Friday, July 18, 2014

Proven Low-Cost Masculine Self-Improvement

I get a lot of mail from men who are desperately looking for a way to Alpha-up, break their beta, and submerge themselves in the sweet balm of masculine culture . . . but have no freakin' way how to get there.

That's understandable.  After forty-plus years of denigrating everything of masculine value, the institutions that once provided the stable and reasonable introductions into the world of masculinity have been tarnished, bruised, and battered in our society.  Even seeking out a place to cultivate your masculinity will make you the object of derision and scorn among the women and gammas in your life.  Tell a feminist you want to go someplace and learn how to be more manly, and you might as well tell her you're signing up for an "Intro To Patriarchal Oppression And Rape Culture" class.  Our culture has derided the traditional masculine to the point where manhood itself has become a tired old joke in our popular culture.  I don't need to tell you this stuff.  You see it all the time.

But what if I told you that there was an organization of men who specialized in the cultivation of masculine virtues?  What if I told you that there was a society dedicated to the improvement of men by adherence to masculine virtues, not mere pick-up lines or metrosexuality?  Where competence and the ambition to learn were valued over social status and SMV?  Where achievement and accomplishment were not just acknowledged, but were celebrated and lauded as they should be?  What if I told you that there was an organization that values the contributions your masculinity can make without reproving you for your sexism, your desire for order, or your dedication to masculine ideals?

I know of such a society.

When I talk to men about cultivating their masculinity they despair of not having a good group of male friends.  Of not having the opportunities to explore their character through challenge and trial.  I see men who desperately want the discipline and the camaraderie of male society, who crave the opportunity to contribute their own talents and resources and be recognized for those contributions.  The want a place where they can go and be men without recourse to a locker room or basic infantry training. A place who will accept them for who they are, and help them grow into who they want to be.

I know of such a place.

The Boy Scouts of America.


Scouting has taken a lot of heat from liberal and progressive factions over its stance on homosexuality.  While it is now permissible for Scouts to be gay, there is still a ban on openly gay leaders.  There are many complicated reasons for this - gay Scout leaders do now exist and have served with distinction and honor for decades in Scouts - but because of the number of religious conservatives and the perceived liability, as well as some cultural issues, openly gay Scout leaders are forbidden by the BSA.  And that little point has been the wedge that progressive feminist organizations have used against the Scouts for years.

But that's not really what bugs them.  What bugs them is that Scouting has been, and is still dominated by men and masculine values.  When men congregate to discuss anything without the benefit of female supervision, the Matrix goes nuts.  The feminist Matrix in particular recoils in open horror, assured that the Patriarchy is conspiring to oppress the wimmins the moment their backs are turned.  When men gather together to discuss how to become better men - which is the fundamental and unchanging focus of the international Scouting movement - feminists freak the fuck out.

The matter of homosexual leadership is just the excuse.  The moment that the ban on gay leaders is lifted, there will be yet-another issue the feminists will level at the Scouts when their current one is no longer valid.  Truthfully, that day cannot come too soon - not only is this a minor issue for most groups, but it would be nice if gay Scout leaders didn't have to hide.  For the most part they have no "gay agenda" beyond raising their sons to be good men.  Using homosexuality as a wedge to divide men against each other does a disservice to us all.

But if you're looking for a place to freebase masculinity, you can't ask for better without joining the French Foreign Legion. Just look at the Scout Law to see the bedrock masculine values that Scouting teaches:

A Scout Is

Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind
Obedient
Cheerful
Thrifty
Brave
Clean
Reverent




There is not a single thing there that conflicts with the Red Pill praxeology.  Indeed, it is a celebration of masculine values unsullied by feminism.

Boy Scouting began a hundred years ago on Brownsea Island, in southern England, the product of Lord Baden-Powell's vision.  He was a soldier in the later British Empire who served in Africa, India, and other places in the Empire.  Most notably, he lead a mostly-civilian defense of a town in South Africa against Boer insurgents.  It was during this siege that he employed 11-13 year old boys as "cadets" to handle non-violent military responsibilities that would otherwise use a soldier who could be on the lines.  After the siege he expanded his exploration of youthful participation, writing a few field manuals on military scouting and reconnaissance.  Upon retirement, he discovered his military books were enjoying huge popularity in British schools when it came to being trained in observation and deductive reasoning.

Seeing the inadequacy of the quality of manpower the British Empire was dealing with (a by-product of the industrialization of England) Baden-Powell decided to do something about it.  He re-wrote his books on scouting as Scouting For Boys, and laid the foundations of the Scouting movement with a camp-out at a small off-shore island in the English Channel.  He took twenty boys from various socio-economic backgrounds, took them camping, taught them knots and other useful stuff, and generally began a tradition of male self-improvement that has influenced millions of men today.

