I attend what in the LDS church is called a “singles’ ward,” but I maintain ties with the “family” ward in the same area. So I had the (task? opportunity? burden?) of going to Boy Scout Camp for the last few days, to keep 12-14-yr-olds from burning down California.
Feral children are terrifying if you imagine a few years of testosterone in them. Imagine having NRX ideas on proper rulership going through your head as you watch 12-yr-olds throw rocks at each other. But with the restriction that you are not sovereign, because these aren’t your kids, they’re not even related to you. So I broke no bones and raised no bruises, though I did bop one kid on the head, and overturned a pitcher of water on another. And I was being light.
Is it a safe environment when random unrelated males are allowed to dispense corporal punishment? Maybe, maybe not. However, in the absence of sovereign force, kids throw rocks at each other, and that is not a safe environment either. Were they abandoned in the wilderness, the biggest kid would have established order. But ironically, our presence preventing overt violence made things worse by preventing that.
3. Peace through superior firepower
The best of the bunch was a hulking giant-for-his-age fourteen-yr-old. This guy will probably play college football in a few years. He endured basically zero persecution, meted out none, and acted as a general calming force in the group.
4. BSA are basically good
First aid, fishing, kayaking, swimming, camping, wilderness survival, how to stand in a line, how to shut up, how to function in a hierarchy, how to give and receive orders (proudest moment was when I quietly told the senior patrol leader to order someone to get some water for the table. He picked the worst-behaved little **** of the bunch, and he obeyed). A lot of these kids will get eaten by the Cathedral, another contingent will join the benighted guns-and-ammo-are-all-I-need crowd, but I have a hard time imagining a better NRX program for young men (well, some political philosophy would be nice but 13-yr-olds, whatchagunnado). All of this under the auspices of three community-engaged fathers, and, well, me.
This should go without saying, but there’s stuff boys learn from men that they don’t learn from women. It’s not facts so much as facts with credibility. Despite my complaints of lack of sovereignty before, my basic superiority in all things male (I know how to actually survive in the wilderness, I weigh half as much again as any of them, my frame is far superior) let me do things like point to a boy and say, “I need a volunteer. You just volunteered,” and he’d follow without fuss to help me unpack something from my car or whatever.
6. That Happy Desert People
This was just something I noticed today, and I suspect it will be more noticeable tomorrow and Friday (although I left today and won’t be going back). As I walked around the camp (as an adult, I didn’t have my schedule filled up with merit badge classes), I saw everyone busily at work (certainly with some misbehavior)—and generally happy about it. Boys learning to start fires, to cook, being yelled at for misbehaving with knives—but purpose-driven activity, rather than the glazed eyes of the Virtual Option* or the soulless learning and teaching of government-mandated “concepts” for grades and money respectively. **
What I saw, I think, was the beginning of (short-lived; gone by the end of the week) asabiyyah.
So there you go. What I Did This Summer, Early Edition.
*”All around the world, anywhere there is a slum with an X-Box in it, the Virtual Option is taking shape.” ~ The Dire Problem and the Virtual Option
**”In my high school French class we were supposed to read Hugo’s Les Miserables. I don’t think any of us knew French well enough to make our way through this enormous book. Like the rest of the class, I just skimmed the Cliff’s Notes. When we were given a test on the book, I noticed that the questions sounded odd. They were full of long words that our teacher wouldn’t have used. Where had these questions come from? From the Cliff’s Notes, it turned out. The teacher was using them too. We were all just pretending.” ~ “Why Nerds Are Unpopular”