Written in the 1990s over two editions, William Donahue presents this early report on the systematic, relentless, and ultimately successful frontal assault on the Boy Scouts of America.
Below is a selection from the forward. on-the-front-line-of-the-culture-war-recent-attacks-on-the-boy-scouts-of-america-2nd4.
On May 24, 1993, Roberta Achtenberg was confirmed as U.S. Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
This was a ballyhooed “historic first” of the Clinton era: Achtertberg is a homosexual activist.
Less than two weeks later, President Clinton scuttled the politically-disastrous nomination of his long-time friend and political ally Lani Guinier for the nation’s top civil rights post.
More startling to the public was that he had nominated her in the first place: Guinier had built her entire reputation on challenging the idea of majority rule, both in elections and in legislatures.
These events are related, and their connection is related to the theme of this booklet.
What Winston Churchill and others have admired about Scouting over the years is that it supports the work of family, church, and country, attaching boys’ loyalties to-in Churchill’s words-“Right and Truth, however the winds may blow.” It stood against the strange 19th-century philosophical view that winds (or history) is all there is-that right and truth change with time and circumstance. This philosophy, called “historicism,” animated both German National Socialism and Soviet Communism earlier in this century. In a more benign form, it came to roost in American universities and is now
making inroads in American government.
We know this philosophy as moral relativism. Its adherents speak not of morals but of “values,” none of which are objectively superior to any others. For instance, one person’s X values may tell them that the best kind of family consists of a man and a woman and children. Others’ values may say that the
best kind of a family consists of a man and five women and children, or two men and children, or two women and children and a rabbit. And no one can legitimately hold that any of these is superior, except merely subjectively. Nor can the government
take a legitimate interest in promoting one arrangement over the others. That would be “legislating morality.” In fact, the government should legislate against morality, or against the right of private citizens and organizations to make moral distinctions.
This is the view of Roberta Achtenberg who, in fact, gained fame as a San Francisco Supervisor with her heavy-handed efforts to force the Boy Scouts to reverse their ban on homosexual Scoutmasters. And it is the view endorsed by the Clinton administration, not only by the fact of Achtenberg’s appointment
to high federal office, but also of Clinton’s Interior Department’s official endorsement of a National Park Service ban on using Boy Scout volunteers in America’s national parks.
But homosexuals and atheists (who have also dragged the Boy Scouts into court, seeking to outlaw the right of private citizens and organizations to make religious distinctions) have a big problem: Most Americans, while not inclined to snoop into
each others’ private lives, believe that sodomy is wrong and want to raise their children in that view. Most Americans, while not inclined to talk overly-much about it, believe in God and want to raise their children in that view. And most Americans think our country is tops precisely because its principles, based on “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” support their views and their right to raise their children as they see fit.
And there’s the rub. What the majority thinks of as freedom isn’t what organized homosexuals and atheists and their modem (as opposed to Jeffersonian) liberal supporters think of as freedom-namely, freedom from all social constraints. The
solution, according to Lani Guinier-whose views President Clinton knew perfectly well before he nominated her, and whose views he shares, according to her, despite his public denials when he cut her loose under fire-is that judges and bureaucrats should rule us despite our druthers, according to their “enlightened” views.
Back in the Reagan years, Attorney General Ed Meese became embroiled in a remarkable running debate with Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, over how judges should decide cases involving the Constitution. Meese said they should look to the
original meaning of the Constitution and respect majority rule.
Brennan, referring to the founding era as, “a world that is dead and gone,” explained why he would prohibit the death penalty despite its popularity and its explicit authorization in the Fifth Amendment: “On this issue, the death penalty, I hope to embody
a community striving for human dignity for all …. ”
With his use of the personal pronoun, Brennan suggested that he, an unelected judge, is better able to “embody the community” than Americans’ elected representatives.
The American Civil Liberties Union-a major player in recent attacks on the Boy Scouts, as Bill Donohue recounts in this booklet-stood foursquare with Brennan. In a cover letter to a petition calling for Meese’s ouster, ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser wrote: “It is only a very small and special group of
Americans (less than 1%) who understand the importance of fighting to sustain individual freedom.” A friend and I responded in a newspaper editorial at the time: “What arrogance! And what a threat to liberty!”
Vladimir Lenin once made the argument that
representative democracy was not really democratic
at all, because the majority of people in democracies
do not have the requisite knowledge to vote in their
own true interests. Democratic majorities are much
too concerned with their families, for instance, and
with obtaining better working conditions and better
pay, with utilizing their right to start their own
businesses, etc., ever to vote to abolish private
How stupid, said Lenin. It’s a good thing I’m here to
“embody the community,” because the people themselves would never vote for their true
That is how Lenin used to talk, and how communists
still talk. ·And it appears-by his suggestion that we
should be embodied or represented, for our own good, by nine unelected lawyers with life tenure on the Supreme Court-that William Brennan considers the court to be something like an American
Politburo. . . . But if the “liberal” anti-democratic
faction [represented by Brennan and the ACLU] ever
gains full control of our government, then we will
say, after Lincoln, that we would prefer emigrating
to Russia, where we can take our despotism
What a goofy world: Seven years later, Leninists have been expelled from the Kremlin and Brennanists have taken over the White House.
This investigation of recent attacks on the Boy Scouts shows us clearly how the enemies of morality and religion operate pseudo-democratically, and suggests how to defeat them with the real thing.
Douglas A. Jeffrey
The Claremont Institute