Scouting is perhaps the best, easiest, and most cost-effective route to self-improvement in which a man or boy can enlist.  It distills the patriotism and discipline from the military - long the essence of male-oriented organizational culture - and removes the violent component, leaving just the plethora of skills and the path to achievement.  Scouting organization is replete with ranks and levels of achievement.  No one ever got an Eagle for "participation".

That's one of the feminists' issues with Boy Scouts: they encourage actual achievement, not artificial self-esteem.  If you want the 50-mile hike badge, you have to hike 50 miles.  You don't get a patch to celebrate your ability to show up and eat pizza.  The Scouting program is designed to challenge and encourage a boy to be the best man he can be, not feel good about himself for no particular reason.  Scouting carries the essence of masculine values in its basic tenants, and reinforces them through masculine-oriented rituals.  There is no equality, no equity, no consensus.  There is a Program, and there is accountability.

While you may have missed Scouting in your own youth (if you're over 18, there's no way you can make Eagle), the fact is that the culture and the environment of Scouting is perhaps even more beneficial to grown men.  Scouting is always looking for good, responsible, committed leaders, and there's no rule that says you have to have a son to participate.  Indeed, in our troop we go out of our way to include men in our community who might not have a child themselves, but still have something to contribute.  Anyone who can pass a criminal background screen and takes the Child Protection course is welcome.

You might be asking yourself, "how can I help a bunch of 12 year-olds become men when I'm not sure how to do it myself?"  Scouting offers plenty of training (the Wood Badge course is legendary for corporate leadership training) and the fact is that once you have to start breaking down basic masculine skills to a youth, you learn them better yourself.  By being responsible for someone else's struggle with achievement and education you gain significant confidence and esteem yourself.  Really.

Nor does the emphasis on basic scouting skills deter from the larger education the boys - and the men who lead them - gain from the experience.  Sure, you might not need to know how to tie a bowline in an emergency situation, but the security and confidence you gain from just possessing that knowledge can't be purchased at a weekend seminar.  Scouting deals with all manner of achievement and skills, not just the woodsy outdoorsy stuff.  Learning how to speak in public, learning how to lead, follow, organize, plan, execute, and follow-through is key to success, as you will learn.  And the very act of mentoring a group of boys eager for decisive, knowledgeable leadership forces you to improve yourself so that you do not disappoint their expectations.

You want a workout?  Strap on a 60 lb. backpack and lead a bunch of testosterone-poisoned teens on a rugged ten-mile trek through the wilderness.  Iron is great, in its place, but the kind of robust, constant-workout you get by camping can't be beat.  And Scouting's High Adventure component is like masculinity on steroids.  No one who has returned from Philmont Scout Reserve in New Mexico has done so unchanged. A new Scout reservation is just opening in the East, north of Beckley, West Virginia, that promises to provide even greater opportunities for the men of our nation. It's like the biggest Man Cave in the world, complete with ziplines, STEM center, white water rafting and BMX park.


But if you are looking for a low-cost way of improving yourself, a tried-and-tested method of masculine empowerment, a crash course in basic maleness, you can't beat Scouting for the experience.  Sign up to be a merit badge counselor or committee member at first.  Scouting is great at taking advantage of volunteer talents - if you can't handle camping, there's plenty of other stuff for you to do.  But nothing improves your own masculine self-image more than helping a boy recognize his own.  There is nothing more Alpha than helping a boy become the best man he can be.

This would be a great place for any former or current Scouts to detail how Scouting positively informed the men they are today.  You want a quick way to break your Beta and re-introduce masculinity into your life, Scouting is your best bet.

21 comments:

  1. I am an old, used Eagle Scout, and from time to time I used to consider inflicting myself on the local troop. Background checks are now required for all adult leaders.

    I don't know why this causes me to balk. I have nothing in my background to find. But the idea that I am unfit to train young men unless I allow strangers to root around in my past and pass judgement on me sticks in my craw.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand, but in the litigious environment we are now in, it's a formality for the boys' security I don't mind. It's not the presumption of guilt, it's the due diligence every Scout should show before committing to a plan. I encourage you to inflict yourself on the troop. The older Scouts I know were some of the most influential on my development.

      Delete
    2. Here's the odd thing - and I got this from a lawyer who worked on a similar project for a different 501(c)3.

      Background checks don't work. Anybody who has something in his backstory that will show up on a background check won't take a job that calls for a background check. He just shows up as a "volunteer." Who then hangs out with kids, befriends them, grooms them, and molests them. The background check does NOTHING to protect kids.

