Scott Robertson

interesting readings Hitchins on BP
By: Posted On: 2013-03-26

This come from the scout-l mailing list and was titled "Interesting readings #422". It is a chunk of text regarding Baden Powell.

Before founding the scouting movement, Baden-Powell was most famous for writing a book about wild-boar hunting (also known as "pig-sticking"). But his views on outdoor education were closely tied to his concerns about "the moral tone of our race." In Scouting, he stated that "one aim of the Boy Scouts scheme is to revive amongst us, if possible, some of the rules of the knights of old." He praised the Japanese code of Bushido, which taught young men to prize their honor above all else.

By that time, the Boy Scouts of America had developed a strong, independent identity -- the fascist sympathies of an eccentric Englishman had little influence on the way boys camped, hiked, and tied knots across the ocean. But some of Baden-Powell's ideas continued to carry though the movement's DNA -- particularly his emphasis on honor, values, and uniformity. Hitchens quotes a famous metaphor from Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys that captures some of the issues the Boy Scouts of America are grappling with today:

You should remember that being one fellow among many others, you are like one brick among many others in the wall of a house. If  you are discontented with your place or your neighbors or if you are a rotten brick, you are no good to the wall. You are rather a danger. If the bricks get quarrelling among themselves the wall is liable to split and the whole house to fall.

interesting readings
Hitchins on BP