Never trust a boy scout

It’s a corrupt organization. They don’t allow atheists to participate (my boys were briefly in the scouts, but they couldn’t say anything about their beliefs, and had to do all the religious oaths; Margaret Downey has been fighting this for years), and they only allowed gay and transgender boys in recently, while still prohibiting gay scout leaders. It’s a conservative organization that typically works to instill regressive values — with a few exceptions — and so we shouldn’t be surprised that the boys clapped and cheered, while their leaders capered and grinned, at Trump’s speech to a boy scout jamboree.

That speech is something else. It’s pure madness. It’s the kind of speech a Caligula would give: self-serving, obsessive, focused on slights to his majesty, derisive of the previous administration. He wants to encourage loyalty, but he still can’t resist the temptation to encourage them to boo the previous president and his opposition in the last election. He is still going over and over the size of the crowd over and over, the legitimacy of his election, and “fake news”. And he ends by telling them they’ll be allowed to say “Merry Christmas” again, as if this has ever been prohibited. There was no good message in it, unless you count that bizarre anecdote about a rich man losing his ‘momentum’ a moral message. It’s a speech that tells us much about Donald Trump, none of it good.

But he still has the devout support of the Christian Evangelical community!

Jebus. Read George W. Bush’s speech to the boy scouts in 2005, and compare. W was a disgrace as a president, and yet look how far we’ve fallen with Trump.


  1. handsomemrtoad says

    RE: “It’s the kind of speech a Caligula would give…”

    To me Trump seems much more like Caligula’s predecessor, Tiberius, than like Caligula.

  2. rietpluim says

    Never trust an American boy scout, please.
    Scouting in The Netherlands is fairly liberal and inclusive of all beliefs, colors, and genders.

  3. says

    “But he still has the devout support of the Christian Evangelical community!”

    Because their true religion is conservatism :)

  4. cartomancer says

    jkrideau, #2,

    Indeed. Most amusingly, Caligula made a big thing about publishing his tax returns when he became Emperor, as opposed to Tiberius, who refused to, (according to Cassius Dio’s history, book 59, ch.9).

    I have to put in the obligatory note of caution about the ancient accounts of Caligula though – the worst stories come from Suetonius and Tacitus, writing a generation or so later, and even the contemporary writers Seneca and Philo were avowed opponents of Caligula and committed to making him seem as monstrous as possible in order to make his assassination seem legitimate and necessary (as the Emperors who were their patrons were only raised up as Emperors because Caligula was killed). The truth is we simply don’t know much about Caligula for certain, particularly where his personality and quirks are concerned. The picture of a self-obsessed, self-aggrandizing tyrant is exactly the sort of rhetorical condemnation one would expect from traditional Roman elites responding to the first Emperor who didn’t have an illustrious military career to recommend him and so needed to introduce more kingly modes of legitimacy for his rule. He probably was a lavish over-spender and a terrible custodian of the public purse though. The financial crisis of the late 30s AD is not the sort of thing his critics could have got away with inventing out of whole cloth (though, naturally, they could get away with blaming it all on the man in the purple at the top).

    Though, like Trump, Caligula certainly did have a thing for massive yachts. We found two of them at the bottom of Lake Nemi in the 30s, and they were every bit as opulent as the ancient historians say (even to the extent of having on-board plumbing for running water).

    Actually, it is kind of telling that Caligula’s reputation as a delusional, self-aggrandizing psychopath might be substantially a product of historical pejoration, but Donald Trump is showing every sign of the same characteristics in plainly evident detail.

  5. fusilier says

    Were Dan Beard still with us, he’d have broken a canoe paddle across that pitiful excuse for a human face.

    fusilier, who made it all the way to 2nd class before having to quit.

    James 2:24

  6. Sili says

    “The sun in the meadow is summery warm.
    The stag in the forest runs free.
    But gather together to greet the storm.

  7. says

    Cross posted from the Political Madness All the Time thread.

    A sampling of posts on the Boy Scouts of America Facebook page:

    Michael Christopher Stafford My son and I, along with others I am sure,will be dropping out of Scouts due to supporting behavior that is contrary to the Mission Statement. […]
    Valerie Millett Since when does this organization get involved in politics? In fact, isn’t NOT allowed? Who let this happen? I can’t believe the Boy Scouts booed a living American President.
    Beth Mitchell Huntsberry The BSA should immediately lose their tax exempt status. I will no longer be associated with the organization. My time and money will go elsewhere.
    Carla Rae Faulkner My husband was a scout leader for years and all 3 of our sons were Boy Scouts. I cannot believe what happened at the jamboree today and I can’t believe BSA condoned that 40 minute campaign speech to impressionable young men. It was full of lies and having them boo a former president is totally unacceptable.
    John Beverly I have 3 boys there including my nephew. I’m driving there now to get them. We’re officially done with BSA!

    Read more:

  8. nelliebly says

    Are Scouts in America different to the UK?

    Over here they have various different promises for different faiths and no faith, with guidance stating “The adult, or young person should be provided with all the Promise wording options and given time to consider their choice carefully.

    Depending upon the age of the young person, discussions about the choice of Promise may include parents or carers. Ultimately, the choice of Promise is the individuals.”,283

  9. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Caligula’s reputation as a delusional, self-aggrandizing psychopath

    I disagree with the historical consensus on Caligula. From the stories, he really comes off more as a troll than a psychopath. Such as the story of how he greeted a delegation from Jerusalem that had come to him with a problem, gave them a long, meandering tour of his palace, then showed them out the front door without listening to a word they said. Possibly Trumpian, but more likely, totally fucking with everybody. Just my amateur opinion. :)

  10. rietpluim says

    The Boy Scouts wear brown shirts – not a coincedence.

    Actually, it’s kaki. The BSA is a disgrace, but that is no reason to associate Scouting with the Sturmabteilung.

  11. says

    Meanwhile in Australia:

    Dear Scouts Victoria Members and Supporters

    We are proud and excited to announce that after three years of planning, research and consultation, on Saturday the 22nd July 2017 the National Council of Scouts Australia endorsed the new Australian Scout Promise and Scout Law.

    Scouts Australia now has a Promise that can be used by all sections with two versions that recognise our diverse Australian community. The language makes the Law and Promise more accessible to young people and is also more inclusive of people in a multicultural, multifaith country like the Australia of today.

    Each member may choose from the Promise options that they feel most comfortable making. Both options have the support of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. The choice is for the individual to make:

    On my honour, I promise
    To do my best,
    To be true to my spiritual beliefs,
    To contribute to my community and our world,
    To help other people,
    And to live by the Scout Law
    On my honour
    I promise that I will do my best
    To do my duty to my God, and
    To the Queen of Australia
    To help other people, and
    To live by the Scout Law

    We now have one Law to be used across all of our National Association:

  12. rietpluim says

    Scouting Netherlands hoisted the rainbow flag today to celebrate Coming Out Day, and issued rainbow badges.