      However, we, as a society, have decided that background checks are a panacea, and organizations that don't do them haven't done "due diligence" and therefore expose themselves to liability. So now any organization who works with kids has to pay to have background checks done. The cost of operating these organization has gone up, there's less money to be spent and a new industry that accomplishes nothing has been created.

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  2. Nice post Ian.
    I've had the pleasure of attending several Eagle Scout ceremonies in the last 5 yrs for young men in our church. What impresses me the most is that the ceremony is not attended only by the immediate family and the recipient's troop but also former Eagle Scouts from the local area no matter what the age are encouraged to attend as well as friends from the community. (There's that word again community.) The ceremony its self is loaded with tradition and meaning. The closest thing to a right of passage for young men today,

    As to the background checks, those are done not to prevent but to protect the organization from financial ruin. That sounds harsh but our church and every group that uses our facilities (including our scout troop masters) must have background checks and go through a yearly training session before you can work, volunteer, or facilitate on our campus. The cost is about $75k just to defend an accusation of abuse. With all the precautions in place if abuse happens on your property there is no end to the financial penalties.

    Practicallyperfect

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great Post! I just picked my son up from Boy Scout camp this evening. What has impressed me most as an adult leader is the community and the attitude of the men and boys in scouting. I've been privileged to sit on about a half-dozen Eagle Boards of Review. They are absolutely inspirational - you leave each time filled with the realization that good young men still exist in this country, ready to step out there and make a difference in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just pulled my Dad's 1964 Wood Badge training book out again. He was cremated with his beads. I have his Philmont belt buckle around but since I haven't been myself, I don't wear it. Every now and then I still splice an eye just to keep my hand in. I heard the single moms sometimes show up in the field and I kinda lost heart, maybe that's a californication or maybe just a bad rumor, I'll check. Thank you for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Single mom's sons need Boy Scouts most of all.

      Delete
  5. I have to disagree. Even my own Cub Scout experience in the early 1980s left me dissatisfied.

    And my nephew complained about it for the same reason: "It's just like school."

    I know some troops and dens are going to be better than others, but still.

    The feminine infection is and has been very widespread for decades.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to find the right troop, for one thing. In my experience, you get out of Scouting what you put into it. But those skills and leadership aren't really taught anywhere else in most boys' experience.

      Delete
  6. I can vouch for every word of the article. As one of the lesser leaders in my son's troop (I teach a variety of old-school specialty skills, mostly the sort you'll see in old-timey illustrations), I have watched many squirrely lads learn from the older scouts' examples, becoming upstanding and impressive young men, comfortable in ability and leadership. In my experience of several troops, reaching back to my own time as a scout, I have never heard any one of them so much as mention the "place" of girls, homosexuality, or any of the other things that feminists (et al) are sure scouts obsess over. (Perhaps this is projection based on the ways of Girl Scouts. Someone else would have to speak to that.) It is always and always has been about personal growth, working well with others, and having a fantastic time doing it. No exceptions.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The scouts have compromised too much of themselves at the alter of PC, perhaps 20 years ago it was an example of masculinity. Now it is just one more institution cowering at the might of the vagina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh. Not in my troop. Or in plenty of other troops out there. You get out of Scouting what you put into it.

      Delete
    2. No kidding. I have not the faintest clue what he's talking about. Maybe the main office corporate culture? Certainly not any troop I've interacted with.

      Delete
  8. eagle scout, rayado veteran (the three week philmont program that was absolutely the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging thing I have ever done) and former camp counselor. absolutely the boy scouts was one of the best things going in my youth. loved the scouts, and I would say that the price for summer camp that they charged, made it a great bang for the buck. one of the great things about the scouts was it wasn't "cool" so it was one of the few places my awkward nerdy 15 year old self gained acceptance in an all male space. I live in liberalville new england, and a big pet peeve of mine was having to apologize for the gay thing (actually an extremely unpopular policy amongst most of the scouts in my area) to go on to say "yeah but it's one of the best organizations for young men in america, and made me the man I am today." actually just writing this post and thinking on how much the program and it's brotherhood meant to me growing up is making my eyes water a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Eagle Scout here. This article is spot on and true. You don't have to go to every weekly meeting to get involved. Scouts do all sorts of activities, events and have 100+ merit badges they can earn. You can sign up to be a merit badge instructor in your area of expertise: home repair, medicine, metalwork, computers, art, welding...it's a huge list.


    ReplyDelete
  10. In Spain, it is not anymore in that way. Most troops left badges and progression systems, all troops acepts girls, and it is now a other more feminine supremacist indoctrination system.

    I lived the evolution from badges, and treks with the tents on your backs to the actual progressive-equalist-feminine system.

    But they all use now blue uniforms and caps, not more the original uniform. How cute. :(

    ReplyDelete
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