Patch of the Month: National HQ

One of our few “fun” stops on our recent trek to Dallas was a stop at the National Headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America, which has been in Texas since moving from New Jersey in 1979. The building is massive but utilitarian, reflecting the approach of an organization that is increasingly focused on economy.

Sadly, this is the headquarters of a shrinking organization. We’re down to about 2 million registered scouts, a not-insubstantial number to be sure, but a far cry from the numbers in the past. While the program has done a truly unbelievable job of remaining up-to-date and relevant (far more than it was in my day, to be sure, when the organization had become hidebound), some organizational issues (now addressed) and the battle for the time and attention of young people have combined to take its toll on the organization.

I fear that in order to survive, Scouting in the USA will need to cut back on the number of organizations, and move toward a unification of Boy and Girl Scouting.

In the meantime, though, I will dedicate my spare time to supporting the organization, its units, and the youth who make up the organization. I can think of no worthier cause, political correctness be damned.

History is back

A great problem with too many of us is that, subconsciously or otherwise, we bought into this idea that the tectonic political changes of 1989 had brought about a world where the rules had changed. This is the essence of Francis Fukuyama’s treatise “The End of History,” but the problem went even further. We began to believe that the normal rules that applied to business, to markets, and to nations no longer applied.

In the end, we will find that history does not end, even if sometimes it seems to take a sabbatical. Despite a flirtation with the contrary, the past decade has proven that the world is not on a path to liberal democracy and global markets: Russia is still the rapacious yet insecure bear; that China is still the nation and culture of Confucius, Mencius, Sunzi, and Mao; that businesses must still make money; nationalism still trumps globalism; and that markets cannot soar forever purely based on exuberance and a near-term lack of better investment alternatives.

History is back, and if you don’t watch out, it will maul you. It’s a great time to be an historian.

 

Patch of the Month: Procrastinating Goldfish Patrol

My Life Scout son Aaron was elected as leader of his patrol in the troop our Council is assembling to represent Ventura County at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree.

Soon after, the patrol named themselves “the Procrastinating Goldfish Patrol.”

Against all odds, I managed to find them appropriate BSA-regulation patrol patches. As you can see, the patch above shows a goldfish clearly in the act of procrastinating. The patrol will wear this with pride, along with all of their other insignia and regalia, as they journey to the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve this month.

I can think of no more appropriate insignia with which to launch this new feature. Each month I will highlight a patch that is of personal interest and significance.