cooks' quarters with a kitchen range.


There were brick paths and wooden bathing houses and latrines, etc.


It was all exceedingly well planned and put up by the contractor. The officer who organised it all merely had to pay down a certain sum and the whole thing was done. It was quite simple and businesslike.


My only complaint about it was that it wasn't camping. Living under canvas is a very different thing from camping. Any ass, so to speak, can live under canvas where he is one of a herd with everything done for him; but he might just as well stop at home for all the good it is likely to do him."

May 1919



"We have to remember that the Scoutmasters are voluntary play leaders in the game of Scouting, and not qualified school teachers, and that to give them a hard-and-fast syllabus is to check their ardour and their originality in dealing with their boys according to local conditions."

Nov. 1921

(I found this one particularly amusing, in the light of all the discussion here about the exact and regulated right way to do things!)




We put them as Christ taught them in their two simple forms:


"Love thy God with all thy heart;


And the second is like unto it ?


Love thy neighbour as thyself.


On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.""

Jul. 1924

(Maybe BP did actually believe in Christian truth? This passage alone doesn't prove it of course, especially since his thought was not especially systematic or consistent. But it's enough to make me wonder.)


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